Lawyer appeals prosecutor challenge rulingBy WILSON RING
The Associated Press | November 17,2012MONTPELIER — A judge refused to dismiss criminal charges against a man accused of driving over seven police cruisers with a giant farm tractor and almost 30 other criminal cases because of the manner in which the state’s attorney prosecuting the cases was appointed.
In his decision, Superior Court Judge Howard VanBenthuysen said the unusual circumstances that led to the appointment of Orleans County State’s Attorney Alan Franklin in 2011 were not covered by Vermont law.
“The court concludes that Mr. Franklin has, at the very least, been acting legitimately as an officer ‘de facto’ in the office of the Orleans County States Attorney,” said the ruling. “While there may be a void in existing election law, under the circumstances, the technical validity of his appointment is assured.”
The lawyer who filed the original complaint, David Sleigh, believes a special election should have been held when Franklin’s predecessor was appointed to a position in Gov. Peter Shumlin’s administration.
Sleigh immediately filed an appeal of VanBenthuysen’s ruling, continuing to argue the cases against his clients should be dismissed because of the way in which Franklin was appointed. Sleigh argued the judge should have ordered a special election, even if it took longer and was more complicated than a simple gubernatorial appointment.
“The court thus ignored a clear constitutional requirement for elected state’s attorneys except under circumstances enumerated by statute,” Sleigh wrote.
Franklin was appointed state’s attorney almost two years ago after Shumlin tapped his predecessor, Keith Flynn, to become Vermont’s public safety commissioner. Flynn’s resignation came after his 2010 re-election but before he began serving the new term.
Shumlin first appointed Franklin to fill the remainder of Flynn’s older term, as laid out in Vermont law, and Franklin took office on Jan. 21, 2011. He was then appointed to fill the newer term, which began on Feb. 1, 2011.
Sleigh argued the second appointment was invalid and asked VanBenthuysen to dismiss the criminal charges against his clients.
Among those clients is Roger Pion, a Newport man charged with driving a giant farm tractor over seven sheriff’s department cruisers.MORE IN Vermont NewsTransportation officials and advocates for low-income Vermonters are looking for ways to reduce... Full StoryCOLCHESTER — When the lights go out on the deadly intruders, only Susan can find her way — she’s... Full Story
- Most Popular
- Most Emailed
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day 1739, 'Richard Palmer' identified in prison at York Castle as the notorious outlaw DICK TURPIN; IN 1836, Battle of the Alamo begins near San Antonio de Bexar, Texas; 1896, the Tootsie Roll invented by LEO HIRSCHFELD.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 1472, Orkney, Shetland islands put up as collateral by Norway to Scotland in lieu of dowry for MARGARET OF DENMARK on her marriage with JAMES III, king of Scotland; 1962, JOHN GLENN first American to orbit Earth.
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: City mayoral candidates debate campaign issues; Hartford, Conn., woman still missing; Neal Goswami reports attempts to legislate suicide; local woman loses 100 pounds through TOPS program.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 1878, JOHN TUNSTALL murdered near Lincoln, New Mexico, by the outlaw JESSE EVANS; in 1930, ELM FARM OLLIE first cow to fly in aircraft, first to be milked airborne; 1955, nuke test WASP; '79, snow in Sahara.
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: Rutland Herald News Editor Alan J. Keays and staff writer Gordon Dritschilo discuss stories planned for the February 18, 2015, edition of the newspaper: Winter budgets maxed, legal marijuana, Springfield bank job, USPS slowdown
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 1249 AD, ANDRE of LONGJUMEAU is dispatched by LOUIS IX of France to meet the KHAGAN, ruler of the Mongol Empire; in 1804, during 1st Barbary War, STEPHEN DECATUR scuttles the pirate-held USS Philadelphia in Tripoli.