Judge: ruling soon on prosecutor challengeTHE ASSOCIATED PRESS | November 12,2012NEWPORT — A Vermont Superior Court judge is promising to decide within 10 days if he will dismiss charges in 20 criminal cases because of what a defense attorney feels was the improper appointment of the Orleans County state’s attorney.
Judge Howard VanBenthuysen heard arguments Wednesday from attorney David Sleigh, who filed the motion to dismiss the charges because of the way in which State’s Attorney Alan Franklin was appointed, and Assistant Attorney General John Treadwell.
Sleigh claims Gov. Peter Shumlin didn’t have the authority to appoint State’s Attorney Alan Franklin to replace former State’s Attorney Keith Flynn. Flynn was elected in 2010, but before taking the oath of office for the new term, Shumlin appointed him commissioner of the Department of Public Safety.
Flynn resigned during his term and Franklin took the oath to replace him on Jan. 21, 2011. On Feb. 1, Franklin was sworn in to a full term without being elected.
In court papers Sleigh said state law would have allowed the governor to order a special election upon Flynn’s resignation. In the interim, the attorney general had the authority to appoint a special assistant attorney general to manage prosecutions in the county, Sleigh wrote in a supplemental memorandum.
“This dual-faceted option was and still is the only lawful way to handle the opening in the full-term for Orleans State’s Attorney,” he wrote.
Treadwell said Franklin was properly appointed and no special election is necessary.
“Quite simply, while the defendants may wish the Governor had held a special election, he had no authority to do so,” Treadwell said.
Treadwell wrote that there is no mechanism besides appointment for filling the state’s attorney position when the winner of the election resigns prior to the four-year term’s start.
One of the cases Sleigh is seeking to dismiss is that against Roger Pion, a Newport man charged with driving a giant farm tractor over seven sheriff’s department cruisers.
The Caledonian Record said Van Benthuysen’s decision is expected to be filed by Nov. 17.MORE IN This Just InTOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: Josh O'Gorman reports on the impact of state budget cuts on state colleges, Rutland Town welcomes Donna Zeller as town clerk, Bryanna Allen in Killington for chili cookoff and Haley talks up big Shrine game with N.H. and Vt. 0Rutland Herald News Editor Alan J. Full StoryWHITE RIVER JUNCTION — A Royalton man denied charges that he pointed a gun at a woman and her... Full Story
- Most Popular
- Most Emailed
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: osh O'Gorman reports on the impact of state budget cuts on state colleges, Rutland Town welcomes Donna Zeller as town clerk, Bryanna Allen in Killington for chili cookoff and Haley talks up the big Shrine game with N.H. and Vt.
- TODAY'S WEATHER MINUTE: Rutland Herald content editor Rich Alcott shares local weather information and easily digestible news tidbits: Teddy Roosevelt makes Americans believe the poor, peace-loving, misunderstood piranha is a vicious, dangerous animal.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: Teamsters leader Jimmy Hoffa disappears on this day in 1975, on this day in 2003, the last Volkswagen Type I, the Beetle, rolls off the assembly line in Mexico, Ambrose Bierce on the classifications of homicide.
- TODAY'S WEATHER MINUTE: Seals have figured out fish they like to eat gather in schools around turbines in offshore wind farms. But the environment is not without hazards, maintenance vessels and noise pollution.
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: Vermont Yankee announces final day of nuclear power generation in Vermont, storm brings floods back to Chester, Castleton town manager to resign office, chronic offender sentenced to 25 years for sexual assault.
- TODAY'S WEATHER MINUTE: Rutland Herald content editor Rich Alcott shares local weather information and easily digestible news tidbits: Archaeologists find a leather shoe in a cave in Armenia that predates the Pyramids by more than a thousand years.