Judges decide the outcomes of cases
[click here] for my yet unanswered letter to Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal
Man Jailed By Judge After Jury Acquits Him [link]
Judge Says Man Violated Conditions Of Earlier SentenceHAVERHILL, N.H. -- A former Ashland, N.H., man cleared of assaulting a police officer while trying to rush his pregnant fiancee to a hospital is being sent to jail by a judge.
A jury deliberated about 15 minutes last month before acquitting Nathaniel Gibbs, 25, after a four-day trial. But Monday, Grafton County Superior Court Judge Jean Burling ordered Gibbs to serve a suspended sentence from a previous drug conviction.
"I don't know how the jury made its decision. This is my own, based on the testimony that I heard," she said.
Burling said she found by a preponderance of evidence that Gibbs assaulted an officer and disobeyed an officer -- actions that violated the good behavior requirements of the previous suspended sentence. The jury must determine guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Gibbs argued that he was pulled over while rushing his fiancee to the hospital and that the officer shoved him while he was trying to get him to help.
Gibbs' family said the police should be prosecuted.
His lawyer promised an appeal. The judge said Gibbs would be eligible for work release or electronic monitoring. She ordered him to report to jail on Sept. 24.
"I know you believe you were found not guilty but I am not influenced by the jury verdict. This is a separate hearing, and I have to balance the evidence and if the scales tip ever so slightly," Burling said in court on Monday.
At trial, Ashland Police Lt. Don Marren testified that Gibbs sped away after he stopped the man, then beat Marren, picked him up and knocked him to the road after he stopped him a second time. Prosecutor Rick St. Hilarie asked Burling to order that Gibbs serve up to one year of a suspended county jail sentence handed down after Gibbs pleaded guilty to possession of marijuana with intent to distribute.
On Monday, Gibbs and his extended family were outraged that he was being jailed for bad conduct based on charges for which he had been acquitted.
"What's the point of a jury?" lamented Gibbs' maternal grandfather, Bob.
During the trial, Gibbs testified that he had physical contact with Marren only once, and only after Marren shoved him in the chest as he approached, trying to explain that his girlfriend needed to be taken to the hospital.
"We had one physical altercation because of a misunderstanding. I did not get out of my car angry. I just wanted to tell him where I was going," he said.
Public Defender Tony Hutchins said case law was not exact on whether the conduct for which someone has been acquitted can be used to bring forward a suspended sentence.
"The court should not be free to punish someone whose conduct falls outside criminality," he said.
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
* * * *
[click here] for blog dedicated to exposing judicial abuse and misconduct while suggesting ways to reduce it.
[click here] for "Restoring Justice in America"