Dating a felony
A three-justice panel of the high court ruled that Sawyer, 18, could no longer be held without bail on the allegations against him and that merely planning, or preparing, to commit an offense doesn't rise to the level to of an attempt under Vermont case law.The prosecutor wrote in her latest filing that she was dismissing the felony counts "because the Vermont Supreme Court's decision in this case makes continued prosecution of these attempt charges, on the available evidence, untenable."Kennedy submitted the filing dismissing the four felony charges against Sawyer ahead of a deadline set for Monday to explain why the charges should continue to stand.
As such, we continue to encourage our students, our staff and our community that if they see something they must say something."The four felony charges brought against Sawyer following his arrest included two counts of attempted aggravated murder, and charges of attempted first-degree murder and attempted aggravated assault with a weapon.At that proceeding, Green said Monday, she will seek to have that bail dropped."Has anyone ever been held on $100,000 on misdemeanors? "I don't think so."The judge, in an order issued later Monday afternoon, said that he could not review Sawyer's bail at that hearing pending his attorneys appeal last week to the Vermont Supreme Court of his previous ruling setting $100,000 bail and release conditions.Shortly after Zonay issued that order, Sawyer's lawyer submitted a filing, writing that Sawyer's "interest in seeing a timely review of the current bail decision in order to facilitate a transition to treatment appears to be best served by withdrawing" the appeal, so the trial court can hold a bail review hearing Wednesday, as scheduled."You can make your argument to the Legislature, you can make your argument to the court, but you can't make your argument to the Legislature in your filing with the court, as far as I'm concerned."Green, Sawyer's lawyer, has argued that the misdemeanor charges against him should be dismissed as well.The criminal threatening charge alleges that Sawyer threatened death or serious harm to Scott Alkinburgh, the school resource officer at Fair Haven Union High School, telling police when they interviewed him that Alkinburgh was the only person who could stop his planned school shooting, according to court records."The Vermont Supreme Court has concluded that the available evidence does not substantiate an attempt."She continued, "The undersigned believes Vermont's law of attempts has proven inadequate when a planned school massacre is uncovered in what the Supreme Court deems its preparatory stages."Kennedy last week appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee, telling them that she was there "to beg for an attempt statute that will work."Kennedy couldn't immediately be reached Monday for comment.
She said in an email message that the footnote to the filing would serve as her comment on the matter.
Two misdemeanor charges remain pending against Sawyer: criminal threatening, and carrying a dangerous weapon with the avowed purpose to commit serious injury or death, which together carry up to three years in prison.
Sawyer's attorneys have argued since the outset of the case in mid-February that the felony offenses against him were "overcharged," leading the case to become sensationalized.
Judge Thomas Zonay, who is overseeing the case in Rutland Superior criminal court, had previously decided that there was enough evidence to let the charges stand, at least pending a further proceeding in the case.
A hearing had been set Wednesday for the parties to present arguments on whether those felony charges should be dismissed due to a lack of probable cause.
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