Double Jeopardy in Rape Case, Attorney Claims
PITTSBURGH (AP) _ The attorney for a man charged with raping a 13-year-old girl says his client’s Constitutional rights have been violated by a judge’s decision to reinstate the charge only days after having dismissed it.
Common Pleas Judge J. Quint Salmon dismissed the charge March 20 when the alleged victim was less than a half hour late for the trial. He changed his mind Monday and said he would change the dismissal to a mistrial, following criticism from the prosecutor’s office and demonstrations at his office and home.
Assistant Public Defender David Rothey said Tuesday that the trial of Geoffrey Adams, 27, of Pittsburgh had begun when Salmon granted Rothey’s motion to dismiss the charges, in essense ending the trial with no conviction.
Rothey said Adams will be placed in double jeopardy, a Constitutional violation, if Salmon’s reversal is allowed to stand.
The defense attorney said he moved for dismissal primarily because Assistant District Attorney Lisa Vincler failed to proceed with her case, not because the alleged victim, now 14, was late arriving. The girl and her mother were on a bus that was caught in traffic. They arrived between 9:15 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. Court was scheduled to begin at 9 a.m.
″The jury had been sworn and empaneled. They had come to jury box. They saw the woman’s failure to appear, and they saw the district attorney’s failure to proceed with the case,″ Rothey said.
Mrs. Vincler could have called other witnesses who were waiting in the courthouse to testify for the prosecution, he said.
Rothey filed a petition asking Salmon to schedule a hearing on his arguments. He also said he asked Salmon to disqualify himself and Mrs. Vincler from participating further in the case.