Vermont Seeks to Return Case To Lower Court
MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) _ The state Supreme Court heard arguments Wednesday over whether lawyers for John Zaccaro Jr. could suppress key evidence in his drug case.
Lawyers for Zaccaro, son of former vice presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro, are attempting to suppress evidence based on motions their client was selectively prosecuted and that a police officer unlawfully entered his house to allegedly purchase cocaine.
The state seeks to overturn a one-sentence November decision by the high court to grant an interlocutory appeal filed by the defense; prosecutors want the case returned to a lower court. The high court must decide whether to hear the interlocutory appeal.
Zaccaro faces charges of selling and possessing cocaine. The former Middlebury College student, who did not attend Wednesday’s hearing, was arrested nearly 14 months ago after police allegedly bought $25 worth of cocaine from him.
The stakes are high in the proceeding before the Supreme Court. If the high court decides to hear the appeal and rules in favor of the defense motion that an unlawful entry was made into Zaccaro’s house, both the prosecutors and defense lawyers say the case would be dismissed.
In February 1986, Vermont State Police Trooper Laura Manning allegedly bought a quarter-gram of cocaine from Zaccaro in the defendant’s living room. The officer entered Zaccaro’s home without a warrant.
In August, District Court Judge Francis McCaffrey ruled against a defense motion to dismiss the case based on unlawful entry.
It is unknown how long the Supreme Court will take to decide the issue.