Couple found not guilty of disorderly conduct
MIDDLEBURY — On Sept. 30, Goshen residents David and Erica Sabatini were acquitted of the charges of disorderly conduct leveled against them last April.
The dispute between the Sabatinis and the state was resolved after a trial that lasted most of two days and a number of witnesses.
Attorney Oliver Cleary, who represented the defendants, said that it’s unusual for a disorderly conduct charge to go to court — it is usually settled before a case gets to trial. But, he said, the Sabatinis hoped to prove their innocence rather than settling the case.
The incident in question occurred on April 14, 2010, initially at the home of the Sabatinis. Tom Kerr, the town’s former garbage contractor, reported that he had left two bags of waste that he deemed hazardous and not eligible for household trash pickup at the house of the Sabatinis. According to Kerr’s testimony, the defendants came out of the house and shouted at him, demanding that he take the bags.
The state alleged that the husband and wife had engaged in disorderly conduct, argued with Kerr and followed him to a second location, where David Sabatini stopped Kerr from closing the door of his truck. The witnesses, Brandon resident Lesa Pratt and Goshen selectboard member Kathy Mathis, testified that Kerr shoved Sabatini back and yelled at him before getting into his truck and driving away.
Kerr no longer contracts with the town to pick up trash — his contract was terminated in July, after failing to maintain liability insurance on his vehicle.
At the time, however, Kerr went to state authorities and brought a case against the Sabatinis.
David Sabatini was charged with one count of disorderly conduct — specifically, fighting and tumultuous behavior. Erica Sabatini was charged with the same, as well as disorderly conduct by obstructing vehicular traffic, since witnesses said she stood in front of Kerr’s truck and prevented him from leaving.
Ultimately, the verdict rested on the definition of the charges against the Sabatinis.
“The charges narrowed down to disorderly conduct, and asking whether these things were proven to be tumultuous behavior,” said Cleary.
After hearing all of the courtroom discussion, the jurors deliberated for approximately two hours. Upon their return, they deemed the Sabatinis not guilty on all counts.
Reporter Andrea Suozzo is at [email protected]