Get Our Newsletter



Links

Columnists



Site Search


Entire (RSS)
Comments (RSS)

Archive Calendar

December 2019
S M T W T F S
« Nov    
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
293031  

Guides

How to Become a Bounty Hunter



Tag: absentia

Can a Heart Attack Help a Defendant in Court? The Feds in Detroit Think So

heart attack
By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Does it help a federal defendant’s case  if he has a heart attack while on trial? Can it make the jury far too sympathetic?

Assistant U.S. Attorneys in downtown Detroit prosecuting six members of the Highwaymen Motorcycle Club fear the answer is YES!

Last weekend, three weeks into the trial, defendant Michael Cicchetti, 55,  had a heart attack.  Interestingly, in opening statements, his attorney Sanford Plotkin claimed Cicchetti was a harmless person plagued with multiple ailments and the government was off the mark by charging him with racketeering, drug dealing conspiracy, assault, transporting stolen vehicles and a weapons offense.

On Monday, U.S. District Judge Nancy G. Edmunds, after learning of the heart attack,   declared a mistrial for Cicchetti and decided he would be tried later while trial would continue for the other five defendants.  On Tuesday, Plotkin told the judge he had spoken to his client, who wanted the trial to go on in absentia.

On Tuesday, the judge spoke by teleconference call to Cicchetti in the hospital, who said he was happy with the trial and wanted it to go on in his absence.  The judge on  Wednesday  obliged. She reversed her mistrial ruling and declared that Cicchetti should be tried in absentia.

The prosecution didn’t like that idea one bit. In fact, it had argued in a motion filed on Tuesday that the judge should declare a mistrial. Period.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Graveline wrote in a motion that after the  judge told the jury about the heart attack “many jurors in their body language and facial expressions, rightly expressed concern for Mr. Cicchetti.”  The prosecutor said the government did not object to the judge telling the jury about the heart attack because it assumed that Cicchetti would be prosecuted later  before a different jury.

Read more »