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Bag it. Tag it. Can a police officer peek into your garage window looking for evidence of a crime? It depends.  At 4am on Thanksgiving morning in 2017, a sleeping Hinesburg resident was rudely awakened by a gunshot near his house. He looked outside and saw a dark truck with running lights on top. The Game Warden responded to the scene but couldn’t find anything in the dark. He returned at 7am to investigate and…
This is also known as a window. Sullivan v. Menard Not everyone spends a lot of time in criminal court. Even fewer people spend a lot of time handling post-conviction issues that arise. You’d think with the rise of true-crime series, like Making a Murderer or podcasts like Serial and Undisclosed(and all the eleventy jillion others out there; I kid, many of them are interesting) that everyone and their sister is somehow suddenly involved…
In re: A.M. is a good example of, “sometimes it makes sense to do something in order to get it done, but it isn’t necessarily okay to do that.”  The basic facts are this. Mom and Dad are the parents of A.M. They all used to live in Colorado. Then Mom and Dad filed for divorce and after the divorce, Mom moved to Vermont with A.M. Mom’s family is from Vermont, so this move makes…
State v. Amidon In 2013, Defendant was charged with touching his daughter’s genital area, sometime in the vicinity of 2005 to 2007. The Court referred to her as C.A., so I shall, as well. The State intended to show evidence that Defendant had been physically and emotionally abusive towards C.A, and that she felt safer when he was incarcerated. We call these “prior bad acts” and the court needs to give special permission for the…
Close but not quite State v. Alzaga, 2019 VT 63 By Andrew Delaney Mr. Alzaga got hit with a DUI-refusal charge. Contrary to what it sounds like, this is not a criminal charge for refusing to drive while under the influence. In Vermont, if you’ve been convicted of DUI, then you can’t refuse a breath test if a law-enforcement officer has reasonable grounds to request one. “Reasonable grounds” in this context is akin to probable…
Safer bet for a service animal Gill Terrace Retirement Apartments v. Johnson, 2017 VT 88 By Elizabeth Kruska Here’s a landlord-tenant case from some time ago. Ms. Johnson was a tenant in the Gill Terrace Retirement Apartments in Ludlow. Ms. Johnson started living in her apartment in 2002. Also important to know is that part of her rent was paid with federal housing assistance. Not sure when, but sometime after October 1, 2009, Ms. Johnson’s…
Corned beef hash value State v. Lizotte This is interesting. Well, to law-nerds like me who like Fourth Amendment issues it’s interesting. If that’s not you, you may not find it interesting. And now the fourth sentence of this paragraph contains the word interesting. Very, very briefly, the defendant in this case, Mr. Lizotte, was charged with and ultimately convicted of offenses relative to child pornography. I don’t usually take a stand in my summaries,…
Shine bright like a diamond. Diamond v. Burlington Free Press 2017 VT 93 I’ve unearthed this gem from the depths of the archives.  Workers’ compensation is its own strange animal within our legal system. In Vermont it’s done primarily at the administrative level. It’s got its own language and its own rules and its own forms. It’s also a little bit misunderstood, so I will do my best to make this as clear as possible.…
Time is money Doyle v. Burlington Police Dept., 2019 VT 66 By Jacob Oblak A citizen named Reed Doyle witnesses an incident in a public park involving Burlington Police officers, and he becomes concerned about the officers’ use of force. So Mr. Doyle does two things. He makes a citizen complaint to the police directly, and he asks to view the police’s body camera footage of the incident. The police chief tells Mr. Doyle his…
Some cases are just sad.  Estate of Berry v. Fishman, 2019 VT 63 By Andrew Delaney This decision deals with Vermont’s recreational use statutes and the limits on liability. If you’re not familiar, the statutes essentially exempt landowners from liability when someone uses their land for recreational purposes and no consideration is paid for the use. This is a tragic case. Three-year-old Parker Berry drowned while attending Elephant in the Field daycare in Waterbury, Vermont.…