Criminal Justice

Acquittal follows judge's refusal to allow 'timid' prosecutor to reduce charge

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Vermont jurors took only 40 minutes last Friday to acquit a woman of aggravated assault, a charge that even the prosecutor didn’t agree with.

Deputy Chittenden County State’s Attorney Paul Finnerty had sought to reduce the charge to simple assault, but Judge Michael Kupersmith had refused to allow it, the Burlington Free Press reports.

The defendant, 26-year-old Tatiana Horton, has been accused of slashing a woman’s face in an April 2012 brawl outside a Burlington bar. Finnerty said he wanted to reduce the charge because no weapon was ever found, and there was no forensic evidence showing a weapon was used.

Kupersmith balked at the request, according to the Free Press account. “This wasn’t caused by a fingernail,” Kupersmith said. “Are you telling me you’re too timid to try this case as an aggravated assault?”

The case was tried before a different judge.

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