New trial in teen beating?
December 19, 2005
The attorney for Cinthia Romero, the 17-year old convicted of trying to beat another girl to death on Independence Pass in October 2004, is asking for either a new trial or dismissal of one of the charges against his client.Arnie Mordkin filed a motion with the court on Dec. 15, based on what he believes were “inconsistent” findings by the jury. Romero was convicted in November of attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon.Romero was to be sentenced Monday by Judge James Boyd, but the judge delayed sentencing until after a Jan. 26 hearing on Mordkin’s motion.According to Mordkin, the jury erred in filling out some of the verdict forms connected to the assault with a deadly weapon charge. In particular, he said, the jury foreman wrote “not guilty” on the forms for two of what are termed “lesser included offenses,” in this case for second- and third-degree assault.The “lesser included offenses” were included with the jury instructions in case the jurors decided not to convict on the most serious charge but believed the defendant committed a crime to some lesser extent.But, Mordkin said, “You can’t be not guilty of third-degree assault and still be guilty of first-degree assault, because the elements [of the two crimes] are the same.” He said a defendant can be guilty of third-degree assault but not guilty of first-degree assault, but not vice versa.”It’s not legally possible,” he declared, adding, “The remedy, in my opinion, is dismissal” of the assault charge.In addition, he noted, the penalty for first-degree assault is a longer prison term than for attempted murder. So, if he can get the assault charge dismissed on the technicality concerning the verdicts, his client likely will be sentenced to a shorter prison term. Romero is facing a maximum prison term of 32 years.John Colson’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org