PF, a 40-year-old Marine, was charged with his fifth OUI following an accident in a snowstorm. He spent 18-months in jail awaiting trial. After discharging three attorneys PF connected with attorney Henry Fasoldt. Skeptical and wary at first, PF and Henry developed a strong working relationship and began litigating the case. PF’s family finally accrued enough money to bail him out of jail. Conditions of his release mandated that he remain alcohol-free, undergo random alcohol screens, wear a GPS bracelet, and obtain alcohol and PTSD treatment.
Once out of jail PF began receiving intense alcohol and PTSD treatment through the VA. He lived in a group-home setting with other vets. FP maintained his sobriety, attended a 100-day treatment program out-of-state, and worked when he could.
While Henry and FP prepared for trial (the case itself was “triable”), the Veterans’ Treatment Court in Framingham District Court opened. The Veterans Court is designed to help vets receive treatment, as an alternative to incarceration. Henry fought hard to get FP into the Vets Court. To do so was no small feat – it required the DA’s office to dismiss the case in Superior Court and take out a complaint in District Court. The prosecutor’s office has all the power in this scenario; only they can execute this maneuver. After much back-and-forth, lengthy discussions, and memo writing, the DA’s office agreed to “nol pros” the Superior Court case and bring the case to District Court. The District Court case was charged as a 4th Offense OUI.
FP plead guilty to OUI-4. He was sentenced to 2 years in jail, 18 months to serve (deemed served), the balance suspended for 2 years, and follow all treatment in the Vets’ Court. He then began the Vets’ Court.
Note – this is an unusual outcome for a Superior Court case. Rarely does a criminal case travel downward from the Superior Court to the District Court.