The wheels of justice move slowly
Jim O'Hara of the Syracuse Post-Standard reported today that Delone Carter's court case has once again been postponed. I figured I would share my thoughts on what I think is going on and try to put some legal perspective on this for you sports fans who want to understand a little more.
According to the PS story, no reason was given for the postponement, no return date was given, and neither the prosecutor nor the defense attorney would comment on the status of the case. I think it's safe to assume that there actually is a date for them all to return to Court, unless the case has been placed on the trial calendar and that date just hasn't been set yet. But if that were the case, the attorneys probably would have said so.
Honestly, I'm a little perplexed by the inactivity and the lack of news at this point. On the defense side, Delone may have instructed his lawyer (or his lawyer could have come up with this strategy) to not publicly comment on the case until its conclusion. After all, Delone is sitting pretty good right now: he's free pending ultimate resolution to the case; he was readmitted to Syracuse University; he was welcomed back to the football team and has started both games thus far. Why draw attention to a legal matter at this point? The longer this case languishes, the better of Delone is. Certainly much better than a trial next week, which could result in a conviction, which could send him to jail. So, if I'm Delone I'm in no hurry to move this case forward.
From a prosecutor's point of view, there may be a heightened sense of urgency. If any of this delay time is due to the prosecutor not being ready for trial, that time will count against Delone's right to a speedy trial (rights embodied in the US and NY Constitutions as well as NY statutory law). If too much delay time is chargeable to the prosecutor, the case could be dismissed. However, as I mentioned above, my thought is that Delone has probably agreed to the delays; he can waive his speedy trial rights for any number of reasons, most commonly to continue plea negotiations.
Something I noticed the last court update I heard, which continued at this update, was that Delone has evidently retained new counsel. As you will recall, his initial attorney was George Raus. He is now being represented by Kimberly Zimmer. According to the attorney directory on the NY Courts website, they have offices at different locations, so I assume they're not affiliated. The counsel switch could be part of the reason for the delay, but Ms. Zimmer should be up to speed on things by now.
Even more telling is that, according to Jim O'Hara's story, the prosecutor in court today for the appearance was Chief Assistant District Attorney Joseph Coolican. From my experience, the Chief ADA would rarely, if ever, handle a simple misdemeanor assault case. Could it be the high profile nature of the case? The intensity of the negotiations? A complex legal issue being argued to the judge? Or, simply, a staff scheduling issue that had the Chief ADA covering City Court? Any of these are possible.
So where does this leave us? Obviously, with a lot of questions and few answers. I still believe the parties are working diligently to resolve the case. At any rate, I would expect within the next month for there to be a resolution to the case or an announcement that it is going to trial. Till then, Delone Carter will be running all over the likes of Maine, Colgate, [the ever dreaded Bye Week], and South Florida.