Allen's attorney asks for mistrial

Relates to:
Date: 2005-02-18
Source: Sun Journal

AUBURN - The lawyer for Sarah Allen requested that a mistrial be declared Thursday after a state witness started testifying about information that the judge had barred as evidence.

Justice Ellen Gorman took the attorney's request under advisement. It was unknown Thursday when she would render a decision.

The request for the mistrial came on the third day of Allen's manslaughter trial.

The Lisbon woman stands accused of killing her 22-month-old adopted son, Nathaniel, on Feb. 12, 2003, by shaking him with enough force to cause him to suffer severe neck and brain injuries.

Before the trial started, Gorman barred any evidence about bruises found on the toddler's buttocks while he was being examined by doctors.

The bruises were caused by Allen's husband, who hit the boy with a wooden spoon on the day before his death. Jeremy Allen was convicted of assault in connection with the bruises.

But Gorman ruled that those injuries had nothing to do with the charge facing Sarah Allen, and that telling jurors about them could be prejudicial.

The bruises came up Thursday during the testimony of Dr. Lawrence Ricci, a child-abuse expert who examined Nathaniel Allen after he was rushed to the hospital.

While testifying about his examination, Ricci mentioned seeing "extensive bruises" on the boy's buttocks. Allen's attorney, Verne Paradie, immediately requested to speak with the judge.

Gorman sent the jury out of the room, then warned Ricci and the state prosecutor, Lisa Marchese, that testimony about the bruises was not permissible.

She said that she would take Paradie's request for a mistrial under consideration, then agreed to allow Ricci to finish testifying as long as he abided by the rules.

Gorman met with the lawyers after the trial ended for the day, but Marchese and Paradie declined to comment on what was discussed. The trial is scheduled to continue Friday morning and to last another two weeks.

A mistrial has already been declared once in the case. A three-week trial last June ended without a verdict because the jurors were unable to reach a unanimous decision after 18 hours of deliberations.

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