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JUDGE ORDERS REP. DAVIS' ARREST PAPERS SEALED
Judge Orders Rep. Davis' Arrest Papers Sealed
Affidavit Includes Explicit Details Of Sexual Assault Claim
By MEGAN BARD
Day Staff Writer
Published on 6/27/2003
Killingly — Ruling that release of explicit details about the alleged
sexual abuse of a foster child by state Rep. Jefferson B. Davis would make
a fair trial impossible, a Superior Court judge sealed the arrest warrant
affidavit in the case Thursday. Superior Court Judge Francis J. Foley III
said the affidavit contains statements from the boy's current guardians,
state officials and Davis' own statements to police. If the contents are
released it could hinder Davis' ability to receive a fair trial in Windham
County, the judge concluded. Davis is charged with first-degree sexual
assault, fourth-degree sexual assault and two counts of risk of injury to a
minor. He will be arraigned July 11 in Danielson Superior Court. If Foley's
decision stands, the contents of the affidavit will not be made public
until a jury is selected. Davis, 52, turned himself in to state police in
Danielson on June 13 and appeared briefly in court that day after posting a
$250,000 bond. A Democrat, he lives in Pomfret. Neither Davis nor his
attorney, Hubert J. Santos, has commented on the case. Santos had asked
that only portions of the affidavit be sealed, but Foley went beyond the
defense motion in sealing the entire document. In making his ruling, Foley
said he had to consider that Davis is a public figure and that information
in the affidavit would therefore be widely publicized by the news media,
potentially prejudicing potential jurors. The court document, he said,
contains “very explicit statements” regarding the sexual assault
allegations. On Wednesday The Day had intervened on the issue, noting that
courts have consistently ruled that judicial documents should be open to
the public except under the most extreme circumstances. The newspaper's
attorney, Thomas W. Boyce Jr. of New London, had argued that the affidavit
should be opened because the defense failed to prove that its release would
deny Davis a fair trial. After learning of the decision, The Day's managing
editor, Lance Johnson, said, “We're very disappointed with the ruling and
believe the information should be made public. We'll review the decision
with our attorney and will decide whether to appeal.” In May police began
investigating the allegations that Davis had sexually assaulted his former
foster child, who is now living out of state. Davis and his estranged wife,
Jean S. Davis, cared for the child from 1998 until their divorce filing in
early 2002. Representatives from the Connecticut Department of Children and
Families, who had placed the boy in the Davises' care, filed the complaint
that led to the police investigation. Statements in the affidavit made by
the boy's present guardians and taken from DCF documents are “extremely
graphic and likely to be inflammatory” and would “likely be excluded from
trial testimony,” Foley said in his ruling. The judge also appointed
Plainfield attorney Paul Kaplan as the boy's attorney. Foley went well
beyond the request of the defense to seal only 17 of the 70 paragraphs in
the warrant. But Foley said leaving out those most incriminating paragraphs
“would eviscerate the thrust of the allegations.” Supervisory Assistant
State's Attorney Stephen J. Sedensky III had argued Wednesday that if only
certain paragraphs were redacted it would turn the affidavit into a “public
relations document for the defendant.” In his argument, Sedensky had taken
no position on whether the document should be released. He asked only that
it be released either in its entirety or not at all. Foley concludes in his
decision that by not presenting evidence to the contrary, the prosecution
“all but conceded the argument that a fair trial could not be obtained if
the affidavit was unsealed.” When asked how long he anticipated it would
take to complete the case, Sedensky said the state could file a motion to
expedite the process, but that no decision had been made on that matter. If
no such motion is filed, a criminal case can be expected to take anywhere
from 8 to 16 months to be completed.
© The Day Publishing Co., 2003
JUDGE ORDERS REP. DAVIS' ARREST PAPERS SEALED
A. Innocent and found Innocent?
B. Innocent but found guilty?
C. Guilty but found innocent?
D. Guilty and found guilty?
OUTCOMES as far as reforming system:
A. Will he still naively believe that B doesn't happen and that
he doesn't need to go back to the legislature and fix broken process?
Or will he realize how crappy the system works and realize how close
he came to being a prison bride even though he was innocent?
B. Prison. Possibility for enlightened repair of system is small.
Career as legislator after prison is doubtful.
C. He'd probably never want to mention it again in ANY way, and
would probably seek no reform whatsoever.
D. Prison. He'll probably only do 2 years and become your neighbor.
Seems like people "enlightened" by direct experience
are unlikely to work for correction. Even if he wins in
court, he may just think that proves the system works.