Rutland Judge Walks Back 'Probable Cause' In Sawyer Case

Apr 18, 2018

Earlier this week, in light of the Supreme Court decision, Jack Sawyer’s defense counsel said she hoped to reduce the amount of bail set for her client and renewed her call for a dismissal by asking the judge in Rutland to review his earlier probable cause determination.

But while Superior Judge Thomas Zonay reaffirmed his ruling on Monday that there was probable cause on each of the charges of attempt he seems to have changed his mind.

Wednesday, he issued a new ruling:

Upon further review of the motion, the Court concludes that the issues raised in the motion warrant a hearing for further development, analysis, and consideration prior to determination of the motion. Accordingly, the Entry Order dated April 16, 2018, re-affirming the prior probable cause determination and denying dismissal is hereby VACATED. The State shall file any opposition to the motion on or before April 23, 2018. The Clerk shall schedule the motion for a hearing promptly.

Jack Sawyer in court, Tuesday.
Credit Ryan Mercer / Burlington Free Press, Pool

Asked about the judge’s ruling, Kelly Green, Jack Sawyer’s defense attorney says, “It means he realizes that he is wrong about the law, that there is no probable cause for these four attempt charges and they must be dismissed.”

She went on, “The Supreme Court said no crime occurred. The Supreme Court did not talk directly about probable cause in their opinion. But when they say no crime was committed, that means there was no probable cause, there’s no nothing.”

She says Jack Sawyer is still being held at Marble Valley Regional Correctional Facility because as of 9 a.m. Wednesday, he had not posted $100,000 for bail. His lawyers say they are reviewing his options.

Rose Kennedy, who’s prosecuting the case did not respond to a request for comment by time of publication.

RELATED — "Rutland Court Sets Jack Sawyer's Bail At $100,000" [VPR, April 17]