Summit County stalking case likely to be delayed again
Ryan Summerlin June 7, 2014
On Monday, June 9, 5th Judicial District Judge Karen Romeo is expected to sign an order to once more continue the trial of Dillon Valley resident Gordon “Scott” Siriano.
Siriano, 48, faces numerous felony charges of stalking and violation of bail bond conditions in four cases dating to 2012 in Summit and Eagle counties.
The motion to continue was filed by Dana Christiansen, Siriano’s attorney and the head of the state public defender’s office in Dillon. In his motion, Christiansen cited his lack of preparedness to properly defend Siriano given turnover in his office and temporarily losing two attorneys to maternity and paternity leaves. Christiansen also stated in the motion that his office has been further burdened by taking on two homicide cases, despite being short-staffed.
Finally, Christiansen stated, a key witness to his defense, who lives out of state, is experiencing health problems. The witness’ doctor has prohibited the witness from traveling until after her treatment is complete, according to a note filed with the motion to continue.
Romeo’s clerk, Joe Piccinetti, said the latter point about the witness’ inability to travel is the primary basis for continuing the trial.
In an email to the Summit Daily, the alleged victim in the case said she felt she had once again been let down by the system, considering the case has been active for about 21 months. She also said she doesn’t think she will ever get the chance to testify against Siriano, considering the case has ended in a mistrial on two previous occasions.
Romeo declared the first mistrial because the public defender’s office and district attorney’s office failed to meet their discovery obligations. The second mistrial was declared in February when a juror, after the selection process had been completed, decided it was not possible to fulfill jury-duty obligations. Romeo opted not to appoint an alternate juror during the selection process and was forced to declare a second mistrial.
District Attorney Bruce Brown said Friday he was sympathetic to the alleged victim’s concerns but contended that the system hadn’t failed her. The DA’s office filed a motion against the continuance, Brown said, arguing that his office also is burdened by the same two homicide cases and that Christiansen has been representing Siriano for more than three months, which the DA said should be ample time to prepare for trial.
However “shocked” by Romeo’s pending order to continue the case, Brown said Siriano has a constitutional right to a fair trial and competent representation, which includes an attorney who is properly prepared.
“I know that is very hard for the victim to hear and I completely empathize with her, but the judicial system hasn’t failed her; the case is just experiencing another delay,” Brown said. “It is absolutely our intention (Monday) to make sure this case goes to trial as soon as possible.”
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