Dismissal sought in road rage case involving Grafton man

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 10/23/2019 10:10:00 PM
Modified: 10/23/2019 10:09:55 PM

NORTH HAVERHILL — A 39-year-old Grafton man accused of shooting another motorist during a road rage incident on Route 4 in April wants the charges dismissed and also is seeking to have prosecutors held in contempt.

Joseph Brown’s attorney, Penny Dean, claims prosecutors haven’t provided case materials to her in a timely fashion and in accordance with statutory deadlines, which is handicapping the defense’s case and violating Brown’s rights, the lawyer asserts in a renewed motion to dismiss the case. The Oct. 15 filing in Grafton County Superior Court also seeks to have the state held in contempt over the production of evidence.

One of several issues at play is the prosecution’s alleged failure to hand over laboratory testing results conducted on the gun Brown fired on April 29, Dean asserts in the motion. Dean claims that Assistant Grafton County Attorney Mariana Pastore knew at a hearing in September that the state had some or all of the results back from the laboratory but failed to notify the court and furnish them to the defense.

Dean asserts the dates on the lab results show several items were inspected right around the date of that Sept. 19 hearing.

Pastore on Monday filed an objection to the motion to find the state in contempt, saying the defense fails to take into account the “logistical impracticality” of calling the lab every day to find out the status of the results, and she asked Judge Lawrence MacLeod to dismiss the complaint because it “is without merit by any measure.”

MacLeod has yet to rule on the motion to dismiss and to hold the state in contempt, but he has weighed in on several other motions.

Brown has pleaded not guilty. Police and prosecutors allege Brown was driving erratically and tailgating Jason Marandos’ vehicle, before Brown drove around him, braked and caused a minor collision on Route 4 in Grafton near the intersection with Lower Meadow Road.

Both men exited their vehicles and Marandos allegedly punched Brown and “the two scuffled” before separating, Pastore said at a court hearing in April. It was then that Brown “pulled a firearm out of his pants and discharged it into Mr. Marandos’ abdomen,” Pastore said previously.

But Brown claims he fired his gun lawfully to stop the attack and prevent further harm to him or to his three children, who were in the car at the time. Marandos was traveling with his wife and son at the time of the incident.

In an order in September, MacLeod, in large part, denied a request by the state to introduce evidence that alleges Brown has engaged in “confrontational driving” on at least seven instances in the past. Admitting it at trial could unfairly prejudice the defendant, among other things, MacLeod ruled.

However, the state filed a motion to reconsider that order, and MacLeod agreed to let the state present one prior incident from April 10, which prosecutors say shows Brown engaged in driving behavior similar to that in the incident in question.

MacLeod said the incident is relevant to proving Brown’s state of mind, which is an element in a self-defense claim. The defense objects to allowing any information about the April 10 incident into evidence at trial.

The attorneys have filed several motions, including ones by the defense asking to dismiss the case. On Sept. 23, Dean sought to have Brown’s case dismissed, asserting that the state hasn’t provided evidence in a timely fashion, or at all.

In that motion, Dean said the state should have preserved and produced video footage from when Brown was in the booking room at the Canaan Police Department after the April 29 incident. However, the Canaan Police Department wasn’t aware that the booking cameras were operational and overwrote the video after 90 days, Dean wrote. The cameras in Canaan Police Department cruisers weren’t working that day either, she wrote.

Pastore assured the judge in a motion filed Oct. 2 that the state is acting in good faith and handing over what is available or bringing to the court’s attention “unreasonable” requests.

Brown has no prior criminal record. He remains held without bail.

Brown is due next in the North Haverhill court for a final pretrial conference on Nov. 20.

Jordan Cuddemi can be reached at jcuddemi@vnews.com or 603-727-3248.

Valley News

24 Interchange Drive
West Lebanon, NH 03784


© 2021 Valley News
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy