So there’s this. Two different divisions of the Vermont Attorney General’s office are involved in the Macadam Mason case. He was the Thetford resident who died last June after being Tasered by state trooper David Shaffer.
Over here, the criminal division is investigating police conduct; specifically, was Shaffer justified in firing his Taser?
And over there, the civil division is defending the state police in a lawsuit filed by Mason’s partner, Theresa Davidonis. The civil division has refused to share any investigative documents with the plaintiff, citing the ongoing investigation by the criminal division.
Last week, a judge ordered the criminal division to provide an update on its probe, and explain why it’s taking so long to complete. Yesterday, the chief of the division said it was “a complicated case,” but added that it should be done in “two to three weeks.”
Meanwhile, on Monday in civil court, the civil division moved to dismiss Davidonis’ lawsuit for lack of evidence.
Hmm. One division withholds the evidence, the other tries to quash the suit for lack of evidence.
Maybe this is exactly how the system is supposed to work, but it sure does look bad.
The civil division has previously argued that the withheld documents are “entirely irrelevant” to Davidonis’ claim. Those documents include:
…the audio recording of Shaffer at the scene of the incident, formal statements made by all VSP personnel who were present, documents related to Shaffer’s Taser training and Mason’s autopsy report.
I’m not a lawyer or anything, but that documentation seems kinda-sorta, y’know, relevant to me. I’d even say it’s crucial. And again, maybe this is how the system works — lawyers routinely file motions to dismiss, even if they know there’s no chance of winning — but good God, it makes the AG’s office look like a con man running a three-card monte game.