Since there is no precedent on the issue, he said he is considering asking the Appeals Court to issue an opinion. He acknowledged that it’s possible that an answer could take up to a year, delaying the trial in the case.
Both prosecutors and Chism’s lawyers had some reservations about that.
The prosecutor, in particular, was concerned about the possible delay and urged the judge to consider moving the case forward. She asked for time to consult with other attorneys in her office but acknowledged that “given the state of the law prior to now, there wasn’t much purpose indicting on a youthful offender charge,” because it wouldn’t affect a sentence of life without parole.
Similarly, Chism’s lawyers were also concerned about delaying the case. But they believe Chism is entitled to separate proceedings.
Also during the hearing, MacDougall told the judge she has turned over most of the evidence available in the case so far, including a copy of a hard drive containing all of the surveillance video from the school. A notice filed in court yesterday indicates that the autopsy report has been completed and turned over.
Not complete is a forensic examination of Chism’s cellphone, which is being looked at for possible evidence, including any photos that might have been taken during the crime.
The next hearing in the case is scheduled for April 7.
Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at email@example.com or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis.