BARRE — The Department of Corrections says it made a “big mistake” in regard to the release of files that figure in the most recent case against convicted kidnapper Harley Breer Jr.
Breer, 42, is representing himself in Washington County criminal court in Barre, where he faces numerous charges including sexual assault, domestic assault and burglary. He was convicted in a high-profile kidnapping case in 1999 and spent eight years in prison.
Breer is being held without bail at the prison in Springfield. He is accused of beating a woman with whom he lived in November 2011. He allegedly stole the woman’s car and went on the run before being found.
He was in court Tuesday to discuss files he was seeking from the department about his time on probation for the kidnapping.
In December, Breer requested access to all of the records probation officials kept about him while he was under supervision, saying the information would help him in his defense against charges of violating probation. At that time, Judge Thomas Zonay ordered the department to get the information ready in 30 days. The judge would then help decide what Breer can have access to based on relevance to the case.
Representing the Department of Corrections on Tuesday was David McLean from the attorney general’s office. McLean said probation officer Ray Letourneau emailed unredacted files about Breer to State’s Attorney Tom Kelly — the same files the department sent to Breer’s standby counsel Kelly Green with information blacked out. McLean said Letourneau has been reprimanded for the error.
Green said the mistake made her “blood boil” and again requested all the records the department kept on Breer during his probation. She said he is facing a “ginormous” violation of probation, since the alleged conduct occurred while Breer was supervised, and the defense wanted to see what kind of probationer he was.
She also said the records could contain exculpatory evidence for the criminal case, since some of the witnesses the defense planned to call could have been contacting Breer’s probation officer and making up allegations to get him into trouble.
McLean argued some of the information needed to be kept confidential for the safety of those named in the records.
Zonay again ordered the Department of Corrections to send him all the probation records kept on Breer so Zonay can decide which records are relevant for the case. He also asked Green to compile a list of witnesses the defense planned to call so he could have an idea of what to look for in the records.
The issue of cellphones also came up Tuesday. At a hearing in March, Breer asked the woman he is accused of raping and beating whether she still had a cellphone and any SIM cards she owned previously that might contain information he would need for trial. She said she did not have them anymore. That hearing was the first time the two had communicated since November 2011.
On Tuesday, Breer requested a hearing so the court could hear from an expert about data transfers from one cellphone to another, because he was arguing that information he needed for his defense could be on the woman’s current cellphone. Zonay said the expert needed to submit a statement showing new evidence if he were to get back into an issue that was already decided. Yet Breer kept referring back to motions he had filed and wanting the hearing.
Zonay reiterated he needed information from the expert and said Breer could talk with his attorneys so they could help clarify what the judge was looking for.
Breer said he did not need clarification.
“It doesn’t have to be explained. I understand, probably as well as you do, exactly what you are saying,” Breer said.
Zonay then moved on to scheduling a trial. He said June or July seemed out of the question since the defense is still conducting depositions to gather evidence, so the case will come back to court in about 30 days to try to set a trial date.
eric.blaisdell @timesargus.comMORE IN Central Vermont
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