Cirignano trial: afternoon 2

posted by Mike on October 18th, 2007

I got there like 20 minutes late. A woman was in the midst of testifying who was Lauren McCarthy’s mom. She’s a teacher at QCC.

She arrived during the first speaker of the rally.

She and the defense lawyer determine her position.

Some counter-protestors were moving into and out of the crowd.

She asked a policeman to remove 2 counter-protestors, and they did.

Her daughter was 3-4 people deep into the crowd.

She saw Loy arrive, approaching from the South with an ACLU sign. She identifies “Ronal Madnick of the ACLU” as being there. Defense wants to ask her more Ron Madnick questions, but there’s an objection and he drops it.

She saw Payson there and locates where she saw him. I couldn’t see the diagram at this point so I’m not sure what was going on.

She saw Nangle at the rally near the steps. (I think he said he wasn’t near them.) She went over there so her son could stand on a step.

She saw Sarah Loy with her sign and a policeman asked her to leave and she held it higher. Another man had been standing in that place and she asked the police to move him and they did.

This is a confusing piece of testimony, because no police or other witnesses have said anything about Loy disrupting anything and being moved by police. In fact, almost everyone’s stated that the first time they noticed her was just before Cirignano approached or when she was falling.

She saw Loy later in the crowd, holding a sign in front of her. At this point Ms. McCarthy was back in the place in the crowd where Loy was to fall. Cirignano is nowhere to be seen. She pushed her daughter out of Loy’s way, and Loy tripped on her daughter’s foot. She has a pretty detailed description of how this tripping worked. Loy fell on her right side, put her hand out to catch her fall. (I think others described Loy as clinging to her sign the whole time.) Loy looked up, fell back down, assumed the fetal position. No visible wounds or marks on her. She didn’t hit her head. Nangle and Payson were not in the area.

The police came over, then Loy’s husband, who asked what happened. Then Ron Madnick approached.

Throughout the testimony this afternoon, the phrase “Ron Madnick of the ACLU” is said as often as possible. I was surprised the defense didn’t start questioning with: “Where do live?” “Worcester.” “Is that not the home of Ron Madnick of the ACLU.” “Sadly, yes.”

She saw no one touching Loy as Loy came through the crowd.

Loy kept saying to police, “I have a right,” but they kept her back.

Loy said, “I want him arrested.”

Witness told Sgt Wells what she had seen. Did Wells or Murray ask for a statement? No, they said they were all set. Did the police take her name or contact her later? No.

The defense shows a video of the rally. There’s a little technical difficulty. The video is from during Mineau’s speech. An effort is made to locate some of the witnesses, I presume these locations being somewhat different than their testimony. (But I can’t see the diagram of City Hall Plaza at this point.)

It struck me that you can barely tell there’s a “buffer zone,” and that people with “Let the People Vote” signs are standing all over the place. The perspective seems a bit weird, and there’s often not a good view of the curb to orient the viewer.

The cameraman veers deeper into the crowd after Loy has fallen, capturing the police as they enter the crowd. I think the defense was preparing to impeach Loy based on some exchange between her and Wells in this tape, but if so we didn’t see that part. (I know there are a couple videos on the internet, not sure if this one is. The one I watched was just people yelling and was boring, so I haven’t been keeping up with the internet videos.)

Witness didn’t see Cirignano push her, or see Cirignano there at all.

Cross: Have you seen this entire video? No.

Witness confirms she saw Loy on the step before the incident and Sgt Wells removed her. This was like 10 minutes before the incident.

After Wells talked to Loy, witness talked to Wells.

She learned that Cirignano had a show cause hearing. She lives in Worcester. Did she go to the police? No.

Locates herself in photo.

Was she there as a rally supporter? No, she was there to meet her husband so they could go ice skating later.

Susan Terkanian (sp?) of Spencer

She was at the rally. She can locate herself in a photo.

She was on the first step, and saw Loy holding her sign inside the perimeter. People were asking Loy to please go back. Loy was not more than 10′ from her. Loy stuck her nose up in the air and shook her head No. Cirignano came up with a portfolio in his left hand. He put his forearm on her back.

When he started trying to move her, she “sat back on her heels” and resisted. Once Loy was in the crowd, witness saw no more. Never saw Loy turn or walk back from him.

Cross: Confirms that Loy couldn’t see Cirignano coming. Witness had been there since the beginning of the rally and was there on the step the whole time. Never saw Loy until the Cirignano incident.

Jay Guyeltte (sp?) of Worcester

He’s wearing a shirt, tie, no jacket, and jeans. Schlubbiest witness so far.

He was at the rally, at the end of the southern arm. He was “above the steps,” 9:00 from the podium. Saw Loy come to the front of the crowd, close to the steps. Cirignano came from behind the podium to Loy. Not sure if he had some sort of notepad. As Cirignano walked back there was a notepad in his hand or under his arm. Didn’t see any contact or shoulder touching. After something between Loy and Cirignano, she went into the crowd, and so did Cirignano, then they separated. She went down, changing her angle of movement, with Cirignano about a step away from her.

Cross: Establish he was there the whole time, and saw at least 2 police, and saw them escort one person away from the stairs. He didn’t see any police escort Ms. Loy.

Loy did something when Cirignano approached, he isn’t sure what. He can’t say anything about her stepping off the step.

He’s spoken to maybe a dozen people about the incident since it happened. (FYI, I think I’ve spoken to dozens and dozens, and I wasn’t even there when it happened.) He blogged what he saw and e-mailed Nangle about it. A comment on his blog suggested he contact the police, and on Dec 29 he did.

He told Detective Sullivan he didn’t see Cirignano touch her. ADA points out that the incident narrative report says he saw Cirignano push her. But he says he didn’t tell the detective this.

(At this point we should note that there’s a big diagram of City Hall Plaza courtesy of the defense, and that from an information design point of view it is terrible. When you’re on the plaza, the most memorable feature is the City Hall staircases, which aren’t on the picture. I think some of the witnesses are disoriented when they first see the diagram.)

There’s a break, after which the defense calls…

Detective Sullivan

Shows Sullivan the narrative report. Points out where Jay G is mentioned. Did you conclude he was a Mass Equality supporter? (Pro-gay-marriage.) Did you think he was a counter-protestor? Yes.


Cross-examination. Did Jay G tell you whether he saw Cirignano push Loy? Yes he did.

Redirect: Did you believe Jay G was oppose to the main rally? Answer: I didn’t ask anybody while I was talking to them. But I thought he was a Marriage Equality guy. Witness says something about going online to check into the blogs and fringe groups.

(It seems crazy that Jay G would tell the Detective anything like this, because the day after he wrote something clearly different in his blog post.)

Shari Worthington

My hat off to the second witness/blogger of the day.

Walking with one crutch. Worcester resident. She was at the rally and helped prepare the permit. Was standing behind the podium off to one side. (Here again I can’t see the diagram.)

She saw Loy in front of the podium with a sign facing the crowd, holding it in front of her chest.

Witness thought to go talk to her but saw Cirignano go to her. He “guided her into the crowd.” He had a portfolio under one arm, and he touched her back somehow, hand or arm. Didn’t see hands on shoulders or him push her down.

Before Cirignano and Loy went into the crowd, Loy turned to look at him. She was facing the street as they moved into the crowd. Didn’t see Loy fall, but saw her head disappear after Cirignano left her.

We break for the day.

ADA wants to cross Worthington about the criminal complaint she filed against Loy months and months after the incident. Wants to show bias. The defense doesn’t object.

Defense finds justification an important part of his defense. Wants the judge to give the jury a special instruction on it.

The judge says he’s probably going to give the model excuse on assault & battery, which says you can’t touch someone without “right or excuse.” Doesn’t know if he’ll say more. No self-defense, defense of another, or property defense seems to be involved in this case.

Cirignano will take the stand tomorrow, along with a few other defense witnesses. I have no idea how juries think, and from looking at this jury I don’t notice any body language that would help me read their minds.

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3 Comments Leave a comment.

  1. On October 19, 2007 at 18:28 John Hosty-Grinnell said:

    Not being there to see what is being said is frustrating, but necessary.

    I thought I would share an interesting observation with you. Ms. McCarthy claims that Sarah Loy threw herself back on the ground and was chanting, “This is what hate does”. Yet the video that MassResistance has of the incident proves otherwise. Que up the video, crank up the headphones; she says it once.

    The reason this is important to me is McCarthy seems to be rather strongly insinuating that Loy is a liar. To find proof of a glaring inconsistency like this ruins McCarthy’s credibility.

    But then again what do I know of justice? I would have thought that if we bother to empanel a jury we would have let them decide what is and isn’t a Hate Crime. I’m still pretty nieve at times, I even still believe in Ben LaGuer’s innocence.

    I wonder if justice will be served even if we find and expose perjury. I wonder if it will matter, or if like Ben LaGuer, we will simply find the system geared to fight us harder.

  2. On October 19, 2007 at 18:38 Mike said:

    John, thanks for the comment.

    I think there was inaccuracy on this level in everyone’s testimony except those who only testified to very limited facts. Inconsistency about where Cirignano’s portfolio was, how he was positioning his arm, what Sarah yelled on the ground, whether or not Sarah was escorted away by police for an earlier incident, etc. These are examples from the defense witnesses, but I could list ones for the prosecution witnesses too. I don’t think you can demand that level of precision from people when you’re asking them to remember the details of a brief, surprising situation.

  3. On October 19, 2007 at 22:49 Mike2 said:

    What happened today? Did the defense rest and the jury is in deliberation, but there\’s no verdict yet?

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