Trial may possibly ultimately be coming up in attorney’s 2019 sexual misconduct demand

The Vermont Excellent Courthouse in Bennington. Photograph by Mike Dougherty/VTDigger

Trial dates are normally a shifting goal because of proof to be gathered and pretrial issues to be settled, but a trial has been specially elusive in the case of Melvin Fink, a southern Vermont attorney billed in 2019 with sexually assaulting a female.

Fink, now 80, has pleaded not responsible to a felony charge of lewd and lascivious conduct. He is accused of assaulting the female at her house in the city of Peru in July 2017, when she and Fink reportedly fulfilled to explore a court docket situation involving her loved ones. Law enforcement explained she had organized to fulfill at his place of work, but Fink switched the spot to her residence in a phone earlier that working day.

Fink’s circumstance is scheduled for jury collection in Bennington Top-quality prison court docket on Nov. 7 — at least the eighth time in four and a 50 % decades he has been provided an appointment with potential jurors.

Meanwhile, Fink stays a practising lawyer with an business in Ludlow, nevertheless his legislation license was suspended for 30 days previously this yr due to qualified misconduct. 

The Vermont Professional Duty Board uncovered that Fink experienced violated condition procedures for lawyers’ carry out by instantly speaking with a man whose spouse he was symbolizing in divorce proceedings when he didn’t have consent from the man’s attorney. The Vermont Supreme Court upheld the board’s obtaining.

In Fink’s criminal scenario, files and court docket conversations present that his attorney and prosecutors from the condition attorney general’s business have been going back again and forth on some proof-similar concerns. They incorporate acquiring some of the complainant’s health-related data and finding a health care provider from out of condition to testify in particular person.

When requested what has brought about delays in the situation, and whether or not the prosecution believes Fink’s demo will ultimately push through in November, the lawyer general’s main of staff members, Lauren Jandl, declined to remark further than expressing the business “is ready for trial.” The office declined to deliver further more aspects, citing the open prosecution.

Fink referred concerns about the case’s standing to his attorney, David Sleigh. Sleigh could not straight away be reached for remark on Friday.

Lewd and lascivious carry out is punishable by up to five decades in prison.

The Specialist Obligation Board also commenced investigating Fink in 2019 just after he was billed with sexual misconduct. The administrative case will continue being on maintain until eventually Fink’s felony prosecution is concluded, the board’s disciplinary counsel previously reported.

Soon after the coronavirus pandemic achieved Vermont in March 2020, condition jury trials had been set on hold for 14 months to mitigate the spread of the virus. This has contributed to a courtroom backlog in scenarios.