Rep. Henriquez trial breaks after detective offers surprise report
Jan. 9, 2014
The trial of Rep. Carlos Henriquez took a recess Thursday afternoon after an Arlington Police detective produced a report that neither the defense nor the prosecution said they have seen and that his attorney said could jeopardize his right to a fair trial.
“It’s significant, I would say,” defense attorney Stephanie Soriano-Mills told Judge Michele Hogan after the jury was sent out of the courtroom around 2:45 p.m.
Arlington Police Inspector Edward DeFrancisco was under cross-examination being asked about his characterization of the alleged victim as “nervous and upset” when Soriano-Mills asked whether he had made only one report. He said no, and soon after produced a report that logged a July 20, 2012 interview with an assistant district attorney, a victim advocate and the alleged victim, Katherine Gonzalves.
The subject of the more-than-hour-long interview in Woburn was whether the prosecution should seek to indict Henriquez, DeFrancisco said during a hearing closed to the jury. An indictment would allow authorities to press a kidnapping charge, which was dropped before the trial proceeded in Cambridge District Court.
Henriquez is facing three counts of assault and battery along with two other charges related to an incident when he allegedly drove to Gonzalves’s mother’s home around 3 a.m., July 8, 2012, moved into the back seat of his rental car with the 23-year-old to kiss and then allegedly became angry when she said she could not leave with him. He is charged with back-handing her, punching her, grabbing her by the neck, and taking away her cell phone and stealing her SIM card.
“Every defendant under the Constitution has a right to cross-examine any evidence that’s going to be used against him or that was used in the case,” Soriano-Mills told the News Service. She said, “If a person does not have that then they lose their right to a fair trial. Essentially right now we’re put in a position where it’s unfair. It actually flies in the face of all the rules of evidence.”
Soriano-Mills told the News Service she believes the new document means Henriquez deserves a dismissal. She said she had asked for any video or reports of any meeting where the prosecution was mulling whether to seek an indictment and was told there was none. DeFrancisco’s testimony was a surprise, she said.
Soriano-Mills said notes and recordings from such meetings are usually beneficial because they can reveal weaknesses in the prosecution’s case. DeFrancisco said the meeting consisted of Gonzalves going through her account, and said that Gonzalves’s mother accompanied her to the building and may have been in the meeting at the beginning.
Asked whether she was upset by the circumstance, Soriano-Mills said, “I am upset that there are key pieces of evidence that I don’t have.”
After the alleged assault, Henriquez drove to Boston with Gonzalves and she exited the car near Northeastern University. A video that was played in court shows her entering the lobby of White Hall, a Northeastern dormitory.
Soriano-Mills has previously raised objections, saying the prosecution has not provided her with all of the evidence she has requested. She said a possible reason for the lack of information-sharing was the case “passing hands too many times.”
Middlesex Assistant District Attorney Clarence Brown said he does not have the report, either. He said the previous ADA was Felicia Sullivan, and that she no longer works for the DA’s office.
Brown also told Hogan that Gonzalves has a 4 p.m. Friday plane ticket to travel to New York for the weekend, potentially creating a conflict if she is called to the stand on Friday.
DeFrancisco said he did not take any notes of the meeting, which he said was led by an assistant district attorney. Judge Michele Hogan asked to speak with the ADA in attendance at the Woburn meeting, and said the jury would be asked to return at noon Friday.
Before Soriano-Mills’s questioning, DeFrancisco described his participation in a July 12, 2012 search of the Honda Insight that Henriquez rented through Zipcar. The search yielded a chipped “bright pink” acrylic fingernail, which DeFrancisco identified before it was introduced as evidence.
Earlier, Arlington Inspector Gina Bassett said she had photographed Gonzalves and noted that she had a fake nail missing.