Unexpected witness' report, testimony, extends trial

By Laura Ingalls

Arizona Daily Wildcat

Abel Duffy may be setting a record for the most time sitting on the defense bench.

The Mount Graham protester's trial was extended again because of two unexpected glitches in the prosecution. The new trial time and date is 9 a.m. Sept. 28.

Pima County Justice Court Judge Emojean Girard continued the case after a disclosed but unexpected witness showed up to testify.

University of Arizona police officer Robert Sommerfeld was in Phoenix during the first trial Friday because his National Guard unit was gearing up to support the Haiti invasion. But when the invasion was cancelled late Sunday night, he was able to get back to Tucson by the time the Monday morning trial began.

Duffy's attorney Paul Gattone requested the continuation because he was unable to interview Sommerfeld beforehand to prepare his cross-examination during the trial.

In addition, Gattone did not have prior access to a Feb. 25 police report filed by Sommerfeld. Pima County attorney Bruce Chalk told Girard that the state did intend to disclose the document but had probaby been lost in the copying process.

Duffy, a Western New Mexico University student, sat on top of the Student Union clock tower for six days last February. The 23-year-old, who is a member of the Southwest Student Environmental Action Coalition, faces charges of criminal trespassing and interference with the peaceful conduct of an educational facility.

If Duffy loses his case, the State of Arizona wants him to pay $10,000 to cover the 24-hour security costs university police enacted during Duffy's stunt.

The new trial will likely feature Sommerfeld's testimony and about two defense witnesses. Duffy may also testify, Gattone said.

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