Vermont v. GagneAnnotate this Case
This appeal stemmed from a road rage incident in which defendant Jason Gagne chased a couple across town, eventually pulling up next to their truck and pointing a rifle at them. Before trial, defendant moved to suppress the results of an alcohol breath test on the ground that he was not able to meaningfully communicate with his lawyer before submitting to the test due to his belief (which turned out to be well-founded) that his conversation with counsel was being recorded by the police. The trial court denied the motion, and following trial, a jury convicted defendant of aggravated assault, simple assault, reckless endangerment, driving under the influence, and negligent operation of a vehicle. On appeal, defendant argued that the trial court erred: in denying his motion to suppress; failing to instruct the jury that the definition of “threat” for the purposes of aggravated assault and simple assault was based on an objective standard; and in allowing convictions for aggravated assault, simple assault, and reckless endangerment for the same conduct, in violation of defendant’s double jeopardy rights. After review, the Vermont Supreme Court reversed the trial court’s ruling on the suppression motion and reversed and remanded defendant’s conviction for driving under the influence. The Court upheld the trial court’s jury instructions; and affirmed the aggravated assault and reckless endangerment convictions. The simple assault conviction was reversed on double jeopardy grounds.