Lawyer again pushes to have Lafond trial delayed

LACONIA — Attorney Mark Sisti, who is defending Amy Lafond against charges that her reckless and negligent driving caused the death of one teenage girl and severely injured another, has asked Justice James D. O'Neill, III of Belknap County Superior Court to reconsider his refusal to postpone her trial for 90 days.

On Christmas Eve, O'Neill denied Sisti's request and reaffirmed that the final pre-trial conference will be held on January 13 and the jury will be selected on February 3, as scheduled. In seeking to delay the trial, Sisti told the court he was scheduled to try criminal cases in two other counties in January and February. O'Neill ruled that the schedule for Lafond's trial was set on October 3, well before November 22 when Sisti was retained by Lafond, who had been represented by the New Hampshire Public Defenders.

In his motion to reconsider, Sisti notes that to prepare a defense he must review 18 discs and hundreds of pages of evidence and statements. He told the court that he "cannot possibly relate competent advice to his client with regard to the decision whether to plead guilty (or) to proceed to trial — let alone represent her at trial — on the date scheduled." Referring to the right to a fair trial guaranteed by the state and federal constitutions, Sisti concludes that "to go forward ensures the defendant deficient representation that will undoubtedly spur unnecessary litigation."

Lafond, 52, is charged with manslaughter and two counts of negligent homicide arising from an incident on April 19 when she allegedly drove into two teenage girls on Messer Street, killing Lilyanna Johnson and seriously injuring Allyssa Miner. She is also charged with several drug offenses and traffic violations.