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Cases Against Sorkin Delayed to May 10, First Trial Details Emerge

The court cases pending against Michael Sorkin, CSOM ’21, were continued to May 10 in both Middlesex and Suffolk District Court this week. Although the ongoing litigation has been pushed back another two months—Sorkin was originally arrested for allegedly vandalizing Welch Hall with racist epithets on Dec. 10—new details concerning where the case in Middlesex County stands in terms of discovery, witnesses to be called, and how Sorkin will plead his case emerged in the case’s latest court filings.

In a pretrial conference report, it is stated that the defense requested photos, video surveillance, the audio of the 911 call placed on the night Sorkin allegedly defaced Welch, and witness statements on Feb. 13. All of those requests have not been filled yet, according to the report.

The discovery section for the prosecution cited no outstanding evidence requests.

The prosecution has committed to calling more than two witnesses to the stand, while the defense will only call one or two witnesses, according to the report. The document also estimates that a potential trial will take one to two days to complete.

The document notes that Sorkin did not provide an alibi, but that he has until 30 days before the start of his trial to file one with authorities. The document does say that Sorkin is seeking to defend himself through an argument of possible lack of criminal responsibility—a defense more commonly known as an insanity plea.

This plea means that prosecutors will have to prove that Sorkin both engaged in the criminal activity he’s alleged to have perpetrated, as well as proving that Sorkin bears responsibility for committing those crimes. Sorkin was psychologically evaluated at the time of his arrest, and police reports explained that one of the reasons Sorkin was not questioned in more detail at the scene of the crime was because Boston College Police Department officers who responded to the scene believed he was under the influence of a substance of some sort.

Sorkin’s lawyer who is representing him in the Suffolk County case said that one of the issues holding the trials up is obtaining an accurate competency evaluation. A competency evaluation details whether a defendant is in a mental state capable of moving forward with a trial and deciding how a defendant would like to plead in a criminal case.

Featured Image by Celine Lim / Heights Editor

March 28, 2019