A Maine psychotherapist who specializes in treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder says the attorney who defended a man charged with attempted murder should have defended him citing the disorder during the 2010 trial.
AUBURN, Maine â€” A Maine psychotherapist, expert witness who specializes in treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder says an attorney who defended a man charged with attempted murder should have defended him citing the PTSD disorder during the 2010 trial.
Bartolo Ford is seeking a new trial, saying he was provided inadequate counsel in 2010. Ford is serving a 20 year sentence for conviction of aggravated attempted murder.He is hoping the stateâ€™s highest court will vacate his conviction for trying to kill Auburn police by ramming a dump truck into a cruiser during a high-speed chase in 2008.
Edward Tick testified that Ford's former attorney was uneducated in PTSD. The attorney died in March.
Ford is a war veteran who served with the U.S. Army Reserve during Operation Desert Storm. Under cross-examination, Tick said he had not personally examined Ford for the disorder.
Bartolo Ford was 49 years old in November 2010, when he was sentenced in Androscoggin County Superior Court in Auburn to 20 years in prison with all but nine years suspended. Ford was convicted by a jury of aggravated attempted murder and five other felonies.
Ford, through his attorney, Justin Andrus, claims that at trial the judge made the error of failing to give jurors instruction on whether he was acting in self-defense and how intoxication might have affected his mental state before the jury began its deliberations. Andrus also told justices that the trial judge should have confirmed directly from Ford that he knowingly and voluntarily waived his right to testify at trial in his own defense.
In Fordâ€™s case, his trial attorneys, Daniel Lilley and Derrick Banda claimed that the defendant suffered from an abnormal condition of mind during the chase, due to his war experience in Iraq. Jurors were instructed by the trial judge to consider that as a viable defense in raising doubt about Fordâ€™s culpability.
That decision was arguably his attorneysâ€™ best legal strategy aimed at a not guilty verdict according to Justice Alexander.
â€śIf the law is applied there, and the instruction was appropriate, he walks,â€ť said Justice Alexander
Fordâ€™s trial attorneys likely waived instruction on self-defense and intoxication because those instructions would have â€śconfusedâ€ť the abnormal condition of mind defense strategy, Alexander said.
â€śSo, if thatâ€™s a strategic decision, we certainly donâ€™t touch it,â€ť said Justice Donald Alexander at the time.