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A 2017 OUI case in Pittsfield is dismissed after witnesses not notified about trial

PITTSFIELD — The drunken-driving case brought against a city man nearly five years ago was dismissed Monday, after the prosecution said its witnesses had not been notified about the trial.

Judge Mark Pasquariello issued a written order about his decision to dismiss charges against Raphael Malafronte, 33, who had pleaded not guilty to driving on Route 8 in Hinsdale while under the influence of alcohol the afternoon of Jan. 13, 2017.

After multiple delays, including several because of COVID-19, Malafronte’s trial was scheduled to begin in Central Berkshire District Court on Monday. That morning, the Berkshire District Attorney’s Office indicated to the judge that prosecutors were not ready for trial, and requested a continuance.

“The commonwealth stated that it had not summonsed any witnesses for trial,” Pasquariello wrote.

Malafronte, the judge said in the order, was in the courtroom Monday with his defense attorney, Elizabeth Quigley, who, in the absence of prosecution witnesses, asked Pasquariello to dismiss the case. Pasquariello agreed to Quigley’s request, and he dismissed the case without prejudice, while declining to set a new trial date.

“I have taken into account the potential prejudice to the defendant, the interests of the parties in a speedy resolution of the matter and the basis for the Commonwealth’s request,” the judge wrote.

Assistant District Attorney Joseph Brava, in a motion dated Monday requesting the continuance, added that prosecutors had been ready to go forward Sept. 8, but ultimately agreed to Quigley’s request for a delay because of a scheduling conflict.

According to Pasquariello’s order, the age of the case didn’t help the prosecution. He wrote that the DA’s office said the investigating police officer did not have a “strong memory of events leading to the defendant’s arrest” in early 2017.

Malafronte had been accused of driving under the influence of alcohol, possessing an open container of alcohol and speeding. He was pulled over about 2:30 p.m. Jan. 13, 2017, by an officer with the Hinsdale Police Department who clocked him driving 12 miles an hour over the speed limit on Route 8 near Pittsfield Road, according to a police report.

The report states that Malafronte agreed to a Breathalyzer test, which showed a blood alcohol concentration of 0.11 percent. Malafronte pleaded not guilty to the charges at his Jan. 17, 2017, arraignment.

Amanda Burke can be reached at aburke@berkshireeagle.com or 413-496-6296.

Cops and Courts Reporter

Amanda Burke is Cops and Courts Reporter for The Berkshire Eagle. An Ithaca, New York native, she previously worked at The Herald News of Fall River and the Fitchburg Sentinel & Enterprise.

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