You know if I’m talking about the trial of Tobin Kerns you know I’m talking about another delay…
It’s been a long and winding road to trial for Marshfield teenager Tobin “Toby” Kerns, but attorneys from both the defense and prosecution are hoping a July status hearing will be the end of the line.
Kerns went before Judge Louis Coffin once again Thursday in Plymouth Juvenile Court, where another pretrial hearing was set for July 17.
In April, Assistant District Attorney John McLaughlin requested that immunity be granted in Kerns’ trial in Juvenile Court on the grounds that Farley and Sullivan were granted immunity in Brockton Superior Court for the Nee trial. Coffin rejected the proposal, citing a decision rendered in Commonwealth vs. Russ, a 2001 case that set a precedent against granting immunity in juvenile cases. McLaughlin appealed the decision to a judge in the state Supreme Judicial Court in hopes of securing immunity in Kerns’ case. A decision from a Judicial Court justice is still pending.
“They feel the issue of immunity shouldn’t be a problem,” Kerns’ attorney William McElligott said.
While attorneys hoped to settle upon a start date for trial at Thursday’s hearing, the appeal by the Commonwealth is still going through the motions, McElligott said. He said he’s hoping the immunity issue will be settled by the July hearing so a date for trial can be set. McElligott said should the Commonwealth receive a ruling from the Judicial Court before the next hearing, a trial date could be set sooner.
While he’s hoping for the best, McElligott said it’s possible that the appeals process could drag on further if the decision does not go in favor of the Commonwealth. He said the Commonwealth could appeal the decision by a single justice to go before the entire Judicial Court.
So now Toby will continue to have this hanging over his head like a guillotine for a crime that he more than likely did not commit.