The state Supreme Court has overturned one of four charges in the case of New London resident Daniel J. Golodner, who was sentenced to six months in prison after an encounter four years ago with city police and surveyors at his Colman Street home.
A jury had found Golodner guilty of two counts of interfering with police and two counts of second-degree reckless endangerment, all misdemeanor crimes, following a two-day trial in October 2009. The jury found Golodner not guilty of felony charges of assault on a police officer and first-degree reckless endangerment.
In a unanimous decision that will be published officially on June 12, the Supreme Court upheld the interfering charges and one count of reckless endangerment, but overturned the other reckless endangerment conviction. The justices opined that police acted in good faith when they entered onto Golodner’s property and assisted the surveyors, but that one of the reckless endangerment charges, added as the case went to trial, was brought after the one-year statute of limitations had expired.
Golodner had called police to complain that surveyors hired by neighbors with whom he had a running dispute were trespassing on his property. He wanted police to remove the surveyors from his property, which he said they had done on a prior occasion, but was told that under state law the surveyors had a right to be there.
The police said Golodner attempted to run down an officer and a surveyor with his van and kicked another officer who attempted to arrest him.
Golodner testified that he simply was pulling his van out in preparation for going to work and that the officers attacked and beat him.
Judge Matthew Frechette sentenced Golodner to six months in prison, but Golodner remained free while the case was under appeal. Golodner, who could not immediately be reached for comment, still could be required to serve time for the offenses. Attorney Christa L. Baker, who prosecuted the case, was not available to comment. Supervisory prosecutor Michael E. Kennedy said the case would be added to the docket for resentencing.
Attorney Jon L. Schoenhorn, who handled the appeal for Golodner, said the court did not address the question of whether “either a surveyor or police can just barge into a private property.” He said Golodner has brought a case in federal court claiming illegal entry onto his property.
— Karen Florin