MONTPELIER, Vt. — A Vermont man whose much-delayed domestic violence case was considered by the U.S. Supreme Court is going to get a new trial – but not because he wasn’t given a speedy trial.

A split Vermont Supreme Court on Friday ordered that Michael Brillon be given a new trial in a 2001 domestic violence case that didn’t make it to court for the first time until 2004.

In a series of appeals that ultimately reached the U.S. Supreme Court, attorneys argued the Brillon’s case, which arose from Bennington County in the state’s southwest corner, illustrated a “systemic breakdown” in the public defender system and contributed to the delays in trying Brillon.

But the U.S. Supreme Court said the state should not pay for delays caused by Vermont’s public defender system.

Instead, Brillon won reversal of his conviction and a remand for a new trial because the aggravated domestic abuse charge on which he was convicted relied on facts from a previous case, for which he hadn’t been convicted.


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