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Friday, November 28, 2008

[VT] Judge/ Atttorney Neisner who used wife Margaret as his scapegoat - is convicted

...The reduction to the charges has a major impact on the potential punishment for Neisner, who will be sentenced at a later date. Instead of facing a maximum of 24 years in jail, Neisner now faces a maximum of eight years' imprisonment...

Excerpts from news - November 15 through 25:

By Brent Curtis
November 15, 2008
[Excerpts] A Killington lawyer who sometimes sits as a traffic court judge in Vermont is set to go to trial later this month on charges, including three felonies, after allegedly lying to police about his role in a crash that injured a motorcyclist. In a final, pre-trial hearing in Rutland District Court on Friday, the lawyer for Melvin B. Neisner Jr., 52, said his client decided not to accept the prosecution's offer of a plea deal... According to police affidavits, Neisner told police that his wife had been driving the SUV when the crash took place. His wife, who declined to provide a statement to a State Police investigator, was then taken to the State Police barracks in Rutland where she was charged with leaving the scene of a crash... Trooper Robert McKenna, who investigated the crash, also wrote in an affidavit that if Neisner had been honest on the night of the crash, he would have processed him for drunken driving. A breath test that McKenna administered to Neisner the night of the crash registered a blood-alcohol level of 0.123, which is above the 0.08 legal limit for driving in Vermont. [Full article here]

Barre Montpelier Times Argus, VT
By Brent Curtis
November 21, 2008
[Excerpts] Taking the stand in her husband's trial, Margaret Neisner said she initially took the blame for a crash that her husband allegedly caused because Melvin B. Neisner was depressed and she feared he might harm himself. "I was afraid for my husband but not in the way that you might think," Margaret Neisner said... Her husband, a 52-year-old Killington lawyer and former part-time traffic court judge, is charged with felony gross negligent operation for allegedly causing a crash last year that injured a motorcyclist. He also faces felony charges for leaving the scene of the crash and impeding a police officer as well as a misdemeanor charge of lying to police. Those last two charges stem from Neisner's comments to State Police investigators that his wife was behind the wheel of a sport-utility vehicle involved in the crash... Margaret Neisner was charged with causing the crash before her husband came forward with his lawyer a month after the incident to acknowledge that he was the driver. Pausing to collect her thoughts and control her emotions, Margaret Neisner testified that she held her tongue and didn't deny her husband's allegations because she feared for his life. "He had been going through a rough patch since my father died … He was suicidal and that's why I did what I did," she told the court. "I feel like I saved his life that night … He's my husband. I love him and I didn't want to lose him. He's the father of my children and I tried to get help for him in the past." Melvin Neisner watched solemnly from the defense table as his wife testified about his state of mind on the night of Sept. 22, 2007, when the accident took place. Neisner also didn't flinch when his wife told the court that she appealed to Killington Constable Scott Bigelow for help before she was arrested by State Police. Margaret Neisner said she approached Bigelow, who was at her home investigating the crash on the night of the incident, twice. In her first private conversation with Bigelow, she said she told the constable "I swear to God I wasn't driving." In her second appeal, she said she told Bigelow, "I don't know what to do"... [Motorcyclist Michael] Schumann's injuries included a hairline fracture to his ankle which was set in a cast, a broken tooth and a number of cuts and abrasions. He told the court the crash did $11,000 worth of damage to his motorcycle... [Full article here]

Rutland Herald, VT
By Brent Curtis
November 25, 2008
A Rutland jury delivered a mixed verdict in the trial of Killington lawyer and former part-time traffic court judge Melvin Neisner — finding him guilty of all four offenses but reducing two felonies to misdemeanors. Neisner, 52, faced felony charges for grossly negligent operation of a motor vehicle with serious injury resulting, leaving the scene of an accident involving a serious injury and hindering a police investigation of the accident as well as a misdemeanor charge of lying to police. But the 12-member jury, who returned a verdict after 4-1/2 hours of deliberation in Rutland District Court on Monday, reduced the first two charges from felonies to misdemeanors by removing the aggravating "serious injury" component of the offense. The reduction to the charges has a major impact on the potential punishment for Neisner, who will be sentenced at a later date. Instead of facing a maximum of 24 years in jail, Neisner now faces a maximum of eight years' imprisonment... [Full article here]


  1. DEFENDANT: Melvin B. Neisner
    Killington, VT 05751
    ARRAIGNMENT DATE: 11/06/07
    SA CASE NO.: 2007RD20970A
    ASSIGNED PROSECUTOR: James P. Mongeeon
    POLICE DEPT.: VSP-Rutland
    ADVOCATE. Dyanne Lertola
    INCIDENT NO.: 07C104478


    …Melvin B. Neisner Jr. was identified as the registered owner of Vehicle #1 and was located at his residence by Killington Constable Scott Bigelow. When I arrived at the residence, M.B. Neisner allowed me inside to discuss the evening's earlier events. While in the foyer of the residence,

    ...M.B. Neisner told me that his wife was involved in a motor vehicle crash with a motorcycle, on Killington Road a short time ago. He subsequently told me that he was a passenger... Neisner also advised that he knew that his wife was required to stop at the crash because he was a practicing attorney and occasional "sitting" Traffic Court Judge in Rutland County... I attempted to speak with Margaret "Peg" Neisner, but my attempt was denied by her husband. He advised me that Margaret Neisner was not going to make any statements to me regarding this case or her involvement. I observed Margaret Neisner to be visibly upset with her husband, and noticeably reserved vvith Constable Bigelow and I… After interviewing M.B. Neisner and being told that Mrs. Neisner would not speak with me, I asked each to submit to a preliminary breath test… Margaret Neisner yielded a .000% BAC (after two attempts) and her husband, M.B. Neisner yielded a .123%... I asked M.B. Neisner to swear that the information he provided me was true, and he declined. I then informed the Neisners that Margaret Neisner was going to be arrested and charged with Accidents-Duty to Stop, or Leaving the Scene of an Accident (Title 23 VSA 1128). Upon hearing this, Mrs. Neisner began to cry. She put her face in her hands, and bent over at the waist... Margaret Neisner was led to my vehicle and sat in the front seat where she was transported to the State Police Barracks in Rutland. Prior to entering State Police Vehicle 423, she mentioned that she felt as though she was going to be sick. She was then transported (becoming noticeable upset at times) without incident… On October 31, 2007, the defendant [M.B. Neisner] agreed to speak with me at the State Police Barracks in Rutland in the presence of his attorney, Steven Klein. During this interview, the defendant acknowledged that he was operating Vehicle #1 at the time of this crash, and that he lied to me when he told me that his wife, Margaret Neisner, was operating Vehicle #1 [a lie that deflected the investigation away from himself and simultaneously implicated his wife in the commission of a crime (Accidents -Duty to Stop)] in violation of Title 13 VSA 1754(a)... Upon arrival to his residence, he advised his wife that they were going to lose everything, "if in fact he was guilty" and telephonically contacted Steven Klein, Esq. for advice. At the same time, Margaret Neisner contacted the defendant's sister telephonically (an attorney who practices in Massachusetts)... He stated that he did not stop at the crash scene on either occasion because he feared for his personal safety (yet again, did not call the police and did not see anyone at the crash scene upon his return… The defendant advised that he was afraid of potentially being arrested for DUI that evening, and agreed that to some extent, he left the scene because he was not sure that his blood alcohol content would be below the legal limit if he had been tested at the scene of the crash. He also indicated that he did not initially tell me that he drank alcohol when he arrived at his house because he believed if he had, I would have thought he was a bad person... Margaret Neisner was brought to the State Police Barracks in Rutland where she was processed for the crime of Accidents-Duty to stop (23 VSA 1128) During this processing. Margaret Neisner was once again afforded the opportunity to explain her involvement in this case, and refused. However, during a subsequent conversation with Constable Bigelow (one that occurred on or about October 18, 2007), I was told that upon his arrival to the Neisner residence - on September 22, 2007 {approximately 10 minutes before my arrival) Margaret Neisner told Constable Bigelow that she was not driving Vehicle #1 at the time of the crash...

  2. AnonymousMay 19, 2009

    He made a mistake. Everyone makes mistakes. His just happens to be in the newspaper. I bet half the people who read this have done worse. Get over it.

  3. AnonymousMay 19, 2009

    Get over yourselves. He made a mistake. So does everyone else! Why make it into a big deal? It's tough enough as it is for him!

  4. anyone who thinks he is a terrible person for this needs to know that he is a good man with a good family who made bad choices. sending love to the family...

  5. Good person! Give me a break! The man was a sitting judge. He should be held to a higher standard. Good people do not leave a person injured on the side of the road. The judge wanted to avoid a DUI and did! His sentence was a bargain and he should treat as such and just do the time.

  6. Now he is appealing to the supreme court to have his conviction overturned. The post here make it sound like Mr. Neisner just made a few bad choices. Mr Meisner was sitting traffic judge. He knew just what he was doing when he blamed his wife for the accident. He is lucky she did not get charged as well. If he was any sort of man as you claim. He would take responsiblty for his actions.

  7. Mr. Neisner established himself as the low of the low..... promulgating deceit and demonstrating why lawyers rightly earn bad names for their profession. Sending his poor wife to jail to avoid DUI, and to not take responsibility for his own actions... and to leave injured parties at the scene of his crime. Shame on you MR. Neisner.

    1. If you even knew half of the story behind this rather than believing a poorly written and biased article, you'd understand that Mr. Neisner is a good man, who has made some mistakes in his life. Instead, you're choosing to believe one article and therefore leaving your head firmly placed up your ass. Pathetic.

  8. September 3, 2010

    Killington lawyer still looking to beat rap on crash charges

    Peter Hirschfeld
    Vermont Press Bureau
    MONTPELIER - Melvin B. Neisner's quest to beat a criminal rap began in 2007 when he tried to pin the blame on his own wife. It culminated Thursday in the state's highest court, where he asked justices to overturn four convictions - including leaving the scene of an accident and grossly negligent operation - stemming from a car crash on Killington Road. Citing errors by police, prosecutors and the judge who oversaw his Rutland County trial, Neisner challenged the convictions for which he was sentenced to 99 days in jail.

    The 30-minute hearing in the chambers of the Vermont Supreme Court marked the latest twist in a legal saga that began on Sept. 22, 2007, when Neisner stepped on the brakes of his sport-utility vehicle, causing a motorcyclist to skid and spill into the two-lane road.
    For the Killington lawyer and former acting traffic court judge, the stakes were high.
    We were going to lose everything - the house, the office, the kids, my livelihood, if in fact I was guilty, he would later tell police.
    Neisner fled the scene and drove to his home in Killington. When police arrived later that night, Neisner told them his wife, Peggy, had been driving. The woman, who remained silent as her husband falsely documented her role in the crime, was arrested by police and driven to the barracks.
    Neisner later thought better of the decision to inculpate his wife, according to court documents, and, more than a month after the incident, confessed to police. In September of 2008, a jury delivered guilty verdicts on three misdemeanors and one felony.
    The phrase that comes to mind is prosecutorial overkill, Neisner's lawyer, William Nelson, said after the Supreme Court hearing late Thursday morning.

  9. Continuation of story.... Neisner sniveling out of charges.

    Nelson was referring to prosecutors' decision to charge Neisner both for providing false information to a police officer and impeding a police investigation. Since both charges stemmed from a single criminal act - telling police his wife had been driving - prosecutors had, in effect, tried Neisner twice for a single crime, according to Nelson.
    &They had a good case for providing false information to a police officer, which is just a misdemeanor, but I think they wanted more, so they charged him with hindering, Nelson said. Why not both? Because of the double-jeopardy clause in the Constitution.
    As for the felony count of hindering an investigation, Nelson argued that prosecutors lacked the evidence needed to file the charge. Prosecutors argued during the trial that Neisner's attempt to implicate his wife prevented the investigating trooper from pursuing appropriate leads.
    Nelson said however that a preponderance of evidence indicates that the investigating trooper never believed the story Neisner tried to spin.
    It's a completely incredible accusation, Nelson said. (The trooper) didn't believe it for a minute.
    Since the trooper didn't believe the accusation, Nelson said, his attempts to deceive should not have presented the kind of hindrance prosecutors alleged.
    I don't think the (lie) prevented the trooper from doing anything, Nelson said. There was no evidence that the lie obstructed the officer's official duties.
    Prosecutors, according to Nelson, also failed to meet the evidentiary threshold required for conviction of gross negligent operation.
    While Neisner's actions warranted a verdict of simple negligence, Nelson argued in a written brief, his stepping on the brakes did not amount to ;heedless and palpable violation of a legal duty, the standard for gross negligence.
    Neisner's license to practice law has been under suspension since his conviction. He also asked the Supreme Court Thursday to overturn the two-year suspension imposed by the Professional Regulation Board.
    Representing himself, Neisner suggested the board had been overly punitive. He cited far less aggressive suspensions imposed on lawyers who had admitted to offenses like marijuana cultivation and tax dodging

  10. Court cuts Killington lawyer's jail timeThe Associated Press - Published: December 31, 2010

    BURLINGTON — The Vermont Supreme Court has thrown out a 39-day jail sentence for a former traffic court judge for lying about an accident.

    Melvin Neisner of Killington was found guilty in 2008 of gross negligent operation of a motor vehicle, leaving the scene of an accident, lying to a police officer and impeding a police officer. The charges stemmed from a 2007 accident in which he purposely hit his brakes as a motorcyclist tailgated him, causing the motorcycle to hit his SUV from behind.

    Neisner, who fled the scene, told police his wife had been driving.

    Neisner was convicted of lying to an officer and impeding an officer, but the court said they are the same thing. His convictions for gross negligent operation of a vehicle and leaving the scene of an accident were upheld.

  11. AnonymousJuly 28, 2011

    He and his family have paid their dues many times over. He spent some time in jail ( too much in my opinion) So let it go.
    Perhaps the motorcyclist that hit him from THE REAR and lied about his chipped tooth (prior dental records confirmed it was existing ) and the cost to the motorcycle should be cited and sued for traveling too close.
    anyway just let it go and I for one am grateful MB is back!


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