BRATTLEBORO — A Windham Superior Court judge has ordered a new pre-sentence investigatory report for Andrew Ielpi of Rockingham and ordered the old one, which included information about Ielpi's juvenile record, sealed.
Ielpi, now 28, recently pleaded no contest in March to charges that he caused the death of his fiancee in an off-road vehicle crash three years ago in Westminster. Ielpi pleaded no contest to charges of operating a vehicle in a negligent manner, death resulting, and also reckless endangerment. He faces up to two years in prison. He had been charged with one count of manslaughter and one count of grossly negligent of a vehicle, death resulting.
Windham Superior Court Judge John Treadwell held a closed-door hearing Thursday about the case, and later emerged to say he would eventually issue two rulings - one confidential and the other public.
The disputed pre-sentence report "addresses a vacated conviction in a prior criminal matter involving defendant," Treadwell wrote in a June decision.
Much of Ielpi's past history with the Vermont Department of Children and Families, and with the Department of Corrections remains secret, although Ielpi told Bellows Falls police the night of the fatal accident in May 2016 that he didn't trust them because he had spent four years in jail, court records indicate.
Ielpi pleaded no contest this spring to causing the death of his fiancee, Angelique Frost, 23, but according to court records, the state probation and parole officer who prepared the pre-sentence investigation included information about Ielpi's prior criminal record as a juvenile, which is under seal, leading to the protest by Ielpi's lawyer, David Sleigh of St. Johnsbury.
Treadwell had granted the motion by Sleigh to go into a secret court session to discuss the pre-sentence report, which itself is usually confidential.
Windham County Deputy State's Attorney David Gartenstein said he had reviewed the various pending legal issues, and agreed that it would be impossible to discuss all the issues, confidential and others, in public.
The two sides met behind closed doors with Treadwell for about 40 minutes Thursday afternoon, and afterward, in open session, Treadwell said he had given both attorneys until Aug. 23 to file legal responses to the issues raised.
Treadwell said that he would eventually be filing both a public and a confidential decision, which he noted was "what the Supreme Court wants us to do."
Neither Sleigh nor Gartenstein would comment afterwards about the closed-door session.
"I don't want to get into trouble," said Sleigh, who is representing Ielpi in both the criminal case and a civil case brought against him by Frost's mother, Rebecca Kemp of Putney.
Sleigh referred to a section of Vermont law that deals with the sealing of records in declining to comment.
According to the law he cited, "prior to the person attaining the age of majority, the files and records of the court applicable to the proceeding shall be sealed immediately if the case is dismissed."
According to the one public document concerning the latest legal development in the Ielpi case, Treadwell had ordered a new pre-sentence investigation report back in June, after Sleigh had raised objections to it.
"The report shall not contain or rely on information from sealed or confidential proceedings," Treadwell wrote on June 6. He gave Department of Corrections officials 75 days to complete the new report.
He also ordered that both defense and prosecution should return all copies of the earlier report to the court for sealing.
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