Former Meriden cop seeks home confinement instead of jail
Published: September 18, 2013 | Last Modified: September 19, 2013 02:20PM
MERIDEN — Former police officer Evan Cossette is asking for home confinement, community service and probation instead of jail time when he’s sentenced Monday, according to documents filed this week in U.S. District Court.
Cossette, the son of Police Chief Jeffry Cossette, was indicted in November on charges of using excessive force during the arrest of Pedro Temich and falsifying a report on the incident. The incident was caught on a surveillance video that proved the most damning evidence against Cossette. A jury convicted him on both charges in June.
U.S. District Court Judge Janet Arterton denied Cossette’s request for an acquittal Wednesday. Based on Cossette’s offenses and no criminal history, federal sentencing guidelines suggest a sentence of between 27 and 33 months and fines from $6,000 to $60,000. The guidelines are not mandatory but represent a factor the district court must consider in imposing a reasonable sentence, according to court documents.
In a pre-sentencing memorandum, Cossette’s attorney, Raymond Hassett, described Cossette as a “well-liked profoundly caring and giving young man, who was remarkably dedicated to his family, friends, community and his young career as a police officer.” Hassett described numerous letters written on his behalf whose writers point to Cossette’s involvement in community outreach since an early age.
“The split-second decision that he made on May 1, 2010 does not define Mr. Cossette’s life,” Hassett wrote. “The two-second video clip from inside the (Meriden Police Department) does not erase the 26 years of good that Evan Cossette has represented.”
Hassett states that no incarceration is necessary to protect the public from Cossette — he resigned from the police force the day after his conviction — and he is not in need of treatment or medical care.
“Given Mr. Cossette’s family upbringing, education and prior criminal history, it is extremely unlikely that Mr. Cossette will engage in future criminal activity and thus the interest in protecting the public from such conduct is non existent,” Hassett wrote. “For these reasons, the defendant submits that incarceration, for the purposes of protecting the public from further crimes, is unnecessary.”
U.S. attorneys, while acknowledging the 27 to 33 month guideline as acceptable, reminded the court in Wednesday’s filing that the jury rejected the defendant’s sworn police report as well as his testimony under oath in open court.
“This case is about more than Evan Cossette,” wrote Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul H. McConnell. “It is also about Pedro Temich, who was the victim of Officer Cossette’s excessive force. It is about a police officer’s oath.”
McConnell is asking the court to consider a criminal defendant’s false testimony at trial when imposing an appropriate sentence, and states that Cossette willfully and materially committed perjury. He states that “a police officer’s official status gives him credibility and creates a far greater potential for harm than exists when the average citizen testifies.”
“Officer Cossette’s rejected testimony and his mendacity critically reflect his character and his need for rehabilitation,” McConnell states. “In light of the influential effect that Officer Cossette’s rejected testimony and his mendacity has on the offense in the case at bar, the United States respectfully requests this court to consider them in imposing a just and appropriate sentence. The defendant’s identity as a police officer was used as a shield and a sword against the rule of law.”
Cossette will be sentenced in U.S. District Court in New Haven at 9 a.m. Monday.