Transcript for Court Ordered to Revisit Sentence of Prep School Student Convicted of Sexual Assault
Thank you. We move on now to a possible new chance of freedom for Owen Labrie. The judge has now been ordered to revisit Labrie's sentence and ABC's gio Benitez is in new Hampshire with the details. Good morning, gio. Reporter: George, good morning to you. Owen Labrie right now is inside the jail behind me but if the state supreme court has its way he won't be there for long. Owen Labrie convicted of misdemeanor sexual assault against a 15-year-old girl while both were students at the prestigious saints Paul's prep school in New Hampshire. I was raped. Reporter: In March after curfew violations a judge ruled Labrie had to begin serving the one-year sentence he was appealing. Throwing him behind bars, that's exactly what the state supreme court wants the judge to revisit. Labrie has spent nearly two months in a New Hampshire jail. The once Harvard bound student recently moved to the general jail population after spending several weeks in solitary confinement That's an adjustment for him, but he's doing the best he can. Reporter: And now newly revealed court documents show that during the trial, Owen Labrie's defense team argued he was unfairly singled out alleging his roommate who took the stand against Labrie -- I can't recall specifically -- Reporter: Also engaged in the senior salute where graduating students use the last few days of school to spend time with younger students. He was with a different underclass girl but he was never prosecuted. The judge not allowing those claims to be heard by the jury. That roommate's attorney telling ABC news overnight these unfounded and untruthful allegations appear to be part of the defendant's ongoing and desperate trial strategy. Anas for Owen Labrie, the tough talking trial judge doesn't have to release him. These are only recommendations by the state supreme court. It's entirely up to him, George. Okay, gio, thanks. Dan Abrams, gio makes the point these are only recommendations but it is the supreme court. It is so interesting. The court is sort of giving a wink and nod to the lower court and saying we're not telling you what to do but here's what we think you should do. And the court is basically saying two thing, number one, is that we think that you can create conditions of bail that will work. Remember, bail is not intended to be punishment. It's intended to make sure he shows up. The supreme court is saying we think you can figure that out. Number two and most interestingly, the court is sort of hinting we might even give him a new trial on these charges. They called it a nonfrivolous issue, this issue of not being able to cross-examine the roommate about this question. That's about as much of a hint as a high court can give to a lower court that we may overturn this. This is a nonfrivolous issue. In conjunction with the bail issue we're telling you, please reconsider although we're not telling you what to do. How would that play out say if the cross-examination were allowed. So they would get a new trial. And then they'd be able to cross-examine his roommate about his own actions because really the claim is he did something just like what Labrie is accused of. And they want to be able to undermine that roommate's credibility by asking him about this. The supreme court is basically saying, hmm, kind of surprised that the trial court didn't let that in, big deal. Any consequences for the judge if he just ignores the supreme court's recommendations. Nope, it wouldn't be ignored because the court specifically said, it's at your discretion so this is really now entirely in the trial court's hands to decide does he get released. Remember, one of the key questions is, will he sit in jail throughout the course of his appeal? And the court is basically saying, look, we're talking about a 12-month sentence if you don't let him out now he may serve his entire time pending appeal which is another concern of the supreme court. Dan Abrams, thanks very much.
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