Judge: No new trial for Briggs

LEWISTOWN – A man convicted of two counts of vehicular homicide won’t be receiving a new trial any time soon, if at all.

The defense attorney representing Carl D. Briggs, 44, who is currently serving a 6-to-12 year sentence at the State Correctional Institution in Pittsburgh, filed a post-sentencing motion with the court requesting a new trial on the grounds his client’s constitutional rights may have been violated.

In a recent ruling issued by Senior Judge Rick Williams, the court rejected that argument and found the evidence presented at trial was sufficient to sustain the conviction.

Following a three-day jury trial in September 2013, Briggs was convicted on two counts of vehicular homicide while driving under the influence in addition to two counts each of vehicular homicide and involuntary manslaughter, as well as one count of driving under the influence-general impairment. Briggs was found not guilty of two counts DUI, which had to do with his alleged specific blood-alcohol content at the time of the accident. Charges of aggravated assault while DUI were withdrawn by the prosecution.

Briggs was on trial for the deaths of 64-year-old Bruce E. Kauffman and 63-year-old Judy K. Kauffman, whom he fatally struck with his SUV while they were riding their motorcycle at 4:40 p.m. on Oct. 8, 2011, on U.S. 522/22 near McVeytown.

Defense attorney Joseph Amendola cited a ruling by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Oct. 30, 2013 as part his post-sentencing motion for his client.

Amendola requested a portion of the trial transcript pertaining to the testimony of Brian Seay, a representative with Quest Diagnostics.

During the trial, Amendola objected to the testimony of Seay, because he was not directly involved in the analysis of his client’s blood test at Quest, which is the premise of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court case in Commonwealth v. Yohe.

Amendola stated in his post-sentencing motion that his client has a right to confrontation under the Sixth Amendment, specifically, the right to confront the person or persons involved in the analysis of Briggs’ blood. As a result, Amendola requested the court grant a new trial.

It was not immediately clear if Amendola plans to file an appeal with the Pennsylvania Superior Court.