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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Nashua residents to spend time in jail after lying to court, lawyers about arrest

NASHUA – Two Nashua residents learned the hard way that lying in court can come back to bite you.

Candido Vazquez-Matos, 20, and Kerrie Fisette, 19, both avoided jail time after being found guilty for selling drugs to undercover Nashua police officers in December 2012. At their respective sentencing hearings earlier this year, their attorneys told Hillsborough County Superior Court Judge Jacalyn Colburn their clients were getting clean, staying out of trouble and not seeing each other – all of which was required by their bail conditions. ...

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NASHUA – Two Nashua residents learned the hard way that lying in court can come back to bite you.

Candido Vazquez-Matos, 20, and Kerrie Fisette, 19, both avoided jail time after being found guilty for selling drugs to undercover Nashua police officers in December 2012. At their respective sentencing hearings earlier this year, their attorneys told Hillsborough County Superior Court Judge Jacalyn Colburn their clients were getting clean, staying out of trouble and not seeing each other – all of which was required by their bail conditions.

Prosecutors asked Colburn to impose jail sentences following the trials. On Monday, Colburn said she didn’t impose jail terms due in large part to their relative youth, the fact that they’re crimes were driven by addiction and, she thought, their efforts to rehabilitate themselves.

But it was revealed Monday that at Fisette’s Jan. 30, sentencing hearing and at Vazquez-Matos’s trial in April, both neglected to tell their lawyers or Colburn they had been arrested together in the parking lot of a Lawrence, Mass., McDonald’s on Jan. 10. An undercover Lawrence police detective testified about the arrests Monday and said police found what they believed to be drugs in the car, though they were never tested at a crime lab.

Assistant Hillsborough County Attorney Karinne Brobst said Monday she expects drug addicts to relapse but that lying cannot be tolerated.

“My problem is the lying more than the arrest,” she said. “From the state’s perspective, there has to be a sanction.”

Colburn found Vazquez-Matos and Fisette in contempt and sentenced them each to three days in jail, but not before giving them a piece of her mind.

“I’m really disappointed in both of you,” Colburn said. “I’m disappointed in the lying, and I’m disappointed you took advantage of your lawyers … and really thumbed your noses at this court.”

Colburn said she’s learned from training sessions for the soon-to-open drug court docket that research proves that quick and sure sanctions – rather than harsh penalties – are more likely to have an impact on drug court defendants who relapse, lie or otherwise violate the terms of their bail.

“I don’t want to lock you up. This is a sad day for me. I never wanted to lock you up, and the fact that you’ve forced my hand is disappointing,” she said. “I can put up with a lot of things, but I will not put up with dishonesty.”

Vazquez-Matos and Fisette apologized to Colburn and their attorneys, public defender Steve Rosecan and Don Topham, respectively.

“It was really stupid, and it was very not responsible,” Fisette said.

Joseph G. Cote can be reached at 594-6415 or jcote@nashuatelegraph.com. Also, follow Cote on Twitter (@Telegraph_JoeC).