The defense team for Barbara Sheehan returned to court on Tuesday, this time appearing before the new judge in the case, Justice Richard Buchter. Following the departure from the case of Justice Arthur Cooperman, defense attorney Michael Dowd seemed more optimistic about his client facing trial presided over by Buchter.
“I feel that with Judge Buchter she [Barbara] will get a fair trial. He’s a reasonable man and I know he will keep an open mind.” Although it is unlikely, Dowd is still hopeful that Butcher will overturn a decision by Cooperman which prohibits the introduction of expert testimony as part of Sheehan’s defense.
The controversial decision was made by Cooperman in November, two months before he officially resigned from the bench at the end of the year. Attorneys for Sheehan say their case was derailed by Cooperman’s decision to exclude testimony from psychologists in the field of domestic violence; and that it will be very difficult to present an accurate picture of the situation to the jury without the benefit of expert testimony.
Sheehan is scheduled to return to court on February 24. She faces murder charges in the 2008 shooting death of her husband, Raymond. No date has yet been set for trial.