Judge says charges won’t stand as kidnapping case is tested before another court

NORWICH – A man accused of assault and kidnapping appeared in Chenango County Court Monday to challenge the evidence against him after a previous decision by Supreme Court Justice Kevin M. Dowd said the charges should be dropped or reduced.

On April 8, a grand jury indicted 31-year-old Andrew Jason Waterman for second degree kidnapping, a B class felony, second degree assault, a class D felony, and endangering the welfare of a child, a misdemeanor.

In September, Waterman’s Defense Attorney Paul Tompkins asked Judge Dowd to review the transcripts of the grand jury’s indictment because he believed the accounts contained insufficient evidence to merit the severity of the charges.

In a decision issued Oct. 1, Dowd said the grand jury information technically allowed the charges of assault and kidnapping, but he also said the charges should be dropped or reduced, citing other case law.

Dowd cited the “Merger Doctrine,” which forbids defendants from being charged with kidnapping when it’s clear they intend another crime and keeps prosecutors from exposing defendants to heavier penalties for the sake of securing a conviction.

“When viewed in light of the long standing merger doctrine, it is difficult to see how the first and second counts could withstand a motion to dismiss at the end of the people’s case, should the matter go to trial,” Dowd stated in the decision.

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