Labrie's Attorneys Give Mixed Reviews on Defense Performance at Trial

Feb 22, 2017

Owen Labrie’s legal team gave conflicting viewpoints Wednesday on how they represented Labrie during his 2015 trial for sexual assault.

The St. Paul’s graduate is currently asking for a new trial on the basis that he had ineffective counsel. 

Labrie’s local counsel and appellate lawyer, Jaye Rancourt, went on in detail about how she and the rest of the trial defense team “failed” Labrie.

While on the stand, Rancourt said looking back she wished she stepped in and stopped the trial - citing a lack of prep work as well as zero effort to defend against one of the felony charges.  

“No question I should have come into this courtroom and told your Honor, ‘there’s a huge problem and the trial should not go on,’ no question," Rancourt said in court. "I’m admitting my failure – that is my failure, I own it one hundred percent. That is what I should have done but that is not what I did.”

Labrie's local counsel, Jaye Rancourt, was being questioned Wednesday on her duties to step in if she felt the defense was not doing it's job. She then responded with a slight smirk, "I guess that shows ineffective counsel."
Credit Geoff Forrester/The Concord Monitor/POOL

The state accused Rancourt, who's representing Labrie in his appeal to the New Hampshire Supreme Court, for profiting from this position as he's still her client. 

But when asked by Labrie's current attorney Robin Melone about this, she said Labrie doesn't have the funds to pay her if he does get a new trial. She then went on to say that admitting her shortcomings does more harm to her than good as it hurts her reputation as a lawyer.

Meanwhile Sam Zaganjori, who was the co-counsel during trial, said he thought Labrie’s legal representation was robust. 

“I believe we gave him a very strong defense - we certainly worked really hard," Zaganjori testified Wednesday. "Obviously when the client is convicted of any charges you second guess yourself but I do believe we gave him a very strong defense.”

Labrie’s lead counsel, well-known Boston attorney J.W. Carney, is expected to testify Thursday. Labrie, 21, is currently out on bail while he appeals his one year sentence for having sex with a minor and then freshman girl while a senior at St. Paul's School in Concord.