Judge allows Greenfield man accused of sexual assault to remove GPS

Staff Writer
Published: 6/11/2021 7:09:56 PM

GREENFIELD — A Greenfield man accused of sexually assaulting a minor was granted his request to remove his electronic monitoring device on Friday.

The attorney for Leonid Khotin, 36, had filed a motion in Franklin County Superior Court to amend the conditions of his release to state that he no longer needs to wear the device. Khotin faces five counts of indecent assault and battery on a child under 14 and three counts of aggravated rape of a child. Both of these charges are felonies.

Paul Rudof, who is representing Khotin, appeared before Judge Richard Carey on Friday to explain the rationale behind the motion. He cited the 2020 state Supreme Judicial Court decision Commonwealth v. Norman, which he said governs when GPS monitoring is legal as a condition of pretrial release. The court concluded that affixing a GPS device is, for constitutional purposes, a search.

“There are always certain goals that a GPS is permitted to serve in these circumstances, and addressing any alleged dangerousness or deterring future criminal conduct are not permissible goals for affixing a GPS as a pretrial condition of release,” Rudof told Carey, adding that it is the government’s burden to prove GPS is necessary to ensure a defendant’s return to court, to safeguard the integrity of the judicial process or to protect witnesses from intimidation.

Carey and Khotin participated in the hearing remotely.

Rudof said Khotin has been on a GPS device since his release on Oct. 31, 2019, after appearing in Greenfield District Court. He was arraigned in Superior Court in May 2020.

“And he has not only complied with those conditions, but I have to say in my 21 years of practice, I’m not sure I’ve ever had a client who is more almost anxious about ensuring his compliance with every condition of his release,” Rudof said. “He calls me or texts me every time there is any concern on his part about an issue of pretrial release. And this has happened several times and I’ve been in communication with (Assistant District Attorney Frederic) Bartmon in virtually every one of these times.”

Rudof said most issues are related to the device’s technology. He explained the signal is occasionally lost when Khotin, who lives and works in Greenfield, drives the short distance from his home to his place of employment. This sometimes results in the professionals remotely monitoring the GPS to contact his probation officer, even though Khotin has not removed the device.

Khotin has had to resort to arriving at work early and calling the GPS professionals, who reset the device to pick up the signal in his workplace’s parking lot.

“It’s not just an inconvenience, though it is that,” Rudof said. “He’s also concerned about what people might think about him sitting in a parking lot, seeing him on his phone.”

Assistant District Attorney Frederic Bartmon, who is prosecuting the case for the state, opposed the motion to remove Khotin’s electronic monitoring device. He explained Khotin is a Russian native and could potentially return to his homeland. He said though the defendant has lived in the United States for a “considerable amount of time, it is not absolute.”

Bartmon argued the GPS device provides peace of mind to the alleged victim. He also mentioned that Commonwealth v. Norman was a drug case.

A hearing on a motion to suppress filed by the defense is scheduled for Aug. 25.

Reach Domenic Poli at: dpoli@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 262.

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