Stobbs' first trial goes in favor of defendant

Steve Gonzalez May 24, 2007, 4:00am

Associate Judge Stephen Stobbs

Nicholas Bramlet, 20, of East Alton was found not guilty on three misdemeanor charges of disorderly conduct, criminal trespass and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon during Madison County Associate Judge Stephen Stobbs first trial on May 22.

Stobbs, a Republican, has served as an associate judge nearly a year. He was elected on a first ballot by the nine circuit judges of the Third Judicial Circuit on June 6, 2005. He recently moved to traffic and misdemeanor court after handling juvenile cases.

Stobbs was not the only rookie in the case. Assistant State's Attorney Jeremy Sackett also participated in his first trial.

The jury returned the not-guilty verdict in about 13 minutes.

Bramlet was accused of knowingly and without legal justification shouting at Lloyd Reid in an unreasonable manner as to alarm and disturb Reid. Bramlet also was accused of threatening Reid with a knife and trespassing on his property on Sept. 21, 2005.

Reid is a convicted felon and during his 10-year probation period for his crime was required to register as a sex offender. Reid and Bramlet were neighbors at one point on California Street in East Alton.

Bramlet was represented by Edwardsville attorney David Fahrenkamp.

Reid and his wife, Rena Reid, signed a written complaint with the Madison County Sheriff's Department prompting the charges.

Reid testified that he saw Bramlet beating his dog so he stepped outside and "in a friendly voice" told him that it was against the law to do that.

Reid said he reached into his pocket to get his cigarettes and lighter and Bramlet then pulled a knife with a 12-inch blade.

But when Fahrenkamp started to call neighbors for witness statements, he said it became clear that Reid may not have been truthful.

Over the years, several neighbors testified that Reid would repeatedly use the "F" word to talk to neighbors when they passed his house.

Another neighbor, a 16-year-old female, testified that she saw Bramlet pull out a cell phone, not a knife. She also testified that Reid would often use foul language to her and her 7-year-old sister as they would get off of the school bus.

As Stobbs read the verdict, Reid left the courtroom stating, "There is no justice anymore."

Fahrenkamp said it was obvious the wrong person was charged with crimes and was pleased with the verdict.

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