A murder charge in the death of Charlie Tan's father was dismissed by a judge
ROCHESTER — Charles Tan's attorney says an appeal launched by the Monroe County District Attorney's Office in his murder case is surprising and calls it a long shot.
"Now we're put in a position that we have to respond to their brief," said Brian DeCarolis, Tan's attorney. "You can't just let it sit there, you have to address it."
Tan was charged with murder and tried in the death of his father, Jim Tan — CEO of Canandaigua-based firm Dynamax Imaging — at their Pittsford home. Judge James Piampiano dismissed the charge following a mistrial last year, claiming there was insufficient evidence — which is what the district attorney's office is appealing.
"I know if they get past the appealability, they will see all those facts so clearly show that the decision was an error," said Assistant District Attorney Kelly Wolford.
DeCarolis said he and Tan thought the case was over and done with.
"Certainly, when the DA gives some indication that this case is dead, you think this case is dead and over with — but apparently not," DeCarolis said, referring to comments made by Monroe County District Attorney Sandra Dooley "after the dismissal in November and then on national TV."
Six months after Tan's trial, Doorley appeared on NBC's "Dateline" implying the case had reached its final resolution.
"There's no appeal as of right from this trial order of dismissal because there had not been a verdict by the jury," Doorley said at the time.
Ultimately, the appellate court will decide if the case can be appealed and whether or not there can be a new trial, but that'll take months. Retired state Appellate Court Judge Joseph Valentino tsaid arguments likely won't happen until next year.
"This particular case will be assigned to a panel of five," Valentino said. "Those five judges will review the briefs, they'll study the law and make notes and then they'll hear oral arguments."
So what does Charles Tan think about the appeal?
"He was disappointed, understandably so," said DeCarolis. "It's been nine-plus months since he's been in a courtroom for this case and you get to a certain point where you think something is behind you, and now he's got to deal with this again."
At trial, the defense contended that Jim Tan was abusive to his wife and son, while the prosecution contended that Charlie Tan returned home from college with a shotgun to kill his father. There was also a question at trial of the timing of the killing, as to whether or not it was in response to an immediate threat.