LOWVILLE — A jury of 10 men and two women selected earlier in the day heard opening arguments in the sex-crimes trial of Michael F. Daskiewich, with both sides of the case imploring them to use their “common sense.”
Mr. Daskiewich, 57, Port Leyden, sitting next to his attorney Kevin J. Dwyer, faced forward for the entirety of the Monday’s proceeding, including during the extensive directives given by presiding Judge Daniel R. King to the jury before the arguments began.
Onondaga County Assistant District Attorney Caleb J. Petzoldt, trying the case on behalf of Lewis County District Attorney Leanne K. Moser, and Mr. Dwyer said in their opening arguments that a “common sense” analysis would prove their position of guilt or innocence in this case.
“Well, I, I don’t know. I was drinking. I guess you guys didn’t see me drinking. I apologize. I’ve been [messed] up all day, too. I apologize.”
Mr. Petzholdt alleged Mr. Daskiewich said those words to the 15-year-old boy he is accused of sexually assaulting the day after that assault took place.
The alleged victim, who is now 16, was with a friend on Oct. 20, 2018, when the two ran into Mr. Daskiewich, who invited them over to his place, offering to buy them alcohol, Mr. Petzholdt said the evidence would show.
He said it would also show that Mr. Daskiewich orchestrated getting the victim alone in his bedroom after the victim had vomited from drinking, ensured the other boy was asleep, and then forced the victim into “multiple, forcible, non-consensual [sex] acts” including both giving and receiving oral sex.
Mr. Petzodt told the jury the incident ended when Mr. Daskiewich told the victim “this could be our secret.”
He urged the jurors to pay attention to the details of the testimony and the evidence and to use their common sense.
“Justice is common sense put into practice,” Mr. Petzoldt said.
Likewise, Mr. Dwyer reminded jurors to use their common sense quoting, “Believe nothing... unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.”
He said he expected the jurors to have many doubts throughout the proceedings and asked them to carefully consider the details, especially around some key points: intoxication, the flow and believability of the story being offered by the prosecution, and corroboration of witnesses’ testimony, ensuring that other evidence and testimony backs them up.
He frequently referred to himself as a “broken record” for asking the jurors to use their “common sense” when considering the details of the case.
Mr. Dwyer urged the jurors to empathize not just with the victim but with the defendant and consider if there is enough evidence to convict a family member of their own, before asking jurors to make their decision, “not out of emotion but out of an evaluation of the evidence.”
Judge King had emphasized the importance of ensuring the evidence supported guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt,” and Mr. Dwyer followed suit, adding “common sense” into the mix.
Mr. Daskiewich was indicted by a Lewis County grand jury for two counts of felony first-degree criminal sex act, two counts of felony third-degree criminal sex act, first-degree sexual abuse, one count of misdemeanor endangering the welfare of a child and two counts of misdemeanor unlawfully dealing with a child.