Charges dismissed against stuntwoman

Judge allows motion to suppress evidence; Longino’s license will be restored.

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Martin "Skip" Tomassian successfully argued that charges should be dismissed against his client.

Hollywood stuntwoman Kim Washington Longino will have her driver’s license restored. An OUI charge brought by Tisbury Police has been dismissed by Edgartown District Court Judge Benjamin Barnes. The dismissal came after Barnes allowed a motion by Longino’s attorney, Martin (“Skip”) Tomassian, to suppress evidence. Tomassian moved to suppress all evidence from a stop of Longino’s vehicle Tisbury Police made on July 24, 2020, at just after midnight. 

“They had no reason to stop her,” Tomassian told The Times Monday. 

In an affidavit filed with the court, Longino also said Tisbury Police had no reason to stop her: “I believe I was stopped without probable cause or reasonable suspicion, and that the officer did not have grounds to stop and seize either me or my vehicle.”

Tomassian’s motion echoed his client’s statement. The motion stated there was no probable cause, no warrant, “no exigent circumstances,” among other reasons for suppression. 

In a February proceeding, Tomassian characterized the stop made by Tisbury Police Officer Nick Sidoti as based on a “hunch at best,” or because he was “fishing at most.”

In cross-examination at that proceeding, Tomassian pressed Sidoti on whether he observed Longino commit a motor vehicle infraction. Sidoti was provided a copy of his police report to review. Tomassian asked Sidoti if he’d written that he hadn’t witnessed any motor vehicle infractions. Sidoti didn’t quite agree with the way Tomassian stated the question, but he nonetheless read a passage from his report that aligned with not observing any motor vehicle infractions. 

Barnes granted the motion to dismiss on April 16; however, Longino was getting the “runaround by the Registry of Motor Vehicles,” Tomassian said during a court appearance Friday. Longino had previously declined to take a breathalyzer test, and the automatic suspension that comes with that was up in January, Tomassian told the court. Tomassian told the court he had filed a motion to make sure Longino’s license was restored. Later on Friday, Barnes ordered Longino’s driver’s license restored. In April, Judge Barnes also dismissed a subsequent and related charge of operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license. The charge stemmed from an incident on July 26, 2020, when Officer Sidoti, while heading to the station, allegedly saw Longino driving after her license had been suspended. 

Reached on Monday, Longino said she was glad the court was able to weigh all the evidence available, and she thanked Tomassian for his skill as an attorney. 

25 COMMENTS

  1. More evidence that Chief Saloio’s reign in Tisbury needs to come to an end. The lawless culture encouraged by his negligence was wisely remedied, after the fact by Judge Barnes.
    That the Tisbury police are allowed to roam the streets, randomly pulling citizens over on a “hunch”, “fishing expedition” , taking their freedoms away, is shocking.
    This would in certain circumstances enliven a civil rights lawsuit against the perpetrators.
    But then again, the Tisbury Police wouldn’t know anything about lawsuits against their lawless actions, would they?

      • We’re sorry to see you were treated so poorly on our island!

        Sidoti isn’t even close to being the worst of them. The pressure to produce bs arrests & survive attrition at the bloated Tisbury Police Department to appease leadership (is that Chief Saloio? Or someone else?) must be overwhelming.

        But it’s not like they have quotas, or anything.
        That would be UNCONSTITUTIONAL!!

        Please understand that the local police do not represent our community, and give us another chance on a future visit.

        Glad you beat this bad bust!

      • Kim– nice that you got off.
        Nice to have money and privilege.
        But let me ask you directly– were you over the limit ?

        • I have a great idea, lets look at the testimony, evidence and records in this case and see what we can conclude.
          With a significant volume of Constitutional law, Criminal Codes, Rules of Evidence, brought into this case, the records reflect at all times Kim Longino was in compliance.
          The allowance of Longino’s suppression motion confirms this fact.
          Now lets look at Sidoti’s actions.
          Compliance with Constitutional law? No.
          Compliance with Criminal Code? No.
          We only have Rules of Evidence left, compliance there? No.
          I would sooner place my trust in Longino to protect my Constitutional rights than I would Sidoti.

        • Don
          There was no privilege honored here. I do not have lots of money. This case was just what was stated a random stop that was made into something it was not. There was no reason to stop me.

          • K– No one is disputing the fact that you shouldn’t have been stopped. Including me. I had a van painted like a flag in the early 70’s. At the time that was probable cause, and I was searched on an almost daily basis. Over the years, organizations like the ACLU fought legal battles to protect the rights of citizens from things like what happened to you. However, the “other side” has managed to erode our liberties with such things as “stop and frisk” “no knock warrants” mandatory drug testing in some situations and in your case, making it a crime to not incriminate yourself by blowing into a breathalyzer. I commend you for taking that stand– but it came with consequences.
            I knew my comment to you would be met with negative comments. My intent was to move the conversation to a wider narrative. It hasn’t quite done that. You may not have a lot of money, but you did not have a public defender–my use of the word “privilege” may have been a bit too far ,and for that i will apologize.
            But many people in your situation could never fathom hiring a real lawyer. Perhaps your case will help move the dial in what I consider the right direction by making the police more aware of the rights of the people and the limits to their authority, as well as the plight of the poor who are falsely accused.

      • So thrilled for KLongino! So many policemen need further training all over this country! May this be a lesson learned for this officer! Think first. Judge NEVER! If you have another agenda- keep it in your head- facts always prevail!! dbardouille/ OB

    • Mr Kozak, our freedoms have been taken away for more than one year now why are you so upset on the probable cause violation? I agree with you she should not have been pulled over but I get stopped for not wearing a mask even when vaccinated. Fauciism is alive and well and now he says we are in the bottom of the 6th inning. Mr Keller above likes the judicial concept of probable cause but then he doesnt by asking Kim if she really did violate something.

      • Andrew, I get “upset” at Constitutional violations by the Tisbury police, which judging by public comments on this story, are undisputed and well established among a wide number of citizens here.
        As to whether Longino violated anything at all, is irrelevant either way.
        Under the Due Process Amendments this evidence or lack thereof, could not be admissible.
        Sidoti blew it, Saloio has done nothing in his years here to discourage it.
        We should just be grateful the Tisbury police didn’t carry their lawless actions any further than they did.
        As to “Fauciism” and mask wearing mandates, they are rooted in established law, something the TPD could learn from.
        And lastly, I give credit to the MV Times for devoting this space for such an important Constitutional issue.

        • Mr Kodak there is no established law on mask wearing. Private entities can refuse service but there is no law. I walked up to a bank teller with my mask on and was confronted by security. I took off my mask and all was well.

      • No one gets stopped by police while driving without a mask. It simply does not happen here on earth. Which particular freedom of yours has been taken away? People have a right to be protected from reckless, careless, and selfish behavior that has been proven to spread a deadly disease. Wearing a mask is hardly an imposition compared to killing someone with your germs. How do we know you’ve been vaccinated? People lie about all kinds of things, especially when it comes to science. Some gullible people listened to Trump instead of Fauci, and after more than 560,000 deaths, that proved to show who’s rights (to life) were taken away by a lying, disgraced, twice impeached, one-term idiot.

        • Ms Diez. Our government has taken away our freedoms for more than one year and continues to do so while our risk of dying is minuscule particularly if one is reasonably healthy. I know you don’t want anyone to die and blame Trump when one does but most of us want to get on with our lives. Wearing a mask saves no one but you can believe the folly if you wish.

          • Exactly what freedom has “our government” deprived you of for one year? You failed to answer the first time I asked, so I’m asking again. Since Biden has been in charge of “our government” for less than 4 months, you therefore must blame the insurrection-inciter for your imagined loss of freedom. Of all the bragging you’ve done on here— including traveling to mask-free, large gatherings during the worst of it— I will wait with bated breath to hear any and all paranoid delusions about loss of freedoms. Did our government stop anyone from praying to their god? Did our government put a muzzle on anyone to stop the voicing of covid lies? Our government did indeed try to stop the peaceful transition of power when our government in charge incited the January 6th insurrection, but that does not explain what freedoms you imagine you’ve personally lost. Can you not function in public if you’re wearing a mask?

            There is a small chance that vaccinated people can still spread covid, so why would any decent person risk hurting a vulnerable non vaccinated person? If your Jesus is all you say, wouldn’t you think he would encourage mask wearing? You may not have been worried about dying before vaccines came out, but many of the now dead wrongly felt they had little risk as well. Do you think Herman Cain wishes he’d worn the damn mask to the rallies and not died?

            To be clear, here in Massachusetts, it is no longer necessary to wear a mask outdoors. You’re in Florida, so you don’t know. Common sense tells normal people who care about others that in public situations where you inhale breath from others, just put the damn mask on and be quiet about it. It is folly to continue to lie about masks.

            It’s always baffling to me how a grown person will believe a proven liar and cheat, but will disregard the science of an experienced expert like Fauci on the matter of covid.

      • Andy, I had three doctor’s appointments today. Everyone in the building was masked. I am 6 weeks into my second vaccine shot. All three of my doctors recommended that I continue to wear a mask until the area is all code White. The vaccines are ~90 effective. Are my doctors all fools?

        Speaking of blaming Trump:
        April 10 2020.
        Trump: There could be 55,000 to 75,000 deaths
        “Hard to believe that if you had 60,000 — you could never be happy, but that’s a lot fewer than we were originally told and thinking. So they said between 100- and 220,000 lives on the minimum side, and then up to 2.2 million lives if we didn’t do anything. But it showed a just tremendous resolve by the people of this country. So we’ll see what it ends up being, but it looks like we’re headed to a number substantially below the 100,000.”
        Trump purposely misled the American people.
        Trump is a liar, that, or an ignoramus.
        Stupid liars are not good candidates for reelection.

  2. This has been a longtime problem with Tisbury police stopping people leaving Oak Bluffs heading into Tisbury. I’m so proud that you (Kym) stood your ground and you and your attorney proved that the Tisbury Police Officer had no probable cause to stop you. I do believe that they (Police regardless of towns) do have quotas to fill. What else do they really have to do on the island other than responding to the occasional disorderly conduct, domestic violence and breaking up evening gatherings from the summer visitors. Hopefully others will see this article and if faced with the same circumstance will also hold their ground as well.

    • It was a problem in Chilmark as well, until one turkey chasing officer moved to the Tisbury PD and the chief resigned “ to spend more time with family”. Chilmark has cleaned up its act. Why can’t Tisbury?

    • How many year-rounders get anxious driving after dark in February, stone sober, for fear of being stopped by the out-of-control Tisbury Police Department?

      How many lock their cars & houses at night, not for fear of what the Bad Guys will do, but also what the ‘Good Guys’ might?

      The police on this island, especially in Tisbury, are a SERIOUS PROBLEM.

      If Chief Saloio’s contract is renewed, there will need to be political consequences.

    • Police do not need probable cause to stop a vehicle, just reasonable suspicion. The standard to stop a vehicle is very low. Probable cause is needed to make an arrest.

  3. When did protect and serve get replaced by seek and prejudge? I know many Vineyard Haven police officers and many law enforcement officers around the island. And they are all good people. I do not know this officer. But I’m sure with more training he will get the help he needs. Unless the training is as described in the first comment above by mr. Kozak. It’s good to see that Justice prevailed in this case . it’s a shame that Mrs longino had to go through so much just because she was targeted because of her skin color. I have been pulled over more than a hundred times for DWB so I can relate to her situation. Let’s get back to the times when police were there to prevent crimes and not to look or create them. And, the comment by mr. Keller above shows how if you’re not part of the solution then you’re part of the problem.

    • Lance– Nothing in the article states what color her skin is. it also seems that there had been contact between Longino and officer Soditi in the past regarding an incident of driving on a suspended license.
      This was not a random “fishing” expedition, and she was not targeted because of the color of her skin.
      In the early 70’s I had a red, white and blue van with stars and stripes, a ponytail and hippie girls in the front seat.
      I was pulled over and searched nearly every day. I was polite and cooperated. I was never arrested and my van was never impounded.
      Why did the officer ask her to take the breathalyzer test ? Why did she refuse ?
      My understanding is that if you refuse to blow, you get arrested..Period… Your vehicle gets impound.. period. Your license is suspended for 6 months.. period.Those are the laws.
      If she had cooperated with the officer, and blew under the legal limit, she would have went on her merry way , and could have went to the police station the next day and filed a complaint.
      Let’s be real– she chose to be arrested and have her vehicle impounded.
      A good lawyer managed to get things dropped– that’s the way the legal system works.
      She could afford a lawyer– That’s money– that’s privilege.
      That option is not available to everyone.
      I simply asked her if she was over the limit.
      That in no way implies that I condone unwarranted or “unconstitutional” police stops or harassment.

  4. I have been following this case from the beginning. It seems as though its clear that her innocence was proven by the suppression of the case in its entirety. Well done to her attorney. I understand the dynamics of a small island, People are afraid to stand up to the Law for fear of losing and then being a target to the Police in the future. Why would someone think its a privilege to stand up for yourself and you can only do it if you have money. Isn’t your life worth standing up for? If you are not guilty of a crime why would you not fight for your innocence! I also see she was a Black women alone in the night, so She pulled over where it was safe. It was in her right to do so, again for her safety and lets not forget it said she was home. What happen to Protect and Serve the People… Don’t think I want to visit this place.
    Reply

    • Bruce–Over the years, the laws have changed to lower the legal blood to alcohol level.
      Laws were passed to force a person to take the breathalyzer test. It is a crime to refuse.
      I am not saying she was over the limit– i have no way of knowing. But she chose not to prove her innocence when asked by the officer to take the test. By refusing to take the test, she committed a crime. What if she had punched him ? Can you commit any crime you want just because you were illegally stopped ?
      I would like to see that law repealed as a matter of the 5th amendment right to not incriminate yourself, but it currently stands.

  5. “But she chose not to prove get innocence when asked by the officer to take the test.”???
    Are serious? Longino submitted herself to the full strength of the Massachusetts justice system, a 400 year old jurisprudence, it’s Distict Attorney Office, everything it could throw at her , and a single attorney [Tomassian] defeated it.
    I would say Longino is citizen of the year for upholding our legal rights to challenge an unjust system, preventing a miscarriage of justice.
    “Privilege”, by the way is being elected President, then having The Nation’s Lawyer, Attorney General Bill Barr doing your private bidding.
    Someone who earns their own money, risking their life to entertain you, then uses that wage to employ a local resident [Tomassian], is hardly exercising “privilege”.

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