DEPOSIT, NY (WIVT/WBGH) — There is an update in the Scott Mawhiney case. After an appeal from Mawhiney’s defense, the Appellate Division of the State of New York has ordered a new trial.

Mawhiney was sentenced 30 years to life in prison in February of 2022 for shooting New York State Trooper Ryan Thorp eight months earlier while under the influence of alcohol and the prescription drug clonazepam. Clonazepam is taken to control panic attacks and certain types of seizures, but when mixed with alcohol can enhance intoxication levels exponentially.

After being charged with a nine-count indictment including attempted murder (meaning he acted with the intent to kill), Mawhiney had given notice during the pre-trial process that he intended to present medical testimony from a psychiatrist who would contradict the indictment by confirming Mawhiney couldn’t form the intent to cause death in the condition he was in.

However, the People moved to exclude the testimony and was granted by County Court because “the issue of defendant’s intoxication and the impact it had on his thinking and behavior was a matter within the average juror’s understanding and did not require expert
knowledge,” according to court documents obtained by NewsChannel34.

Mawhiney argued that the County Court “abused its discretion” in withholding the psychiatrists testimony which could provide context for his intent or lack-thereof. The Supreme Court Justices of Appellate Division agreed with Mawhiney.

Therefore, the court has ordered that the judgement be reversed, and The People v Scott Mawhiney be sent back for a new trial.