Donovan Mais Trial Opens in Rockland

Jury selection is scheduled to begin this afternoon in County Court in New City for the prosecution of Donovan Mais, charged with burglary, attempted robbery, and attempted rape back in 2008.

The two-year delay is attributable to the Rockland District Attorney’s Office successful appeal of Judge Catherine Bartlett’s suppression of Mais’ arrest, statements and other evidence.

The Appellate Division ruled the police arrest was proper and Bartlett was wrong on the law

Then in July, Mais got himself a new lawyer, when the Rockland Public Defender’s Office told Judge William Nelson that it had a conflict. Nelson got the case when Bartlett was sent back to her appointed position as a Court of Claims judge in Orange County.

Mais, 26, was arrested ion Sept. 11, 2008, by Clarkstown police shortly after a woman reported that a man entered her bedroom and tried to pulled away her blankets. She told police he demanded money and told her to take off her clothes. She told the police the man fled with a bar of soap when she screamed.

Mais supposedly told the police several difference stories, including he broke into the house after having some beers with another person and ran when he heard screams. Another story was he was in the neighborhood because he got lost walking home after leaving a bar.

The start of talking to the potential jurors was delayed today until after 3 p.m. today because Nelson attended the funeral of civil rights leader Leonard Cooke, who died last week at 96.

A 12-member jury with alternates could be selected on Wednesday and Thursday, with opening statements on Friday.

Steve Lieberman

Steve Lieberman joined The Journal News as an editor in February 1984 and became a reporter during the spring of 1986. He has covered police, courts and legal issues for more than a decade, after reporting on county, town, village and state governments and general issues. He received more than a dozen state awards for writing and reporting. Born and raised in The Bronx, he has lived in Rockland since 1988.