CHELSEA --- Retired Salisbury police chief David L'Esperance walked out of Courtroom 5 at Chelsea District Court a free man at 1 p.m. today, after being found not-guilty of all the charges brought against him by the police department he led for four years.
Chelsea District Court Judge Benjamin Barnes took less than an hour to make his decisions on the six theft charges L'Esperance faced, which included five felonies,three of which related to the alleged theft of motor vehicles during his tenure as chief. The one and a half day trial brought a number of Salisbury town officials to testify, including Town Manager Neil Harrington, Fire Chief Rick Souliotis and two of Salisbury's police officers.
The case was tried in Suffolk County's Chelsea District Court after it was transferred out of Essex County to avoid any conflict of interest, since L'Esperance was a police chief in the country for more than 20 years.
Suffolk County Special Prosecutor Benjamin Goldberger said felt the evidence he presented sustained the charges, but knew from the start it would be a difficult case to prosecute. Goldberger added he respects Barnes decision.
L'Esperance's attorney, Gerard Laflamme, Jr., praised Goldberger's professionalism during the preparation and trial, but said he's glad the ordeal is over.
"I'm very happy for Dave L'Esperance, he can finally get on with his life," Laflamme said.
Relief showed on L'Esperance's face as he left the courtroom, although he refused to make a comment. Fifty-one years old and an attorney, L'Esperance could have lost both his license to practice law and his police pension if he'd been convicted on any of the felonies.