July 21st, 2014 | City

Stratton still uncharged

More than a month after police say he assaulted his girlfriend and disturbed the public peace, Mike Stratton, trial lawyer and former New Haven alder, remains uncharged and at large.

Stratton said last weekend he planned to turn himself in on charges of assault in the third degree and breach of peace in the second degree, accusations that he described as “bogus.” An arrest warrant was issued for Stratton at the beginning of July, but has yet to be served.

Stratton said Sunday he has changed his mind and will refrain from turning himself in until he has a chance to investigate a malicious prosecution case against authorities he believes have targeted him for standing up to the politically powerful in the city. He said is consulting Norm Pattis, a trial lawyer based in Bethany, to help him decide if his case has legs. 

“Just to investigate it,” Stratton said. “I may decide not to even if [the case is] meritorious.”

He added that he will be out of town for an unspecified amount of time, and will consider turning himself in when he returns.

The arrest warrant stems from a June 13 incident in which Stratton called police to his apartment, claiming his girlfriend, Courtney Darlington, had beaten him. Darlington, 20, was arrested on the scene and charged. Stratton was not charged at the time, but a subsequent investigation, based primarily on a review of video surveillance tapes, found that he had also assaulted Darlington, according to authorities. Stratton adamantly denies that he hit Darlington, with whom he said he has remained in contact. Darlington told media the day of the incident that Stratton had not assaulted her.

New Haven Police Department Spokesman David Hartman said the police investigation into the incident is closed, adding that he “cannot imagine why you think this is newsworthy.” He said he imagines Stratton will at some point be arrested, but that, because the charges are misdemeanors, officers are in no hurry to locate him.

In Pattis’ view, the fact that police returned to the case after not charging Stratton indicates that “somebody’s out to get him.” 

“It certainly looks suspicious from afar,” he added. “To go back and get another warrant for a simple case like this is highly unusual. Should the state be serious about prosecuting, Mr. Stratton has excellent prospects.”

Police have defended the investigation as standard operating procedure. NHPD Assistant Chief Archie Generoso said following the issuance of the warrant that police on the scene could not have known what subsequent evidence revealed about Stratton’s behavior.

Stratton resigned from his seat on the Board of Alders on June 23.