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PostPosted: Sun Sep 14, 2008 9:57 am 

Joined: Tue Apr 24, 2007 10:57 pm
Posts: 90
A new angle for the new puritans perhaps?

Rape charges dropped against former teacher
By John Wisely and L.L. Brasier • Free Press Staff Writers • August 21, 2008

A former Oak Park kindergarten teacher accused of raping two young boys is a free man today after prosecutors dropped the case against him citing numerous inconsistencies and other factors.

James Perry, 34, of Ferndale, smiled and hugged one of his lawyers, Robyn Frankel, after Oakland County Circuit Judge Denise Langford Morris approved a prosecutor’s motion to drop the case.

The decision to drop happened at a hearing that lasted less than a minute and ended a controversial case that has lasted almost three years. Livingston County Assistant Prosecutor Pamela Maas, who took over the case after Oakland County Prosecutor David Gorcyca was charged with professional misconduct for his handling of the case, asked for the case to be dropped in “the interests of justice.”

“The decision of whether to further pursue prosecution of this case is made in light of the totality of the facts and circumstances,” Maas said in a packed courtroom. “The evidence as it exists after the conclusion of two jury trials indicates that it is not possible to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Maas cited numerous inconsistencies between the testimony of the two children and conflicts between their accounts and those offered by school employees.

Langford Morris, who made the controversial decision to overturn a 2006 guilty verdict against Perry, smiled when Maas asked her to drop the case. Perry’s other lawyer, Mitchell Ribitwer, didn’t object.

“Somehow, I didn’t think you would,” Langford Morris said, as a group of Perry supporters in the front row burst into applause.

The case against Perry was shaky from the start. The first boy, who was 5 at the time, told investigators that Perry raped him on his first day of school in October 2005. The boy had only been in the building for three hours when he made the claim. He later said that a 4-year-old classmate was assaulted with him. But when investigators talked to that boy, he denied any attack.

Oakland County prosecutors declined to charge in the case but reopened it four months later after a management shakeup at the prosecutor’s office.

When they reinterviewed the second boy and his mother, his mother told them that her son had acknowledged an attack a few months after denying it to investigators. Prosecutors then charged Perry with raping the two boys and an Oakland County jury convicted him in September 2006.

But Perry’s lawyers almost immediately sought a new trial, noting that investigators never interviewed a teacher and others who worked in the special education classroom where the boys said the attacks happened.

Langford Morris concluded their testimony could have changed the outcome of the case and ordered a new trial. Prosecutors unsuccessfully appealed the judge’s decision and Perry went to trial again earlier this year.

The special education teacher and several aides testified at that trial that the classroom was full of students and others throughout the day because some special education children ate lunch at their desks to avoid the crowded cafeteria. That trial ended in a hung jury with 11 jurors seeking acquittal and one juror, who acknowledged living around the corner from Perry’s Ferndale home, insisting that Perry was guilty.

“If Jim Perry was convicted on these allegations we should all be afraid,” Frankel said.

Perry appeared stunned by the news that he was a free man. He spent almost six months in the Oakland County Jail in late 2006 and early 2007 awaiting word on whether he was entitled to a new trail. He’s on leave from his teaching job, but it’s unclear if he will ever enter a classroom again.

Even free from jail, Perry has been unable to stay in his own home. Oakland County prosecutors argued that Perry posed a threat to children at Ferndale Middle School, which abuts his home.

“It’s been almost three years and I’m just glad the Livingston County prosecutor took an objective look at this and made the right decision,” Perry said after leaving the courtroom.

Perry isn’t the only one who has paid a price in the case. Gorcyca landed himself in trouble with the Michigan Attorney Grievance Commission after he called Perry a freak and sent out a news release questioning why Perry wouldn’t take a polygraph examination, the results of which are usually not admissible in Michigan courts.

At one point, Assistant Prosecutor Andrea Dean tried to argue that movies found in Perry’s home, like "Star Wars," the "Harry Potter" films and "Little House on the Prairie," constituted “non-erotic pornography.” Langford Morris ruled the videos irrelevant and refused to let the jury hear that argument.

The commission accused Gorcyca of professional misconduct. That case is pending before the Attorney Discipline Board, which hears ethics cases against lawyers.

The complaint was filed after Perry's second trial ended in a hung jury and as a result, Gorcyca turned over the decision on whether to seek a third trial over to Livingston County to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest. ... 3/80821009

"It's too short!
We need more monkeys! "

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 18, 2008 6:13 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2007 2:13 pm
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It's official, SW is corrupting youth... ... of-america


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