Judge throws out rape case after prosecutor late to court

Discussion in 'Bizarre and Off-Beat News' started by Paladin, Jun 20, 2006.

  1. Paladin

    Paladin Former Member

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    http://www.woio.com/Global/story.asp?S=5049356&nav=menu68_2

    Judge throws out rape case after prosecutor late to court

    CLEVELAND (AP) - A Cuyahoga County judge threw out the charge against a man accused of raping a girl six years ago when the prosecutor in the case was 45 minutes late to trial.

    Prosecutors have filed an appeal and said, if necessary, they will refile the charge against Norman Allen Craig, 22, of North Ridgeville.

    The mother of the now 16-year-old Rocky River girl said her daughter feels victimized by the judge's decision.

    Common Pleas Judge Eileen Gallagher dismissed the case when Assistant County Prosecutor Mark Schneider had not shown up by 1:45 p.m. June 12, after she told both sides to be in court at 1 p.m.

    Schneider was in his office preparing an appeal seeking to prevent the judge from continuing with the trial.

    Earlier in the day, Schneider had asked the judge to remove herself from the case, saying the judge said last year that she thought the accuser had credibility problems.

    "Nobody should be rendering opinions from the bench before trial," Schneider said. "A child victim who's being put through the wringer deserves a fair shake at trial."

    Gallagher said her decision to throw out the charge had nothing to do with the girl's credibility.

    "It was all about the unprofessional actions of a prosecutor," she said. "You don't show up -- too bad. Don't treat me like a punk and not show up in court without giving us the courtesy of notifying us where you are."

    County Prosecutor Bill Mason said calls were made to Gallagher's office, and she should have been aware of Schneider's pending arrival before deciding to throw out the case.


     
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  3. bakerprune64

    bakerprune64 Former Member

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    The judge should be thrown off the bench for having made such a poor decision. Dismissing a rapist:furious:
     
  4. Jeana (DP)

    Jeana (DP) Former Member

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    The judge knew she was going to be asked to step down and most likely had sour grapes against this prosecutor.
     
  5. Pharlap

    Pharlap Former Member

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    The lawyer should of been fined, not take it out on the case..:banghead:
     
  6. Jeana (DP)

    Jeana (DP) Former Member

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    The judge knew the prosecutor would refile the case, so its not like its going anywhere, but she won't be hearing it. The fact that she must know how terribly busy the prosecutor's office is, yet is willing to waste their time with this paper game is further evidence that she's got some sort of personal grudge going on.
     
  7. CyberLaw

    CyberLaw Former Member

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    I put money on the "conduct" of the Judge may be investigated.
     
  8. Jeana (DP)

    Jeana (DP) Former Member

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    Me too.
     
  9. baleuf

    baleuf Former Member

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    That happened here in Columbus, Ohio about 11 years ago and the Judge was disciplined by the Supreme Court disciplinary council. It was the same set of facts and the case was dismissed. Hopefully someone will report this Judge and she will have to answer to the bar for her actions.
     
  10. mysteriew

    mysteriew A diamond in process

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    According to another of the prosecutors, a call was made to the court telling them that he was on his way to court.

    I agree that there was something going on. Either a personal vendetta, or when dealing with someone in power, I think you always have to consider the possibility of graft. Though someone who has taken money would ususally bend over backwards to make sure they keep control of the case.

    Now if it was a vendetta, that could have even been what led to the judge making the statement against the girl. The prosecutor was standing behind her, therefore she was subject to the same personal feelings of the judge.

    One question I did have, is that the judge was said to have made the statement against the girl in Nov. and it seems that no action was taken until the case went to court that day.
     
  11. jttnewguy

    jttnewguy New Member

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    I don't know the law in Cleveland, but in most states, a judge cannot dismiss a felony criminal case simply because of the actions of one of the lawyers unless the lawyer's conduct is so egregious that it "interferes with the orderly administration of justice." Usually, this is interpreted to mean that the conduct must be both (1) excessive or out of the ordinary, and (2) without any reasonable good faith excuse.

    Again, I don't know Cleveland, but in every city I've ever been in, it's not unusual for DA's (or defense attorneys, for that matter) to be late to court because they typically handle so many cases at the same time and frequently have to be in so many different courtrooms during the day (sometimes at the same time because judges don't consult with each other on scheduling and frequently set hearings in different courtrooms simultaneously) that delays are an everyday fact of life and often unavoidable. So, tardiness by itself is usually not enough to dismiss a case, unless the lawyer was repeatedly and excessively late and had been warned by the judge not to do it again.

    The story doesn't say whether this particular DA had been warned by the judge on previous occurrences after being late; if so, then the case would be different. But, assuming that the facts are correctly stated, and the prosecutor was late only once by 45 minutes and another DA had called the judge to inform her that he was going to be late but was on his way, then dismissal seems really unusual and inappropriate.

    The DA's office has said that they have appealed the decision and might re-file the charges, so in one sense there's no damage done. But on the other hand, if the rapist was being held in jail, he's now going to go free after a dismissal. If the DA's appeal is granted and the dismissal is reversed, then they'll have to re-arrest him, if they can find him again. And if they can't, well, then he got a free pass from an incompetent judge.
     
  12. anneoakley63

    anneoakley63 Member

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    Nancy Grace has the judge and the defense attorney on her program tonight and she's ripping them apart! LOL The judge is trying to lay it all on the prosecutor, stating "he failed the state". The prosecutor didn't dismiss this case....the judge did! I think they should put the judge and the perp in the same cell together!:behindbar
     
  13. mysteriew

    mysteriew A diamond in process

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    LOL, I hope the judge is enjoying her '15 min. of shame'.
     
  14. Angels_Not_Forgotten

    Angels_Not_Forgotten Anxiously Awaiting a WINNING NFL Season!

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    man Im sorry I missed that NG, I bet it was awesome!
     
  15. Pharlap

    Pharlap Former Member

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    It was.......:blushing:
     
  16. Paladin

    Paladin Former Member

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    Any chance there is a transcript online somewhere?
     
  17. kittykat1

    kittykat1 New Member

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    A transcript from CNN.com
    http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0606/20/ng.01.html

    GRACE: A Cleveland sitting judge, Judge Eileen Gallagher, throws out a felony rape case. At the time of the alleged rape, the victim just 9 years old. Why? Because the prosecution was late to court. And there`s no doubt about that. The state was late to court. But throw out a rape case, for Pete`s sake?

    Elizabeth, do we still have the judge with us? Judge, thank you for staying with us. I have in my hand a motion filed by the defense, and this is a response to the Department of Family Services. And in this, it states that you, the court, acknowledged this little girl victim had, quote, "credibility problems." Did you say that?

    GALLAGHER: What I said was, because I had to review those documents in camera alone, and in order to provide them to the defense, I have to provide a reason why they should be given to the defense. And in view of the fact that this child had made a number of inconsistent statements to the Department of Children and Family Services, those documents were then turned over to the defense.

    GRACE: Well, isn`t that the reason you turned over the documents, the fact that the alleged victim made inconsistent statements? That`s a part of Brady -- in other words, evidence that could help the defense.

    GALLAGHER: Right.

    PLEASE SEE THE LINK FOR THE ENTIRE TRANSCRIPT.
     
  18. Angels_Not_Forgotten

    Angels_Not_Forgotten Anxiously Awaiting a WINNING NFL Season!

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  19. baleuf

    baleuf Former Member

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    I caught that show and I thought Nancy did and excellent job of cutting through the excuses. In Ohio a Judge can dismiss a case for a number of reasons including "failure to prosecute" It is rarely done and only in extreme cases. :furious:
     
  20. Jeana (DP)

    Jeana (DP) Former Member

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    Yeah, but its not done on the spot and without prior notice. You get a notice from the court saying that by ___________ date, the case will be dismissed. If you don't want it gone, you communicate with the court.
     
  21. baleuf

    baleuf Former Member

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    It SHOULD be done the way you state, however in the case our court had years ago the Judge dismissed on the spot! Bad idea!
     

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