Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Cole Case: Justice Delayed IS Justice Denied: Reynolds Dismisses Sex Abuse Charges Against Cole.

[Edited 10/23/11]

As the case of the influential, middle aged consultant and the poor school girl seemed to come to an end this morning, several of the Goddesses of Justice, including Justitia, Dike, and Maat, let out a collective cry of sadness and rage, followed by grief-filled moans and uncontrollable sobbing. Most could not hear them. Their discomfort came from the fact that Judge Garry Reynolds did exactly what some thought he would do: He dismissed all four counts of sex abuse against Brian Cole without giving due consideration to the motion or the evidence that had been collected in the case.

A relieved looking Brian Cole, right, and a more somber J. Robert Moon, prepare to leave the Circuit Court after Moon successfully defended the now 48 year old Cole against four counts of sex abuse involving a 17 year old high school girl.

The beginning of the hearing had sort of a slapstick quality, with the Special Prosecutor Riddell dialing the wrong number for the tele-conference, and the Judge stating that he had not read and was unaware of the Civil Compromise Agreement that he was supposed to rule on. After finding a copy so he could "read" it, and hearing pleas to Dismiss as a Civil Compromise from Attorney Moon and the victim's La Grande Attorney Brent Smith, a brief rebuttal from Chief Criminal Counsel Sean Riddell, and another short appeal from Moon, Judge Reynolds reversed ground and his previous practice of sitting on an opinion for almost a month or even more, by summarily dismissing the sex abuse charges.The whole discussion on the Civil Compromise motion probably didn't last longer than 15 to 20 minutes, and Judge Reynolds did not seriously address the objections of Riddell. Reynolds did not however dismiss the two charges of Providing Liquor to a person under 21, and those charges will be tried in Circuit Court at the County Court House on November 29th.

Ridell cited the following case:

"To be entitled to civil compromise, defendant’s misdemeanor must affect only person or persons with civil remedy: acts criminalized to protect public at large are not covered by this section; overruling State v. Phon Yos, 71 Or App 57, 691 P2d 508 (1984). State v. Dugger, 73 Or App 109, 698 P2d 491 (1985)"

Again, Judge Reynolds did not seriously address this issue in today's hearing. I believe that Riddell's point was that sexual abuse by 47 year olds of 17 year olds is an issue that affects the public at large, and those cases are not protected by "Civil Compromise" with the victim when the public is possibly endangered by 47 year-olds who would engage in sexual acts with 17 year olds in the community.

Beyond That:

Given the long periods of time that Judge Reynolds has taken to decide the other motions offered by Moon in this case, which helped to prolong the case past the time the victim turned 18, and which provided the opportunity for the defense to cut the victim's parents out of a position of authority in the case, so as to deal directly with the victim, it is a bit surprising that he made a snap judgement on this particular motion, one that he only first read a few minutes earlier. In my mind, his actions in this case, from strangely suppressing the incriminating text messages from the day prior to the Halloween incident, to his long delays in issuing opinions, to his snap judgement on a motion he had no time to reflect on, raise many questions.

While the Grand Jury heard the evidence in secret, there are many public documents that have been made available in this case. In the interest of an informed public, the judgement of history, and in my opinion, in the interest of justice, I will be making some of those available in the near future.

More Later. . . .
For other background on this case, see:

Cole Case: Is Justice Delayed, Justice Denied?

Halloween Happenings: Brian Cole Cited for Furnishing Alcohol to a Minor

Odds & Ends: Brian Cole Case and Environmental Issues

Hells Canyon Early Spring Wildflowers (also, Brian Cole Case)

Cole Case & Baker County Birds


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

we should abolish him from baker county.