Oakland Mills teacher cleared in assault case Goode acquitted on one charge

jury splits on second

March 06, 1997|By Caitlin Francke | Caitlin Francke,SUN STAFF

An Oakland Mills High School teacher was cleared this week of assaulting a guidance counselor in a dispute over a student.

A Howard County Circuit Court jury deliberated five hours Tuesday night before acquitting Lamont Goode, 48, on the assault charge.

Though the jury could not reach a unanimous verdict on a remaining battery charge -- assault is the threat of using force, battery is carrying out the threat -- the prosecutor said he would not retry the case. The jurors voted 11-1 to acquit Goode on that charge, attorneys on both sides of the case said.

Goode's first trial on the charges ended in a hung jury last September. Assault charges he filed against guidance counselor Robert Arroyo were dismissed last spring.

Both sides agreed that an altercation occurred in May 1995. But Goode's attorney, James B. Kraft, argued that Goode acted in self-defense after he went into Arroyo's office because of

TC dispute over a student.

According to Kraft, Arroyo pushed Goode to the ground, and, feeling threatened, Goode hit him. The prosecution, however, argued that Goode repeatedly beat Arroyo, bloodying his mouth and bringing him to his knees.

Kraft said he was pleased his client was "vindicated" after months of litigation.

"I feel elated that justice finally triumphed," Kraft said.

Goode remains head of the social studies department at Oakland Mills High School, where he has worked more than 20 years, Kraft said.

Arroyo, 48, said in an interview yesterday he has been fired from Oakland Mills -- a decision he is appealing. Arroyo said he suffered stress disorders after the incident and could not return to work.

Pub Date: 3/06/97

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