Macedo files new claims in appeal

Polygraph test entered by new lawyers for dance teacher in sex abuse case

Hearing on new trial Oct. 16

Ellicott City

October 09, 2003|By Lisa Goldberg | Lisa Goldberg,SUN STAFF

In an appeal for a new trial, lawyers for Ellicott City dance teacher Jose Anibal Macedo say they have polygraph test results that show "no deception" in his denial of allegations that he tried to rape a teen-age student.

The test is part of a document filed in Howard Circuit Court by Macedo's new lawyers this week to supplement legal papers filed by the 42-year-old ballet instructor's original trial lawyers. Macedo was convicted of attempted rape, child abuse and related sexual offenses in July.

Lawyers from Warnken LLC, say the polygraph examination, which was conducted last week, shows "it is in the interest of justice to grant a new trial in this case," attorney Laurel A. Albin said.

While polygraphs are generally inadmissible at trial, they can be used in post-conviction hearings, the lawyers argue in court papers.

"It's just a very strong indication of Mr. Macedo's continued truthfulness," Albin said.

A hearing before Judge Dennis M. Sweeney on the new trial motion is scheduled Oct. 16. Sentencing is also scheduled that day should the motion fail, but Macedo's lawyers are asking Sweeney to continue that proceeding to another day in the interest of "judicial economy."

In three sets of court papers, Macedo's previous and current lawyers laid out several reasons that they say should give Sweeney ample grounds to grant a new trial.

They range from the jury's actions during a trial visit to Macedo's dance studio, Advance Dance Academy, to a juror's post-trial note that discusses her familiarity with sexual abuse victims.

This week's filings rehash and flesh out claims made in the previous two filings and add two: the polygraph test and allegations that Macedo's previous attorneys, William C. Mulford II and Gregory P. Robinson, made a "serious" error when they omitted a dance parent's name from a list of witnesses expected to testify for the defense.

Mulford said he had not seen the new filing and could not comment on it.

"This case gives us some very good issues," said Byron L. Warnken, one of Macedo's new lawyers.

Prosecutor Mary Murphy has rebutted the defense claims in court papers, saying they have no merit and the jury verdict should stand. Yesterday, she said she could not comment on the new court filing.

Macedo, of the 1100 block of Taylor Ave. in Halethorpe, was convicted of sexually assaulting a young student, now 15, during private lessons at his Baltimore National Pike dance studio.

The girl told jurors that the sexual abuse started with kissing when she was a pre-teen and escalated, ending only after she went overseas to dance last year.

Macedo, who is out on bond but has been barred from teaching minors while he awaits sentencing, is also accused of assaulting two other young female students during private lessons. Trials in those cases are scheduled for next month and December.

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