Carroll court hearing postponed

Proceeding could decide if man acquitted on rape charge remains in prison

December 05, 2007|By Julie Bykowicz | Julie Bykowicz,Sun reporter

A violation of probation hearing for Charles Carroll - a proceeding that keeps him behind bars even though he was acquitted of a rape charge - was postponed yesterday until next month.

Carroll, 31, is accused of violating probation on a 1995 second-degree murder conviction. He was sentenced at the time to 30 years, with 15 suspended. If convicted of violating probation, he could be sent back to prison for 15 years.

After his release from prison in 2002, Carroll became a teacher at a private Christian school. In 2005, a 13-year-old accused him of sexually assaulting her several times and then raping her on a classroom floor. Two other teenagers also alleged sexual assault. A jury acquitted Carroll in the rape case, and prosecutors dropped charges in the other two cases Nov. 13.

At the time, prosecutors said they would try to keep him in prison by using the same evidence to show that Carroll violated his probation. Such hearings have a lesser standard of proof and are heard by a judge instead of a jury.

A story in The Sun on Sunday documented how city prosecutors are using these proceedings more and more in cases in which they have lost at trial or dropped charges.

In another example of such a case, Wayne Fenwick admitted yesterday he had violated probation by possessing marijuana and was sentenced to five years in prison.

Prosecutors had dropped drug dealing charges against him in October, after a judge refused to grant a postponement that prosecutors had sought because a forensic chemist was out of town. But prosecutors were able to use the evidence in a violation of probation hearing. Fenwick had been on probation after a 2005 drug dealing conviction.

In the Carroll case, Deputy State's Attorney Cynthia Jones requested a postponement so that the state's attorney's office could assign a new prosecutor.

Temmi Rollock, one of the prosecutors in the rape case, was also slated to prosecute the violation.

Prosecutors said the request was made after an internal decision but did not elaborate.

Defense attorney Edward Smith Jr. said he would file a motion saying that Carroll's right to a speedy trial had been violated.

Carroll has been in prison for about 900 days - 103 since his acquittal and 21 since prosecutors dropped the other two cases.

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