Judge recommends Texas man’s innocence in sex assault case
GEORGETOWN, Texas (AP) — A Texas judge is recommending that the conviction of a man sent to prison on child sexual assault charges be overturned and that he meets the state’s legal threshold to be declared innocent.
State District Judge Donna King made the recommendation Monday in the case of Greg Kelley, who spent the last three years in prison after being accused of sexually assaulting a 4-year-old boy at an in-home day care center in 2013. Kelley was released on bond in August after King cited mistakes police made during the investigation.
The recommendation comes as Kelley’s attorney and Williamson County prosecutors work together to overturn the original conviction. Both have said Kelley had ineffective counsel during the 2014 trial, and said that police botched the investigation. King agreed in her ruling, saying that police didn’t interview other adults in the house, didn’t interview the parents of the children at the day care or even obtain a list of the children who attended it.
Cedar Park City Manager Brenda Eivens said the city is “taking a hard look at the criminal investigations processes and procedures and is willing to make difficult decisions as necessary.”
King also said Kelley’s trial defense attorney, Patricia Cummings, had a conflict of interest because she had represented members of the family at the house in criminal cases.
King wrote in her ruling that she “finds the culmination of evidence supports the applicant’s claim of actual innocence. He (Kelley) has met his burden and established he is actually innocent of this offense for which he was convicted.”
Texas law states that a defendant meets the standard for “actual innocence” if a judge believes no reasonable juror would convict him.
The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals will make the final decision about whether to uphold Kelley’s conviction.