Judge upholds child molestation charges despite years of delay
A Gwinnett County judge has rejected a motion to dismiss child molestation charges against a former Cub Scout leader, ruling that the defendant's "oppressive" incarceration didn't violate his right to a speedy trial.
Defense attorney Walter Britt said he will ask the Georgia Court of Appeals to overturn Superior Court Senior Judge Fred Bishop's decision.
Britt said his client, Harry Brett Taylor, has been held in solitary confinement without bond for four years since his 2008 arrest, and both prosecutors and judges have delayed his day in court.
"The judge didn't address the issues that were raised, and he was absolutely wrong," Britt said. "He got completely wrong the standards that are supposed to apply."
Bishop's Sept. 26 order acknowledges that Taylor testified he had been held in solitary confinement for most of his 50 months in detention, and the state presented no evidence justifying it.
Bishop also wrote that Taylor hadn't shown that delays had impaired his defense.
Taylor, 48, is accused of molesting or sexually exploiting 16 boys, most of whom were members of his Cub Scout den, during sleepovers and other gatherings at his home.
The case has been slow in coming to trial in part because six judges have stepped away from the case, Britt said. Two judges removed themselves due to potential conflicts of interest, and three other judges recused without explanation. Judge William Ray II, who was assigned to the case in April, recently left Superior Court to take a seat on the Court of Appeals.
In addition, Britt said prosecutors have been slow to comply with discovery mandates.
District Attorney Danny Porter and Senior Assistant District Attorney Chuck Ross were unavailable for comment Friday because they were in a death penalty trial.