Thursday, September 26, 2013

Serious Charges, But A Lifetime Stigma.

"The long-term effect is he has a charge of rape on his record, even though it was dismissed, there is no expungement (judicial record-clearing) in Alabama, so it is really unfortunate for that reason and he'll have to overcome that." 

The sad truth of the state of Alabama, please read the story of three men.

FLORENCE, Alabama -- The three men exonerated by a Lauderdale County grand jury late last week of first-degree rape charges -- stemming from an incident at the University of North Alabama in March -- are looking forward to a return to normal life, their attorneys said today.
The three men, a former UNA student D'Anthony Byrd, 19; Eddrick Harris, 19, a former UNA football player and DeAndre Harrison, 20, who is on the UNA football team, testified before the grand jury last week, along with the alleged victim and a police investigator, said Lauderdale County District Attorney Chris Connolly.
"We fairly presented the case to the grand jury and allowed the defendants an opportunity to testify," Connolly said. "We wanted the grand jury to make the call and they did that."
The three men were arrested after a woman reported she was raped in a campus dorm in March. Byrd was not a student at the time. Harris and Harrison were kicked out of school, but later reinstated, after a student disciplinary board review.
Harrison was allowed to practice with the team, but not allowed to play until his case was resolved, his attorney Heath Tousdale said. Tousdale said the defense's own investigation corroborated Harrison's story that he had consensual sex with the victim. Tousdale said the accuser didn't know the men, but she approached them and went to a dorm room with them. He said the investigation found that after the event the woman was seen on a videotape laughing and discussing what had happened.
Later that evening she was acting strangely, Tousdale said, and her friends to her to the emergency room, police were then called. Tousdale said the allegation was that she was too intoxicated to consent and that she may have been slipped a drug, but no evidence supported the drugging claim.
"This was probably a little poorly handled by the UNA investigation team," Tousdale said. "Unfortunately these guys had to go through this. (Harrison) didn't get to play in first few games because of it. He's a really good kid, good grades, good citizen. It's a great feeling or him that he has gotten this off his shoulders.
"He is certainly excited that the truth came out."
Tousdale, Harris' attorney Tony Hughes and Byrd's attorney Dane Perry all pointed that even though the men have been cleared of the charges, they will carry a first-degree rape arrest on their records.
"The long-term effect is he has a charge of rape on his record, even though it was dismissed, there is no expungement (judicial record-clearing) in Alabama, so it is really unfortunate for that reason and he'll have to overcome that."
Hughes said Harris had a difficult time after the charges were filed and eventually left school, losing his scholarship in the process. He said with the grand jury's clearing of his name, Harris is seeking to have his scholarship reinstated and return to UNA in the classroom and on the football field.
"He's started the readmission process," Hughes said. "He's talking with the coaches to see if he can still have a scholarship offered back to him. He's had offers from other places to play and get a scholarship but UNA is his love, he wants to go to UNA."
Byrd's attorney Perry said his client was very happy to receive his call Friday night with the news that the grand jury had rejected the case against him.
"His plans right now are kind of uncertain," Perry said. "Track is his love and he helped out the Muscle Shoals track team, but once this came out they banned him from campus. He's going to try and get back to that, helping out. Eventually he wants to go back (to UNA)."

1 comment:

  1. Currently in our state, if you are charged with an offense and you are found
    innocent of that offense the charge remains on your record. This is absolutely
    wrong as "anyone" can be charged with anything and even though you may be
    totally innocent the charge will stay on your record in Alabama. Most states
    have changed this and it is time that Alabama follows and does the right thing.
    I spent 40 years in law enforcement and during those years saw people charged
    innocently by over zealous police officers. Often times these charges are
    dismissed, but the charge remains on their record to haunt them in the future. I
    have never been charged with anything, but that doesn't keep me from caring for
    others who have and were innocent.
    Thanks for your consideration.