It could be weeks before Scott Dean finds out if a judge will grant him a new trial.
The former Columbia County commissioner accused in 2010 of inappropriately touching his adopted daughter, Silda, was n an Evans courtroom Friday petitioning for an extraordinary motion for new trial.
Superior Court Judge James G. Blanchard Jr. agreed to take the request under consideration. He’s expected to make as decision as early as a few weeks.
The hearing was the result of Miss Dean, now 19, recanting her testimony accusing Mr. Dean of climbing into her bed and inappropriately touching her on one occasion in 2010 and exposing himself and propositioning her on another.
“It was a lie,” Miss Dean said from the stand at the hearing. Seeing her adoptive father now in prison for the crimes is difficult, she said. “I feel sad. Sometimes I feel bad too because he’s innocent.”
Miss Dean made the allegations in October 2010 and Mr. Dean was indicted on two counts of child molestation in February 2011.
In December 2011, a jury convicted Mr. Dean on both counts. Blanchard sentenced Mr. Dean to 20 years in prison in January 2012. He’s currently being held in Georgia State Prison in Reidsville, Ga.
Miss Dean, who was removed from the Dean home and moved into a foster home in late 2010, said she made the allegations because she didn’t like Mr. Dean’s wife, Renee. The Deans adopted Miss Dean and her four siblings from Guatemala in September 2008.
Miss Dean told a state Department of Family and Children Services social worker in July 2012 that the allegations were a lie. That social worker testified Friday that she told her supervisor and the issue was discussed with local and state DFCS legal counsels. Nothing was ever done with the information.
“The fact that this information would just be held down is astounding,” Mr. Dean’s attorney, Pete Theodocion said.
In January of this year, Miss Dean told her foster mother that she made up the allegations against Mr. Dean to get away from Mrs. Dean and get out of their Harlem home. She wrote a letter that she mailed to her adoptive mother and to Theodocion in February, explaining that her previous testimony was a lie and that Mr. Dean is not guilty of the charges that he was convicted of.
“It was hard for me to say something that wasn’t true,” Miss Dean said. “I got confused and I didn’t know what to do.”
Blanchard denied a motion for a new trial June 2012 and the Georgia Court of Appeals upheld that decision in May.
“We know it is not easy to come in and get a new trial after the fact,” Theodocion said. “This was not a fair trial. ... It is very rare that we have the opportunity to right a wrong like this.
“A jury has the right to know. A jury has the right to know the full story.”
Theodocion said the request for a new trial meets the six requirements to have a new trial granted based on new evidence.
Assistant District Attorney Madonna Little argued and cited case law that a victim’s recantation is not cause for a new trial. And any new evidence coming forward cannot be to impeach a witness post-trial.
Mr. Dean’s wife said she’s not happy with the result of the hearing, but that she’s proud of her daughter who “held her head high and told the truth.”
“Of course, we’re disappointed it wasn’t an immediate exoneration,” Mrs. Dean said. “But it’s hopeful.”