A judge ruled Thursday to deny a new trial for Scott Dean.
The former Columbia County commissioner’s adopted daughter, Silda Dean, testified at an Oct. 4 hearing that her allegations of child molestation against him were false.
But her recantation, which is considered newly discovered evidence, is not a legal cause to grant a new trial, according to the ruling from Superior Court Judge James G. Blanchard Jr.
In December 2011, a jury convicted Scott Dean on two counts. Blanchard sentenced Dean to 20 years in prison in January 2012. He’s being held in Georgia State Prison in Reidsville.
Silda 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.
In January of this year, Silda Dean told her foster mother that she made up the allegations against Dean to get away from Renee Dean and get out of their Harlem home.
She wrote a letter that she mailed to her adoptive mother and to Dean’s attorney, Pete Theodocion, in February, explaining that her previous testimony was false and that Scott Dean is not guilty of the charges that he was convicted of.
Blanchard cited two reasons in denying Scott Dean a new trial. The first is that the post-trial declaration by a prosecution witness that her testimony is false is not grounds for a new trial because it would only serve to impeach her testimony, he said.
“The affect of Ms. Dean’s recantation would only be to impeach her trial testimony, which is not a basis for granting a new trial,” according to the judge’s ruling.
Also, the judge cannot grant a new trial based on Silda Dean’s admission she made false allegations and lied on the stand unless she were convicted of perjury.
“Georgia statutes mandate that setting aside of such a verdict ‘when the judgement could not have been obtained without the perjured evidence and the perjurer has been duly convicted thereof,’” according to Blanchard ruling.
District Attorney Ashley Wright said she has no intention of pursuing perjury charges against Silda Dean.
“We would stand behind her trial testimony as having been judged by the jury to be truthful based upon the presentation of the witness in an open courtroom when she was subjected to cross-examination,” Wright said.
Theodocion also made an oral motion for modification of Scott Dean’s sentence at the Oct. 4 hearing. Blanchard denied that motion Thursday because the motion wasn’t filed within the time frame allowed by law. Sept. 25 was 120 days from the date Blanchard’s office received judgement after direct appeal and was the last day to file for a motion to modify sentence.
Dean served on the Harlem City Council and more than five years as mayor before winning a seat on the commission in July 2008.
He won the July 2010 Republican primary in the District 4 commission race despite being accused weeks earlier of exchanging inappropriate text messages with a married county employee.
He resigned from the commission in February 2011 when he was indicted on the child molestation charges.