A judge on Thursday denied a new trial for Scott Dean.
The former Columbia County Commission member’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 Dean on two counts. Blanchard sentenced him to 20 years in prison in January 2012. He is being held in Georgia State Prison in Reidsville.
Silda Dean, now 19, 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 that the issue was discussed with local and state DFCS legal counsels. Nothing was ever done with the information.
In January of this year, the teenager told her foster mother that she made up the allegations against Dean to get away from his wife, Renee, and get out of their Harlem home.
She wrote a letter that she mailed to her adoptive mother and to Scott Dean’s attorney, Pete Theodocion, in February, explaining that her previous testimony was false and that Dean is not guilty of the charges he was convicted of.
Blanchard cited two reasons in denying Scott Dean a new trial. The first is that the posttrial 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 (effect) 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 the girl’s admission that 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 (judgment) could not have been obtained without the perjured evidence and the perjurer has been duly convicted thereof,’ ” Blanchard’s ruling stated.
Theodocion also made an oral motion for modification of Dean’s sentence at the Oct. 4 hearing. Blanchard denied that motion Thursday because it wasn’t filed within the time frame allowed by law. Sept. 25 was 120 days from the date Blanchard’s office received the judgment after the direct appeal and was the last day to file for a motion to modify the sentence.
Dean served on the Harlem City Council and more than five years as mayor before winning a seat on the county 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.