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06-28-06, 03:02 AM #1
Judge Dismisses Child Rape Case After Attorney Late For Court
CLEVELAND -- A Cuyahoga County, Ohio, judge threw out the charge against a man accused of raping a girl six years ago when the prosecutor in the case was 45 minutes late to trial.
Prosecutors have filed an appeal and said, if necessary, they will refile the charge against Norman Allen Craig, 22, of North Ridgeville, Ohio.
The mother of the now 16-year-old Rocky River girl said her daughter feels victimized by the judge's decision.
Common Pleas Judge Eileen Gallagher dismissed the case when Assistant County Prosecutor Mark Schneider had not shown up by 1:45 p.m. June 12, after she told both sides to be in court at 1 p.m.
Schneider was in his office preparing an appeal seeking to prevent the judge from continuing with the trial.
Earlier in the day, Schneider had asked the judge to remove herself from the case, saying the judge said last year that she thought the accuser had credibility problems.
"Nobody should be rendering opinions from the bench before trial," Schneider said. "A child victim who's being put through the wringer deserves a fair shake at trial."
Gallagher said her decision to throw out the charge had nothing to do with the girl's credibility.
"It was all about the unprofessional actions of a prosecutor," she said. "You don't show up -- too bad. Don't treat me like a punk and not show up in court without giving us the courtesy of notifying us where you are."
County Prosecutor Bill Mason said calls were made to Gallagher's office, and she should have been aware of Schneider's pending arrival before deciding to throw out the case.
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