Saturday, Jun 23, 2018
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Judge halts release of sex offender for 2nd time

Parole board ‘lacked assurances’ on safety



DETROIT — A Detroit-area judge has twice reversed a decision by the state’s parole board to release a convicted sex offender after serving his nine-year minimum prison sentence.

Macomb County Circuit Judge Diane Druzinski sided with Prosecutor Eric Smith to stop Timothy Grier from being released, the prosecutor said.

Grier was convicted in 2001 of two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct involving a girl for two years, which started when she was 13.

“His actions devastated this poor young woman,” Mr. Smith said. “She continues to bear the impact of his abuse.”

Grier, who was 37 at sentencing, was days past serving his minimum sentence when the board paroled him in 2011, but Judge Druzinski reversed it after concluding he hadn’t taken responsibility for his crimes or completed a sex offender prisoner’s program.

The Michigan Court of Appeals upheld the reversal that year and the state Supreme Court declined the case.

Judge Druzinksi halted Grier’s release again after the parole board granted parole a second time in November.

“The parole board itself concluded it lacked reasonable assurance that Grier will not become a menace to society or to the public safety because he continued to lack insight into his sexual deviance, to take on the role of a victim, and to portray his crimes as a ‘love story,’ ” the appeals court said.

William Branch, who represented Grier in 2011, said recently that he was surprised by the aggressive stance of the prosecutor’s office against a man who at that time had already served 10 years in prison.

“The [Corrections Department] considered him safe to release,” Mr. Branch said. “He had living quarters arranged for him, and no reason for him to have any contact with the victim.”

Corrections Department spokesman Russ Marlan said he couldn’t comment on the specifics of the case, but county prosecutors’ only avenue is to appeal to circuit courts when they object to parole-board decisions.

Mr. Marlan said there used to be between 40 and 50 such objections a year, but his department has worked to increase communication with county prosecutors and provide more information about inmates.

Now, only a couple of disputes occur a year, he said.

“I don’t necessarily think it’s a great thing to have government suing government,” Mr. Marlan said. “There’s a way for us to look into their concerns.”

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