By Joe Gorman
Lawyers for a former chiropractor and gymnastics coach who is serving a 43-year prison sentence after being convicted on multiple sex counts in 2008 say their client deserves a new trial for several reasons.
One reason is that someone deliberately tampered with the makeup of the jury that convicted their client, the defense lawyers told Judge R. Scott Krichbaum of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court on Monday.
Gregory Dew also says he deserves a new trial because video and audio evidence was tampered with and some of the jury instructions were improper.
Dew was convicted of sex crimes committed between 1990 and 1992 against two of his female gymnastics students, who were then between age 15 and 17, before he became a chiropractor. The allegations by the gymnasts came out in 2007, and while that case was being investigated, Dew was indicted on charges relating to his chiropractic practice.
Dew had crimes the jury convicted him of as a chiropractor vacated by the 7th District Court of Appeals.
Michael McGee, a lawyer for Dew, said his team has proof that someone changed codes on the computer system that picked jurors for his client’s trial to ensure that the jury pool was made up of an inordinate number of people who were related to police officers. When asked who might have done it, however, McGee said he did not know.
“The bottom line is, someone is messing with your courtroom,” McGee said.
Judge Krichbaum said Dew and his lawyers offered no evidence to point out who tampered or how, and he also said that by law, that has to be dealt with before the trial starts and after the jury is picked. He said it is too late to appeal that issue.
McGee said the law allows him to appeal at any time if evidence can be shown that Dew was denied a fair trial. He said the jury evidence was not available until after the trial, but Judge Krichbaum overruled that argument. The judge said there is no proof that relatives of a police officer as a group have a bias against defendants. McGee said he had data that show relatives of police officers are more likely to side with prosecutors in trials.
McGee also said that there was a DVD with a police interview with Dew that had portions of the audio deleted. Those portions would have undermined one of the detectives interviewing him, McGee said. Also, the DVD was protected by a password that needed to be put in before it could be played and Dew’s former attorney never had that password.
Judge Krichbaum also said that was an issue that was never brought up on appeal and that he addressed the issue before the trial. He said the DVD was played in court while Dew’s trial counsel was there and she never raised the issue again after he ordered prosecutors to give her the password. McGee also said the audio on a wiretap was altered and that statements by one of the victims that the acts Dew performed were consensual was taken out of the tape. Judge Krichbaum said that also is an issue that needed to be raised on appeal and was not.
He did say that he would study briefs on whether the jury was improperly instructed about the fact that, because Dew was a coach, he could use his position of authority to break the will of his victims. McGee said that was not automatically the case under the laws in 1992, when he was accused of committing the crimes.
Judge Krichbaum also allowed affidavits to be filed, but he did not allow the testimony of witnesses, including Dew himself.