Saturday, August 18, 2007

Home Sweet Home Alabama. Ex-Cop Convicted Of Sodomy Gets New Trial because was a release with a bond but it was not register as a sex offender.

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) - A former Birmingham police officer, who was serving 22 years in prison for forcing a 12-year-old boy to perform sexual acts, was granted bond after the Alabama Supreme Court ordered he get a new trial.

In Tuesday's unanimous ruling, the justices said Circuit Judge Teresa Petelos erred when she closed the courtroom after a witness for the state said he was uncomfortable testifying in front of Todd Easterwood's supporters.

Petelos set a $200,000 bond for Easterwood, who was convicted of first-degree sodomy. No new trial date has been set. Petelos ordered Easterwood not to have any contact with the victim.

The case came to the attention of authorities after the victim, now 17, told his mother last year about the abuse, which happened in Hueytown over a period of three years.

Petelos' decision to close the courtroom was affirmed by a state appeals court, but the Supreme Court disagreed, stating Easterwood's right to a public trial was not protected.

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