Former Albany police corporal Vincent Romone Wadley will get a new child molestation trial because of Dougherty Superior Court Judge Denise Marshall’s conduct during the 2010 trial.
Dougherty Superior Court Judge issued the ruling, which followed Marshall being disqualified from the case by Superior Court Judge Richard Porter of Cairo.
Wadley, 48, had been sentenced to 20 years in prison after being convicted of simulating a sexual act while on top of a 7-year-old girl — the daughter of a friend – while he was a police officer. He worked for the Police Department for five years, most recently in the theft unit. The alleged incident was reported about a year and a half after it allegedly occurred.
In his ruling Goss said that Marshall, “in the presence of the jury, stated what she believed the evidence to be. This requires a new trial under Georgia (law).”
Wadley’s attorney, Jim Finkelstein, successfully argued in a legal brief that Marshall committed legal errors — “the most prominent of which,” Finkelstein contended, “was that the state never produced the alleged victim in court and, over the defense’s objection, tried their whole case based solely on hearsay.”
In his 112-page brief, Finkelstein provided numerous examples from the trial transcript of what he described as “nasty, personal, and prejudicial comments of the trial judge, many in the presence of the jury.”
“(Judge Marshall’s) bias was so severe that she continually and gratuitously insulted defendant’s counsel, frequently in the presence of the jury, often in the midst of issuing rulings that were clearly erroneous …” Finkelstein said in the brief. “When the trial judge’s unsolicited comments became so extreme that defendant’s opportunity for a fair trial was jeopardized, defendant’s counsel moved the trial judge to recuse herself, which she denied.
“In stark contrast, in 1292 pages of trial transcript, there is not a single instance of defendant’s counsel making an unprofessional or discourteous remark to the court or to opposing counsel. There is not a single instance of a legitimate provocation for any of the trial judge’s outbursts towards defendant’s counsel.”
Marshall has declined to be interviewed.
Wadley remains jailed without bond. His new trial is scheduled for Sept. 26.