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PACK NOT GUILTY

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Former Justice of the Peace Larry David Pack's conviction for aggravated perjury by a Wood County trial court was reversed and a judgment of acquittal rendered by an April 25 decision from the Sixth Court of Appeals, Texarkana.

"Justice is finally done. It's been a long time coming," Pack said in comments to the Tyler Morning Telegraph.

In 2004, when he was a Wood County Justice of the Peace, Larry David Pack testified before a Wood County grand jury concerning an allegation that a week before the 2000 political primary election, Pack had falsely reported to Child Protective Services that a Wood County man running as a primary candidate for constable in Pack's precinct had sexually abused a child. An offical investigation into the report of misconduct determined that no official action was warranted. Pack was not charged with filing a false report.

Subsequently, the charge was made that Pack falsely testified to the grand jury that an administrator at the Hawkins School telephoned him to report the alleged abuse, and the trial court convicted Pack for aggravated perjury. The appeals court found the evidence legally and factually insufficient to support Pack's conviction.

The appeals court opinion stated the State failed to carry its burden of proof in two respects: (1) failing to prove that Pack testified a Hawkins School administrator reported abuse to him, and (2) in failing to prove that no Hawkins School administrator reported abuse to Pack.

On appeal, Pack claims the only charge supported by the evidence is that he failed to remember, nearly four years later, who had called him. According to Pack, the questioning in front of the grand jury was not precise enough to justify a conviction for perjury. Pack also claimed the State could not prove perjury by piecing together statements of the defendant and other witnesses. The grand jury testimony in 2004 was not recorded, an ordinary practice in Wood County. The appeals court agreed with Pack, saying the evidence was factually insufficient.

Pack also argued on appeal that the State's claim that no administrator from Hawkins School called Pack is merely an unproven assumption. The appeals court agreed, saying they did not find sufficient evidence of who qualified as an administrator, how many administrators were employed at Hawkins School, or who those administrators were.

Chief Justice Josh R. Morriss III ended his 18 page opinion saying: "Further, the evidence, viewed in a neutral light, is so weak that the jury's verdict is clearly wrong and manifestly unjust. The evidence of the falsity of Pack's testimony is legally and factually insufficient."

Pack was removed as Justice of the Peace when he was convicted, and has served two years of a sentence of five years probation. In further comments to the Tyler paper, Pack said, "There was a lot of laws broken, but I guarantee Judge Pack didn't break any." Pack went on to say he "still has faith in the justice system."

 

Last Updated on Friday, 24 April 2009 16:56  

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