Court Rejects Kramer’s Contempt Motion

Ed Kramer, Dragon*Con founder, pleaded guilty to child molestation on December 2. Soon after he started serving 34 months of house arrest his attorney filed a contempt motion against his probation officer seeking to make it easier for Kramer to leave home for court-approved actions like medical appointments, religious services and grocery shopping.

However, Gwinnett County Superior Court Judge Karen Beyers dismissed the motion on February 28.

[Attorney] McNeill Stokes argued in court that Kramer was not permitted by Urie Josey, his probation officer, to visit a doctor or the emergency room without Josey’s permission. Josey contended that if he came to Kramer’s house and he wasn’t there, he would begin legal proceedings immediately.

“If I show up at his house and he’s not there, I don’t know if he was at the doctor, or halfway to Tennessee with kids in the car,” Josey said.

[Thanks to Nancy Collins for the story.]

Law and Order: Irascible Intent

Narrator: In the criminal justice system, the people are represented by three separate yet equally important groups: the police; the district attorneys; and those who process Ed Kramer’s complaints. These are their stories.

Sound effect: Boink-boink.

Ed Kramer, sentenced to 34 months of house arrest in December, has filed a motion for contempt against his probation officer reports the Gwinnett Daily Post.

“Officer (Urie) Josey … refuses to follow the Medical Procedure Order by requiring his prior approval to attend any medical appointments,” the motion said, “and has threatened immediate arrest of the Defendant if he does not obtain his prior approval for medical appointments.”

Kramer’s plea agreement allows him to leave home for medical appointments by notifying the GPS company tracking his movement and later providing proof of the visit to his probation officer.

The motion alleges that Josey’s insistence on prior approval violates the order and has caused Kramer significant medical distress.

“During the night and early morning of January 4, 2014, (Kramer) experienced extreme breathing problems and attempted to obtain Officer Josey’s permission to seek emergency medical care, preventing Defendant from receiving emergency care for 7 hours,” the filing said.

Kramer says these requirements also caused him to miss a medical appointment on January 6.

His motion asks for the probation officer to be cited and “specifically ordered” to follow the agreement.

[Thanks to Nancy Collins for the story.]

Kramer Seeks More Freedom

Ed Kramer, who pleaded guilty to charges of child molestation on December 2, now appears in the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s Sex Offender Registry.

He has started serving 34 months of house arrest – but his attorney has already filed an emergency motion seeking to make it easier for him to leave home for court-approved actions like medical appointments, religious services and grocery shopping.

The motion asks that Kramer, who is wearing a GPS ankle monitor, be able to leave his home after alerting the private company monitoring his movements, without having to get formal permission from the court or probation system.

Gwinnett County District Attorney Danny Porter opposed the motion.

“It is a basic tenant of incarceration that convicts don’t have the ability to come and go as they please,” Porter wrote. “This defendant is no different and should be restricted to his home except for those occasions in which a convict would be transported from the prison.”

Porter instead offered a set of potential guidelines that would monitor Kramer closely yet, in his words, “prevent daily hearings based on frivolous motions filed by this defendant in an effort to test the Court’s patience and extract concessions on his sentence.”

Porter wants Kramer to request permission from his supervising probation officer each time prior to leaving home. Formal court motions would be required to challenge any denial.

Kramer would be “constantly monitored” while out of the house. Any deviation from the approved itinerary would lead to revocation of existing sentence and imprisonment.

[Thanks to Nancy Collins for the links.]

Kramer Pleads Guilty

Ed Kramer has pleaded guilty to charges of molesting three boys reports Reuters.

In a plea deal entered on the opening day of trial, Gwinnett County District Attorney Danny Porter recommended a 20-year sentence, five years in custody and the balance on parole.  

The time in custody will be served under house arrest due to Kramer’s medical condition. As he will be credited for 26 months already spent in custody, his confinement will last only 34 more months. He will be permitted to leave home for religious services, medical appointments, legal appointments and for grocery shopping.

Kramer agreed to pay $100,000 restitution to each of the three victims. And the court ordered him not to have any contact with anyone under the age of 16.

The District Attorney told the press he agreed to the plea so Kramer’s victims would not have to testify.

Two of the three victims did address the court, reports Atlanta TV station WXIA:

The first said his wife had been wonderful through the process.

“I realized, it is paralyzing,” the man said. “I just want to let the court and Ed know that even now it is something I fight with.”

The second victim said he was happy that Porter continued to pursue charges against Kramer over the years.

“I don’t know what to say. I’m glad Mr. Porter never stopped trying,” he said. “It’s amazing to finally have some type of closure. I’m glad I get to move on.”

Kramer will be registered as a sex offender, and due to his lack of a criminal record prior to this point, will be considered a first offender.

Officials said Kramer would remain in custody until electronic monitoring is set up in his home.

Kramer Trial Slated To Begin Today

After 13 years of delays and tactical efforts to avoid trial on charges of child molestation, Dragon*Con founder Ed Kramer is due have his day in court at last, however unwillingly.

The judge has ordered many accommodations to Kramer’s health problems – which the Gwinnett County jail’s medical director previously testified includes pain from a cervical fusion, psoriatic arthritis, diabetes and emphysema. In the courtroom Kramer will have:

— Access to medications

— Use of his oxygen system and TENS unit (an electrical nerve stimulator used to treat back pain), as well as plenty of batteries for them and “personnel knowledgeable in the operation of such equipment.”

— A wheelchair or walker

— “Proper nutrition to manage his blood sugar”

— A 60- to 90-minute break from proceedings “approximately every four hours,” and the opportunity to recline during those breaks

— The use of an “assistive listening system”

The alleged victims — now “grown men with careers” notes the district attorney — will travel to Georgia from their homes in the western U.S.

In the event of a conviction, one technical question is what sentencing guidelines would apply. Since Kramer’s original arrest Georgia has increased the penalties: each of the six counts of child molestation he’s facing now carries a mandatory minimum of 25 years in prison; the two aggravated counts now have the potential for life sentences.

On the other hand, District Attorney Danny Porter speculates that if convicted Kramer might not serve much of any sentence:

“The real elephant in the room is if we were to try the case, and if he were convicted, and if he were sentenced to the Georgia prison system, he’s so difficult to maintain in incarceration that what I’m afraid of is he might be paroled out early,” Porter said. “And then we’d have to rely on parole to control his behavior. That’s something of real concern to me.”

[Thanks to Nancy A. Collins for the link.]

Kramer and DragonCon Settle

With Ed Kramer’s trial on child molestation charges due to begin next week, the corporate owners of Dragon*Con didn’t wait a minute to announce their out-of-court settlement severing all ties with the convention’s founder.

Last July, having succumbed to social media pressure and a threatened boycott over Kramer’s continuing financial interest in Dragon*Con, the directors did what they’d previously claimed was not possible – execute a transaction terminating his 34-percent share. A cash-out merger bought out all shares of stock in DragonCon/ACE and established a new conrunning entity, Dragon Con Inc., in which Kramer had no part.

However, Kramer had not agreed to any of this and his attorney told the press the merger was a “discriminatory squeeze-out” and the cash offered for Kramer’s shares was “grossly inadequate.”

The company struck first, suing Kramer in Fulton County Superior Court in August. When the parties reached settlement on November 25, Dragon*Con spokesman Greg Euston publicly announced “DragonCon’s relationship with Mr. Kramer is officially over.”

Euston said terms of the settlement were confidential but that it was “a small amount” more than they offered in the summer. The magnitude of the payment that might be involved is suggested by Kramer’s earlier suit to collect a 2011 dividend in the amount of $154,000, and Euston’s past statement that the company had offered three times to buy Kramer’s shares for $500,000, in 2004, 2006 and 2008.

[Thanks to Nancy A. Collins for the story.]

Kramer Health Complaints Peak as Trial Approaches

Ed Kramer’s trial on child molestation charges is scheduled for the weeks of Dec. 2 and 9 in Gwinnett County Superior Court. Still to be worked out are “reasonable accommodations” for health issues affecting Kramer’s ability to participate in his defense, which might alter the length of daily court sessions. The Gwinnett Daily Post reported on October 23 that Kramer has charged the Sheriff’s office and District Attorney with purposely sabotaging his health.

A motion for reasonable accommodations filed by Kramer’s attorney, McNeill Stokes, made these allegations against the sheriff’s and district attorney’s offices:

According to the motion, District Attorney Danny Porter sent an email, in reply to a memo regarding Kramer, that told sheriff’s office leaders “that they should not make any accommodations for court unless or until ordered to do so by the Court.”

Prior to an April 26 hearing, the motion alleges, Kramer’s glasses were “stolen from his cell in the medical isolation unit” at the jail, an area “only accessible by the jail deputies.”

Kramer, who reportedly has 50 percent hearing loss in each ear, was scheduled to have hearing aids fitted prior to that same April date in court. That appointment “was cancelled by the Jail Administration,” last week’s filing said.

During the aforementioned hearing, Kramer’s attorneys allege not only that his “oxygen absorption level” dropped to a potentially deadly 72 percent and that he was sent into court without properly charges batteries for his breathing apparatus, but that a deputy “put the oxygen (sensor) on her own finger” to produce a reading of 98 percent oxygen absorption.

“Defendant had been receiving spinal epidural injections for pain abatement every six months,” the motion said. “He is months overdue and no appointment has been scheduled with any pain specialist.”

The motion asks that instead of four-hour sessions, the trial consist of two-hour sessions with substantial breaks. At the time of the article, the judge had not yet ruled on the motion.

[Thanks to Nancy Collins for the story.]

Kramer To Stay in Jail Til Trial

Ed Kramer will remain jailed until his trial, the judge having denied his habeas corpus motion.

Kramer’s defense team argued that his bond should never have been revoked because a 2009 modification eliminated the terms he supposedly violated.

Gwinnett County Superior Court Judge Karen Beyers agreed with District Attorney Danny Porter that previous stipulations were implied in the modification, which placed Kramer on a personal recognizance bond.

The decision means Kramer will not be granted bond prior to trial.

[Thanks to Nancy Collins for the story.]

Kramer Trial Date Set

Ed Kramer will go to trial on child molestation charges in December. Gwinnett County Superior Court Judge Karen Beyers placed Kramer’s case on the calendar for the weeks of Dec. 2 and 9 reports the Gwinnett Daily Post. Still to be worked out are reasonable accommodations for health issues affecting Kramer’s ability to participate in his defense, which might alter the length of daily court sessions.

Testifying at today’s hearing, Dr. Lloydstone Jacobs, medical director at the GwinnettCounty jail, said Kramer suffers from all of the following –

[P]ain related to a cervical (neck) fusion; Type II diabetes; psoriatic arthritis; hypothyroidism; asthma; COPD, or emphysema; sleep apnea; narcoplepsy; fluid retention in his feet; “moderate to severe” hearing loss; and a recent bout with staph infections. Jacobs said all of the defendant’s issues are being addressed and controlled with medication or other treatments, and that Kramer rarely complains of any side effects from that long list of medications.

Kramer used a walker to enter the courtroom Monday, breathing heavily even with an oxygen tank.

Judge Beyers also heard from the parties about Kramer’s habeas corpus complaint, which argues that the bond conditions implemented upon his release from house arrest in 2008 — particularly, that he not have unsupervised contact with anyone under 16 — were no longer valid because of a 2009 modification. Kramer is still seeking release on bond, which was denied at an earlier hearing.

Edwin Marger, one of Kramer’s attorneys at the time, testified at today’s hearing that the 2009 modification was not meant to nullify the previously agreed upon conditions of bond.

Judge Beyers reserved judgment, giving the parties until Wednesday, August 28, to file their proposed orders on the matter.

[Thanks to Don Cook and Nancy Collins for the story.]

Kramer Hearing Coming August 26

Ed Kramer will have a double hearing on Monday, August 26. Judge Karen Beyers will consider District Attorney Danny Porter’s motion to schedule a trial date to deal with child molestation charges filed against Kramer over 13 years ago.

The hearing will also address a habeas corpus complaint filed last month by Kramer and his attorneys. The Gwinnett Daily Post explains –

Kramer has been in the Gwinnett County jail since he was extradited from Milford, Conn., in January. In his habeas corpus complaint, he and attorney Brian Steel argued that the bond conditions implemented upon his release from house arrest in 2008 — namely, that he not have unsupervised contact with anyone under 16 — were no longer valid because of a 2009 modification.

The hearing comes four days before the start of this year’s Dragon*Con, the convention he helped found.

[Thanks to Nancy Collins for the story.]