A Duval County judge dismissed the case against a former Raines High School principal charged with giving false statements to police. George Maxey admitted that he initially intentionally gave police wrong information to protect students who stole items from the locker room of a visiting football team, the Florida Times-Union reported. But his Jacksonville criminal defense attorney argued that he recanted his story quickly and it did not negatively affect the investigations, therefore was not against the law, according to the newspaper. A judge agreed at a hearing last week, dismissing the Duval County misdemeanor charge. State Attorney Angela Corey said when her office chose to file charges in February against Maxey and assistant principal Oscar Harris she wanted to send a strong message to the community that actions like these, especially from high-ranking officials, would not be tolerated. But with the judge dismissing the charges, what is the message now?
The message appears to be that our judicial system is based on the law – not morals – and what Maxey did in relation to a Jacksonville theft investigation at his school was not a crime in the eyes of the judge, the newspaper reported. The law reads that recanting can be used as a defense if the statements are recanted in a timely manner, do not change the course of the investigation and are taken back before they were exposed as false. Maxey came clean in two hours and the investigation was not altered because of his statements, according to the newspaper. Prosecutors argued that Maxey only recanted because he knew his lies would soon be discovered and that Maxey should not escape prosecution just because his plan was not successful, the newspaper reported. In dismissing the Jacksonville criminal charges, the judge said the purpose of the recanting clause in the law is to encourage people to be honest and truthful with the police.
Maxey was forced to resign last year when the school system learned of the false statements. Corey had said she was not seeking jail time – even though the maximum penalty is up to a year in the Duval County Jail. Corey was looking for Maxey to do community service and show the importance of telling the truth to police, the newspaper reported. As we’ve seen before, what can cause someone to lose their job doesn’t always end up costing them in court. And just because there is enough for an arrest, doesn’t mean a judge sees enough to go forward with the case. Whenever possible, if police are asking to speak with you about a crime, speak with the Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorney first. An experienced criminal lawyer can advise you of your rights and the best way to handle an encounter with investigators.
If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm, PA at (904) 365-5200 for a free consultation. Our Duval County Misdemeanor Lawyer is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.