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State seeks to appeal after Morrissey acquittal

Former Del. Joseph D. Morrissey says the state should be barred from appealing his acquittal on a perjury charge stemming from his plea deal in a sexual misconduct case.

When Morrissey pleaded guilty to contributing to the delinquency of a minor on Dec. 12, an immunity clause was part of the plea deal.

Accused later of presenting a falsified document in that plea hearing, Morrissey claimed the immunity clause barred the new criminal charges. On April 1, Judge Designate Alfred Swersky agreed and dismissed the charges against Morrissey.

On May 1, special prosecutor Theo Stamos asked the Court of Appeals of Virginia to review that ruling.

“[P]lea agreements are not free passes to commit crimes in the future; they can only address known or unknown misconduct in the past,” Stamos argued.

Morrissey “subverted the integrity of the judicial system and, to this point, has evaded justice,” Stamos wrote.

Morrissey followed May 14 with a motion to dismiss, saying Swersky’s decision was based on two distinct grounds and only one is subject to appeal by the state.

Swersky cited both breach of contract and double jeopardy in tossing the new felony charges against Morrissey.

Morrissey said Virginia law allows the state to appeal double jeopardy rulings, but not rulings based on breach of contract. His motion asked the Court of Appeals to dismiss Stamos’ appeal for lack of jurisdiction.

The new charges arose from Morrissey’s attempt to explain what a 17-year-old female office staffer was doing at his home late at night on Aug. 23, 2013. He said she was there because she was concerned about her father’s apparent failure to make court-ordered payments to her college fund.

Morrissey offered documents to establish that a court had made such an order.

Prosecutors said the documents were falsified.

Updated May 18 to add language from the petition for appeal.

One comment

  1. Shouldn’t the claim be fraud in the inducement, so the contract was either void or voidable? Alleging breach assumes there was a contract.

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