Judge halts release of sex offender for 2nd time

By Jeff Karoub

Associated Press

Published: Saturday, May 24 2014 1:37 p.m. MDT

DETROIT — A Detroit-area judge has twice reversed a decision by the state's parole board to release a convicted sex offender after serving his 9-year minimum prison sentence.

Macomb County Circuit Judge Diane Druzinski sided with Prosecutor Eric Smith to stop Timothy Grier from being released, the prosecutor said in a news release Friday. Grier was convicted in 2001 of two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct involving a girl for two years, which started when she was 13.

"His actions devastated this poor young woman," Smith said. "She continues to bear the impact of his abuse."

Grier, who was 37 at the time of his sentencing, was days past serving his minimum sentence when the board decided to parole him in 2011, but Druzinski reversed it after concluding he hadn't taken responsibility for his crimes or completed a sex offender prisoner's program.

The Michigan Court of Appeals upheld the reversal that year and the state Supreme Court declined the case. Druzinksi halted Grier's release again after the parole board granted parole a second time in November.

"The parole board itself concluded it lacked reasonable assurance that Grier will not become a menace to society or to the public safety because he continued to lack insight into his sexual deviance, to take on the role of a victim, and to portray his crimes as a 'love story,'" the appeals court said in its opinion.

No current attorney for Grier was listed in court records, but William Branch represented him in 2011. Branch told The Associated Press on Saturday that he was surprised by the aggressive stance of the prosecutor's office against a man who at that time had already served 10 years in prison.

"The (Corrections Department) considered him safe to release," Branch said. "He had living quarters arranged for him, and no reason for him to have any contact with the victim."

Corrections Department spokesman Russ Marlan said he couldn't comment on the specifics of Grier's case, but county prosecutors' only avenue is to appeal to circuit courts when they object to parole board decisions.

Marlan said there used to be between 40 and 50 such objections a year, but his department has worked over the past few years to increase communication with county prosecutors and provide more information about inmates. Now, there are only a couple of disputes a year, he said.

"I don't necessarily think it's a great thing to have government suing government," Marlan said. "There's a way for us to look into their concerns."

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