Ex-D.C. Fire Captain to be Retried in Sex Assault Case
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
A Calvert County Circuit Court judge ordered a new trial Friday for the former D.C. fire captain convicted of sexually assaulting a 23-year-old woman who had passed out at a party, authorities said.
Judge Warren J. Krug ruled that he himself was partially responsible for stripping Tony D. Sneed, 48, of Fort Washington of his right to a fair trial when he misread a jury instruction about second-degree rape -- the same charge Sneed was convicted of in June, according to the lawyers who handled the case.
The judge told jurors, " 'If you find that the defendant was mentally incapacitated or unconscious, it's not a defense that the victim apparently consented to the act of vaginal intercourse,' " said Joel DuBoff, Sneed's defense attorney. The judge should have said "victim" instead of "defendant," DuBoff said.
Prosecutors have said that jurors convicted Sneed in part because his accuser was "mentally incapacitated or physically helpless" and thus could not consent.
"I was elated and grateful that justice was done by the judge in this case," DuBoff said. "He took the noble position."
Laura Martin, state's attorney for Calvert, confirmed the judge's ruling and said she will continue to seek a conviction against Sneed. She said a new trial date has not been set.
Sneed was charged in August 2008 with attacking the woman, a friend of his stepdaughter's, as she lay on a mattress in the stepdaughter's Calvert home. Sneed acknowledged that the two had sex but said the woman was the aggressor, DuBoff has said.
DuBoff said Monday that his client, who is out of jail on bond, has resigned his position at the fire department. Before that, he had been placed on leave, fire department officials have said.