Cecil County State’s Attorney Rollins Clings to Job, Files for New Trial on Sex Case Convictions; Court Record Raises Questions
Cecil County Stateâ€™s Attorney Edward D.E. â€śEllisâ€ť Rollins III has filed a motion for a new trial after his jury conviction on two sexual misconduct-related charges– thus prolonging the taxpayer-funded agony and embarrassment of having to continue to pay a salary and benefits to a disgraced prosecutor who hasnâ€™t appeared in Cecil County courts to do his job in over six months. And the electronic court record of the case in the Worcester County Circuit Court raises questions about whether Rollins has received some kid-glove treatment.
Rollinsâ€™ attorney filed a motion seeking a new trial on 12/19/16, but the case file listed no date for a hearing on the motion. Rollins had previously requested a delay in sentencing after his conviction last month and he was expected to face sentencing sometime this month, but no date was listed in the court record online.
In most cases in the Maryland electronic court case files, the verdicts from a jury trial are clearly listed and usually filed within hours after a verdict is rendered. But not in Rollinsâ€™ case.
Although Rollins was convicted by a jury after a two day trial, the electronic docket only lists his â€śnot guiltyâ€ť plea on two counts of disorderly conduct and two counts of indecent exposure. The docket does list the jury verdicts of â€śnot guiltyâ€ť on two countsâ€”one each of disorderly conduct and indecent exposure. But the docket fails to disclose that the jury convicted Rollins on 12/9/16 on one count of disorderly conduct and one count of indecent exposure. All the charges are misdemeanors.
The charges stem from multiple alleged incidents in Ocean City last year, while Rollins was attending a taxpayer-funded convention of the Maryland Statesâ€™ Attorneyâ€™s Association.
He was accused of masturbating, performing sex acts and nudity in clear view of other vacationers in the oceanside resort while standing in front of a glass balcony door of his hotel room. Several women, who were staying at an adjacent hotel, testified at the trial that they witnessed Rollinsâ€™ sexual performances on multiple occasions over a two-day period. The jury only convicted Rollins of acts that were also witnessed by a hotel security officer who had been summoned by the women.
Instead of the usual notation of all verdicts in a jury trial, the Rollins electronic case listing is silent (as of 1/3/17) on the â€śdispositionâ€ť of two other charges, on which he was found guilty. And the electronic record includes an italic footnote, declaring:
â€śThis is an electronic case record. Full case information cannot be made available either because of legal restrictions on access to case records found in Maryland Rules, or because of the practical difficulties inherent in reducing a case record into an electronic format.â€ť
What are â€śthe practical difficultiesâ€ť in including the fact that Rollins was convicted of two criminal charges, if the case file report had no such â€śdifficultiesâ€ť in recounting the â€śnot guiltyâ€ť findings on the other two counts? The electronic record is silent on the fact of his convictions but is only too willing to list his other â€śnot guiltyâ€ť outcomes.
So far, the Maryland Attorney Generalâ€™s office has been silent on the next steps and procedures for removing Rollins from office, or declaring a vacancy so that local judges can name a replacement, under provisions of the state Constitution. (See previous CECIL TIMES report on Rollins conviction and constitutional provisions for replacement of a Stateâ€™s Attorney upon â€śconvictionâ€ť of an offense here: http://ceciltimes.com/2016/12/cecil-county-states-attorney-rollins-convicted-on-2-counts-in-sex-case-next-legal-steps-removal-from-office-unclear/ )
Meanwhile, Cecil County departmental budget proposals are due to be presented to the County Executive in the next few weeks for review and revision before a Fiscal 2018 budget is sent to the County Council on 4/1/17. Although an independently-elected state official, the Stateâ€™s Attorneyâ€™s budget is heavily funded by Cecil County taxpayers. With Rollins still holding on to his job, despite his legal infirmities, will taxpayers be asked to continue to pay him a full salary, even as he has not set foot in a courtroom as a prosecutor since he was charged with criminal offenses last summer? (He is said to be doing “administrative” tasks only, in his office.)
Or are taxpayers supposed to pay him a salary to appear in a courtroom as a defendant in his own criminal cases?