Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Harrison appeals child enticement conviction

Express Staff Writer


Former airport security guard Robert Joe Harrison Jr. has appealed his child enticement conviction to the Idaho Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, he remains in the Blaine County Jail, unable to raise the $5,000 bond that 5th District Court Judge Robert J. Elgee requires for him to be released.

Harrison is serving a six-month jail sentence following his conviction by a Blaine County jury in September of misdemeanor child enticement. The same jury acquitted Harrison of felony second-degree kidnapping.

Harrison's trouble with the law in Blaine County dates back to April 10 when he allegedly enticed a 10-year-old Hemingway Elementary School student into his vehicle while the boy was walking home from the Ketchum school.

Harrison's appeal was filed last month by his public defender, Kevin Cassidy of the Roark Law Firm in Hailey.

The appeal alleges that Harrison was wrongfully convicted because Elgee declined to "suppress evidence unlawfully taken without a search warrant," that Ketchum police violated Harrison's Miranda rights and that Elgee allowed admission into evidence of an "unreasonably and fatally suggestive photo lineup" that was shown to the 10-year-old boy to identify Harrison.

Following the filing of Harrison's appeal, Elgee granted a motion by Cassidy to stay execution of the sentence while the case is under appeal. However, Elgee made Harrison's release from jail contingent upon Harrison posting $5,000 bond, something that Harrison has been unable to do.

Elgee also granted a motion that allows Harrison to retain Cassidy as his attorney in the appeals process at the expense of Blaine County.

Formerly of Ketchum, Harrison has been living in the Walla Walla, Wash., area. Before his arrest, he was a security guard for the federal Transportation Security Administration at Friedman Memorial Airport in Hailey.

According to court records, Harrison was fired from his TSA job after his conviction.

In an affidavit filed with the court on the same day his jail sentence was imposed, Harrison claimed that he had been able to work only part time as a laborer and a security guard, making less than $100 a week, in the Walla Walla area.

The affidavit further says that Harrison was living with his pastor and that his wife divorced him "during the pendency of this trial."

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