LAWRENCEVILLE — Less than a week after becoming a convicted sex offender and receiving a comparatively lenient sentence of house arrest, Ed Kramer was already attempting to finagle more freedom.
Kramer, the co-founder of sci-fi convention Dragon Con, entered a negotiated guilty plea on Monday, Dec. 2, ending a child molestation case that had dragged on for more than 13 years. As part of the conditions of his plea — and the product of his alleged litany of medical ailments — the 52-year-old was essentially sentenced to 34 months of house arrest to be followed by 15 years of probation.
The plea granted Kramer the ability to leave for court-approved actions like medical appointments, religious services and grocery shopping. Within four days, though, his attorney had filed an emergency motion requesting even more latitude.
“It is requested that a procedure be established whereby the monitoring service of the Defendant’s GPS ankle monitor be notified when the Defendant’s (sic) is to participate in the specified permitted activity,” attorney McNeill Stokes wrote.
In English, the motion basically asks that Kramer be able to leave his home on Duluth’s Honeycomb Way by alerting the private company monitoring his movements — not through any approval by the courts or probation system.
In his official response filed Monday, District Attorney Danny Porter balked at the idea, stressing that Kramer is on house arrest in lieu of spending time in prison. He said the plea agreement doesn’t grant Kramer the de facto freedom to leave his home for the reasons above, arguing that permission merely “MAY be granted.”
“It is a basic tenant of incarceration that convicts don’t have the ability to come and go as they please,” Porter wrote. “This defendant is no different and should be restricted to his home except for those occasions in which a convict would be transported from the prison.”
Porter instead offered a set of potential guidelines that would monitor Kramer closely yet, in his words, “prevent daily hearings based on frivolous motions filed by this defendant in an effort to test the Court’s patience and extract concessions on his sentence.”
Under the district attorney’s proposed plan:
— Kramer would request permission to leave home via letter or email to his supervising probation officer, who would have the authority to grant or deny the request. Formal court motions would then be permitted to challenge any denial.
— Kramer would have to make a request for each absence, meaning “there are no continuing permission slips.”
— Each request would need a “specific purpose, specific destination, specific duration of the trip and the identity of a person who can verify that the defendant is at the location.” Written proof of attendance would also be required.
— Kramer would be “constantly monitored” while away from his residence and any deviation would “form the basis for an immediate revocation of his current sentence,” meaning he would be sent to prison.
Originally charged in 2000, Kramer entered an Alford plea — essentially a guilty plea which allows the defendant to maintain his innocence — on three counts of child molestation last week. He is accused of inappropriately touching three young boys between 1996 and 2000.
Kramer’s sentencing mandated he register as a sex offender, which he did last Thursday morning. Because his offenses occurred prior to 2003, he is not subject to current statutes restricting where sex offenders can live. His home is off Old Norcross Road near Steve Reynolds Boulevard, about half a mile from Chesney Elementary School and less than two miles from Shorty Howell Park.
Porter said Kramer’s computer and other electronics are subject to search but that his Internet activity will not be monitored directly.
He expected the current issue to be resolved via a consent order from Judge Karen Beyers.