0

Dragon*Con founder files habeas corpus petition

LAWRENCEVILLE -- Ed Kramer has filed a petition for habeas corpus against Gwinnett County Sheriff Butch Conway, claiming he's being illegally detained as he awaits trial on decade-old child molestation charges.

In the civil petition filed July 2 in Gwinnett County Superior Court, Kramer -- the co-founder of popular sci-fi convention Dragon*Con -- alleges that an April hearing that revoked his bond did so unjustly. Pointing to a pair of technicalities, it echoes the sentiments argued in previous hearings by Kramer's team of big-name attorneys.

"Petitioner is being illegally and unjustly detained as a result of having his legally-obtained bond revoked without his having done anything to violate said bond conditions," the filing said. "Although having been granted bond, Petitioner's bond has been revoked due to conditions and procedures beyond the control of Petitioner, resulting in his unjust detention without reasonable bond."

The original charges against Kramer stem from allegations originally made by two boys, aged 13 and 15, who claimed the sci-fi convention co-founder molested them between 1996 and 2000. A third boy came forward in 2003.

After a convoluted decade-plus of hearings, health complaints, requests for special accommodations and an extradition, Kramer has yet to go to trial. During an April 26 hearing -- in which Kramer decided to leave early, connected to an oxygen tank and complaining of not feeling well -- Judge Karen Beyers denied him bond.

That day in court came nearly two years after Kramer was arrested in Milford, Conn., and accused of being unsupervised in a hotel room with a 14-year-old boy. After taking his extradition all the way to Connecticut's Supreme Court, Kramer was brought back to Gwinnett in January.

But Kramer's attorney's, led by Brian Steel, are fighting for his bond and claiming that case did not violate the conditions that released him from Gwinnett house arrest in 2008 -- because they no longer applied.

According to the habeas corpus petition, the May 2008 motion that granted Kramer bond prohibited him from having unsupervised contact with any person under the age of 16. In August 2009, though, that bond was modified and Kramer was placed on personal recognizance bond, meaning he was free to travel as long as he checked in regularly with the district attorney's office.

Steel argued that the 2009 order replaced all previous bond conditions.

"(Kramer) has committed no violations of the law and has not missed any Court dates," the petition said. "Thus, the Trial Court's recent Order denying Petitioner's bond dated April 26, 2013, is legally erroneous."

In prior hearings, Porter has argued that original conditions of bond were still considered active following the 2009 modification.

Complicating things even further is the fact that Connecticut authorities have said they will likely no longer pursue charges against Kramer, citing the "much larger" case in Gwinnett and the extradition cost for the prosecution of a relatively minor case.

The defense has used that to advance its claims that Kramer never violated his bond.

Porter could not be reached for comment Monday. Court records showed a hearing on the new petition had not yet been scheduled.

Officials for Dragon*Con, the internationally renowned science fiction and pop culture convention held each Labor Day in Atlanta, also announced Monday that Kramer had been bought out of his ownership role. The co-founder had had no hands-on role in convention's operations since his original arrest.