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Convicted Md. rapist wants release

A former Maryland Catholic school teacher convicted of raping one of his students in the mid-1970s has filed an appeal that he hopes will improve his chances of being released from prison.

A federal judge has ruled that John Merzbacher had ineffective counsel because his attorneys didn't give him a chance to accept a 10-year plea deal before his 1995 trial.

Judge Andre Davis ordered that Merzbacher should be offered the plea deal again — but he said a judge “must express a willingness” to go along with the deal.

Merzbacher's appeal seeks to strike down that caveat in Davis' ruling. He says in court papers that it's not likely that a judge “would approve such a plea agreement today.”

Merzbacher was accused of molesting more than a dozen children, but those charges were dropped when he was convicted and sentenced to four life terms.

-- The Baltimore Sun

By Washington Post Editors  |  August 31, 2010; 10:11 AM ET
Categories:  Maryland , Sex Crimes , Updates  
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