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Conviction of Army & Navy headmaster for child abuse is overturned – updated 12-6-21

Appeals court disagreed with dismissal of juror - see author update in Comments

From Megan's Law website
From Megan's Law website

A top official at a boys academy in San Diego County had his child abuse conviction overturned, and he was granted a new trial by an appellant court.

Jeffery Barton, then 55, was head of schools at the Army & Navy military academy in Carlsbad, when he was arrested and accused of child abuse in October of 2013. He was employed there almost 20 years, from 1994 until his arrest. Accusations first surfaced in June 2013, when Barton was accused of molesting boys from 13 to 15 years of age.

Patricia Lavermiccoca, left, led the second prosecution of Barton in May 2016. Judge Harry Elias, right, sentenced Barton to 48 years for each of the six guilty counts.

Three months ago, on October 26, 2020, an appeals court overturned Barton’s conviction because the trial judge removed a juror who reportedly refused to deliberate.

The appellant court did not dispute that Barton committed unlawful acts on boys.

“The evidence was more than sufficient to support the jury’s implied finding that Barton committed the sexual acts by means of duress. Thus Barton’s challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence to support the jury’s verdict is meritless,” the judge wrote. “While we reverse the judgment due to the error regarding discharge of Juror Number Twelve, Barton may be tried again for these offenses…”

The 18-page decision was written by Associate Justice Richard D. Huffman, and justices Patricia D. Benke and Joan Irion concurred.

Barton’s first trial ended in November 2015. He was acquitted of some charges but the jury could not come to unanimous agreement on other counts.

Patricia Lavermiccoca led the second prosecution of Barton in May 2016, in which he was found guilty. The jury deliberated some days and complained about one female juror who reportedly would not join discussions. Then an alternate juror was substituted in, and the jury came to unanimous decisions in about five hours. Barton was convicted of five felony counts of sexual abuse of one student, plus one more felony molest charge.

Honorable judge Harry Elias sentenced Barton, then 59, to the maximum time allowed by law, 48 years, months for each of the six guilty counts.

Lavermiccoca is expected to prosecute Barton’s next trial, his third trial.

Barton, now 63, is expected to return to local custody in San Diego County on March 3. He has been in California State prison since 2017.

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From Megan's Law website
From Megan's Law website

A top official at a boys academy in San Diego County had his child abuse conviction overturned, and he was granted a new trial by an appellant court.

Jeffery Barton, then 55, was head of schools at the Army & Navy military academy in Carlsbad, when he was arrested and accused of child abuse in October of 2013. He was employed there almost 20 years, from 1994 until his arrest. Accusations first surfaced in June 2013, when Barton was accused of molesting boys from 13 to 15 years of age.

Patricia Lavermiccoca, left, led the second prosecution of Barton in May 2016. Judge Harry Elias, right, sentenced Barton to 48 years for each of the six guilty counts.

Three months ago, on October 26, 2020, an appeals court overturned Barton’s conviction because the trial judge removed a juror who reportedly refused to deliberate.

The appellant court did not dispute that Barton committed unlawful acts on boys.

“The evidence was more than sufficient to support the jury’s implied finding that Barton committed the sexual acts by means of duress. Thus Barton’s challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence to support the jury’s verdict is meritless,” the judge wrote. “While we reverse the judgment due to the error regarding discharge of Juror Number Twelve, Barton may be tried again for these offenses…”

The 18-page decision was written by Associate Justice Richard D. Huffman, and justices Patricia D. Benke and Joan Irion concurred.

Barton’s first trial ended in November 2015. He was acquitted of some charges but the jury could not come to unanimous agreement on other counts.

Patricia Lavermiccoca led the second prosecution of Barton in May 2016, in which he was found guilty. The jury deliberated some days and complained about one female juror who reportedly would not join discussions. Then an alternate juror was substituted in, and the jury came to unanimous decisions in about five hours. Barton was convicted of five felony counts of sexual abuse of one student, plus one more felony molest charge.

Honorable judge Harry Elias sentenced Barton, then 59, to the maximum time allowed by law, 48 years, months for each of the six guilty counts.

Lavermiccoca is expected to prosecute Barton’s next trial, his third trial.

Barton, now 63, is expected to return to local custody in San Diego County on March 3. He has been in California State prison since 2017.

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Comments
20

Jeffrey Barton is currently in prison in Central California, and is expected to be transferred to local jail in San Diego County for his next trial, his third trial.

Feb. 9, 2021

Great. Prosecute the SOB for the third time, and keep his a** in jail/prison where it belongs.

Feb. 9, 2021

That case was strange, in that he had been investigated for such activity more than once previously, and no charges were filed. But, the story went, he was warned to avoid even the hint of impropriety and keep his distance from the cadets. What a fool he had to be to offend again, and get caught. The leadership of the ANA was asleep at the switch for allowing it to reoccur. The head of the ANA, a retired army brigadier general, was out of there as soon as Barton was arrested. Later it was revealed that Barton had left a private school somewhere else in the nation after accusations of the same sort of abuse. But he'd managed to get that school to stay mum about why he left its employ. Yet, he kept a copy of the documentation hidden in his car, and it was found by the cops after his arrest here, adding credence to the charges being brought. Without those documents the local authorities would likely have never known about it.

Good to have you back, Eva!

Feb. 10, 2021

Jeffrey Barton is scheduled to be in the Vista courthouse (most likely by video monitor) in Department 1, in one week, on March 3, 2021, Wednesday. His assigned public defender is Sherry Stone, a very experienced and aggressive defender. Barton, who is now 63 and still in California State Prison Avenal, was previously scheduled for possible parole in October 2038. Thank you for your welcoming words, Visduh!

Feb. 24, 2021

The case is being retired due to a technicality not because the judge thought he was innocent. Hopefully the third time will be the charm. I am sure he has new friends in prison.

Feb. 17, 2021

Convicted child abuser Jeffrey Barton did not appear for his scheduled hearing today, Wednesday March 3, 2021. In fact, he was never moved into local custody in San Diego County, and he remains in custody at California State Prison Avenal. Prosecutor Patricia Lavermicocca has filed “an order to produce” Barton for a hearing on March 23 at 9 a.m. in Department 5 of the North County Superior Courthouse in Vista.
(there is courthouse gossip that Barton's very-experienced and aggressive defense counsel Sherry Stone is trying to negotiate a plea deal so the prisoner can be released for "time served.")

March 3, 2021

Jeffrey S Barton unexpectedly appeared on the calendar for tomorrow morning, Monday, March 8, in San Diego's North County Superior Courthouse in Vista. The calendar lists him appearing in "department 12" from 9 am to 9:15 a.m. He is shown as remaining in California State prison Avenal, so it should be an appearance by video monitor. Anyone can listen in to this hearing, by connecting through YouTube (audio only, there will be no visual). These remote court appearances are NOT SAVED on the YouTube platform, they are only broadcast once, live. The link to hear this court appearance is below, scroll down the page to find North County, department 12 and click on that line. The audio is turned off and on in the courtroom, some patience required. http://www.sdcourt.ca.gov/portal/page?_pageid=55,1643277&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL

March 7, 2021

Prosecutor Patricia Lavermiccocca stated the “remote hearing” was held yesterday, March 8, with Jeffrey Barton appearing by video monitor, he remains in Avenal state prison. His next hearing is currently set for May 24, in Dept 1 of the Vista courthouse at 9 a.m. At that next hearing, a September date for jury trial might be confirmed.

March 9, 2021

Jail records show that Jeffrey S Barton, 63, is now in local jail in San Diego County, moved from California State Prison. Barton has a hearing next scheduled for Monday, May 24, 2021, in the Superior Courthouse in Vista, just moved to Department 21. This hearing might confirm a date for his next trial, his third trial. Anyone can listen into this Monday morning hearing by going to the link below, scroll down to North Department 21, and click on that link. You can hear that LIVE ONLY, it is not saved online, and there is NO VISUAL, just audio.

http://www.sdcourt.ca.gov/portal/page?_pageid=55,1643277&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL

May 21, 2021

Jeffrey S. Barton, 63, is on calendar to be in the Vista courthouse in North County San Diego on Monday, June 28, at 9:30 a.m. in Department 5. During this hearing, his tentative trial date in September could be confirmed, or a new trial date could be chosen. Superior courthouses in the County are now seeing prisoners in person, and it is expected that the defendant will be produced in the courtroom at that time.

June 24, 2021

At a brief hearing this morning, July 1, 2021, new dates were chosen for the next, third trial of Jeffrey Scott Barton, now 63. Potential jurors are expected to be questioned on November 18. Honorable judge Robert Kearney hopes to hear opening statements of attorneys, and to begin trial on the first Monday after Thanksgiving, on November 29, 2021.

July 1, 2021

The prosecution needs only to get a conviction on a single felony count this time. The sentence would take Barton out of circulation permanently, and that is what the DA should want. We will see what happens this time around.

July 4, 2021

At a hearing Monday, October 18, 2021, a new trial date was suggested in late January 2022, although evidence and witnesses are not expected to be heard until February 2022. Honorable judge Robert Kearney will hear "motions" four days, November 15, 16, 17, 18, in year 2021, during those motion hearings the attorneys commonly will argue about what evidence will be permitted. The defendant appeared paler, fatter, and whispered energetically to his attorney during the one-hour hearing yesterday.

Oct. 19, 2021

The prosecutor revealed that a plea deal was reached today, November 17, 2021. This was a surprise hearing, off calendar, and Jeffrey Scott Barton admitted two counts of child abuse, and the 4 other counts were dismissed. ("He pled to Ct 1 PC288a(c)(1) and Ct 2 PC288a(c)(1).") He could get up to 14 years prison, or Honorable judge Harry Elias could sentence Barton to 8 years prison. Barton has been in prison 4 years already, so it is unclear if this might end up being "sentenced to time served," or released on parole? The actual date of sentencing is set for the end of this month, November 30 at 9 a.m. in Department 23 of San Diego's North County Courthouse in Vista.

Nov. 17, 2021

We can only wonder what is going on here. The conviction was overturned on grounds that were "technical", regarding replacing a juror. The appeals court didn't rule on the evidence at all; it was procedural. So, why, if the DA was so incensed at his alleged crimes, does she go for this plea bargain? The judge hit him with a sentence that was tantamount to life, and now "might" sentence him to time served. Barton's prospects have brightened considerably, and he may easily live out his years as a free man, rather than dying in prison. But what does the future hold for him? This time he won't be able to get hired as a headmaster anywhere, and nearly nobody would have him in their employ doing anything.

Nov. 20, 2021

Here are some of the pages of Jeffrey Barton's plea deal. It is not known if any of his victims are expected to speak at his sentencing at the end of this month.

Nov. 19, 2021

There is some confusion, because Hon. judge Robert Kearney took the plea deal and signed it. But there are indications that Hon. judge Harry Elias, who heard both trials, will pronounce sentence. One court clerk stated that defendant Jeffrey Barton is expected to be released for "time served" on the day he is sentenced, Tuesday November 30, 2021. There is also confusion about in which courtroom the sentencing will take place, at 9 a.m. in San Diego's North County Superior courthouse in Vista, California.

Nov. 21, 2021

Jeffrey Scott Barton was released from custody on November 30, the same day he was sentenced, after he made a plea deal in which he admitted two counts of felony child abuse. The same judge who previously heard Barton’s two jury trials, Honorable Harry Elias, sentenced Barton last Tuesday to 8 years, which effectively meant “time served.”

That same morning, defense attorney Sherry Stone requested Barton get his two expired passports returned to him, so he can use those as ID until he can get a California driver’s license or other current ID.

Barton turned 64 years old in custody last month. He is described in local jail records as 5 feet 10 inches tall (he looks shorter) and 200 pounds. Judge Elias ordered Barton to check in at the parole office on Simpson Way in Escondido by Friday, December 3. The judge further ordered that Barton must register as a sex offender for life.

At the same hearing, judge Elias signed ten-year protective orders for three of Barton’s alleged victims, those men were identified as John Does A, B, and C.

Defense attorney Sherry Stone tried to demand “immediate release” for Barton, from the courtroom, she said she brought clothes and shoes for Barton to change out of his jail clothes. But judge Elias said he would not interfere with normal “Sheriff’s procedural release” from the local Vista jail, the judge told Barton that he would be released “sometime today.”

Jeffrey Barton spoke to the court before his sentence was announced. He thanked various attorneys who worked on his case over the years, especially Robert Boyce for “spending years” on his appeal — which successfully caused a California appellate court to overturn Barton’s jury conviction (the appellate court declared that the trial judge erred by dismissing one juror who reportedly refused to join jury deliberations).

Jeffrey Barton stated in court, “They should be ashamed of themselves for going after a non-profit institute!” Barton was apparently offended that some of his alleged victims have filed civil suits against the schools where they were allegedly abused by Barton. (The alleged victims, now all grown men, were all young boys who attended three different schools around the USA where Barton worked at various times in his life.)

Today, Jeffrey Barton seemed to blame news media for the attention his case received, saying, “When the press gets ahold of things, they grab it and civil suits happen!” He faulted the San Diego Union Tribune newspaper, Barton claimed they made “ridiculous” mistakes regarding which years he worked at which schools, and whether or not he was ever a soccer coach.

Dec. 6, 2021

Before the judge pronounced sentence that day, a man identified as John Doe A spoke to the court through a video monitor. The prosecutor said this alleged abuse victim (now a mature man) “wanted to be here in person, but he was not able to fly out here.”

The handsome man spoke with a soft southern accent and said, “I have been dealing with issues from Jeffry Barton for 36 years now.” He said he has his own grown kids now. “I find out a few weeks ago he will be incarcerated for 8 years for the crimes he committed.” The man plainly didn’t like it, “But I’m a rancher not a lawyer.”

He complained that while Barton has been in custody, “He had many more rights than the kids in the boarding school had, when they were 12, 13, 14 years old. The families sent these kids off to school to teach them to be fine men. They could never have dreamed they would be subjected to a rogue sex offender, a pedophile!” He praised the victims who had the courage to testify during the jury trials, “They’re all great men.”

“I understand that Jeff Barton will be released,” he said. “But what kind of monitoring will there be? There is the internet, they have a lot more access than there used to be.” Judge Harry Elias answered, “The state department of parole manages each individual parolee, after he reports to parole, and they get his case file.” The man answered politely, but sounded disappointed, “Yes sir.” He added, “I hope the restrictions placed on Barton will keep him away from kids.”

Honorable judge Harry Elias explained that he agreed to the plea deal because he wanted to finally resolve the case, which has gone on for years, Barton was first arrested in 2013. The judge said Barton had 2,967 actual days in custody and 3,412 days “custody credits,” which means Barton has been in custody more than the 8 years he agreed to in the plea deal. http://www.sandiegoreader.com/users/p...

Dec. 6, 2021

There is still a part of this case that doesn't fit. This judge was packing Barton off to prison with no chance that Barton would ever be released. Now he says he "finally wanted to resolve the case" and that was why he agreed to the plea bargain. That means he went from wanting Barton to die in prison about five years ago, and now is willing to turn him loose into society. That's a very large swing indeed.

Could it be that the DA is just getting tired of this case? Another trial would have been a real chore, and there are undoubtedly more egregious cases to prosecute. But the plea deal could have required a few years of prison time prior to his release and it did not. Somebody blinked during the negotiations of the deal, and it looks as if it was the DA.

Dec. 7, 2021

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