Ivery Cross seeking trialPublished 1:51pm Thursday, December 15, 2011
Just a week after Dakotah Eliason was back in court hoping to gain a new trial, another high-profile defendant is hoping to withdraw his guilty plea.
Ivery Cross, the Niles police officer kicked off the force after being accused of sexually assaulting an inmate in March, has filed to withdraw his guilty plea and go to trial.
Cross, who pleaded guilty to second-degree criminal sexual conduct and misconduct in office, had a first-degree CSC charge dismissed as part of his plea deal. He is currently serving a five-year prison term.
Berrien County Prosecutor Art Cotter said Cross will be in court Jan. 19 at the South Berrien County Courthouse in Niles before Judge Scott Schofield, who sentenced him in May.
Cotter said Cross, 26, has a “tall hill to climb” to have both his plea withdrawn and sentencing put aside.
“Under Michigan law, guilty pleas waive any claim of innocence,” Cotter said. “How successful he will be, we’ll have to wait until the hearing.”
Cotter said Cross, who is being represented by Kalamazoo attorney Anastase Markou, will be arguing the former police officer received ineffective representation from former attorney Andrew Burch.
Markou was not immediately available for comment.
Cross in April pleaded guilty to touching the genitals and buttocks of a 19-year-old man at the Niles Law Enforcement Complex. Cross had arrested the victim on a marijuana charge March 17 and was booking him when the assault to place.
Cross also admitted to sending text messages to him and calling him after the incident.
Cotter told the Star in May that Cross set up a meeting with the victim at a gas station March 25 to take him back to Cross’ home where he wanted the victim to give him a massage. It was when the victim arrived at the home that Cross discovered a wire and police moved in and arrested him.
Eliason, a Niles teen who is serving a life sentence without parole for shooting his grandfather, had an evidentiary hearing earlier this month to determine if he received ineffective assistance from his former lawyer, Lanny Fisher.