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Rulings undermine case against ex-tech chief

©Associated Press
October 30, 2002

TALLAHASSEE -- A judge threw out a theft charge against former state technology chief Roy Cales as well as key evidence in a forgery charge.

Cales, 40, resigned in August 2001 as the state's chief information officer after being charged with grand theft.

Cales was accused of using a forged letter to obtain a loan on which he later defaulted, two years before he was put in charge of managing technology in all the state agencies.

Circuit Judge Tom Bateman dismissed the grand theft charge Monday. Bateman noted that Cales was paying on the loan until he suffered a stroke and filed for bankruptcy.

The state's forgery case relied on a letter that Cales was accused of forging in order to get a $30,000 loan from Farmers and Merchants Bank. He used the money to start a software company, and later defaulted on the loan.

But the state couldn't produce the original letter and was using a photocopy taken from microfilm. A handwriting expert said he couldn't say for certain from examining the copy whether Cales wrote the letter.

Bateman said testimony about the letter would confuse a jury and ruled that the state can't use the copy or testimony of the handwriting expert.

"I don't think there's really a way we can try this without them," said the prosecutor on the case, Sean Desmond.

"It's important for people to recognize he didn't do anything wrong," said Cales' lawyer, Stephen Dobson. "It's hard to regain your reputation after something like that.

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