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Convicted sex offender asks for court trial

By Staff | Mar 17, 2008

Despite some legal maneuvering of his own, a trial for a Winnebago man charged with violating a sex offender registration requirement will proceed as scheduled.

Shortly after he was arrested in October, Jeffrey Lynn Porter, 66, appeared in court and was given the services of a public defender. He would plead not guilty to the registration violation and request a jury trial.

On March 3, Porter was in Fairbault County District Court asking Judge Douglas Richards that he be allowed to represent himself in the case, instead of public defender Bill Grogin.

Richards gave Porter some time to think about his request.

A week later, Porter was back in court and told Richards he wanted to keep Grogin as his lawyer. He also told the judge he wanted to have a court trial; where a judge, not a jury, issues a verdict.

“We firmly believe that Judge Richards will be able to look at the facts of the case fairly and objectively,” says Grogin in explaining why they want the judge to hear the case.

Winnebago police arrested Porter for failing to report his current address after leaving North Dakota. Because he is registered as a predatory sex offender, Porter must notify authorities of his new address when he moves.

Porter has said in the past he left North Dakota shortly after hearing his friend Miguel Angel Lopez was stabbed to death in July. He maintains he was helping family members with translation of legal matters and ensuring their concerns were addressed.

After arriving in Winnebago, Porter says, he told a Faribault County deputy where he was living and asked him to contact North Dakota officials for him. Because of confusion, they were never told.

The registration violation carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine. He has been released on his own personal recognizance.