The second half of Ferlando Dorsey’s trial continued into Thursday morning as he called four new witnesses and recalled Bartow County Sheriff’s Office deputy Brison Strickland to the stand. His questions focused on the victim’s reported bisexuality and alleged sexual advances on other inmates, as they did the previous day.
However, when delivering a guilty verdict on the charge of aggravated sodomy, Judge D. Scott Smith said Dorsey’s defense did not address the key issue in the case — consent.
“Much of the defense in this case was spent attempting to prove that [the victim] was bisexual. One’s sexual orientation does not, in and of itself, mean that a person is consenting to every act that is placed upon them of a sexual nature,” Smith said. “Just because one is homosexual, bisexual or heterosexual does not mean that a person is naturally, therefore, consenting to any type of sexual act within the genre of sex acts that they enjoy. ...
“If [the victim] had consented to having sex with Mr. Dorsey, why would he have motioned for the deputies to come to the door in the first place? There would never have been any type of problem.”
Dorsey maintained throughout the entire trial he and the victim never engaged in a sexual act. He said, repeatedly, during his closing remarks on Thursday, that he was not bisexual or homosexual. He also said he would admit to harming the victim if he had, in fact, touched him.
“I never did anything, your honor, to hurt that man. I’m not that type of person, your honor. If I had done those things I would step up here today and say, ‘Yes, I did those things,’” Dorsey said.
While preparing to read his verdict, Smith admitted there was little physical evidence to support either Dorsey or the victim’s versions of the incident. No DNA swabs were taken and the small amount of evidence collected, including two washcloths and two ballpoint pens, were never sent to a lab for testing. Smith said the case came down to Dorsey and the victim’s credibility as they were the only two people who knew what happened in isolation cell 13 on Nov. 28, 2011.
Dorsey attempted to question the victim’s credibility by pointing out his reported homosexual inclinations, inconsistent testimony as to how Dorsey allegedly assaulted him and multiple incidents when the victim was moved out of a jail cell because he made sexual advances on an inmate.
However, Dorsey’s own credibility was undermined when one of his witnesses and a state rebuttal witness said he had approached them and asked them to lie on the witness stand. He offered a paid lawyer to the first, and only asked the other to say they overheard the victim asking Dorsey for sexual favors. Both witnesses refused to perjure themselves.
Smith also said Dorsey and the victim’s personalities played a roll in his verdict.
“It is easy to see that [the victim] would not be the person intimidating Mr. Dorsey. It would be the opposite,” he said. “Mr. Dorsey would be much more likely, in this court’s opinion, to intimidate [the victim] in the situation embodied in this incident.”
In the final charge of inciting a riot in a penal institution Dorsey was found not guilty. Smith said two inmates locked in a cell would not be able to start an incident that would spread through the rest of the jail. He said it was not the proper context for such a charge.
As Dorsey was already in custody when the trial began, he was taken back into custody after Smith read his verdict. He is scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 18 after a pre-sentencing investigation.