LAKE LUZERNE -- For the second time in six months, a judge has dismissed criminal charges against a former Hadley-Luzerne teacher who was accused of having improper contact with students.
Also for the second time in two months, the Warren County District Attorney's Office has appealed that dismissal.
The defendant at the center of the case is 57-year-old Corinth resident Keith D. Powell, who was a music teacher at Stuart M. Townsend Middle School.
He was arrested in April 2008 on charges he endangered the welfare of two 14-year-old students by kissing on the cheek and having improper physical contact with one, and improper sexually themed conversations with the other.
Powell retired shortly after his arrest.
His case has taken a number of twists and turns since then. Authorities said they found child pornography on his home computer, but an indictment on those allegations was dropped for jurisdictional issues and was not re-filed because prosecutors had questions about whether the people involved were children or young adults.
The endangering the welfare of a child counts were filed in Lake Luzerne Town Court but were dismissed by Justice Bruce Hayes last June based on technical issues.
The district attorney's office appealed that dismissal and won, resulting in the charges being re-filed in August.
Powell's lawyer, Jeffrey Matte, late last year again asked Hayes to dismiss the charges, arguing the district attorney's office took too long to prepare the case for trial, and the trial was not held in the required time period.
The district attorney's office disagreed, but Hayes ruled in Matte's favor, and in a ruling dated Friday, he dismissed the charges.
Matte said he had no comment on the case Monday, but Warren County District Attorney Kate Hogan said Monday that her office has filed a notice of appeal and believes the charges should not have been dismissed.
She said the time that passed was a result of adjournments that were requested by Matte, so the clock should not have been ticking against the prosecution.
"The adjournments were at the defendant's request," she said. "We look forward to litigating this appeal."
If the appeal is successful, the charges would be reinstated.