The attorney for former Brownsboro ISD teacher Daniel E. Burns appeared in court Monday with a document in hand he hopes will exonerate his client. Standing between him and that goal may be a bit of legal wrangling.

Tyler attorney John J. Eastland attempted to enter a document he said shows Burns is not guilty of being involved in an improper relationship with a student. Burns also is charged with two counts of attempting to coerce his alleged victim and another girl into recanting statements they made to police about him.

“Our position is, Mr. Burns is not guilty, and he’s ready and prepared to face these charges,” Eastland said during an impromptu press conference held outside the doors of 392nd District Judge Carter Tarrance’s courtroom, where the pre-trial hearing was held. Burns, who stood beside him, said he would not comment. “ ... This charge has just been devastating upon him and his family.”

Eastland said the state had made a plea offer, but that he and Burns rejected the deal because, “Mr. Burns is not willing to plead guilty for something he did not do.”

Polygraph results generally aren’t allowed into evidence in state courts, and Eastland presented information regarding a number of federal cases where such results have been admitted into evidence. Tarrance agreed to hear evidence regarding the polygraph during a May 1 hearing.

Eastland said the test was administered by a “technically correct” administrator.

John Scott, a prosecutor with the District Attorney’s Office, informed the court he, too, had results from a polygraph in Burns’ case file. He said those results were “pro state,” meaning he felt they favored the prosecution’s case against Burns. Eastland later said that test was administered through “yes” and “no” questions and was conducted at a law enforcement facility.

Burns was indicted in January, along with two other BISD teachers: Donald Gene Dudley and Andrew Steven Malone. The District Attorney’s Office was scheduled to hold a pre-trial hearing regarding Dudley, also in Tarrance’s court Monday, but decided to hold off until June. Dudley is scheduled to go on trial in Smith County June 5.

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