In a recent case before the Arizona Court of Appeals involving sexual assault, the defendant argued that his guilty conviction should be reversed. Originally, the defendant was charged continuous sexual abuse, child molestation, and sexual conduct with a minor. After considering the defendant’s appeal, the higher court ended up affirming the original guilty verdict.
Facts of the Case
According to the opinion, the defendant lived with his wife and two stepdaughters prior to the start of this case. In early 2020, one of the two minor children started acting differently, and her mother asked if anything had been bothering her. At that time, the child said that the defendant had been hurting her. The mother, concerned about the allegations, asked her older daughter whether the defendant had ever acted inappropriately or violently with her. The older daughter told her mother to call the police.
At that point, the defendant was charged with sexual abuse of a child. During trial, both children testified and described multiple specific instances during which the defendant entered their rooms at night and had sex with them. The girls detailed the defendant’s behaviors and the abuse they had endured. A pediatric nurse also testified at trial, and she stated that one of the daughters had visible injuries that likely came from a sexual assault.
The jury found the defendant guilty, and the court sentenced him to life in prison.
On appeal, the defendant asked the court to conduct a thorough review of the trial record. Specifically, the defendant expressed concern over the prosecutor’s closing argument and the inappropriate use of photo exhibits. According to the defendant, the prosecutor had unfairly appealed to the jurors’ emotions in both circumstances. The prosecutor’s comments during closing arguments made the jurors feel sad for the girls, instead of calling the jurors’ attention to the facts of the case. Additionally, the prosecution admitted ten photos of the girls at various ages, which were not relevant and instead prejudicial to the defendant.
The court considered these arguments and ultimately disagreed with the defendant. Reading the prosecutor’s closing statement, the court found no unnecessary appeal to the jury’s emotions. The photos, said the court, might have been only minimally relevant, but they did not bias the jury in a negative way.
After ruling on these issues, the court denied the defendant’s appeal.
Have You Been Charged with a Sex Crime in Arizona?
If you or a loved one is facing criminal charges for sexual assault in Arizona, give us a call at the Law Office of James E. Novak. We are experts in listening to and analyzing every aspect of a criminal case, which allows us to put the most strategic argument forward to a judge or jury. Our firm is built on the philosophy that the client’s needs and defense come first, and we are deeply committed to that priority. For a free and confidential consultation, give us a call today at 480-413-1499.