Last month, the Arizona Court of Appeals ruled on a defendant’s appeal in a sexual assault case. After a lengthy trial in the lower court, the defendant was found guilty of sexually assaulting his minor niece. On appeal, the defendant made several arguments, arguing the guilty verdict was unfounded and should be reversed. The court of appeals kept the guilty verdict in place, rejecting the defendant’s contentions.
Facts of the Case
According to the opinion, the victim in this case was a minor who would sometimes stay over at her cousin’s house for the evening. One night, she slept over with her cousin, sharing a room but sleeping in her own bed. During the night, her uncle, the defendant, came into the room to soothe his daughter, the victim’s cousin. The defendant was responding to his daughter’s cries, and he originally came in to make sure she was sleeping soundly. After checking on his daughter, the defendant allegedly got into bed with the victim and sexually assaulted her.
The next day, the victim told her family members what had happened. She was taken to the hospital for forensic testing, and the defendant was charged with sexual conduct with a minor. At trial, a jury found the defendant guilty and he was eventually sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of release after 35 years.