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Arizona Court Denies Defendant’s Appeal in Sexual Assault Case, Despite Motion to Suppress Incriminating Statements

In a recent sexual assault case in Arizona, the court denied the defendant’s appeal of his guilty verdict. The defendant was originally convicted of sexual conduct with a minor, attempted sexual conduct with a minor, and continuous sexual abuse of a child. On appeal, he made several arguments, one of which was that the court should not have been able to access incriminating statements he made during phone calls with both of the children. Disagreeing with this argument, the court denied the appeal.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, the defendant in this case was a family friend of the victims and their parents. For a couple of years, the defendant would regularly stay overnight at the family’s home after the family moved to Arizona in 2004. During these visits, the defendant sexually assaulted the two teenage brothers that lived at the residence.

In 2018, one of the brothers called the defendant to confront him about the abuse while detectives listened in. At first, the defendant denied the allegations, but eventually, he made incriminating statements. A few weeks later, in front of detectives, the same brother made another call to the defendant, who once again admitted to the abuse. After this second incriminating call, detectives listened in to a third phone call, this time between the second brother and the defendant. Again, the defendant admitted to sexually abusing the brothers.

The State charged the defendant with the following crimes: sexual conduct with a minor, attempt to commit sexual conduct with a minor, and continuous sexual abuse of a child. The jury found the defendant guilty as charged and he was sentenced to time in prison.

The Decision

On appeal, the defendant argued that the lower court made a mistake by denying his motion to suppress the incriminating statements during trial. According to the defendant, the victims put excessive pressure on him during the phone calls that made his incriminating statements involuntary.

The higher court disagreed with the defendant. According to the court, the recorded calls revealed that the tone of all three conversations was such that the defendant voluntarily made the incriminating statements. The brothers were not pressuring the defendant to make a confession, and the defendant could have ended the calls before incriminating himself. Instead, the defendant apologized for the abuse and invited additional dialogue about the issue. Given these facts, the motion to suppress was properly denied, said the court. The defendant’s guilty verdict was thus affirmed.

Have You Been Charged with Sexual Assault in Arizona?

If you or a loved one is facing criminal charges based on sexual assault in Arizona, our team is here to help. At The Law Office of James E. Novak, we are experienced criminal defense attorneys with the expertise to help you navigate your charges. We are standing by and eager to hear about your case so that we can work with you to craft a defense strategy that works for your needs. For your free and confidential consultation, call us at 480-413-1499. You can also send us an online message to have your questions answered.

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