Articles Posted in Sex Crimes

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Facing criminal charges, especially those related to sex crimes, is a daunting experience. If you or a loved one is seeking the services of a criminal defense attorney in Arizona, understanding the complexities of the legal landscape is crucial. In a recent judicial opinion, the Arizona Court of Appeals discussed the admission of prior bad acts evidence in a sex crime prosecution as a key issue. Whether a prosecutor is allowed to submit evidence to a jury that unfairly prejudices a defendant is often the defining factor in a case.

In the recently decided case, the defendant was convicted of sexual conduct with a minor under fifteen years of age. The victim had been adopted into the defendant’s family, creating a step-sibling relationship with the defendant. The case hinged on the State’s allegations of emotional harm suffered by the victim as an aggravating circumstance. In support of their case, the prosecution sought to introduce evidence of prior bad acts committed by Fichtelman against another victim who was sexually abused at the age of 11. The court’s decision to admit this evidence became a pivotal point in the trial.

A critical aspect of the case was the admission of other acts into evidence related to the defendant’s prior misconduct with the other victim. The court’s decision to allow this evidence, highlights the delicate balance between relevance and potential prejudice. The Court narrowed their ruling, limiting the evidence to one prior conviction and excluding certain details, allowing the court to remain committed to offering the defendant a fair trial.

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In a recent sexual abuse case before an Arizona court of appeals, the defendant argued that his conviction should be reversed because of evidence that was unreasonably admitted during his trial. The defendant was originally charged after a client at his massage therapy business alleged that he inappropriately touched her during their massage session. The defendant’s case went to trial, and he was found guilty. The defendant went on to appeal the decision, but the higher court ultimately affirmed the guilty conviction.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, the defendant worked as a massage therapist at a local business. A woman came in for a massage, and during the massage, the defendant began touching her inappropriately with both his hands and his genitalia. The woman left the massage room and called 911 to report the incident.

The defendant was charged with two counts of sexual abuse. His case went to trial, and he was found guilty. The defendant promptly appealed.

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In a recent case before an Arizona criminal court, the defendant asked for the court to overturn a conviction for sexual assault and voyeurism, arguing that one charge was brought against him too late after the offense occurred. Reviewing the defendant’s argument, the higher court ultimately denied his request, ruling he had not raised the issue early enough to benefit from the relevant statute of limitations.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, the defendant was indicted in 2019 for sexual assault and voyeurism against several victims. The offenses occurred in 2008, 2015, 2017, and 2018. In each of the instances, the victim came forward and alleged that the defendant either raped, assaulted, or recorded her in a promiscuous setting without her consent.

Before the defendant’s case went to trial, he asked the Court to hold a separate trial for the 2008 incident because it was so far apart from the other incidents. The superior court denied the defendant’s request, and the trial moved forward.

The Decision

A jury found the defendant guilty of sexual assault and voyeurism against seven different women. The court sentenced him to several decades in prison, and the defendant appealed. On appeal, the defendant’s main argument was that the 2008 offense should have been barred because of the statute of limitations. In Arizona, the State generally has seven years to initiate prosecution for sexual assault felonies. Here, said the defendant, more than seven years passed, and the State should not have been able to charge him with the crime over ten years later.

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Last month, a defendant involved in a sexual assault case appealed his convictions of kidnapping, sexual assault, and sexual conduct with a minor. Originally, the State of Arizona had brought charges against him for incidents with four different victims under the age of 18. The defendant’s case went to trial, and he was convicted and sentenced as charged. On appeal, the defendant made several arguments, one of which was that the prosecutor unfairly played to the jury’s emotions during the trial. Looking at the trial record, the court of appeals ultimately affirmed the original verdict.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, the defendant was charged with incidents of sexual assault that happened in 1992, 1995, 1999, and 2004. The minors in each case had reported to law enforcement that the defendant had either kidnapped, raped, or otherwise assaulted them, but law enforcement failed to properly investigate the cases.

Finally, in 2018, law enforcement reopened each of the four cases. By that point, cold-case testing had led officers to believe that the defendant was the person guilty of all four crimes. Police called the four victims and asked if they would come to testify in the defendant’s trial.

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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.

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In a recent appeals court opinion in an Arizona child sex crimes case, the defendant unsuccessfully appealed his convictions and sentences for ten counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, class two felonies, and dangerous crimes against children. In the appeal, the defendant argued that his motions to suppress evidence were improperly denied by the trial court. The appeals court affirmed the trial court decision, finding that the files searched by law enforcement did not need to be limited to the certain files named by the defendant and that there was probable cause for the search of the defendant’s desktop computer. Subsequently, the appeals court ruled that the defendant did not show that the denial of his motion to suppress was not an abuse of discretion.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, in February of 2015, the Internet Crimes Against Children Taskforce (ICAC) obtained some downloads of child pornography from an internet protocol (“IP”) address that used a peer-to-peer network program called Torrent. After further investigation, a detective of the ICAC learned that the IP address was assigned to a residence in Mesa, AZ. The detective then obtained a search warrant for the home in question.

A search of the home did not produce evidence of illegal activity, but when officers asked the homeowner whether anyone else had access to his home’s secured Wi-Fi connection, he explained that his cousin, the defendant, had stayed with him in February of 2015. The detective then orchestrated a call between the homeowner and the defendant. On the call, the defendant claimed that a virus on his computer had downloaded the illegal images and he had not deleted them as he should have.

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In a recent case coming out of an Arizona court, the defendant unsuccessfully appealed his convictions and sentences for child molestation. In his argument, the defendant focused on the expert testimony that the prosecution used during his trial, alleging that this testimony was overly broad and prejudicial towards the jury. In considering the appeal, the court declared that the expert testimony was appropriate given the circumstances of the case, thus denying the defendant’s appeal.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, the defendant in this case was a family friend of the victim, who was born in 2003. The victim had known the defendant to be like an uncle to her, and between the years of 2013 and 2015, the victim saw the defendant regularly.

During those years, the defendant molested the victim several times. He forced the child to perform oral sex on him; he threatened the victim by saying that if she told anyone about the abuse, he would hurt her grandmother; and he forced himself on the victim by inappropriately touching her on multiple occasions. When the victim moved in with her father in 2015, the abuse stopped. A few years later, however, the victim texted the defendant saying that she was still negatively affected by the abuse she had undergone.

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In a recent child molestation case coming out of Arizona, the court vacated the defendant’s convictions and sentences, remanding the case for a new trial. Originally, the defendant had been found guilty of molesting a minor, and he made multiple arguments in his attempt to appeal the guilty conviction. While the court rejected the majority of the defendant’s arguments, it accepted his assertion that the trial court had unfairly admitted hearsay into the evidence for the jury to consider. Agreeing with the defendant on this point, the court vacated the guilty conviction.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, the child involved in this case lived with her mother and her stepfather when she was four years old. At that time, the child’s stepfather, the defendant, began touching the child sexually at least once a week. This behavior continued for many years, through the family’s move to Sierra Vista when the child turned eleven.

The defendant told the child not to tell anyone about the sexual activity. Eventually, the defendant and the child’s mother separated and moved away from each other. In November of that same year, the child’s gym teacher noticed that she was not acting like “her usual self.” When the gym teacher asked the child what was happening, the girl admitted that her stepfather had been molesting her. The gym teacher and the school counselor promptly reported these statements to the police.

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In a recent case coming out of an Arizona court, the defendant’s appeal of his guilty verdict for failure to register as a sex offender was denied. Originally, the defendant had been charged, found guilty, and sentenced when he failed to register as a sex offender in the county where he resided. On appeal, the defendant argued that the prosecution should not have been able to state that he was convicted of child molestation instead of any other “sex offense” during trial – this information, said the defendant, unnecessarily biased the jury. The court ultimately disagreed with the defendant and affirmed his guilty verdict.

Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, the defendant was convicted of child molestation fourteen years ago and was ordered to register as a sex offender for life. In 2019, police officers contacted the defendant in Arizona and discovered he had not registered as a sex offender in his county. At that time, the defendant told officers that he did not think registering was necessary. One year later, officers arrested the defendant and charged him with failure to register as a sex offender.

The Decision

Before trial, the defendant’s lawyer asked the court to prevent the jury from learning that the specific crime for which the defendant was convicted was child molestation. According to defense counsel, it would be perfectly sufficient for the jury to learn that he had been convicted of a sex offense in general; telling jury members that he had molested a child was both unnecessary and highly prejudicial.

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In a recent opinion from an Arizona court involving sexual assault, the defendant’s appeal of his guilty verdict was denied. Originally, the defendant was found guilty of sexual conduct with a minor. He appealed, arguing the trial court unfairly used evidence of sexual abuse that occurred outside of the county where the court resided. Disagreeing with the defendant, the court affirmed the defendant’s guilty verdict.

The Facts of the Case

According to the opinion, the victim of sexual assault in this case was 13 years old when the defendant began molesting him. The defendant, a close family friend, would stay at the victim’s house and come into his room at night. On other occasions, the defendant brought the victim to an unoccupied house and engaged in sexual conduct with him there.

At trial, the jury found the defendant guilty of four counts of molestation of a child and one count of sexual conduct with a minor. He was sentenced to time in prison, and he immediately appealed his guilty verdict.

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