July 13, 2009 By Wallin & Klarich

Criminal Defense Attorney Precluded from Asking Alleged Victim about Prior Statements about Sexual Matters

On June 16, 2009 the 9th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals issued a critical ruling that anyone who is facing child molestation charges must be familiar with if they are going to be able to properly defend themselves from these serious charges.

The court in Holley vs. Yarborough ruled that the accused’s criminal defense attorney should have been allowed to question the alleged victim as to statements that the alleged victim had made to other people in regard to “sexual matter,” and of her accusing other people of making sexual advances toward her.

The defense attorney argued that this evidence could indicate that the alleged victim had a tendency to fabricate sexual abuse allegations. In addition the accused’s lawyer argued that this information could explain to the jury that the alleged victim had knowledge about sexual matters from sources other than her alleged conduct with the defendant.

However, the trial judge denied his request.

The defendant was found guilty and sentenced to prison. The defendant appealed to the California Court of Appeals and his appeal was rejected. He then attempted to have the California Supreme Court reverse his conviction. They declined. This meant the accused had to turn to the federal courts for possible relief. This was a very wise decision. The Federal Court of Appeals agreed with his legal position and has reversed his conviction entitling him to a new trial. At the new trial attained due to the California appeal, he will be able to introduce this critical evidence which likely will result in a different jury verdict.

What this illustrates is that when you are convicted of a serious criminal matter you must seek out an experienced criminal appeals attorney who will not stop fighting for you. If defendant Holley had “given up” when all of the California courts refused to reverse his conviction his felony conviction would still stand. However, he didn’t give up, and the federal court has now given him a chance at a new trial where he will be able to present this critical evidence in his defense.

If you are facing a serious criminal matter please contact Wallin and Klarich at 1-888-280-6839 and we can answer all of your questions about the criminal charges you are facing.

We have been helping people for over thirty years who are facing serious criminal charges. You can also view our website at www.wklaw.com for more information.

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