In a recent case coming out of a Texas court, the defendant lost when appealing his convictions for sexually assaulting a child. On appeal, the defendant argued that the victim’s testimony was not enough for a jury to conclude that he was guilty of the assault. The court, however, found the testimony to be both sufficient and credible. Disagreeing with the defendant, the court ultimately denied the appeal.
Facts of the Case
According to the opinion, the defendant began sexually assaulting his stepdaughter when she was twelve years old. At that time, the defendant would regularly find opportunities to be alone with the victim and would subject her to some sort of sexual activity. The child did not question the activity but instead went along with whatever the defendant suggested that they do.
A few years later, the defendant’s sexual abuse had not stopped, and he continued to subject the victim to assault every few weeks. When the victim was a teenager, the defendant divorced the child’s mother. When the victim turned 18 years old, she and the defendant got married, and at that point, the victim began to realize that the relationship between the two individuals was not normal. She went to the police with allegations of sexual assault, and the defendant was charged accordingly.
The defendant’s case went to trial, and he was found guilty of one count of continuous sexual abuse of a child under the age of fourteen, nine counts of sexual assault of a child, and three counts of prohibited sexual conduct. On appeal, the defendant argued that the evidence was insufficient to support the convictions because there was no evidence of assault outside of the victim’s testimony. The defendant argued that this testimony was not credible and it was not fair for the jury to rely solely on this testimony to reach the guilty verdict.
The court disagreed with the defendant’s argument, citing Texas law stating that the testimony of a child victim alone is sufficient to support a conviction for sexual assault of a child. What’s more, said the court, the jury was responsible for judging the victim’s credibility, and the jury was free during trial to believe or disbelieve the testimony before them. Because the jury had listened to the entirety of the victim’s testimony and deemed her credible, it was not the court’s job to question that determination.
Because of both the relevant Texas law and the sufficiency of the jury’s finding, the court denied the defendant’s appeal. His convictions and his sentence were both affirmed.
Are You Facing Sexual Assault Charges in the State of Texas?
If you or a loved one is facing criminal charges for sexual assault in the state of Texas, call our office at Guest and Gray. We have extensive experience dealing with complicated legal issues, and we pride ourselves on offering you the most aggressive, well-informed representation possible. For your free and confidential consultation, give us a call at 972-654-4644.