Court of Appeals panel returns child sex case to Lyon County for new trial

By a 2-1 vote, a three-judge panel with the Kansas Court of Appeals has overturned a conviction in a Lyon County sex crimes case.

 

The Court of Appeals panel has remanded the case of Jose Alberto Gonzalez-Sandoval, 43, back to district court for new trial proceedings as part of a ruling Friday. It has also vacated the original sentence in the case. New court dates are pending.

 

This follows Gonzalez's conviction on a charge of aggravated indecent liberties in 2015 based on allegations of improper touching of a 9-year-old girl in 2014. Gonzalez appealed on the grounds that certain jurors were struck from the pool based on ethnicity as part of what's called a Batson challenge, which objects to so-called peremptory challenges where attorneys do not need to state why they are excluding jurors from an upcoming trial and instead says the denial is based on race, ethnicity or gender. Gonzalez's appeal added evidence was insufficient for a conviction and the court erred in two ways -- denying a motion for a new trial based on fresh evidence and allowing the victim to testify about prior sexual misconduct.

 

The majority agreed with Gonzalez on the Batson challenge, saying once the two race-neutral reasons offered by prosecutors for removing one juror were wrong, the district court was then wrong to let the trial proceed at all. However, it said there was sufficient evidence to support a conviction and the appeal on fresh evidence was not needed because a new trial was being called on the Batson challenge.

 

Judge CJ Malone dissented, saying the prosecutor's reasons for striking the juror from the pool remained constant and were race-neutral, even if the facts behind that decision were originally misstated and were not corrected until after the jury was selected. Malone also said district court found no evidence of discriminatory intent or motive during the trial.

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Last modified on Wednesday, 11 April 2018 10:13