Steven Parker, 42, has received a new trial by unanimous vote after his 2006 conviction for child sexual assault on a 11-year-old child was thrown out due to the placement of a screen around him at trial so his alleged victim could not see him.
The use of such screens are highly prejudicial for a defendant who is supposed to have a presumption of innocence. The court concluded that “The screen was, in effect, a judicially sanctioned prop that lent credence to the witness’s claims.” For the full opinion, here.
The prosecutors are not sure of whether they will retry Parker, but the blame must be placed on the prosecution and Sarpy County District Judge David Arterburn. This move was clearly reversible error when it was implemented and any trauma imposed on this child is due to the failure to guarantee a trial with the most basic constitutional protections.
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