A judge has thrown out two convictions against a former San Diego police officer serving an eight year prison sentence for sexually assaulting female victims. NBC 7's Mari Payton reports.
A judge has thrown out two convictions against a former San Diego police officer serving an eight year prison sentence for sexually assaulting female victims.
Tuesday’s decision by Judge Jeffrey Fraser could mean that Anthony Arevalos will have his prison sentence reduced by more than three years.
Judge Fraser vacated Arevalo’s convictions on one count of sexual battery by restraint, and one count of assault and battery by a peace officer, involving a victim identified in court as “Jane Doe”.
That sexual battery conviction accounted for three years of the eight year-eight month sentence Arevalos s is current serving.
The former officer pulled over female drivers from 2009 to 2011 and asked for favors in exchange for letting them out of traffic citations.
However, it was the March 8, 2011 incident between Arevalos and the victim identified only as “Jane Doe” that led to his arrest and an investigation.
Jane Doe used written notes to tell police investigators what happened that night as Arevalos followed her into a 7-Eleven bathroom.
The notes stated that Arevalos asked her to turn over her bra and panties in the car or go to 7-Eleven and show him her breasts. In the trial, Jane Doe testified that Arevalos touched her private parts.
Arevalos and his attorney had challenged his conviction on those two counts on the basis that prosecutors violated his rights by not sharing those notes with the defense.
According to the judge’s decision, those notes did not contain any mention that Arevalos had touched Jane Doe’s vagina.
"The jury was never challenged to consider that it might not have occurred," Judge Fraser wrote in his decision.
Judge Fraser ordered that Arevalos will be re-sentenced on the remaining counts that he was convicted on, unless prosecutors appeal today’s ruling.
Fraser also said that prosecutors instead have the option of retrying Arevalos on those two counts.
The San Diego County District Attorney's Office will appeal.
“Our focus is on making sure this defendant continues to be held accountable for the sexual assaults he committed against multiple victims,” the DA's spokesperson said.
Jane Doe's attorney has said the San Diego Police Department knew about the notes.
He claims they failed to turn them over so that there would be grounds for an appeal and that Arevalos could get out of his prison sentence for this technicality.
San Diego city and police officials have not commented on the attorney's claims.