Updated Fri, Dec 6, 2013 10:35 am
A New York doctor, convicted of raping an Athens woman, has lost a battle to appeal his 30-year prison sentence after the Ohio Supreme Court declined to hear his case.
Charles Nguyen, 35, filed an appeal on Aug. 26 to the Supreme Court, asking them to accept jurisdiction in his appeal.
A one-sentence denial signed by Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor was filed Wednesday simply stating that the court declined to accept jurisdiction of the appeal.
Nguyen was convicted in August 2010 of rape, kidnapping and aggravated burglary after an Athens County jury found he had raped a woman he was visiting in Athens in May 2009.
He had met the woman online and visited her and her family. During the visit he bound the woman's wrists and legs with nylon rope, raped her and threatened to kill her nephew if she didn't comply, according to previous Messenger reporting.
"This was a horrific incident and Mr. Nguyen belongs in prison for his actions," Athens County Prosecutor Keller Blackburn told The Messenger on Thursday. "The court appropriately sentenced (Nguyen) to 30 years following a prolonged trial. We are now one step closer to ensuring (Nguyen) will serve the term."
Nguyen's attorney, Elizabeth Gaba, took over his appeal from former attorney, Derek Farmer, claiming Farmer had not given Nguyen sufficient counsel in his trial. Nguyen claimed Farmer had advised him not to accept a plea agreement that would have substantially reduced his prison time, according to appeal documents.
In the appeal to the Supreme Court, Gaba said the case involved a "substantial constitutional question" and raised issues "of public or great general interest and involves a felony."
In July 2013, the 4th District Court of Appeals remanded the case back to Athens County Common Pleas, to decide whether the charges of kidnapping and aggravated burglary could be merged to avoid violating the double jeopardy clause, according to previous Messenger articles.
The court of appeals found that merging the charges of kidnapping and rape was appropriate because there was a separate animus in each crime, court documents stated.
The Supreme Court appeal by Gaba regarded the part of Nguyen's conviction that was affirmed by the court of appeals. Appeal of the affirmed decision is required to avoid waiver of the appeal, according to Blackburn.
Requests for comment from Gaba were unreturned on Thursday.