Delay In Arguments in Rape Appeal Denied

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Charles Nguyen

The request by the Athens County Prosecutor’s Office to delay the oral arguments in the third appeal of a New York man convicted of rape, kidnapping and burglary has been denied by a magistrate with the court.

Charles Nguyen, 36, filed the third appeal related to his conviction and 30-year prison sentence earlier this year, with the prosecutor’s office filing their response in early April.

In that response, the state requested that oral arguments be heard in the case.

The Fourth District Court of Appeals scheduled oral arguments in the matter for May 28 in Athens County.

The prosecutor’s office then filed a motion to continue the arguments to July 30, stating that “counsel for the state would like to attend a seminar for the Supreme Court for admission to the bar.” The filing also indicated that the defendant’s attorney, Elizabeth Gaba, had no objections to the request.

The court, through a magistrate’s order, denied the request for a continuance stating court policy and a full schedule for the July 30 date. According to the decision it is the court’s policy to have an associate from the firm or office argue on behalf of an attorney if there is a conflict with the date.

Athens County Prosecutor Keller Blackburn said on Friday that there were other conflicts in the office that day which would have made it difficult to complete the arguments.

He stated that they were still trying to have the oral arguments moved and were waiting on a response form the defense to be filed.

Nguyen’s third appeal comes following his re-sentencing in October 2014 to 30 years in prison, the same sentence he originally received.

The appeal brief claims that the trial court made errors in five areas, including failure to merge allied offenses of similar import, using another case to determine that aggravated burglary does not merge with rape and kidnapping; not declaring portions of the Ohio Revised Code to be unconstitutional; and violating Nguyen’s Eighth Amendment rights.

Nguyen’s attorney claims that given the ambiguity of the indictment and bill of particulars it is not possible for the court to determine if the charges should merge for sentencing and therefore Nguyen should be granted a new trial.

In the response by the state, Assistant Prosecutor Meg Saunders claims that since some of the arguments were not brought up on initial appeal or before the trial court that they cannot be argued in this case. The response also states that the court did not err in failing to merge the offenses for sentencing purposes.

While the state works to have the oral arguments rescheduled, Judge William Harsha has requested that the case file, including all recent filings, be sent to him.