Second Try at Request in Rape Conviction Appeal Granted

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If at first you don’t succeed…

A second request by the Athens County Prosecutor’s Office has been granted regarding the continuing of oral arguments in the appeal of a New York man sentenced to 30 years in prison.

Oral arguments in the third appeal of Charles Nguyen, 36, were originally scheduled for May 28, but the prosecution had asked for the arguments to be moved to July 30, which is the next date the court is scheduled to convene in Athens County.

After the initial request was denied, citing among other things a full schedule, the prosecution filed a second request, providing more detail about the need to move the hearing and offering a second date.

According to the second request, five of the office’s prosecutors were to be unavailable on the original date, leaving only one to handle the remaining case schedule for the day.

The request asked that the hearing be rescheduled until July 9 in Ross County.

The request was approved through a magistrate order on May 29, setting the hearing for July 9 as requested.

Nguyen was originally convicted in August 2010 of rape, kidnapping and burglary. He was sentenced to 30 years in prison at that time. He appealed that sentence, but was re-sentenced to the same prison term last fall leading to the current appeal.

The current 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.