Login | November 26, 2020

9th District appellate court rejects STD defense in child rape case

Legal News Reporter

Published: November 12, 2020

A Wayne County trial court did not err by denying a motion for a new trial for a Wooster man convicted of raping two girls at gunpoint.
Joseph Mosley was sentenced to 100 years to life in prison after a jury found him guilty on all counts - four counts of rape, two counts of kidnapping, two counts of robbery and one count of obstructing official business. All but one of his counts carried a repeat violent offender specification, and his kidnapping counts alleged that he acted with a sexual motivation.
Mosley later argued his sexually transmitted disease – among other evidence - proved he could not have committed the crimes.
Victims A.F. and T.C., both 12 years old, were walking up to T.C.’s house in January 2017 when a man ran up behind A.F. and shoved her to the ground. The man forced the girls to the side of the house and asked if they had any money. Though they handed over what little money and property they had, he continued to hold them at gunpoint.
He threatened to kill them if they did not perform sexual acts on one another. Afterward, he anally raped each girl and forced them to perform fellatio.
The 9th District Court of Appeals agreed to stay the appellate proceedings and remand the matter for the trial court to rule on a second motion for a new trial based on newly discovered evidence the state allegedly failed to disclose before trial. On remand, the trial court denied Mosley’s second motion.
Mosley argued the state should have produced his medical records from the county jail that showed he was diagnosed with chlamydia 12 days before the rapes occurred and prescribed an antibiotic.
“Mosley argues that chlamydia is a highly infectious sexually transmitted disease that likely would have been transmitted to A.F. or T.C. if he had raped them,” appellate Judge Julie Ann Schafer said in her 3-0 opinion. “Because neither victim was treated for chlamydia, he argues, there is a reasonable probability that the result of the proceedings would have been different if the jury had heard evidence about his condition. Mosley argues that he is entitled to a new trial due to the state’s failure to disclose ‘the STD evidence.’
“Upon review, Mosley has not shown that the trial court abused its discretion when it denied his motion for a new trial based on newly discovered evidence. Mosley could have discovered the evidence at issue with due diligence, given that he would have been aware of his own medical diagnosis and treatment history. The fact that he may not have shared that information with his attorneys before trial is inapposite. He has not shown that the state suppressed the evidence.”
In addition, Schafer added that Mosley failed to prove the verdict would have been different if his attorneys had been aware of that information.

Schafer noted there was “overwhelming evidence” against Mosley at trial, including DNA evidence and the fact that both girls positively identified him.
The panel also rejected Mosley’s claims of prosecutorial and jury misconduct.
At trial, the prosecutor said in opening and closing statements that there would have to be roughly 8 billion people on the planet for someone to have the exact same sperm fraction DNA as Mosley.
Mosley claimed that theory was not based on DNA evidence.
However, a DNA analyst from the Ohio Bureau of Crime Investigation who detected sperm on a sock and a washcloth taken from the crime scene testified the profile was consistent with Mosley’s, and that only one person out of one trillion would have a DNA profile consistent with that sperm fraction.
Meanwhile, Mosley’s attorneys claimed two instances of juror misconduct when speaking with the jurors after trial. One juror had said he felt Mosley was guilty because he did not testify. Others had said they felt sympathy for a state’s witness due to defense counsel’s cross-examination.
Mosley contended those jurors failed to follow the court’s instructions to decide the matter based strictly on trial evidence. However, the panel found no admissible evidence to support his claim of juror misconduct.
Ninth District judges Lynne Callahan and Jennifer Hensal concurred. The case is cited State v. Mosley, 2020-Ohio-5047.