High court orders new trial in sexual assault case

The Nevada Supreme Court has ordered a new trial in a sexual assault case because a jury instruction violated the defendant's rights.

Anthony Carter argued throughout the case that the sexual act was consensual. The jury acquitted him of sexual assault but convicted him of attempted sexual assault.

At the end of the trial, Carter's lawyer offered a jury instruction that said if the jury has reasonable doubt whether the defendant believed the woman consented to sexual intercourse, it must give him the benefit of that doubt and acquit him of the charges.

The district court refused, instead giving an instruction which failed to address the issue of reasonable doubt whether the sex was consensual.

The opinion says the court's instructions stated that consent was a defense to the rape charge but "did not additionally state that a reasonable doubt on that proposition required that the jury render a verdict of acquittal."

It says the defense was entitled to that instruction and that, therefore, Carter's conviction for attempted sexual assault must be overturned.

In the new trial, the court ordered, the corrected jury instruction must be given.


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