Monday, February 14, 2011

February 13th, 2011 Status Report On Trial Of Ex-Anchorage Cop Anthony Rollins; Case Expected To Be Given To Jury On February 14th

Update February 22nd: Anthony Rollins found guilty on 18 of 20 charges; updated post HERE.

The lengthy trial of former Anchorage police officer Anthony Rollins, originally scheduled for October 12th, 2009, finally began on January 20th, 2011 and is now drawing to a close. Prosecution and defense witnesses have all testified, including Rollins himself. All that remains is for the prosecution and defense to deliver closing arguments; this will take place on February 14th, after which the case will be handed to the jury. From the testimony given, it appears there is little to no chance that Rollins will walk; he will be convicted of a number of the charges.

From the Alaska Court System database, Case No. 3AN-09-07868CR, here are the 20 charges:

-- 4 counts First Degree Sexual Assault (Penetration), Unclassified Felony
-- 6 counts Second Degree Sexual Assault (Contact), Class B Felony
-- 4 counts Criminal Use of a Computer, Class C Felony
-- 6 counts Official Misconduct, Class A Misdemeanor

According to KTVA Channel 11 reporter Grace Jang, if Rollins is convicted on all charges, he faces anywhere from 20 to 99 years in prison.

My two previous posts on this case on July 15th, 2009 and July 17th, 2009 provide more initial background on the beginning of the case.

These charges represent the six alleged victims in this case; the assaults took place between March 2006 and April 2009. Rollins is accused of unlawful sexual contact with all six victims, and the contact included sexual penetration in four of the cases. This conduct with the six victims also represents official misconduct by a police officer.

All six victims reiterated their claims during the trial. In contrast, Rollins said that he only had sex with four of the victims, but that it was consensual. He did admit that he did have sex while on the job and in uniform, and that he carried a condom with him. Deputy District Attorney Sharon Marshall hammered away on Rollins relentlessly during his time on the stand on February 11th, leading him to admit that he had violated both his marital oath and his professional oath, after which she reminded the jury that Rollins had also taken an oath in the courtroom before giving testimony. The unspoken implication in the latter exchange was that Rollins' word was no good, and she left it dangling there for the jury to chew on.

The Wild Card: On February 11th, during his last day of testimony, Rollins alleged that many other APD officers have had sex while on duty. Perhaps this was a ploy on his part to take pressure off him, but another APD officer, Steve Dunn, took the stand and said that he had heard about other APD officers having sex on duty, but gave the impression it was not as widespread as Rollins suggested.

Prognosis: I believe the jury will easily convict Rollins on the official misconduct charges; he all but admitted it in open court. The four computer charges should be a slam dunk guilty verdict as well. Where deliberations may bog down is in the number of sexual assault charges for conviction. It is possible that the jury might not convict on all of them. I wouldn't be surprised if the jury only convicted on 6-8 of the sex assault charges; not all of the victims projected equal credibility. In our culture, if a rape victim doesn't actively resist (unless there's a lethal weapon involved), it is sometimes presumed that she "wanted" it.

Public Official To Watch: East Anchorage Assemblyman Paul Honeman is a former career APD officer, and has remained silent during the trial. This is prudent; it is considered unseemly for elected officials to publicly comment about trials in progress. But if Rollins is convicted, in light of the allegations that APD officers may be having sex on the job, it will be interesting to see if Honeman uses his Assembly seat as a bully pulpit to call for an investigation of APD.

For those interested in a daily breakdown of the trial, Mel Green provides it on Henkimaa. She explains her interest in the trial HERE. Most of her posts consist of media links for each day; direct links are provided to each post below:

-- Rollins trial, day 11: Rollins claims he’s a sinner, but not a rapist
-- Rollins trial, day 10: Rollins takes the stand
-- Rollins trial, day 9: State rests its case, defense calls first witnesses
-- Rollins trial, day 8: State calls Internal Affairs investigator
-- Rollins trial, day 7: See Ivan Moore’s column on “consent” in rape cases
-- Rollins trial, day 6: 5th & 6th alleged victims testify
-- Rollins trial, day 5: 2 women testify (& other daily tweets)
-- Rollins trial, day 4: Internal Affairs found condoms, APSIN records in Rollins’ patrol car
-- The Daily Tweets 2011-01-27: Rollins trial, day 3
-- Rollins trial, day 2: SANE nurse testifies about genital injuries in rape
-- Rollins trial, day 1: Stats on violence against women in Alaska as Rollins trial begins

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