9/13/09 – TG: Again, Judge denies convicted sex offender Alamo’s bid for new trial

Texarkana Gazette
September 13, 2009
By: Lynn LaRowe

Judge denies Alamo’s bid for new trial

For the second time in a week, a federal judge denied Tony Alamo’s request for a new trial.

U.S. District Judge Harry Barnes, in an order issued Friday, said the convicted child sex abuser isn’t entitled to a new trial on the grounds of religious beliefs. Barnes also denied Alamo’s bid for a new trial a week prior, addressing point by point the issues Alamo’s defense team claimed warranted a second day in court.

However, Barnes didn’t address issues raised in an addendum filed later than the defense’s initial motion.

The defense’s addendum asserted that only a religious tribunal could have given Alamo a fair trial and that Barnes should have handled a jury question differently.

“Defendant argues that he and his church were targeted and prosecuted for his religious teachings regarding puberty as the age of consent,” Barnes’ order said. “The court first notes the jury did not hear any evidence regarding defendant’s religious teachings. There is no evidence in the record regarding defendant’s religious beliefs that the claims prejudiced him …. Furthermore, defendant’s argument that he did not defend himself with his religious teachings, because this secular court and jury would not understand his religious views on the age of consent, only supports the court’s conclusion …”

Barnes also considered the defense’s claim that he should have directed jurors to a specific portion of the jury charge instructing them on the law they had to follow during deliberations when they asked a question.

“Did (Alamo) have to have sexual contact or intercourse out of state to be charged? It happened in Fouke, Ark., before trip (and) after return to Fouke, Ark.’” The phrase ‘out of state’ was circled with an arrow pointing to the phrase ‘while on the trip.’ Underneath this phrase it read: ‘We don’t understand the definition.’ The court answered: ‘I can’t answer this question. Please refer to the instructions,’” the order said.

Barnes’ order indicated he didn’t see the difference between what he did and what the defense said he should have done as “significant.”

Alamo, 74, was convicted July 24 of 10 counts of bringing young girls across state lines for sex. A date for sentencing hasn’t been set.

In: 2009 - (Trial year)

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