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Iowa Court of Appeals affirms conviction of James Howard Bentley

Wednesday, April 21, the Iowa Court of Appeals affirmed James Howard Bentley’s conviction for Sexual Abuse in the Second Degree. James Howard Bentley was convicted of Sexual Abuse in the Second Degree by a Clarke County Jury on August 1, 2008. Sexual Abuse in the Second Degree is a class B felony, which carries a 25 year prison sentence with the additional requirement that the Defendant serve at least 70 percent of the sentence.

A copy of the Iowa Court of Appeals decision can be viewed at http://www.iowacourts.gov/court_of_appeals/Recent_Opinions/20100421/9-1036.pdf

According to a press release from the Benton County Attorney’s office, the defendant’s appeal specifically challenged the state’s use of J.G.’s (the victim of this offense) statements to medical and mental health professionals as impermissible hearsay evidence, the sufficiency of the evidence against him, and the venue of the case in Benton County. The Court of Appeals dismissed the defendant’s arguments in all three areas and with respect to the Defendant’s argument that the state failed to introduce sufficient evidence for his conviction, stated that the state’s “evidence amounts to substantial evidence in support of a finding that Bentley engaged in a sex act with J.G.”

“I spoke with J.G.’s family today and they are elated, as is my office. It was important for this child’s voice to be heard, and the Jury in this case heard her voice loud and clear through the testimony of her mental health counselors,” said Benton County Attorney David C. Thompson.

Assistant Iowa Attorney General Mary Tabor prosecuted this appeal.

 

 

 

 

 

UPDATED April 22, 2010 2:46 PM

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