A Natrona County District Court judge on Wednesday declined to throw out the October sex assault conviction of a Casper resident.

Judge Catherine Wilking offered only a brief explanation of her ruling Wednesday, citing prior case law as she dismissed Miguel Martinez’s motion for a new trial.

A jury convicted Martinez on Oct. 18 of first-degree and second-degree sexual abuse of a minor. Martinez appealed the conviction, saying prosecutors had withheld evidence that would have swayed the jury.

During the 15-minute hearing, defense attorney Dylan Rosalez mostly relied upon arguments made in the written motion for a new trial. Rosalez argued that documents created by the Department of Family Services would have allowed him to question the reliability of a witness in the case. Rosalez has not reviewed the documents, he said.

Rosalez said his knowledge of the documents came from another witness who appeared at trial.

Prosecutor Michael Blonigen spoke forcefully when he said there was no legal basis for producing the documents. The witness who referenced the documents had not actually reviewed them and was relying on second-hand accounts when characterizing the documents, Blonigen said.

“I can’t just willy-nilly produce reports,” he said.

He said that the defense had plenty of time to request documents from the Department of Family Services prior to trial and did not do so.

When Wilking asked Rosalez why he had not questioned the witness with second-hand knowledge of the documents at trial, the defense attorney said he thought doing so could have run afoul of rape shield laws.

After the judge adjourned the hearing, Martinez was led away by bailiffs. He will return to Natrona County Detention Center while he awaits sentencing. He could face up to 70 years in prison on the two charges.

Police began investigating the case when a 10-year-old girl’s mother reported in March that her daughter said Martinez sexually assaulted her in the bathroom of a residence.

The girl told investigators that Martinez, who is a family friend, sexually assaulted her. Nurses at the Wyoming Medical Center completed a sexual assault exam and found evidence she’d been sexually assaulted.

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Follow crime reporter Shane Sanderson on Twitter @shanersanderson


Crime and Courts Reporter

Shane Sanderson is a Star-Tribune reporter who primarily covers criminal justice. Sanderson is a proud University of Missouri graduate. Lately, he’s been reading Cormac McCarthy and cooking Italian food. He writes about his own life in his free time.

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