Daniel Holtzclaw Files Appeal To Sexual Assault Conviction
A former Oklahoma City Police officer convicted of sexually assaulting women while on patrol has filed an appeal.
Thirteen women accused Daniel Holtzclaw of forcing them to perform sex acts to avoid arrests.
In Aug. 2014, Oklahoma County Prosecutors charged Holtzclaw with 36 sex crimes including rape, sexual battery, indecent exposure, and forcible oral sodomy.
A jury convicted of half the crimes. He was sentenced to 263 years in prison.
After several extensions, Holtzclaw's attorneys filed an appeal in the case, Wednesday afternoon.
The defense claims, among many things, the prosecution had insufficient evidence to prove Holtzclaw "used or threatened to use force or violence against any of the victims."
The appeal also shows that the state tried to prosecute too many counts (36) with too many victims (13) at one time, rather than asking providing proof of each individual charge.
"The offenses involved different victims at significantly different times and locations," the appeal states.
The defense team also claims a "circus atmosphere" during the highly publicized case also deprived Holtzclaw of a fair trial.
"Publicity turned up dramatically during the trial as a result of incidents occurring around the U.S. and the growing Black Lives Matter movement," the appeal states.
The attorney cited issues such as individuals taking pictures in the courtroom, protests in the hallways, and a victim testifying while admittedly high on drugs.
"He had too many cards stacked against him that never should've been allowed in a court of law," said Brian Bates.
Bates was initially the private investigator for the defense but was later asked to speak on behalf of the Holtzclaw family and supporters.
"Finally the Holtzclaw family can point to something in black and white and say this isn't just the family speaking these are some very learned opinions from professionals that say that there were some things done that were extremely wrong and prejudicial," Bates said.
He said the family is pleased with the language in the appeal, noting it touched on most of their concerns from the 2015 trial.
The appeal also scrutinized a key piece of evidence in the case -- DNA.
"It is not an overstatement to say that the finding of DNA on the fly of Holtzclaw's pant was the lynchpin of the state's entire case," it states.
The defense claims Holtzclaw's defense failed to present a DNA expert to challenge the state's conclusion.
"The DNA evidence certainly seems damning, as it was presented to the defendant's jury," the attorney argued it was presented as DNA from a victim's vaginal wall; however, " The problem is that the available evidence, a and the current state of the science, do not permit such evidence in the case."
The attorney suggested if any conclusion can be drawn," They are far more consistent with passive transfer, than direct sexual contact." To insinuate what the defense argued at trial," The DNA came from a skin cell."
Bates says the DNA has long been a sticking point for Holtzclaw's family.
"The DNA evidence may have been misrepresented, some may not have been disclosed, and the prosecution's expert may have given testimony that was totally contrary to her own findings," said Bates.
The appeal also stated that prosecutors argued facts not in evidence.
In a statement released Wednesday evening, Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater responded, "I am confident the conviction is constitutionally and statutorily sound. Furthermore, I am confident of this convicted rapist's guilt."
News 9 also reached out to the last known attorney for the victims, Benjamin Crump, but he did not return News 9 calls in time for this report.