Updated Wed, May 14, 2014 10:22 am
After multiple appeals, including attempts to be heard by the Ohio Supreme Court, a New York doctor convicted of an Athens County rape is asking to receive a plea deal his attorney turned down.
Charles Nguyen, 35, was convicted by an Athens County jury in August 2010 of rape, kidnapping and aggravated burglary and was sentenced to 30 years in prison.
He had met the victim online, and visited her in Athens in May 2009.
There was evidence at trial that he bound the woman’s wrists and legs with a rope, raped her and threatened to kill her nephew if she didn’t comply, according to previous Messenger reporting.
The 4th District Court of Appeals took up the case in July 2013 and remanded part of the case back to Athens County.
In the appeals decision, the judges instructed the lower court to decide whether the kidnapping and aggravated burglary charges should be merged to avoid violating the double-jeopardy clause, according to court documents.
But in a sentencing memorandum filed Tuesday in Athens County Common Pleas Court, defense attorney Elizabeth Gaba said a judge would not be able to assume which charges the jury would have wanted merged.
Charges can be merged into one charge for the purposes of sentencing if it can be proven that the offenses were committed to bring about the same result, for example, kidnapping to commit a burglary.
“Indeed, it is impossible to tell what the jury chose as the predicate offense for kidnapping, or whether there was a unanimous decision regarding the predicate offense,” Gaba wrote in the motion.
With no way to “look into the mind of another,” according to Gaba, the judge cannot decided whether charges should be merged without presentation of the evidence.
“Because of the ambiguity of the jury verdicts, (Nguyen) is entitled to a new trial, or in the alternative this ambiguity must be construed in favor of (Nguyen) and as such, all counts must merge,” Gaba said. Merging all the counts would result in a lesser sentence.
She cited the Sixth Amendment in arguing that Nguyen is entitled to “the bargain his attorney rejected and should be sentenced to five years in prison,” Gaba said.
In previous appeals, Nguyen stated that he was the victim of ineffective counsel when his previous defense attorney, Derek Farmer, rejected a deal presented by the Athens County Prosecutor’s Office without first consulting him.
A resentencing hearing was scheduled for Tuesday, but postponed with no new date announced.
The Athens County Prosecutor’s Office has not yet filed a response to the motion.