Original at http://fallschurch.patch.com/articles/gardner-appealing-sexual-battery-conviction
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Gardner Appealing Sexual Battery Conviction
Lawyer for Michael Gardner said it could take months to have an appeals hearing.
By Andre L. Taylor
Former Falls Church resident Michael Gardner, who was convicted of molesting two girls at his daughter’s sleepover in 2011, is appealing his 22-year prison sentence.
Robin Gardner, Michael’s wife, said they knew immediately after the trial they would be appealing the conviction. She said Gardner receives letters from family and friends and can have visitors twice a week for 20 minutes each.
“He’s doing as well as to be expected,” she said of her husband in a telephone interview Tuesday. “He has a lot of support from family and friends.”
Gardner’s legal team, headed by Fairfax City-based attorney Peter Greenspun, filed the appeal on Jan. 2. Gardner was found guilty in May after he was accused of touching two girls in a sexual manner during a birthday sleepover for his daughter. The girls were 9 and 10 at the time. The prosecution introduced DNA evidence they said didn’t exclude Gardner who took the stand in his own defense in April. The two victims also took the stand during the trial. Greenspun said the appeal process could take several months.
Greenspun said the Arlington County Circuit Court, where Gardner’s trial was held, has time to respond to the Petition for Appeal. Any arguments would likely come in three to six months after a brief is filed. He said he isn’t introducing any new evidence at any appeals hearing.
“We feel very confident the Court of Appeals will see that the decisions in the circuit were wrong and that the remedy is new trials so the evidence can be properly and fully heard and considered,” Greenspun said Tuesday.
Gardner will remain in prison while any appeals hearings are carried on and his family and other supporters have vowed to continue to be in his corner. The Gardner’s remain steadfast in the belief Michael is innocent and that the Court of Appeals will see the miscarriage of justice that occurred during the trial, and will overturn the conviction.
“Michael and his family remain strong, committed to the process, and hopeful the obvious errors made during the trial will be noted and overturned. The family is frustrated at the process and at the situation they are facing, but continue to support each other and continue to hold strong to their faith and love,” Maya Jerome, Gardner’s sister, said in a written statement.
"accused of touching two girls in a sexual manner"
Um, no. He was convicted on two counts of aggravated sexual assault and one count of object sexual penetration.