In an incredible yet completely expected move, Daniel Holtzclaw, the former Oklahoma City police officer who was convicted in 2015 of 18 counts of rape, sexual battery and a variety of other crimes has filed an appeal.
The Enid News & Eagle reports that in the appeal, Holtzclaw’s attorneys allege that the evidence presented at his trial was “insufficient” to convict him and that the “circus atmopshere” surrounding his legal troubles prevented him from having a fair trial. In addition, Holtzclaw claims that his attorneys did a poor job of defending him during his trial, pointing to the fact that they declined to cross-examine Oklahoma City police chemist Elaine Taylor who testified about how the DNA from one of Holtzclaw’s victims could’ve possibly been found on both the inside and the outside area of his uniform’s pants.
From the News & Eagle:
“According to Oklahoma City Police chemist Elaine Taylor ... DNA could have gotten on Officer Holtzclaw’s uniform by way of ‘secondary transfer’ after searching her purse,” according to the document filed by Holtzclaw’s attorneys. “However, this innocent explanation of the presence of ... DNA on Officer Holtzclaw’s pants was undermined when she agreed with the prosecutor that it was more likely to have gotten there by way of a liquid medium, such as vaginal fluid, rather than through a transfer of just skin cells through touching.”
The crimes for which Holtzclaw was convicted are heinous; he was accused of sexually assaulting, raping and victimizing black women while on duty, targeting them specifically and in several cases, using outstanding warrants as an excuse to stop them, before forcing himself on them. Naturally, the defense focused on highlighting and attacking the women for their pasts, in an attempt to discredit their testimony.
The jury in the Holtzclaw case deliberated for an incredible 45 hours before arriving at their verdict; if you remember anything about this, you’ll recall that during the reading of the verdict, Holtzclaw sobbed and appeared to say “How could you do this?” at the all-white jury that handed that verdict down.
In 2016, he was sentenced to 263 years in prison, which was the full amount of time recommended by the jury. This appeal is patently ridiculous; he deserves every single year of that sentence.