The Utah Supreme Court has reversed the 1989 rape conviction of a Salt Lake man the court said was denied his constitutional right to effective assistance of counsel.
In a unanimous ruling, the justices agreed with Kenneth Templin's claim that his attorney did not make a reasonable investigation into the availability of prospective defense witnesses.The court remanded the case to 3rd District Court for a new trial.
Templin said he provided his lawyer with a list of prospective witnesses, but the attorney did not contact at least three of those people.
The court "cannot discern the exact effect such testimony would have had on the jury's judgment concerning the credibility of Templin and his alleged victim," Chief Justice Gordon Hall wrote for the court.
"The testimony, however, is of sufficient import that we feel there is a reasonable probability that if these witnesses had been called at trial, the outcome of the trial would have been different," Hall said in the ruling released Tuesday.
Templin was convicted in the alleged Aug. 12, 1988, rape of a woman he had known for about one week and he was sentenced to 5-years-to-life in the Utah State Prison.