Newton C. Estes, serving a five-year-to-life prison term for sexually abusing a neighbor girl, was ordered to remain in prison Tuesday while he appeals his sentence.
Estes, 63, achieved national notoriety in 1982 when he punched a U.S. Supreme Court justice in Salt Lake City to protest the court's liberal stands on pornography and school desegregation.In a June plea bargain the Kaysville resident pleaded guilty to fondling and sexually abusing an 11-year-old neighbor girl he hired to clean his house. He was sentenced to prison on the first-degree felony in July by 2nd District Court Judge Douglas L Cornaby.
At his sentencing, Estes protested that he was not allowed to rebut information presented about him in his Adult Probation and Parole pre-sentence report. Estes also filed a hand-written appeal with the court.
That appeal was also filed with the Utah Supreme Court, which ruled last week that the appeal should first be heard in the trial court where the case originated and remanded it back to the 2nd District.
Estes is handling the appeal himself and, after debating whether he should hire a new attorney or not, chose to go it alone for his hearing Tuesday. He asked the judge for a certificate of probable cause, a ruling that evidence exists to support an appeal. That would have also freed Estes from prison while his appeal is being heard.
Estes also asked for access to a law library. He told the judge he is allowed only 45 minutes per week in the prison's law library, which he said is inadequate.
Estes said his legal arguments were prepared from information given to him by a fellow inmate versed in legal issues and procedures.
Estes said he wants to research case law on whether information presented in pre-sentence reports must meet the same standards as evidence admissible in a criminal trial and whether the person to be sentenced has the right to challenge the information before it is given to a judge.
Cornaby said in July the probation report prepared on Estes convinced him Estes is a danger to the community, especially to children, and that Estes tries to break down the bonds that children have with their parents, setting them up for a sexual relationship.
The judge on Tuesday denied Estes' motion, saying no substantial issues were raised in the appeal, but also told Estes that he can continue to pursue it, either by himself or by hiring an attorney.
Estes was charged in February with one count of aggravated sexual abuse of a child, a first-degree felony that carries a five-year-to-life prison term and a minimum mandatory term of 5, 10, or 15 years. He was also charged with showing harmful or pornographic material to a minor, a third-degree felony.
He pleaded guilty to the harmful materials charge and a reduced charge of attempted sexual abuse of a child, still a first-degree felony but without the minimum mandatory prison term.
The charges stem from Estes showing the 11-year-old girl lewd photographs and asking her to assume similar poses. In one instance, according to court records, he took her pants off and fondled her, giving her an extra $5 that day.
Estes made national headlines in 1982 when he punched Justice Byron R. White three times, saying it was a protest of the court's liberal stand on pornography and court-ordered busing to achieve racial integration of public schools.
White was in Salt Lake to address a Utah Bar Association convention when Estes ran up to the podium where White was seated, assaulting him as television news cameras recorded the incident.
Estes was eventually convicted of assault charges, fined $500, and spent 10 days in jail.