A woman convicted of selling her friend's child to a stranger who had suffered a miscarriage was given a fair trial, the Utah Supreme Court has ruled.
In a unanimous decision released Wednesday, the court ruled that Julie Warren Verde will have to serve the sentence of three months in jail and pay the $2,500 fine given her by a 3rd District judge.Verde claimed the court had incorrectly allowed hearsay evidence, failed to instruct the jury properly and allowed evidence of the emotional trauma suffered by the woman who was to receive the child.
But Justice Michael Zimmerman, in a 13-page decision, said none of the claims would have affected the trail's outcome and there was ample evidence to convict Verde.
Police arrested Verde Feb. 1, 1985 shortly after she gave a 13-month-old child to Tammy Watson. Verde had told the child's mother she wanted to take the child to an anti-abortion meeting.
Watson had contacted police after becoming suspicious of Verde, who claimed to be setting up a private adoption agency and working with a local attorney. Verde had been taking care of the child, who belonged to a friend who was ill. Verde had allowed Watson to keep the child for up to a week on a trial basis and had said the adoption would cost up to $5,000.
During the trial, Watson and her mother testified about the toys, furniture and clothing Watson bought in anticipation of receiving the child. Others testified that Watson became so emotionally distraught after the bogus adoption plan was revealed that she attempted suicide.
Verde's attorney claims the testimony was irrelevant and that the jury was prejudiced by it. State prosecutors claimed the testimony showed Verde did make the statements about the adoption that Watson said she had.
"We think this is a close call, but we ultimately agree with the state," Zimmerman wrote.