A 4th District judge appeared to dim Allan B. Hadfield's hopes for a new trial Tuesday when he dismissed two of three defense arguments.
Judge Cullen Y. Christensen still could grant Hadfield's motion for a new trial. He took under advisement a third defense argument in favor of the motion and will rule on it later.Hadfield, 37, was convicted in December of seven counts of child sex abuse and child sodomy involving his 12-year-old son and 10-year-old daughter, and was sentenced to 10 years probation.
He has maintained his innocence.
But Christensen's ruling Tuesday against the major argument of defense attorneys that new evidence uncovered since Hadfield's trial should be presented to a jury may make the granting of another trial unlikely.
Christensen granted a prosecution motion to quash the introduction of newly discovered evidence the defense claims would show therapist Barbara Snow has consistently fabricated evidence and brainwashed child sex abuse victims she has worked with.
Snow in 1986 first reported the Hadfield children's allegation of sexual abuse against their father and was a prosecution witness at Hadfield's trial.
During the trial, defense attorney Bradley Rich had attacked Snow's therapeutic methods, claiming they caused the children to falsely accuse their father.
Tuesday, defense attorney Brent Caruth said examination of other child sex abuse investigations in Bountiful and Midvale showed Snow demonstrated a pattern of fabricating evidence and coercing children to accuse their parents.
Earlier Tuesday, Christensen had allowed Caruth to assume Hadfield's legal representation.
Caruth said Snow justified her techniques, which he claimed reward children for saying what Snow wants to hear and punish them for saying anything else, in a master's thesis in 1980.
"I'm not saying the (Hadfield) children lied. I'm saying Barbara Snow brainwashed them," he said.
On two occasions, law enforcement officers suspicious of the reliability of Snow's technique tested her by giving her false information about their child sex abuse investigations, Caruth said.
On both occasions, a short time later she reported to authorities that the child victims had confirmed the false information in therapy sessions. That demonstrates Snow transferred information to children to have them repeat it, and ultimately to believe it, Caruth said.
"Someone is marching up and down the state presenting what amounts the perjury," he said of Snow.
But Christensen was unconvinced and dismissed the argument. The judge said Snow's therapeutic practices had been adequately explored during Hadfield's trial and that other cases Snow has been involved with are not relevant to the new trial motion.
Christensen also ruled against a defense claim of prosecutorial misconduct during the trial. The argument was based on mistaken statements of prosecutor Dave Schwendiman to the jury during closing arguments concerning a telephone record of conversations between Snow and Hadfield.
After being dismissed to begin deliberations, the jury was summoned again the courtroom, where Schwendiman apologized and corrected his mistake. Christensen ruled the mistake was insufficient grounds for a new trial.
A third defense claim centered on alleged jury misconduct during deliberations. Caruth said jurors speculated among themselves as to why Hadfield had not taken a lie detector test. One juror, a retired social worker, offered her opinions to other jurors on the expert testimony of psychologists presented as defense witnesses, he said.
Christensen took that argument under advisement and offered no indication when he may rule.
Meanwhile, concerned Utah County residents have established a trust fund for the Hadfield children. Anyone wishing to donate can send contributions to Deseret Federal Bank in Provo.