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Key question in Farrar case: What would jurors do if they'd had all the evidence?

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Judging from the emotionally charged online comments in response to this week's cover story, "Beyond Belief," many Westword readers are baffled, outraged and just plain frustrated about the bizarre and tragic case of Charles Farrar -- a man who's still serving a 145-year sentence for sexually assaulting his stepdaughter Sacha, even though she recanted her allegations shortly after he was convicted nine years ago.

There was not one piece of physical evidence to support Sacha's jaw-dropping accusations against Farrar and her own mother -- just her testimony. A year after the verdict, even though she faced possible perjury charges for speaking up, she came forward and admitted that the story wasn't true. So why wasn't that "new evidence," which essentially canceled out the only evidence against Farrar, enough to warrant a new trial?

The answer has to do with the biases built into the Colorado justice system when it comes to evaluating recantations by alleged sexual assault victims. While the system is predisposed to embrace an accuser when little to no corroborative evidence exists (as in Sacha's case), it's also inclined to view recantation as inherently bogus. "Skepticism about recantations is especially applicable in cases of child sexual abuse where recantation is a recurring phenomenon," notes one Colorado Supreme Court decision.

In the Farrar case, Arapahoe County District Judge John Leopold was faced with determining whether Sacha's recantation "would probably result in a judgment of acquittal in a new trial." Leopold concluded it wouldn't, since he found elements of her recantation story to be just as strange and incredible as her testimony at trial, and the prosecution would have great latitude to impeach her: "In all probability, another jury would accept some of [Sacha's] contentions and reject others."

Of course, that's conjecture on the judge's part. Nobody actually asked any members of the jury that convicted Farrar if they would have still voted guilty if they'd been provided the "new evidence" of Sacha's recantation. So we're asking now.

Working from a partial list of juror names and contact information that's nearly a decade old, Westword has been unable to interview any of the Farrar jurors to date. But several probably still live in Arapahoe County and have vivid memories of the trial. We want to hear from you. If you'd known that Sacha would later claim that she'd made it all up, would that have changed your vote? Or is Judge Leopold right -- that it wouldn't have made any difference?

If you don't wish to comment publicly, you can contact me privately at alan.prendergast@westword.com. Let's hear what you think.

For more on this state's justice system -- whether evidence is real or recanted -- see our Colorado Crimes archive.

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8 comments
Casstevensclyde
Casstevensclyde

the judge in this case is a low Life son of bitch/scum of the earth/ who will do any good til that bastard is dead. and the quicker the better.the world is full of them,just like him.never give them a chance to run anything as it will go to their heads and show what a no good piece of shit they are.maybe Thats how he got here,some stinking ass bitch took it up her ass/took a crap/too sorry to flush toilet/nature comes along and gives it Life

Adam J Hall
Adam J Hall

I HOPE THAT FUCKING JUDGE BURNS IN HELL I'LL MAKE SURE JUSTICE IS DONE I'LL HELP THIS FATHER GET OUTTA PRISON AND START A NEW LIFE

clyde casstevens
clyde casstevens

I personaly thank judge john leopold is the kind of son a bitch that would fuck his own mother and her being the whore she is,would go for it in a big way.if there anyone don;t like what say,can kiss my ass.

Cherylrix
Cherylrix

My husband's nephew is in jail for the same thing. He was accused by his 1/2 sister that he molested her . We found out later that she was mad at him and told her grandfather, who called authorities. She didn't know it would go that far as to a jail sentence, and as it spiraled out of control,she said it was too much for her to take the accusation back. She just wanted to get him in trouble with her grandfather. The D.A. TOLD him of things he did for 14 hrs straight, until he admitted to it. She was on our video surveillance admitting this, along with a letter that it was totally made up. Where is that adorable child now? In a Texas correctional facility, where she belongs. Our legal system needs some changes done.

Guest
Guest

Did the first two girls he molested also make it up, Alan? Why didn't you investigate the other two cases? Hard as you try, I have a hard time accepting the innocence of man who THREE times has been accused of molesting children, because one of them changed her story after being pressured by family members.  And you have a list of 12 jurors who live in the same county and you can't find a single one of them? Really? Here's a suggestion. They have to be registered voters, so check the voter lists for that year, genius. 

clyde casstevens
clyde casstevens

*I agree with you a hundred percent/the only difference between the bastardand a turd in none.*

Nori Benz
Nori Benz

Where has there been anything written about his other victims?  If he's done this before (and it can be proven), chances are that he's lying and that his step-daughter was coerced by family members to recant.  If there are no records of him doing this before, I would be at the point I am now, wondering when, if ever, the girl told the truth.

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