Republican convicted of raping intern to appeal to Idaho Supreme Court

Less than a month after he was sentenced to at least eight years in prison for the crime of rape, former Idaho legislator Aaron von Ehlinger has submitted an appeal to the Idaho Supreme Court, alleging Ada County’s Fourth District Court made several errors during his trial and sentencing.

A jury found von Ehlinger guilty of the felony crime of rape on April 29, and he has been incarcerated since that date. He was charged with the crime after a 19-year-old legislative intern, who is referred to as Jane Doe to protect her identity, said von Ehlinger, then 39, took her to dinner in early March 2021, then back to his apartment, where she said he forced her to perform oral sex and inserted his fingers inside of her without her consent.

Judge Michael Reardon added another possible 12 years to von Ehlinger’s sentence for a total of 20 years.

In the notice of appeal, von Ehlinger’s attorney, Jon Cox, said the court should not have allowed the state to present evidence from a sexual assault nurse, and the court should have immediately declared a mistrial when Doe took the stand and then abruptly left the courtroom, saying she couldn’t bring herself to testify. Reardon did ask Cox if he wanted to motion for a mistrial after Doe left the stand and he declined.

Cox also said the court should have granted von Ehlinger’s motion for a new trial and said Reardon abused the court’s discretion by imposing a 20-year sentence with eight years fixed.

According to Idaho law, anyone who is found guilty at trial can appeal to the Idaho Supreme Court. A defendant must file a notice of appeal within 42 days of a judgment or order, and transcripts of court proceedings are produced before the person filing the appeal submits a full briefing explaining the reason the decision should be reversed.

Von Ehlinger’s attorney also filed a motion to have the fees waived for the production of transcripts and have them paid at the public’s expense, since von Ehlinger has been incarcerated since April and has no way to pay for it.

Cox also motioned for the court to appoint an appellate public defender to von Ehlinger’s case, saying he owes a balance to Cox’s law firm that he is unable to pay and should have a public defender moving forward.

Nate Poppino, spokesperson for the Idaho Supreme Court, said a full appeal will be filed with the court at a later date, at which point it will be assigned to an appeals court.

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