Attorney named for retrial

Posted: Monday, October 27, 2003

Kenai attorney Mark D. Osterman will defend the Soldotna man scheduled for a retrial after the Alaska Court of Appeals overturned his conviction on sexual abuse of a minor and assault charges.

A Kenai jury in March 2001 convicted Kenneth L. Bingaman, 51, of threatening to kill his girlfriend and of fondling the woman's teenage daughter.

The state appellate court, however, reversed the judgment and ruled Bingaman is entitled to a new trial. Its decision was based on rules governing the admissibility of evidence in domestic violence cases.

Osterman on Friday told the court he would begin filing motions in the new court proceedings once he has retrieved the case file from James H. McComas, the Anchorage defense attorney who won the reversal decision on appeal.

One motion would involve terms of bail for his client.

Bingaman, who spent more than two years in jail after his conviction, currently is out on $20,000 bail with a court-approved third-party custodian required.

Osterman said he would seek to have the third-party custodian requirement removed and have the amount of bail reduced.

He also said McComas has suggested he file a motion to have Kenai Superior Court Judge Harold Brown removed from presiding over the new trial.

Brown was the judge in the original trial during which the jury convicted Bingaman on all counts.

In reversing the conviction, the appellate court said Brown allowed too much evidence from alleged previous acts of violence to be admitted as circumstantial evidence to show Bingaman's character.

In domestic violence cases in Alaska, court rules allow such evidence, but in this instance, the appeals court ruled the question of Bingaman's character and his previous acts actually weighed too much and may have prejudiced the jury in the case being tried.

Bingaman on Friday maintained his innocence saying the state's evidence was based solely on testimony of his former girlfriend and her daughter.

"They had no police reports, no hospital reports, no photos of bruises or anything," he said. "Just talk."

Trial call has been set for Dec. 17 with the retrial to begin during the week of Jan. 5.

Subscribe to Peninsula Clarion

Trending this week:


© 2018. All Rights Reserved. | Contact Us