Last year, 48-year-old Winfred Ottley won an appeal of his conviction for rape and aggravated child molestation with the Georgia Court of Appeals, who overturned his conviction. At that time, he had to make a decision whether to face trial again and fight for his innocence, or plead guilty. Considering he would likely spend the rest of his life in prison if found guilty at trial, he chose to plead guilty to child molestation and statutory rape. Now he has been sentenced to 15 years in prison by Judge Maureen Gottfried.
Ottley could be out of prison in just 4 1/2 years because he has been given credit for time served. Originally, he was convicted in 2010 for allegedly raping a girl repeatedly over the course of three years. In 2013, the Georgia Court of Appeals threw out Ottley’s conviction, ruling that his defense attorney failed to challenge medical evidence that was presented at trial. Ottley’s court appointed public defender, Vicki Novak, decided they should not risk Ottley possibly being sentenced to life again by going to trial, so instead he pleaded guilty to lesser charges.
In the original trial, a jury found Ottley guilty on two counts of aggravated child molestation, two counts of rape and aggravated assault, three counts of cruelty to children, and one count each of child molestation and sexual battery. He was sentenced in May of 2010 to four concurrent life sentences.
The defense claimed at trial that Ottley’s estranged wife, who was allegedly having an affair with her church pastor, set up her husband so that she could have him arrested and collect his property and a significant amount of money. Even then, the appeals court overturned Ottley’s conviction based on the fact that his defense attorney did not challenge medical evidence presented at trial. Essentially, Ottley’s conviction was reversed because of ineffective assistance of counsel.
As all Michigan criminal appeal lawyers would agree, 15 years is a very light sentence when compared to life behind bars. While it is rare that an appeals court overturns a conviction, it does happen on occasion when a compelling argument warrants it.
If you have been wrongly convicted or feel your sentence is unjust, speak with an experienced and highly skilled Michigan criminal appeals attorney. By choosing a capable lawyer who has been through the appeals process countless times with success, you have the best chance of having your conviction or sentence overturned.