United States District Court, D. Colorado
ORDER DENYING APPLICATION FOR HABEAS CORPUS
RICHARD P. MATSCH, SENIOR JUDGE.
question raised by Charles Farrar in this Application for a
Writ of Habeas Corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 is
whether the refusal to grant him a new trial after the
accuser in his sex offender trial has recanted all of her
testimony is a violation of his Constitutional right to due
process of law under the Fourteenth Amendment.
case was summarized by the Colorado Supreme Court in
Farrar v. People, 208 P.3d 702 (Colo. 2009). The
four member majority of justices affirmed the trial
court's denial of relief after a full evidentiary hearing
under Crim. P. 33. A brief recitation is necessary for this
analysis of the Applicant's claim.
fifteen Sacha Brod claimed that her mother Debbie Brod and
stepfather Charles Farrar repeatedly forced her to engage in
sexual intercourse and sodomy beginning when she was eleven
years old. Both of the accused were charged with multiple
offenses. The court ordered separate trials. Charles Farrar
was convicted of some of the charges and acquitted of others.
He was sentenced to an aggregate 145 years to life. The
charges against the mother were dismissed because Sacha Brod
did not want to testify at another trial.
post trial hearings Ms. Brod testified that before trial she
had told the prosecutors and others that her story was not
true and that they forced her to testify as she did. The
prosecutors and others denied those allegations and the trial
judge found that Sacha's allegations were not credible.
determination is binding on this court. Sacha testified that
her accusations and trial testimony were fabrications
motivated by her desire to get away from home and live with
her grandmother in Oklahoma. She explained the reasons for
her extreme unhappiness with the living conditions, none of
which related to sexual abuse.
this testimony, the trial judge observed that the jury had
found the victim's testimony believable as to some counts
and not others. Recognizing the serious credibility issues
and that the trial testimony could be used as impeachment at
a new trial the court concluded that:
Nothing that the Court heard or saw during this
post-conviction proceeding persuades it that the newly
discovered evidence would produce a complete acquittal at a
new trial. In all probability, another jury would accept some
of Ms. contentions and reject others.
The Supreme Court majority said:
Because the district court was not reasonably convinced that
the victim's testimony at trial was probably false, it
did not abuse its discretion in denying his motion for new
Farrar, 208 P.3d at 702.
statement is not completely correct. The trial judge
acknowledged the jury acquitted Farrar on six counts. Those
counts involved events that the victim described in graphic
detail. There may be a difference between false and not
believable but it is telling that the jury accepted general
testimony of a hundred or more incidents of sexual activity
but rejected those that were told most explicitly.
majority opinion gave the following statement of the test for
a new ...