Dominic Jones’ defense makes case for re-trial

The appellate court has 90 days to make a decision.

The jury found former Gophers Football player Dominic Jones not guilty of third degree sexual assault. Jones was found guilty of fourth degree sexual assault according to the verdict.

Stephen Maturen

The jury found former Gophers Football player Dominic Jones not guilty of third degree sexual assault. Jones was found guilty of fourth degree sexual assault according to the verdict.

Three Minnesota Court of Appeals judges heard arguments Thursday that former University of Minnesota Gophers football player Dominic Jones âÄô 2007 sexual assault trial was rife with procedural errors âÄî including an allegation that Judge Marilyn Rosenbaum allowed a University police officer to commit perjury. Now, one year after JonesâÄô conviction of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct and a month and a half after his early release from the Hennepin County workhouse, the court has 90 days to decide if Jones should receive a new trial. University law professor Meghan Ryan called that outcome âÄúunlikely.âÄù JonesâÄô attorney Earl Gray told the three judges Thursday that Rosenbaum allowed the victim and a University police officer to give testimony that was âÄúobviously false.âÄù The victim told police she recalled having sex with three football players after taking eight shots of vodka the night of the incident before Jones arrived, according to the criminal complaint filed in Hennepin County District Court. However, in her testimony in court, the victim said she didnâÄôt remember any of the events after taking the shots. The court did not allow Gray to ask the victim or the officer about those events because of victim rape shield laws, but argued Thursday they should have been allowed to be used as evidence. âÄúMinnesota shield laws are very strong,âÄù Ryan said. âÄúIt is very hard to prove that the evidence will outweigh the potential harm to a victim.âÄù Gray also said the testimony of Dr. Stephen Smith , an expert provided by the prosecution, should not have been used as evidence that the victim was too intoxicated to have given or refused consent to Jones. Smith estimated the victimâÄôs blood alcohol content to be at least .30 the night of the incident, and said that in her âÄústupor,âÄù the woman would have been physically helpless. Gray had the chance to provide an expert of his own to argue SmithâÄôs point, but did not. âÄúIt would have been impossible for our expert to prove that the woman was able to give consent,âÄù Gray said. He also said not introducing an expert to dispute SmithâÄôs claims provided an issue to appeal. Assistant Hennepin County Attorney Mike Richardson told judges he found it âÄúextremely irritatingâÄù that Gray would refrain from providing an expert as a strategic move in his clientâÄôs defense. Gray also said JonesâÄô sexual acts, which included ejaculating on the victimâÄôs face and were captured on a cell phone video, were not outlined as sexual contact in Minnesota law and had no legal basis. In his argument, Richardson cited centuries old English common law, which stated that it is assault to expel any bodily fluid onto another person. For this reason, Richardson said, ejaculation on another person could be viewed as a form of assault. Gray said he would âÄúlike to see [the state] tryâÄù to claim that the acts were illegal according to Minnesota law.