Former Idaho House of Representatives member Aaron von Ehlinger has filed an appeal to the Idaho Supreme Court for his 2022 rape conviction in Fourth District Ada County Court.
The conviction stems from an incident with a former legislative intern. You can read the Idaho Dispatch stories here:
Editor’s note: the accuser in this case is referred to in court documents as her initials, “J.V.” The term “FACES” refers to a clinic in Boise, “Faces of Hope Victim Center.”
The appeal filed with the Idaho Supreme Court is divided into three main arguments.
“The District Court Committed Fundamental Error By Allowing The FACES Nurse To Offer Testimonial Statements Allegedly Made By J.V. At Trial In Violation Of The Confrontation Clause Of The Sixth Amendment To The United States Constitution.”
“The District Court Erred In Overruling Defense Counsel’s Objection To The State’s Leading Question On Whether A Forcible Rape Occurred.”
“The State Failed To Offer Admissible Evidence To Prove The Crime Of Rape Beyond A Reasonable Doubt.”Advertisement
19 separate previous court decisions are used to explain the arguments and the errors allegedly made by Ada County Judge Michael Reardon.
The appeal argues that the state did not provide admissible evidence to prove rape beyond a reasonable doubt. It explains,
“The complaining witness, J.V., briefly testified, but abruptly left the courtroom in the middle of the direct examination. The district court ordered that the jury not consider any testimony offered by J.V. The only evidence of the alleged criminal act came from Ms. Wardle, the FACES nurse. Ms. Wardle’s testimony violated Aaron’s rights under the Confrontation Clause of the Sixth Amendment and was elicited through leading questions. Accordingly, the State failed to offer the admissible evidence necessary to support each element of the charged offense.”
You can view the entire appeal filing here:von Ehlinger appeal
von Ehlinger maintains his innocence in the entire matter. This is the pre-sentencing statement he made to Judge Michael Reardon on August 31st, 2022:
“Your Honor, about a month or so before this sad situation began, I appeared before the board that handles pardons at the state house and I received a pardon for reckless driving, a non-alcohol related traffic misdemeanor from 2013. A number of the board members were wondering why I even requested a pardon for such misdemeanor like that. They had never really seen it before. I did that, Your Honor, because when I received that reckless driving -way too fast on a motorcycle and ended up spending a couple days in jail- I was scared straight Your Honor, and I got rid of the motorcycle and I made a pledge to myself at that point that I was going to be a law-abiding citizen, and that is exactly what I did. It took several years to get through the application process to go in front of the board of pardons and, like I said, they ultimately approved it. About a month or so later the situation I find myself in now began, however my commitment to being a law-abiding citizen did not change on March 9th, Your Honor, and it has not changed to this day.
Before my trial a while back I went on a religious pilgrimage to the holy land of Israel, Jordan, and Egypt, I was ultimately baptized in the Jordan River, but before the priest would allow the baptism Your Honor, I was required to confess all my sins. I went before the priest, we sat down, it was a lengthy process to qualify for all that and I confessed a lot of things your honor but rape was not one of the sins that I could confess to, because it would be a sin to confess to something that I did not do.
Also in the trial, I feel like I should make note that my military service and training was used against me Your Honor, and I would just like to say that American soldiers are trained first and foremost to do the right thing, loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity, personal courage. It’s beat, not literally, but it is beat into a soldier’s head as soon as they go into basic training, and beyond that as an Airborne Infantryman Paratrooper, we are held to even higher standards. We were trained to fight against evil and fight for those who cannot fight for themselves, especially women! That is something I believed then, and it’s something I absolutely believe now. That is what we fought for in Afghanistan when I was there in the initial invasion with my comrades; we all served honorably; we all fought honorably. During the war in Afghanistan, all those years, the only thing between Afghan women and the Middle Ages was the American soldiers. And I am very proud that we were able to do that. I respect women and would never do those things that I have been charged with in this case.
And, Your Honor, during my time in incarceration here in jail after my trial I spent a lot of time talking to other inmates and you know I love people I love helping people, I used to be a probation officer in another state and I had training and I counseled people and I try to give them the best of what I can and that is exactly what I do and I spend a lot of time listening, you know, and I try to talk to people to get away from their bad habits and the negative people that are affecting their lives. One man in the cell next to me, 26 years old, can’t read or write, I spent a lot of time reading to him, reading from the bible, I tried to teach him to read. He has nothing noteworthy in his life, but he likes to drive, so I’ve been telling him to get his CDL and become a truck driver to become something and make something of his life. That’s what I try to instill in people, Your Honor.
In the Pre-Sentencing Investigation there have been letters sent from multiple girlfriends from my past and even my former wife, people I have lived with previously and as you are aware, they contest the charges against me, they say that I am a good man they had no problem, that I am a good influence on their son. And beyond that, Your Honor, you know at the end of the day the jury made a decision with the information that was presented to them and they disagreed with my innocence and they found me guilty of one of the counts. And with that decision, Your Honor, I must endure the consequences of that decision, and that I am here today to accept those consequences, Your Honor, and I ask for your mercy, and your leniency and whatever treatment you order, Your Honor, I absolutely will take seriously, I will do everything that is asked of me without a doubt with the same level of seriousness as I would in the military. I thank you, Your Honor, and you allowing me to address you and to address the court.”
von Ehlinger’s appeal is not yet scheduled on the Idaho Supreme Court calendar. It can be viewed here: Idaho Supreme Court Calendar | Supreme Court
Image courtesy of Idaho PTV
Tags: Aaron von Ehlinger, Ada County, Appeal, Idaho Capitol, Idaho House of Representatives, Idaho Supreme Court, Intern, Michael Reardon, Rape