Donaldson conviction overturned by appeals court

The Arkansas Court of Appeals on Wednesday reversed the harassment conviction of former Monticello Fire Chief Curtis Donaldson and remanded the case for a new trial.

Donaldson was convicted in April 2008 of harassment, a misdemeanor, and sentenced to six months in the county jail. His attorney, Cliff Gibson, immediately filed an appeal.

Initially, Donaldson was charged with one count of second-degree sexual assault of a 19-year-old woman, one count of second-degree sexual assault of a 17-year-old girl, and one count of attempted second-degree sexual assault of another 17-year-old girl. All three of his alleged victims worked at the local theater where Donaldson was a part-time security guard.

Circuit Judge Sam Pope granted Gibson’s motion to sever the three cases, but a week before the trial denied Gibson’s motion to prevent the two 17-year-old girls from testifying at the 19-year-old woman’s trial.

In the appeals court ruling, Judge Robert J. Gladwin wrote "This court cannot perceive of any independent relevance that the testimony of the alleged victims in the other two severed charges have in this particular case."

The court declined to address a separate allegation by Donaldson - that the circuit court erred when it definied "forcible compulsion" for the jury.

<a href="http://www.mymonticellonews.net/articles/2008/04/23/news/local_news/doc4..." target="_blank">To see the story of Donaldson's April 2008 trial, click this link:</a>

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