The legal counsel for Rene Rodriguez, a former Lincoln County Sheriff who is currently serving a minimum 14-year sentence in the Idaho State Penitentiary, has filed for an appeal of the jury conviction that came down in May following a four-day trial in November.
Rodriguez, 41, was convicted on six felony charges of sexual abuse of a minor, after the jury found that he had sexually abused his adopted daughter for nine years when the girl was between the ages of 9 and 17. Following the conclusion of the jury trial, Rodriguez’s defense team, which consisted of Blaine County Chief Public Defender Justin McCarthy and Public Defender’s Office attorney Cheri Hicks, said they would be reviewing the record for appeal and that an appeal would be likely.
According to court records, the appeal was filed in the Idaho Supreme Court of Appeals on June 30. It alleges a total of 10 points on which the Fifth District Court may have erred during the jury trial, including not allowing evidence that potentially could have impeached the victim’s statements, not allowing the dismissal of a particular juror and potential violations of Rodriguez’s constitutional right to a fair trial.
As of Tuesday, no court date for the appeal hearing has been scheduled.
Rodriguez was arrested on April 5, 2019, following an investigation by the Idaho State Police initiated after the victim became concerned Rodriguez might be abusing her younger sister, at which point she decided to go to the police with her allegation. According to the victim’s testimony over a two-day period of the four-day trial, she initially described a normal childhood with Rodriguez, who formally adopted her when he and her mother married in 2000. The family was living in Eden, Idaho, when the first sexual encounter occurred between 2005 and 2006, she testified.
The abuse lasted until after she had graduated from high school, when she was raped by Rodriguez for the last time.
Rodriguez worked as a Bellevue marshal between 2007 and 2013, first under a contract with the Blaine County Sheriff’s Office and then through the Hailey Police Department, before the city re-established its own law enforcement office. Following his tenure in Blaine County, Rodriguez began working for the Shoshone Police Department and was elected sheriff of Lincoln County in 2016—a position from which he resigned following his arrest last April.