Cassell to present oral argument on victims rights in murder case of five-year-old victim

Paul_Cassell_e1davhWednesday, April 27, 2016 – For Immediate Release from Paul Cassell

Today Professor Paul Cassell will present oral argument through the University of Utah Appellate Clinic to the Arizona Court of Appeals in a crime victims’ rights case.   Cassell will represent Kris Eberle, whose five-year-old son Josh Eberle-Martinson was (according to criminal charges filed) murdered by her ex-husband while he had temporary custody of the child.  A jury convicted Martinson of murder in 2011, but deadlocked on whether to impose the death penalty.  Later, the trial judge dismissed the charges against Martinson with prejudice, concluding that the prosecution made errors in its handling of the case.

Prosecutors in Arizona have filed an appeal of the dismissal with prejudice, and Cassell has joined that appeal on behalf of Ms. Eberle.  Cassell argues that, regardless of whatever the prosecutors may have done, the trial judge overlooked the rights of crime victims in dismissing the case.  In his brief, Cassell writes the trial judge erred in failing to consider a provision in the Arizona constitution requires “all rules governing criminal procedure and the admissibility of evidence in all criminal proceedings protect victims’ rights.”  By dismissing the case with prejudice, Cassell, writes, “the trial court has not protected the public’s confidence in the integrity of the justice system, but has undermined it.” Cassell asks that the prosecutors be allowed to retry the case against Martinson.

Cassell is serving as co-counsel on the case along with Colleen Clase of Arizona Voice for Crime Victims – the statewide organization protecting crime victims in Arizona.   A copy of Cassell’s brief on behalf of Ms. Eberle can be found here.

For further information, please email Professor Cassell at