State v. HolleAnnotate this Case
After a jury trial, Defendant was found guilty of child molestation and sexual abuse of a minor under age fifteen. Under Ariz. Rev. Stat. 13-1407(E), it is a defense to a prosecution for sexual abuse or child molestation that a defendant was not motivated by a sexual interest. The court of appeals concluded that the trial court erred in instructing the jury that Defendant bore the burden of proving “his conduct was not motivated by a sexual interest” but that the error was harmless. The Supreme Court vacated the court of appeals’ opinion and affirmed Defendant’s convictions and sentences, holding (1) section 13-1407(E) provides an affirmative defense that a defendant must prove, and therefore, the State need not prove as an element of those crimes that a defendant’s conduct was motivated by a sexual interest; and (2) the trial court properly instructed the jury that Defendant was required to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that he was not motivated by a sexual interest.