A federal appeals court on Monday struck down a key part of a new trial for former NHL player Ted Stevens, saying he did not have to reveal details about his criminal history in order to avoid an unfair trial.
Stevens was convicted in a 2004 case in which he allegedly sexually assaulted a woman at a hotel.
The court found in Stevens’ favor in a three-judge panel’s order.
It also noted that prosecutors should have been able to show Stevens used the term “rape,” instead of the less pejorative term of “sexual assault.”
Stevens was found guilty of two counts of forcible sexual abuse.
The appeals court also said prosecutors had to prove that Stevens used “sexually coercive force.”
Stevens’ lawyer had argued that prosecutors had failed to show that Stevens “did not have a legitimate and substantial basis for believing that he was sexually assaulted” in the case.
Prosecutors had argued he did have a valid and substantial reason to believe he was assaulted.
Stevens is appealing his conviction, which he has said is “a total miscarriage of justice.”
The former NHLer was convicted on one count of forcious sexual abuse and two counts each of attempted rape and sodomy.
He served two years of a four-year sentence.
Stevens has filed a lawsuit seeking an appeal of the verdict and the trial.
He was the youngest player to be convicted in an NHL case, but he had already been convicted in two separate cases in 2004.
Prosecutors argued that Stevens had no reasonable doubt that he had been sexually assaulted by the woman, who was not a victim of rape.
The defense said the trial judge’s ruling was based on faulty evidence.
In a statement after the ruling, Stevens said, “I hope that the appellate court will quickly correct this error and vindicate the victims of my wrongful conviction and vindictiveness.
I am deeply sorry for the impact this case has had on the women I have victimized and on the families of those victims.”
A judge in February denied Stevens’ request for a new jury trial.