Supreme Court Vacates Scottsbluff Man’s Sex Abuse Conviction

Eric Rocha

Eric Rocha

(AP) — In a split decision, the Nebraska Supreme Court has vacated the convictions and sentence of a western Nebraska man accused of sexually assaulting a 7-year-old girl and beating her three brothers.

Last year, 36-year-old Eric Rocha, of Scottsbluff, was sentenced to 40 years to life for first-degree sexual assault of a child and three to five years on each of four counts of child abuse.

On Friday, a majority of the state’s high court agreed with Rocha that his trial attorney was ineffective for, among other things, not seeking to have separate trials on the sex abuse and child abuse charges.

But Supreme Court Judges Kenneth Stephan and William Cassel said such arguments should be addressed in postconviction relief action, not a direct appeal.

Rocha can still be retried.

  • Ellen

    So this guy is back on the streets because of an idiot public defender not doing his job in asking for separate trials!! What about the four kids he assaulted do they get a new trial to erase the memories from this monster??

    Current score: 6
  • Sad

    This guy will hopefully never see light again, but as Americans, regardless of how we feel, are entitled to a fair trial. We may not always think things are fair, but we do have the best system there is.

    Current score: 0