JUSTICES RULE RETROACTIVE LAWS UNCONSTITUTIONAL
Scott Carmell was convicted in 1997 on 15 counts of indecency with a child, sexual assault and aggravated sexual assault. He engaged in various sex acts, including intercourse, with his stepdaughter over a four year period, beginning in 1991 when she was a 12 year old sixth grader. According to the Associated Press, the Supreme Court threw out some of the Texas man's convictions for sexually assaulting her. By a 5-4 vote, the justices ruled that four of his 15 convictions wrongly were based on a Texas law enacted after he allegedly committed the crimes. The four convictions in question involved alleged assaults that took place at a time when Texas law said that a suspect could not be convicted merely on the tesitmony of the victim, unless she was under 14. At the time she was 14 or 15. That law was later changed, and he was convicted under the new law. The court ruled that action to be unconstitutional.