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Woman’s sentence overturned for ‘duress’ defense

Pima County prosecutors are prepared to make another bid to convict a Tucson woman of child abuse despite a state Supreme Court ruling throwing a legal hurdle in their path.

Deputy Pima County Attorney Alan Goodwin acknowledged that the high court said Sophia Richter was denied the right at her first trial to claim that she acted “under duress’’ when she played a role in abusing her three children. That included locking them in the house for months at a time and feeding them what one of the girls said was spoiled food.

Based on that conclusion, the justices overturned her conviction and the 20-year prison term.

But Goodwin said his office still believes that Richter is criminally liable for what happened to the girls.

“We are going to go forward with a new prosecution,’’ he said.

Goodwin said, though, that the case could be resolved with a “non-trial resolution,” meaning having Richter plead to some charge. He did not specify what that would be or what would be the proffered sentence.


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