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Court again destination for local man convicted of molestation

WILLMAR -- After years of state and federal appeals court decisions, a 30-year-old Willmar man accused of sexually molesting a 3-year-old boy almost 7 years ago was back in district court Wednesday.

Orlando Manuel Bobadilla, 30, will -- once again -- make a first appearance in Kandiyohi County District Co-urt to face criminal se-xual conduct char-ges.

That co-urt appearance is set for Monday afternoon

Before Judge Kathryn N. Smith recused herself from the case, because she presided over Bobadilla's jury trial, she summed up the case's status: "This case needs to -- essentially -- start over."

Prior to the two-minute hearing, Smith met briefly in chambers with the attorneys in the case, county prosecutor Connie Crowell and John Mack, who has been retained as Bobadilla's defense attorney.

Bobadilla was convicted in 2003 of first-degree and second-degree criminal sexual conduct charges and was sentenced to 12 years in prison in October 2003. His conviction was overturned by the Minnesota Court of Appeals in 2004, but was later upheld by the state Supreme Court in a February 2006 decision.

In July 2008, a United States District Court judge granted Bobadilla's petition for writ of habeas corpus and vacated his conviction. In the latest court action, the U.S. Supreme Court denied a petition to hear the case this January.

The legal action in the case is part of the court system's wrangling with the U.S. Supreme Court decision of Crawford v. Washington, which addresses a defendant's right to directly cross-examine witnesses. Part of the evidence introduced by the prosecution during the Bobadilla trial was a videotaped interview of the child by a county social worker, plus testimony from the child's mother and the social worker about the child's statements about the sexual assault.

Gretchen Schlosser

Gretchen Schlosser is the public safety reporter, and writes about agriculture occasionally, for the West Central Tribune. She's been with the Tribune since 2006 and has 17 years of experience working in news, media and communications. 

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