Jury, not judge, to hear case of Utah lunch lady accused of sexual assault
More than two years after her arrest, a middle-school cafeteria worker accused of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old boy looks to be headed to trial in front of a jury.
The Utah Supreme Court on Thursday ruled against 43-year-old Jamie Lynn Greenwood, who wanted her case heard by a judge instead of a jury.
Prosecuters cried foul when Greenwood, on the morning her jury trial was to begin in August 2010, asked 3rd District Court Judge Robert Adkins to hear her case instead. Her attorney argued a trained legal mind would be better able to parse the fine line between, for example, rape and unlawful sexual activity, and that the jury pool was tainted by pretrial publicity.
Adkins granted the request and the prosecution appealed to the Utah Supreme Court.
In an opinion released Friday, the high court sided with the state, ruling that case law establishes defendants don't have the right to choose a judge over a jury if prosecutors don't sign off.
"A district court cannot disregard clearly established law merely because it disagrees with it," the justices wrote, slamming Adkins' ruling, adding they were "confident," Greenwood could get an impartial trial by jury.
Greenwood is accused of demanding sex acts from her son's friend and classmate in return for gifts, like an iPod, cologne and money. She allegedly made threats at various times to tell people at school or leave the boy in an unfamiliar neighborhood when he tried to stop or avoid the abuse.
Greenwood, a cafeteria worker at Eastmont Middle School in Sandy for four years until she resigned due to the allegations, claimed the relationship was consensual, and the boy "threatened and intimated" her into having sex.
She is charged with two counts of rape and two counts of forcible sodomy, all first-degree felonies, and forcible sexual abuse, a second-degree felony.
Greenwood has remained free for the past two years after posting $10,000 bail.
Former cafeteria worker Jamie Lynn Greenwood has a review hearing set at 8:30 a.m. on Aug. 23. A new trial date has not been set.