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Court rejects appeal in sex assault
MADISON - A state appeals court Thursday rejected a request for a new trial from a former state trooper convicted in Green County of child sex assault offenses.

James Norquay, 52, of Juda, appealed convictions for second-degree sexual assault of a child, sexual assault of a child by a foster parent, and incest with a child, which led a 20-year prison sentence imposed in 2012 by Circuit Judge Thomas Vale.

This is the second attempt Norquay has made for a new trial. In February 2013, Vale ruled there was not enough evidence to allow a retrial or resentencing of Norquay.

At trial, Norquay's defense centered on the victim's history of lying to authorities. Jurors heard the victim say she lied about being pregnant, having a son, and miscarrying a pregnancy. The prosecution also conceded the victim previously had made a false allegation of sexual abuse, according to the appeals opinion.

Norquay's appeals attorney, Ellen Hanek, contended that her client's trial attorney, Eric Schulenburg, erred by not questioning Norquay's wife, Lori, about threatening to return the victim "back into the system." The Norquays were foster parents to the teen-aged girl and later adopted her.

Lori Norquay could have testified about the threat she made prior to alleged sexual contact between her husband and the victim, Hanek contended. The victim said the sexual contact resulted in some of Norquay's DNA left on a pair of coveralls she wore.

Hanek argued that Lori's testifying about the threat would have given jurors the victim's motivation to lie about the assaults and planting the DNA evidence in her coveralls.

Despite the victim's credibility problems, the jury had overwhelming evidence to convict Norquay, the District 3 Court stated.

"Accordingly, we conclude that Norquay was not prejudiced by the failure to present evidence of Lori's threat to place the victim "back into the system,'" according to the nine-page unsigned opinion.

The evidence included corroborated testimony about Norquay asking her to delete some incriminating emails, and her knowledge of Norquay's tattoos, shaved groin, liking thong underwear and certain kinds of stimulation.

The appeal also contended Schulenburg erred in not getting a friend of the victim to testify despite being subpoenaed. The subpoena did not give the friend a specific time to appear in court and it resulted in her not testifying as she waited for a specific notice when to appear during the five-day trial.

The defense and prosecution stipulated to what the friend would have testified to and read it to jurors. However, Hanek argued on appeal that the stipulation had less impact on jurors than if the friend testified in person.

The appeals court said the friend's testimony, like Lori Norquay's, was redundant of others who testified about the victim's tendency to "tell tall tales."

Hanek attempted to prove that Schulenburg was so ineffective in defending Norquay that it deprived him of a fair trial. However, the appeals court disagreed.

"Whether the alleged errors are taken individually or cumulatively, our confidence in the outcome of the trial is not undermined," according to the opinion.

Ellen Hanek was unavailable for comment Thursday, according to a person answering the phone in her law office.

Norquay is an inmate at the Dodge Correctional Institution in Waupun and is a life registrant on the state's sex offender reigstery, according to online records.