Casper Doctor Convicted Of Sexually Assaulting Patients Loses Appeal
A Casper gynecologist who was convicted of sexually assaulting two patients lost an appeal to the Wyoming Supreme Court in which he claimed juror misconduct.
The state's high court ruled against Dr. Paul Harnety on Wednesday.
Harney was convicted in 2018 on two counts of second-degree sexual assault against two patients.
Prior to the trial, several media outlets, including the Casper Star-Tribune, reported allegations of Harnetty's misconduct while a resident in Georgia including that he raped a child, sexually harassed a nurse and allegations that he had to change locations to complete his residency.
Those allegations were omitted during the trial.
As attorneys conducted jury selection, jurors were asked if they could "lay aside impression or opinion" based on the publicity and be able to "render a verdict based on the evidence presented in court" if selected.
Following his conviction, Harnetty hired new attorneys who in turn contracted with an investigator.
The filing states the investigator interviewed jurors in Harnetty's trial.
One juror reportedly told the investigator that there was "no doubt in [his] mind" that Harnetty was guilty and also called it an "open and shut case." Asked how he reached that conclusion, the juror stated, "all that stuff [Harnetty] did in Georgia" and that Harnetty had done it before.
The juror also stated not all of the jury discussed the allegations in Georgia, but a "few" did.
In April 2020, Harnetty appealed his conviction arguing that juror misconduct violated his right to a fair and impartial jury and attached the investigator's affidavit and media reports.
The following you, prosecutors filed a motion for summary judgment in which they argued that the claims of jury misconduct were inadmissible as they were hearsay and there was no material fact supporting his claims.
The Natrona County District Court granted the state's motion for summary judgment.
Ultimately, the Wyoming Supreme Court affirmed the district court's decision to dismiss the appeal and ruled that Harnetty had a "seamless" opportunity to present his post-conviction claims.