ITHACA, N.Y. –– Following two trials over the last five years, the New York State Supreme Court Appellate Division has decided that Jeffrey Horton’s 2018 guilty verdict for his physical and sexual assault on a woman in her home will stand.

In September of 2018, Horton was found guilty of 10 charges including first-degree rape, first-degree burglary, sexual abuse, stalking, and several other charges. It was the second time Horton was on trial for those charges after his 2015 conviction was overturned due to a juror issue.

In total, he was sentenced to 12 years in prison and 10 years of post-release supervision. In addition to the prison sentence, Horton is registered as a sex offender for the rest of his life and the victim and her family were granted an order of protection.

Horton was defended by attorneys Jerome Mayersak and Kristine Shaw.

Jeffrey Horton Trial: View full Ithaca Voice coverage from the trial here

The appeal, which was filed in January, attempted to have the decision overturned on the basis of ineffective counsel and mistakes made by the court –– both accusations that were ultimately deemed inadequate or unfounded on appeal.

Among the claims Horton made in his appeal, is that text messages he deemed relevant were not entered into evidence and that photographs that were part of the jury trial were improperly shown in their digital form to jurors, instead of the printed version that was originally entered into evidence. The text messages were found to be irrelevant to his conviction, and the argument about the photographs was described as “frivolous.”

In terms of ineffective counsel, “defendant’s claim that he was deprived of a fair trial by various acts of prosecutorial misconduct was not preserved by timely, specific objections,” court documents state. Horton claims his defense had “no clear strategy” when selecting jurors, and that counsel had failed to make objections to pieces of evidence entering the re-trial.

“Defense counsel engaged in extensive motion practice before and after the trial, thoroughly cross-examined the People’s witnesses, presented witnesses on defendant’s behalf, pursued a coherent theory of defense and provided defendant with zealous and meaningful representation,” court documents state.

Anna Lamb

Anna Lamb is a reporter for the Ithaca Voice. Questions? Story tips? Contact her at alamb@ithacavoice.com