The Mix Rape Trial: Justice Screwed

Editor's Note: This story was changed from its original version to eliminate the name of the victim.

Well, the law has been screwed. And this war is over.
A woman, who said she was the victim of a vicious rape by a police officer, has now become a victim of a stupid and insensitive jury.

Now she no longer trusts either the police or the justice system. Neither can the rest of us.

She risked everything by going to court and telling her story. In a remarkable display of insensitivity to the facts, the jury refused to believe her.

First let's hear what she has to say about being raped by a Department of Public Safety officer who had a sick compulsion to prey upon women drivers late at night.

She speaks calmly, but with deep sadness.
"I remember everything from the time he pulled me over to the time he dropped me back off," she begins.

"I knew right away he was pulling me over for a bogus reason. I wasn't swerving or speeding. He told me hadn't clocked me but thought I was speeding.

"This same officer had stopped me four days before because I didn't have the proper registration tags on my license plate. They were still in my glove compartment. He let me go with a warning ticket.

"He lived in the same apartment complex as my boyfriend. He could actually see my car in the parking lot from his balcony. It was obvious that first time he stopped me that he'd followed me from my boyfriend's house. "This time he put the flashlight in my eyes and he gave me a field sobriety test.

"Then he ordered me to get into his car.
"I asked him where he was taking me. He told me to just get in the car.
"I thought he was either trying to scare me or taking me to jail. I did what he told me. He drove me to a construction site.

"He handcuffed me to him. I told him to take off the handcuffs. He took out the keys and jingled them in front of my face. He thought it was funny.

"He told me that even if he took the handcuffs off that I couldn't run away because he had a gun." According to the victim's testimony, Martin Mix raped her and then brought her back to her car.

Mix told her she was free to go. She had already been punished for driving under the influenceÏby Mix.

At the trial, he testified that he was on overtime during the rape but decided not to turn in a request for premium pay.

How does that strike you?

She went directly to her boyfriend's apartment, which wasn't far off the Black Canyon Freeway where she'd been stopped.

"We called the Department of Public Safety to turn in the report. It turns out the dispatcher was Mix's best friend. He tried to talk my boyfriend out of filing charges.

"So we called the Phoenix police." One thing will always stick in her mind.

When the police took her to the hospital, they put her in the back of the cruiser behind a cage. Later, when they took Mix in for questioning, he was allowed to ride in the front seat.

"I was not a person. I was not the victim or even a human being from the first because he was a cop. That was my fear from the beginning. They were all sticking together.

"In the courtroom, I was put on trial. I felt I was the one who was being prosecuted." And she's right.

Tom Thinnes, 49, is one of the most skilled criminal defense attorneys in the county. He has been a lawyer more than twenty years and he likes challenges.

In 1985, Thinnes won an acquittal for Joyce Lukezic, who had already been convicted on two counts of first-degree murder in the infamous Redmond murder case. Lukezic was a client devoid of jury appeal who'd already been convicted despite being represented by Larry Debus.

In 1986, Thinnes won an acquittal for a man charged with first-degree murder by convincing the jury the wrong man was on trial.

In 1987, he won an acquittal for a man charged with second-degree murder in a shootout in front of witnesses on the Black Canyon Freeway during the Fourth of July weekend.

Unlike most defense lawyers, Thinnes doesn't have a flamboyant lifestyle. He has seven children and stays close to home. He is known as an incredibly hard worker once he undertakes a case. "I took the case," Thinnes says, "because I thought Mix was going to be railroaded simply because he was a cop." It was far from a big-money case. Thinnes has estimated his pay at only $8 an hour.

Much has been made of the dramatic moment when Thinnes slapped Mix across the face during his closing argument.

Thinnes chuckles when the incident is mentioned.
"If he got off this thing with just a slap in the face then he was getting off pretty easy," Thinnes says.

Thinnes says he never made a plan to slap Mix. During his closing argument, Thinnes decried all the circus atmosphere surrounding the trial. And then, with the TV cameras going, Thinnes walked over to Mix and slapped him so hard that welts rose on his cheek.

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