Personal Justice

For five days this month, Kimberly Boyden and Michael Logan sat in a courtroom where the most personal, embarrassing details of their lives were spread before a roomful of strangers.

Logan has difficulty getting an erection. Boyden once had breast implants. Logan drinks in the morning. Boyden keeps condoms in her bedroom. Logan's front teeth are false. Boyden isn't a virgin.

Ten jurors, Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Peter D'Angelo and assorted court watchers learned during The State of Arizona v. Michael Richard Logan how Logan, a 41-year-old electrician, and Boyden, a 35-year-old finance analyst, met at a bar and spent the afternoon and early evening of August 12, 1996, together. By the end of that day, Boyden was hospitalized with a broken nose; cut forehead, eyebrow and lip; bruised and swollen neck, throat and larynx; loose teeth; and severely bruised breasts. A doctor testified that Boyden's breasts were covered with bite marks.

Logan was arrested three days after the incident and interviewed by police. A grand jury later failed to indict him on charges of sexual assault and aggravated assault; there had been no medical proof of rape, and incomplete medical evidence. County prosecutors had refused to reopen the case after Boyden gave them additional testimony and medical records.

Since then, Boyden had become accustomed to telling her story to strangers. She told it again and again to various law enforcement agencies--and finally to New Times ("Not Victim Enough," March 27, 1997)--before county prosecutors decided to take action against Logan.

The day before New Times' initial story about Boyden was published, City of Scottsdale prosecutors charged Logan with simple assault, an offense that carries a maximum jail sentence of six months. After the story appeared, county prosecutors charged Logan with counts of aggravated assault and simple assault.

County officials assigned the case to Lou Stalzer, a veteran prosecutor who now runs the county attorney's criminal division in its southeast office in Mesa. The trial began on February 11. Kim Boyden had been pressing for her day in court for 19 months.

He calls it rough sex; she calls it a beating. The jury's task is to determine who is telling the truth. Logan is charged with one felony count of aggravated assault for the broken nose, and one misdemeanor count of simple assault for the bruised, bitten breasts.

On each of the five days of the trial, Logan sits at the defense table, looking edgy, as though he doesn't feel he belongs there. Boyden sits in the first row behind the prosecution table, avoiding Logan's eyes and watching the jury. She's perfectly still as prosecutor Lou Stalzer and defense attorney Howard Snader show enlarged color photographs of her injuries--her bruised breasts, gashed forehead and broken nose. She left the courtroom once, visibly shaken, in the middle of Logan's testimony, but returned later that afternoon.

Stalzer begins his opening arguments by explaining that this is not a case of identity--Logan readily admits he was at Boyden's home--but rather a case of "causation." He places a snapshot on a machine at the prosecution's table, and there is Kim Boyden's swollen left breast, discolored by bruising, on a large television monitor. He shows other photos of her swollen face and bruised neck.

"You're going to have to decide," Stalzer tells the jury. ". . . Is that consensual sex?"

As will be the case throughout the trial, the jurors stare back. The seven men and three women watch stony-faced, as though it were a tennis match.

Defense attorney Howard Snader--who practices with the Phoenix firm Phillips & Associates--explains to the jury that it's not enough to prove that Boyden's nose was broken in his client's presence. It has to be proven that the injury was caused intentionally, knowingly or recklessly. "It is an unfortunate set of circumstances that led to the set of photographs you've seen," Snader admits, but, he says, it's not intentional.

Kim Boyden takes the stand in a navy blue suit, her brown hair up. When she smiles, she's cheerleader pretty, but today she's grim; her features barely move as she speaks. Boyden's eyes get red and damp as she tells her story, but she doesn't cry. She's told the tale so many times, she says, that she's numb.

Prosecutor Stalzer leads Boyden through the events of August 12. She awoke and drove half an hour to work, in downtown Phoenix. Once at work, she received a call that her home alarm had gone off. She drove home immediately.

At home, Boyden walked to the master bedroom and took her loaded gun from a drawer. She was on the cordless phone with the alarm company, checking behind doors and curtains.

Boyden walked outside, and the gun discharged. "My heart fell in my stomach and I scared the alarm guy," she recalls.

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Amy Silverman is a two-time winner of the Arizona Press Club’s Journalist of the Year award. Her work has appeared on the radio show This American Life and in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Lenny Letter, and Brain, Child. She’s the co-curator of the live reading series Bar Flies, and a commentator for KJZZ, the NPR affiliate in Phoenix. Silverman is the author of the book My Heart Can’t Even Believe It: A Story of Science, Love, and Down Syndrome (Woodbine House 2016). Follow her on Instagram (@amysilverman), Twitter (@amysilvermanaz), and at amy-silverman.com.