Woman entitled to new trial over testimony issue

TUCSON, AZ - An Arizona court says a woman is entitled to a new trial in a drug case because co-defendants effectively were prevented from testifying in her behalf.

Two co-defendants of Veronica Sanchez-Equihua were convicted and sentenced in Pima County Superior Court under plea agreements with prosecutors that said neither co-defendant had information that could help another co-defendant.

One co-defendant had said before Sanchez-Equihua's trial that Sanchez-Equihua didn't know about the drugs at issue in the case.

However, both co-defendants refused to testify during Sanchez-Equihua's trial because of the plea agreement provision, and the trial judge didn't make them testify.

Sanchez-Equihua was convicted, but the state Court of Appeals this week overturned her convictions because she was denied her constitutional right to call witnesses on her behalf.

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