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Jury finds former jail guard not guilty in latest trial

Jurors on Thursday found a former corrections officer not guilty of sexually assaulting a woman inmate near a Downtown courthouse holding area in 2015, according to the Attorney General’s Office.

Enock Arvizo

The jury in a fifth trial for Enock Arvizo, 34, began its deliberations around noon, and reached the not guilty verdict hours later. He faced two counts of criminal sexual penetration and one count of battery.

In the trial before District Judge Briana Zamora, prosecutors alleged the woman was awaiting a probation violation hearing when she realized she’d left paperwork in an inmate area adjacent to the courtroom.

Arvizo, then a Metropolitan Detention Center transport officer, led her into that area to retrieve the documents. While the two were alone in that room, prosecutors said, Arvizo kissed the shackled, handcuffed inmate and then forced her into oral and vaginal sex.

In his closing argument, Stephen Lane, Arvizo’s defense attorney, said the state’s only evidence was the woman’s testimony, and he said that was not enough to support a conviction. The lack of evidence, Lane argued, was due to the fact that the alleged assault was not reported to law enforcement for several months. That, he said, was long after courthouse security footage had been deleted and long after other people who were in courtroom that day might remember important details.

Lane could not be reached for comment following the verdict.

Arvizo’s case was set to be handled in three separate trials, one for each alleged victim. But two retrials were needed after jurors were unable to reach verdicts. Previous juries found Arvizo guilty of raping one inmate in a courthouse elevator and attempting to kiss a second. He resigned from his position at MDC after allegations were made.

James Hallinan, spokesman for the AG’s Office, which is prosecuting the case, said Arvizo faces approximately 10 years in prison for those convictions.

“The Office of the Attorney General is committed to protecting vulnerable populations and holding those in positions of power who abuse their authority accountable,” Hallinan said in a statement.