After everything we’ve heard about his horrific crimes, it’s almost impossible to imagine that Josh Duggar could possibly be acquitted and freed from prison.
But believe it or not, there’s a chance that the convinced sex offender could soon be home with his wife and seven kids.
Josh’s appeal process recently got underway, with attorneys for both sides presenting arguments to a panel of three judges.
A decision has not yet been made public, but it seems that at least one of the judges feels that Josh was denied his civil rights during the government’s investigation into his crimes.
The agents who conducted the raid on Josh’s workplace confiscated his cell phone to search for child sexual abuse materials (CSAM).
Josh’s attorney, Justin Gelfand, insists that in doing so, they denied him his right to contact an attorney.
“[Duggar] takes out his phone, physically puts it to his ear… for the purpose of contacting his legal counsel,” Gelfand told the court.
“Federal agents physically took the phone out of his hand and deprived him of the ability to communicate with his legal counsel,” Gelfand continued.
“He was told he was free to go. No reasonable person in his shoes at that time would believe that.”
When judges asked if Josh could have walked somewhere nearby to make a phone call, Gelfand said:
“This lot was accessible only by a highway with no sidewalk, it was in the middle of nowhere. There was nowhere to go.”
Gelfand continued: “The vehicle he came in was searched, he had no access to it. The keys to the other vehicles in the car lot were in the office. He wouldn’t be allowed to enter without an escort.”
“Mr. Duggar was not in custody at any point during the search of the used car lot… Mr. Duggar was repeatedly told he was not in custody and was free to leave,” Department of Justice attorney Joshua K. Handell countered.
“He said his wife was pregnant and expecting soon. He may have to leave in order to contact her. The agent said that’s perfectly fine,” Handell continued.
“Mr. Duggar did leave the scene at a time of his choosing and without being arrested… Mr. Duggar voluntarily ended the interview. He was not arrested until a year and a half later.”
“I am a little concerned though… The agent knew he was trying to call his counsel. It appears that might have been the only way he could’ve done so,” one judge said after hearing both sides of the matter.
“It does concern me when someone makes an attempt to contact counsel… and is unable to call counsel because there is no alternative way to do it. I’ve never seen that before.”
“It’s not clear whether there was another way to contact counsel. One of his employees had a cell phone not seized by officers,” Handell countered.
“The agent could’ve said, ‘Use my phone to contact your attorney,’” Gelfand argued.
In addition to his claim that Duggar was “interrogated outside the presence of his attorney after law enforcement had physically taken his phone from his hand when he was attempting to contact his counsel,” Gelfand made several other arguments for invalidating the results of the first trial.
the Arkansas district court “applied a test the U.S. Supreme Court has already determined is unconstitutional,” thereby “denying Mr. Duggar the opportunity to present a complete defense.”
Gelfand said that the defense “attempted to elicit testimony” from Caleb Williams, a Duggar family friend who they say framed Josh for his crimes.
Gelfand claims that the judge would only have only have allowed the defense to ask Williams about his whereabouts on the days in question, nothing more.
“The district court expressly said that we could call Mr. Williams for a very limited purpose,” he responded.
“We could ask him whether he had knowledge or recollection of being present on the lot between May 13 and May 16, and whether he remoted in.”
Finally, Gelfand alleged that the lower court “erroneously introduced expert testimony as lay testimony.”
Said testimony, he claims, involved a “critical issue in the case,” specifically EXIF metadata collected from digital photographs that were introduced as evidence.
Legal experts say Josh’s team is still fighting an uphill battle.
But there’s a chance that the disgraced former reality could soon be back in court in for a new trial.