After fighting for more than 10 years to have a felony rape conviction overturned, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals last week gave Cody Marble's family a glimmer of hope.
"It's certainly a victory," says Cody Marble's father, Jerry. "I just don't really know to what extent."
In 2002, Cody Marble was sentenced to 20 years in prison with 15 suspended on a felony charge of sexual intercourse without consent for allegedly raping another inmate at the Missoula County Detention Facility.
On Oct. 10, the Ninth Circuit ordered the U.S. District Court to more thoroughly deliberate whether to revisit Marble's claim that he should have had his rape conviction addressed in juvenile court rather than District Court because he was 17 at the time of the alleged crime. The alleged victim was 13.
From the outset, Marble has maintained his innocence, consistently arguing that other inmates set him up. He's noted that the teenager who first reported witnessing the crime later admitted that he was in lockdown at the time and could not have seen it. Meanwhile, in 2010, the alleged victim recanted his initial testimony, only to revert back to his original claims.
Largely because of the fierceness with which the Marbles have contested the convictionJerry Marble regularly throws verbal jabs in public at the prosecutors who helped to send his son to jailthe Marble family has drawn a significant amount of local attention.
Cody Marble's well-publicized drug charges also continue to draw interest. In the most recent example, law enforcement found him in March carrying hypodermic needles, a digital scale, spoons and, according to charging documents, "two or more glass pipes."
Those who support Cody's innocence say there's another side to him, one that is tough to capture in headlines and sound bites. They say the conviction screwed him up, but that he has potential, evident from serving as his own attorney in federal and state court filings.
"He's learned the law the hard way," says Missoula attorney Colin Stephens, who's representing Marble on a separate case that seeks a new trial and to have Marble's conviction overturned. "He's an unbelievably smart kid ... The problem is he's got this frickin' meth problem."
It remains to be seen how the Ninth Circuit's decision will affect Cody Marble's ongoing efforts to overturn his conviction.