Man Loses Latest Appeal 30 Years Into Life Sentence

Wilson in 2001 after serving a decade in prison and Wilson in 2020. (Courtesy ADC)

In September, Michael Ray Wilson will have spent 30 years in the Arizona Department of Corrections (ADC) for child molestation. During that time. he has filed numerous legal challenges to his conviction and life sentence.

On Thursday, the Arizona Court of Appeals denied Wilson’s ninth request for appellate review, rejecting his petition for writ of habeas corpus in which he argued his convictions were “void” because the child molestation statute was unconstitutional. Wilson had also argued that state laws related to his sentence were unconstitutional.

Court records show Wilson was charged in 1992 with multiple counts of child molestation occurring in Gila County, including incidents in September 1990 through August 1991. He was convicted at trial of four felonies, then sentenced to serve 58 years in prison followed by a term of life.

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Last June, Wilson filed for a writ of habeas corpus seeking to come before the court for a determination on the legality of his conviction and sentence. It was at least his seventh challenge to his case at the Gila County Superior Court level.

However, Judge Gary Scales ruled against Wilson, finding that there was nothing unconstitutional with the prosecution or sentence.  Wilson then took the matter to the court of appeals, representing himself.

In Thursday’s 3-0 decision, the appellate court ruled that Scales “did not err in concluding Wilson was not entitled to habeas relief.” The judges also ruled the Gila County judge had jurisdiction to decide Wilson’s petition.

Wilson has until mid-July to file for reconsideration of the court of appeals’ decision. He can also file a petition for review with the Arizona Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, Wilson continues to be housed at ADC’s Eyman Complex in Florence.