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INNOCENT CLIENT FINALLY VINDICATED BY JURY FINDING OF NOT GUILTY AFTER THIRD TRIAL IN THE CIRCUIT COURT FOR CHARLES COUNTY.
Client was originally charged with Second Degree Rape, Second and Third Degree Sex Offense. The initial trial proceeded in 2010 at which time the client was found not guilty of Second and Third Degree Sexual Offense. The client was found guilty of Second Degree Rape. An appeal was taken to the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland and on June 2, 2011, the guilty finding was overturned and vacated.
The Court found that the trial court in declining to grant the defendant’s counsel’s request for an independent medical examination of the alleged victim and thereafter to conduct an in-camera hearing as contemplated by the law had committed reversible error by not allowing the defense to show that the alleged hymenal tear may have occurred earlier and, therefore, prohibiting him from casting reasonable doubt as to whether he had engaged in vaginal intercourse with the alleged victim. The Court concluded “that the trial court erred in denying the client the opportunity to explore . . . [the alleged victim’s] sexual history in this limited matter . . . the error was not harmless.”
The Court also found that the prosecutor’s argument was an improper appeal to the jury’s prejudice against criminal defense attorneys. The prosecutor’s comments attacked the entire segment of the Bar who provided defense services to criminal defendants, suggesting to the jury that, as a group, criminal defense counsel must “engineer doubt” and “muddy the waters” in order “to distract [the jurors] from the evidence.” Ironically, this argument focused the jury’s attention away from the evidence in this particular case, and urged the jury to discount all arguments made by defense counsel in this case because of gamesmanship on the part of defense counsel generally.
The Court ultimately ruled “In a case that turned on the credibility of a single witness, we cannot say that we are persuaded beyond a reasonable doubt that this error was harmless. Consequently, even if we had not concluded that the conviction had to be vacated for the reasons set forth in the previous section of this opinion, we would vacate the conviction and remand for further proceedings on the basis of this error.”
Read the full opinion here:
The Court of Special Appeals of Maryland
This matter was once again set for trial in May of 2012 in the Circuit Court for Charles County, Maryland, and the jury was unable to reach a verdict and a mistrial was declared.
This matter was then set for another jury trial which was held on April 29, 2013, and concluded with a NOT GUILTY as to the remaining count of Second Degree Rape.
This was a long journey for the Defendant and resulted in total vindication.
Once again, it’s hard to beat a man who never gives up.