Building a Defense for Sex Offense Charges in Oakland
In defending any criminal case including sex crimes cases where there is forensic evidence, eyewitness testimony, or personal testimony, it may on its face sound damaging. Generally, our way of defending seemingly damaging evidence is to do what some people call legal jujitsu – where rather than just bluntly attacking everything that’s coming your way, you actually absorb your opponent’s power, and then evaluate it and reverse it. You use their power, their evidence, to your benefit.
Types of Evidence
There are really two kinds of main types of evidence in sex offense cases. There is forensic evidence, which is scientific evidence like a lab analysis and a SART Exam (a rape analysis done by a doctor and a nurse, where they draw a map of the body and examine various parts of the body, and then they fill out a form). They can tell you whether there’s evidence that’s at least consistent with force or various forms of sexual assault.
Then there is an eyewitness or personal testimony. That’s either the alleged victim or other people describing what they’ve been through or what they saw. Rather than just saying it’s all a big lie and none of it’s true and pounding away at it at every point, what you do is accept what can’t be defeated in terms of its truth or falsity. Maybe they did know each other, maybe they were friends. There are those things that never going to change. Maybe they did go out one night together.
How a Defense Can be Built
You take those things, you concede what can’t be defeated just factually, and then you absorb the difficult parts and reverse them, so you point out what’s not there. For example, in the case of the false confession mentioned earlier, it was very persuasive to point out that there was no fiber, no hair, no semen, nothing on the carpet, nothing on the couch where this supposedly happened, no medical exam, and no medical findings.
You point out all the things that if this is really true you expect would be there that aren’t. You also point out not so much that the person recanted, let’s say, or that they changed their story, which is pretty obvious, but why they might have done that, and why it seems so unusual that they are doing this. You find the one or two or three, usually, it’s three maximum weaknesses that really might have some powerful effect to choose the right battles to fight.