We were set for trial yesterday regarding an allegation that my client had committed lewd molestation against his daughter, who at the time was under the age of twelve. On the day the trial was set to begin, and after four long years of fighting the charges, the prosecution finally dismissed the case.
The allegations against my client originally surfaced almost exactly four years ago. At the time, neither one of us, not to mention the client's family and friends, believed that the case would last four years. This has been one of the longest defenses I have ever had to present and preserve in regards to one set of allegations against a client. Sex crimes allegations, especially those against a minor, often take at least a year to make their way through the judicial system. This case however, was somewhat different.
The case went through the hands of three separate prosecutors during that time period. Dealing with different prosecutors can have its benefits and detriments. The obvious benefit occurs when a new prosecutor brings a fresh set of eyes to the case. It is easy for a prosecutor (or a defense attorney) to become so ingrained in his or her trial theory that they develop tunnel vision and begin wearing blinders to any other alternative explanations. Consequently, a clear-eyed view can sometimes help the defense.
On the contrary, new prosecutors can also hinder a case. There are plenty of times where a new prosecutor will take over for someone or inherit a case and proceed to undermine all of the progress the defense attorney had previously made with the former prosecutor. This case had both dynamics, and thankfully we ended up with a reasonable prosecutor who was able to step back and remove themselves from the personal prejudice these allegations so often carry.
Once the prosecution moves past the prejudice, then there is the potential for a resolution that will be reasonable and well thought out. Sometimes, dismissing a case is not only in the best interest of justice, but it is also in the best interest of all parties involved.
I am very proud of the work we put into this case and the trial preparation. I am also extremely proud of my client for having the courage and wherewithal to take his case all the way to the day of trial. Sometimes you have to walk through fire to get what you desire. Often times, the best resolution will not present itself until it is absolutely necessary. I am proud of the prosecution for realizing that this outcome was the most reasonable and necessary outcome available, all things considered.
Would it have been nice to have another jury trial acquittal to my name? Of course. But as I have to tell all of my clients, you never know for sure what will happen when you put twelve strangers in a box. Lewd molestation with a child under twelve is an 85% crime which carries a minimum sentence of twenty-five years' incarceration, to a maximum of life if convicted. It is also a Level 3 sex crime which requires life-time registration if convicted.
Luckily neither my client nor I have to spend this entire week wondering if that might be a possible outcome. No matter how great your facts are, or how well your defense works, if the wrong jury sits on the case, bad things can happen. Thankfully, my client now gets to spend the rest of his life with no felony conviction for lewd molestation, no jail time, and no sex offender registration.
That is a great way to start off the week.