Articles Tagged with Sex Crimes

If currently expressed sentiments in the Trump presidential administration regarding college campus sex-crimes policies and procedures take the shape of new standards and legal imperatives, says one Obama-era official, the United States will be taken back to the days “when colleges swept sexual assault under the rug.”

That is emphatically untrue, counters one advocate for individuals accused of campus-based sex crimes. He states that opinions expressed recently by U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos are “being secretly cheered by every university general counsel in the country.”

DeVos’s comments made earlier this month manifestly signal a strong discontent in the current administration with the way that allegations of sexual misconduct are routinely being handled on campuses across the country.

O.J. Simpson’s parole hearing garnered national headlines this week. Indeed, some may believe that he is still receiving unfair celebrity treatment for simply being granted a hearing. This sentiment arguably spilled over when the commissioners voted unanimously to grant parole.

In the midst of this news, former speaker of the House of Representatives Dennis Hastert was recently released from federal prison. Hastert was sentenced to a 15 month sentence for bank fraud stemming from his actions in making patterns of payments to avoid federal reporting requirements. Hastert was initially investigated for making more than $900,000 in small withdrawals across a number of his personal accounts to avoid federal scrutiny. 

Making matters worse, it was later revealed that the payments were to secure continued silence from a sexual abuse victim. During his sentencing for the bank fraud charge, Hastert tacitly admitted that he sexually abused male wrestlers at Yorkville High School in his native Illinois where he worked from 1965 to 1981 before he started in politics. He was not charged for these actions, but the court noted that he was a “serial child molester,” and that “some actions can obliterate a lifetime of good works.”

Little did a man know that the real fireworks central to a 4th of July evening he spent with friends and a newly introduced woman on a city rooftop would commence months later with a knock on his door at home.

It was the cops. He left the house with them — in handcuffs and under arrest for a sexual assault on that woman.

In fact, he was charged on a criminal count of felony rape and was under the reasonable assumption, based on what police officials told him, that he could be spending the rest of his life incarcerated.

It happens.

Every day in California and across the United States, and for a multitude of reasons, an accusation of criminal conduct is made against an individual who is actually innocent of any wrongdoing.

Sometimes an allegation proceeds from error, with a complainant making a mistake in identification, for example, or materially misreading the key facts of a matter.

When prosecutors bring forward DNA evidence, they typically argue that these tests are extremely accurate. They often claim, although there is some debate over this, that it would be a one in a billion chance for someone to have identical DNA test results to those of the accused. They push back on defense questioning about possible errors in the collection or testing of the evidence.

All in all, it’s very hard to argue against DNA. When you can tie a suspect’s chromosomes to a crime scene, it’s extremely difficult to claim he wasn’t there. But is that enough?

A Denver man was recently accused of a sex crime based on DNA evidence. Along with several friends he had been to a Fourth of July rooftop party at a woman’s residence. Tragically, the woman apparently passed out at that party. When she awoke the next day, she realized something was terribly wrong. Her panties had been removed, she had vaginal pain, and she did not know what had happened.

Many people strongly believed that legislative changes would follow in the wake of the massively reported sex crimes case of an ex-Stanford student athlete that recently culminated in his release from custody after a three-month incarceration period.

The sentencing judge in the case was roundly excoriated in the media and ultimately removed from criminal cases.

The court’s ruling “was unjustifiable and morally wrong, however, under current state law it was within his discretion,” stated one California Assembly member recently.

The following account of a sex-crimes investigation and trial might unnerve some readers, but not for reasons they might immediately assume.

And, in reading today’s post, many of our readers might be surprised and dismayed by some of its material facts.

Those facts are fundamentally sad, because they point to injustice in what is termed the criminal “justice” sphere and also to the slippery slope that prevails when the public loses confidence in the integrity of law enforcement and criminal investigations.

To simply acknowledge that it is a challenging matter for any individual to be accused of or criminally charged with a sex crime is sheer understatement.

Indeed, it can be an overwhelming and flatly life-altering experience.

We note on our criminal law website at the Bay Area Law Offices of John W. Noonan “how serious an accusation, investigation, arrest or criminal charge involving any type of sex crime can be.”

How understandably harrowing it would be to be a victim of sexual assault or any other sex-based crime. Waves of empathy and, equally, sadness, flow out from any sane and reasonable person to every individual who is harmed by the predatory act of another.

Conversely, though, and in closely reciprocal fashion, doesn’t — and shouldn’t — a tremendous amount of empathy arise for any person who is unjustly accused of a sex crime such as assault or rape?

In either case, an element of “there but for the grace of God” is writ large. A sex crime could happen to you; indeed, victims are sometimes targeted indiscriminately. Likewise, and for some people, a false assertion that they perpetrated a sexual crime is made, to their nearly incomprehensible detriment. Understanding and compassion would seemingly — and in a logically compelling fashion — flow both ways.

Do you think it’s possible for unfortunate — read unfair and even unlawful — things to happen during a criminal interrogation when, as noted in a recent article on that subject, a suspect is “vulnerable and unassisted by a lawyer?”

Of course, it is. Readers know that such can certainly be the case and a foreseeable outcome when select factors play into an interrogation proceeding.

We spotlight false criminal confessions in today’s blog post, noting immediately that the repercussions befalling an individual who confesses to a crime that he or she simply did not commit can be extreme, indeed. In fact, it is no exaggeration at all to state that life-and-death considerations can attach — and routinely do — to falsely uttered statements.

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