Navigating criminal sexual conduct charges is not easy — it needs to be done with care and diligence to ensure the success of the case. Even the smallest pieces of evidence can be extremely helpful in a case and help the accused get a not-guilty verdict.
In this blog, I’ll tell you about a third-degree criminal sexual conduct by force or coercion case in Minnesota that our firm handled and how we navigated the process and got our client a not-guilty verdict.
Third-Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct by Force or Coercion Case in Minnesota
The case started when our client, a 17-year-old boy, was accused of forcing or coercing a friend of his to have non-consensual sex. The events were reported to law enforcement two months after the alleged act and handed over to the prosecution. The charge was made two years later when the accused was already 19 years old.
Because the accused was already of adult age when he was charged, the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office certified him as an adult. Our firm had to fight that through a certification trial and won, thereby avoiding extended juvenile jurisdiction, prison time, and a conviction record.
The prosecution then made an offer saying that if our client would plead guilty to the charge, he will not serve prison time. Instead, he would serve a minimum sentence in the county jail. Our firm rejected that offer because first and foremost, our client was not guilty, and second, we wanted to avoid our client being registered as a sex offender and having a record of criminal sexual conduct.
During the investigation phase, it came to our attention that our client had photographs of him and the accuser, as well as text messages between them, on the day of the alleged act and several months after. To preserve this evidence and avoid assumptions that the evidence was manipulated, we held on to his phone during the investigation. That ended up being a smart move, allowing us to use the photographs and text messages between our client and his accuser in the trial. Ultimately, this helped the jury find him not guilty.
In the trial, the prosecution presented an expert to talk about rape and how someone might not act in a certain manner after being sexually assaulted. However, because the expert tried to dismiss the possibility of false allegations, he ended up disappointing the jury.
After a two-week trial, the jury made their determination and found our client not guilty of the charges in his case. As a result, he was able to redeem his reputation, avoid a criminal conviction and a record as a sex offender — all because we were able to present solid evidence and establish the truth.
The Moral of the Story
The key turning point of the entire case relied on the photographs and text messages that we were able to preserve and present as credible pieces of evidence. Things like this can change the course of criminal sexual conduct cases, so it’s important to preserve all the evidence as fast as possible by taking screenshots, downloading, printing them out, and whatever can be done before it goes away.
Anyone under investigation for a criminal offense should begin collecting their evidence and keeping it — they may come in handy down the line and help in achieving a not-guilty verdict.