How do you defend against false accusations of a sex offense?
Defending sexual assault cases is perhaps the most difficult type of case to defend, primarily because of the emotion involved. People do not want to believe that an individual, a woman or worse yet a child, would make a false allegation of sexual assault. There are three things in defending these types of cases that we, therefore, must look at. First of all, is motive. We have to find, and this is the first thing that I do is find the motive for the accusation. It might be just an angry teenager that’s just mad at somebody, it might be a child that’s been coached by a vindictive ex-spouse, there are many reasons. The second thing that you need to be aware of, or an attorney needs to be aware of in defending these cases, are special evidence rules that apply in these cases that you just don’t see in other cases very much. Rules that determine character evidence, when is character evidence allowed, when is it not. So you have to pay very close attention to these particular rules, and you have to know them. And if you don’t handle these cases very much as a lawyer, there is a good likelihood that you’re going to miss some of those rules. But thirdly, you need, as the lawyer, to be passionate about your client’s defense. The prosecutor is going to get up and scream about the injustice about how this child’s innocence has been stolen or about how this woman has been victimized, not just by the person you’re defending, but by the system. You need to respond with similar passion about the injustice that your client has been falsely accused. I firmly believe, that as the lawyer in these cases, you can make all the proper arguments, you can file all the correct motions, but if you don’t do it with passion, you’re going to lose.