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Court sentences man despite reasonable doubt in rape case

Imagine that you are a jury member that has just heard an alleged confession to a crime. But other than the confession, there is no other evidence that connects the accused person to the crime at hand. Even though there is reasonable doubt in the case, would you still convict them of the crime?

For most of our California readers, this is an easy question to answer. With no supporting evidence that links a person to a crime, a jury should find an accused person innocent of the crime for which they have been charged. But this wasn’t the case in another state for a mentally ill veteran who was convicted of rape despite a significant lack of evidence in the case.

According to court records, the 59-year-old veteran was falsely accused of rape in 2002 by a scheduling clerk at the court the veteran had recently visited. The clerk claimed that he had raped her in the early morning hours, before anyone else had arrived and had done so while he had held a pair of scissors to her throat. She allegedly tried to fend off the attack by biting her attacker.

But police did not find his finger prints on the scissors he allegedly used in the attack nor did they find any of his DNA evidence anywhere on the victim after the alleged incident. Adding to this reasonable doubt was the fact that the building was locked to the public during the time the clerk claimed she was attacked. Furthermore, no surveillance video could corroborate that the veteran had even been in the building on the day of the alleged crime.

Adding insult to injury was the fact that the man was convicted based on a false confession that the man’s defense attorney believes was forced out of the veteran due to his “diminished capacity and mental vulnerabilities.” Now, after spending 11 years in prison for a crime he did not commit, the man is suing the state and other agencies for punitive damages.

Source: Courthouse News Service, “Homeless Vet Framed for Rape Sues Chicago,” Jack Bouboushian, April 29, 2014

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Former Criminal Prosecutor With Proven Results