When is a prior false allegation of rape by a rape victim really “false enough” to have it admitted at your trial when you are accused of a sexual offense?
When an accused is facing allegations of rape or molestation or any related crime and the defendant or his family tells you that the alleged victim has a “history” of bringing false allegations of rape or sexual assault in the past what do you need to do as a competent criminal defense attorney to be able to get that information before the jury? A recent decision by the Court of Appeals on June 17, 2008 would indicate that you have to do a “whole lot” before that prior “false allegation” will be admitted at the trial.
In another serious blow to persons fighting allegations of sexual assault the court in People vs. Tidwell, at DAR 8964, June 18, 2008 held that since the defendant could not “conclusively prove” that the two prior rape allegations made by the alleged victim were in fact false the trial court did not abuse its discretion in refusing to let the jury hear about them. The defendant without that evidence was found guilty and was sentenced to 150 years to life in prison. WOW!!!
In this case one of the prior allegations of rape was rejected by the prosecution due to insufficient evidence. In that case the alleged victim had given serious inconsistent statements. However, at the trial the alleged perpetrator in the prior incident refused to testify. The court held since he refused to testify the defendant could not prove conclusively that the prior allegation was false and thus the court refused to let the jury hear about it claiming it would be an “undue consumption of the courts time”.
In a second “false allegation” made just months earlier after the accusation a medical exam was conducted which found no evidence to support that the rape had occurred. In addition a close friend of the alleged victim told police she did not believe the allegations of the alleged victim. Yet because in this case the alleged victim was not able to identify a perpetrator it was impossible to call that person to testify at the trial to state the allegations were false. Again, the court held since the defendant could not conclusively prove the prior allegation was false it was not admitted into evidence.
Beware… if you are facing allegations of sexual abuse or rape and you have information that the alleged victim has made false allegations in the past, you better be prepared to prove to the judge they were false or the jury will likely never hear about them.
If you would like to discuss this or any other legal matter with the expert team of criminal defense lawyers at Wallin and Klarich call us 24/7 at 888-749-0034 and visit us at www.wklaw.com.