Monthly archive

October 2012 - Page 3

Said & Done

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Kudos

Mark Griffith and Monica Bishop, of Griffith and Associates, won the dismissal of a sexual assault case for their client, an 18-year-old who had been a Harvard student when the allegations were made. After the arrest, he lost his full-ride scholarship and was prevented from participating in his full senior year. He had been a star athlete in both football and baseball and ranked 4th in his class in academics. Over an 11-month investigation, the State not only failed to turn over exculpatory evidence (1,000 text messages between the “victim” and the client and valuable information from the “victim’s” computer), but fought the defense every time they tried to discover the evidence via subpoena, etc. The State “lost” a SIM card for a phone that also had information important to the defense on it. At trial, the first witness is the complainant. After 6 hours of cross-examination with all the exculpatory material the defense had obtained, there was a break for lunch with about 4 more hours of cross to go. When the parties came back from lunch, the State dismissed the case. The young man is happy—he was always innocent—but will never get those 11 months back.

John Young recently secured a “not guilty” verdict after five days in trial in the 142nd District Court, Midland County, after only 45 minutes of deliberation. The State alleged that the attorney wife, estranged from client, had been sexually assaulted. The State offered evidence of an 8 year “pattern of abuse” and battered wife syndrome. The “victim,” also licensed in Illinois, traveled back to Chicago on several occasions prior to making the allegations, apparently “setting up” the false claim. The parties resided together in Midland and the wife worked at a local law firm. They spent the weekend of the alleged assault together. They were seen shopping at Target on the day after the alleged offense by a former boss from the Midland law firm. On Monday morning the client went to work and his wife went to the district attorney’s to file sexual assault charges. The State had offered 8 deferred to felony family violence. The “victim” filed for divorce in Illinois and obtained the final divorce within 10 days of making the allegation. She also lied about work relationships in Midland. Story within the story: State offered her cell phone records from November 5–7 to show she tried to call someone for help. The defendant was out of the house for 4 hours Saturday, the day after the alleged event, and part of the day Sunday, providing her oppor­tunity to leave. The calls showed she did in fact make several calls to lawyers—all on Saturday between about 4 and 6 pm and to the office phones. She calls everyone she knows won’t be available to answer her calls, obviously trying to set up a story of sex assault.

Constance Luedicke and Danice Obregon obtained “not guilty” verdicts on an aggravated sexual assault and an indecency with a child case in July. This trial followed one for the same accused in May for 22 counts of possession of kiddie porn. The porn case resulted in 22 “not guilty” verdicts. Both cases were pushed by the mother of the defendant’s children, brought after she abandoned him for a female partner. The defense theory was that the former lover and her current partner fabricated the allegations to get access to a trust fund that supported the accused. The trust comprised compensation for injuries suffered as a three-year-old. Danice and Constance divided the work, with Danice handling the cross-examination of the child because she has a child of the same age. She developed a rapport that worked well in her questioning. The child was believable in her recollection of what happened, but Danice was able to advocate successfully that the child had been coached and influenced by her “new aunt,” with whom she and her sister and the mother now live.