At Brad Bailey Law, we routinely defend clients who have been accused of sex crimes in courtrooms throughout Middlesex, Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk County. During this time, we have witnessed first-hand the way that the #MeToo movement has changed the back-drop for how these cases are now being tried before juries.
We’re not saying that accused sex offenders can no longer get fair trials; they still can. However in the current climate of the #MeToo movement, people accused of sex crimes need veteran litigators and experienced superior court judges presiding over their case if they want a fair shot at obtaining justice.
He Said / She Said: A Changing Culture
Yet there is no question, the “playing field” has dramatically shifted because of the way presumed impartial jurors are viewing these cases. A mere “he said/she said” case no longer skews in favor of the defendant the way it once did. Instead, jurors of #MeToo-era appear increasingly determined to believe allegations of a sex crime solely based on “her say-so.”
While American Jurisprudence long-ago abandoned the Common Law requirement that there must always be corroboration separate from the victim’s testimony to establish a claim of rape, in today’s climate, we have noticed that jurors are now more inclined to find the claim of rape, itself, to be corroboration enough.
Careful and thorough preliminary examination of prospective jurors regarding their views about #MeToo and pro victim-bias remains an effective way to weed out victim’s rights crusaders and victim’s rights activists. Preliminary examination of jurors must always be insisted upon by defendants in a sex crimes case.
However, while most jurors used to demand some level of evidence/corroboration that is independent of the victim’s testimony before they decide to convict in a case of “she said/he said,” the dynamic we commonly see in court today has shifted.
Despite Constitutional safeguards regarding the presumption of innocence being absolute and the burden of proof always needing to be placed on the prosecution (as well as constant in-trial reminders given by the presiding judge for both of these concepts), legal professionals like us who defend these cases on a regular basis have become increasingly aware that jurors now seem to insist ( at least as far as verdicts can be interpreted ) that the accused should have to prove their own innocence with something more tangible than a denial of the accusations made under-oath.
Since the vast majority of sexual assault accusations involve scenarios where there are no credible third party witnesses to verify the truth of the events that occurred, defense attorneys in today’s pro-victim atmosphere need to be skilled and persuasive enough to successfully establish the following things whenever defending sex crimes cases before juries:
- A tangible motive/reason why the complainant is lying about the alleged assault
- Why the case in question should not be viewed against a backdrop of #MeToo but instead within the context of #LookAtMe.
If you are facing sexual assault charges, you should immediately contact our Boston sex crimes attorneys to schedule a case review with our team of legal professionals. We have the skills and resources that you need to secure the justice you deserve.