In today’s climate of # METOO/victim empowerment where police, prosecutors, and even juries are flipping the fundamental principles of due process and fairness by presuming the credibility of the accuser in sex crimes cases, rather than the Constitutionally-required innocence of the accused, it is more important than ever for suspects in sex crimes investigations not to agree to speak with police/detectives before consulting with an experienced criminal defense lawyer. Even then, there is virtually no scenario where a suspect/accused should agree to speak with law enforcement about sex crimes accusations, absent matters involving clear mistaken identity or airtight alibis; in such rare circumstances, the accused must still decline to speak unless or until his attorney can be present (and prepared to independently tape-record the interview).
The reason for this blanket proscription against speaking to police in sex crimes cases is because law enforcement seldom reaches out to a suspect to rule him out. Instead, their motivation is to try to further rule him in. This is because they do not ask for the accused’s “side of the story” until they have interviewed the accuser (usually several times) and, in most instances, deemed her credible---which they are incentivized to do because of the politics of #METOO. More often than not, the net result of speaking with the police is that the accused inadvertently supplies corroborating details the police are seeking to use to close-out their investigation loop and refer charges for prosecution such as: “yes, I was with her but I didn’t do anything”; or “ yes, we had sex, but it was consensual”; or “ I can’t recall because we were both drinking”. While meant to profess innocence, such statements are more likely viewed as admissions to help build, or provide, partial corroboration of the accusation at issue. At the same time, nerves, faulty memory, pressure, and intimidation can, and do, result in misstatements or inconsistencies which the police will invariably construe as evidence of untruthfulness, if not “consciousness of guilt”. They will also be used for impeachment at trial, down the line, when there will be inevitable memory loss[es], to trip up an accused who chooses to testify in his own defense---which most defendants should do in sex crimes jury trials. In short, the police are not your friends and are not looking to help you. They are instead motivated to make their case, corroborate the complainant, and let the jury decide.
For this reason, I always tell clients, “far more suspects talk their way into being charged by police, than ever talk their way out”. Because of this, it is always best that any talking/interfacing with the police be done solely by your lawyer and not by you. An experienced sex crimes attorney knows he/she can, and should, reach out to investigators once retained not only to attempt to learn the status of an investigation, but also to assert a client’s innocence. If they are already in possession of exculpatory evidence such as favorable text exchanges or witness statements, defense lawyers can use their judgment and experience to determine if it’s in the client’s best interest to provide this to prosecutors (not the police) upfront or “keep their powder dry” for trial. At the same time, one should not underestimate the potential of a call “noticing” representation by a well-known and experienced sex crimes lawyer to slow down a fast-paced investigation and/or signal that if charges are brought, prosecutors can expect a vigorous defense. (No, there will not be collateral consequences from invoking counsel in these situations. Law enforcement usually expect it and if invocation of rights prompts them to file charges, it means filing charges was inevitable.)
If you're being accused or even questioned about potential sex crimes, contact our office at (617) 500-0252 today.