We recently represented a client charged with Aggravated Criminal Sexual Abuse, a Class 2 felony offense, for which he could have served up to 7 years in prison. He was innocent. The allegation against him was made up, but no one wanted to believe that, except us.
The stakes were high: our client was Active Duty Air Force, and had been for almost eighteen (18) years. Had he been convicted, he would have been dishonorably discharged and would have lost his military pension. As if that wasn't bad enough, he would have lost any gun rights under our Constitution, because he would have a felony conviction, and would have to carry the stigma—not to mention meet the requirements of—having to register as a Sex Offender for the rest of his life. And all of this is in addition to any prison time to which he could have been sentenced.
The complaint originated when our client's marriage became rocky. His step-daughter, who was the high school-aged alleged victim, reported entirely out of the blue to say that she had been touched numerous times by our client. The only thing was that it wasn't entirely out of the blue. The alleged victim was upset with her mother for not leaving our client the way her mother had left her natural father. The alleged victim also wanted to move away, which would have never happened without her mother letting her step-father, our client, assault her. Because of this, the alleged victim had every motive to lie.
Any time any minor makes an allegation of a sexual nature against someone, it's bad enough, but it gets worse when the police and prosecution go out of their way to make you look even worse. In our case, they sought our client's internet browsing history, and combed through it to find any indication of anything they could use to characterize our client as a "pervert."
Our client felt helpless, facing charges that make a person sound guilty before they are ever proven guilty. The military put him on leave, and he was at risk of charge there due to the allegations. He knew he needed a law firm to represent him that would be aggressive on his behalf, and not just lie down to accept whatever the prosecution wanted. That's why he came to us. After being hired, we immediately got to work, and began formulating a defense.
Knowing that a guilty verdict was not guaranteed with us on the other side, the State's Attorney offered our client a misdemeanor offense. The problem was that many of those terrible consequences, such as being dishonorably discharged and having to register as a Sex Offender, would still occur if our client accepted the State's offer. Our client wasn't going to accept that, and neither would we.
The trial lasted three (3) days. Testimony was taken, and witnesses, including the alleged victim, were shown to have the motives we knew they had. At the end of a long three (3) days, our client was found Not Guilty! The State was so shocked that it was as if they were stunned.
The system works, and justice can be done. However, that justice does not just happen. It results from a team effort of skilled legal defense attorneys with more than one hundred (100) years of combined experience. It results from our work at Johnson Law Group, and it's what we do here 24/7.
Copyright © 2018 by Brendan Bukalski
The information provided in this column is general in nature, and should not be relied upon as legal advice or interpreted as creating an attorney-client relationship. As a general rule, all specific legal problems should be handled by an individual's attorney. All rights reserved. Any copying, duplication, or commercial use of the information contained in this column is strictly prohibited without prior permission.