If you were wrongfully charged with a serious crime, it is important to be resilient and never give up hope, even when it appears the decks have been stacked against you and your name is being dragged through the mud.
A prime example of how resilience can pay off is in the criminal charges that were brought, and subsequently dropped, against two New York detectives. These law enforcement officers had their reputations destroyed and faced more than 40 sexual-abuse charges and 25 years in prison after they were accused of handcuffing an 18-year-old woman and raping her in the back of a police van, according to the New York Times.
At first glance, someone might automatically assume the two detectives were guilty of this serious offense. The number of sexual abuse charges alone would appear to imply that the government had sufficient evidence to obtain convictions.
False Accusations of Sexual Assault
The 18-year-old female told prosecutors that the two detectives arrested her for carrying a small amount of pot, then handcuffed her and led her to the back of a police van. She then alleged that the detectives took turns sexually assaulting her. Details about the allegations became public and stirred a tremendous amount of controversy. The vitriol and outrage was so severe that lawmakers in Albany, New York passed a law making it a crime for police officers to have sex with individuals while they are custody.
Allegations Fall Apart
Over the course of nearly two years, doubts began to arise concerning the 18-year-old woman’s testimony, including evidence from cellphones and security cameras that conflicted with her original statements. For example, the woman alleged that the detectives drove along the Belt Parkway, the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge and her grandmother’s home in Bay Ridge. However, cellphone records revealed they never left Coney Island.
Other details emerged that raised serious questions about the veracity of her story, including what she was wearing that night and the description she provided of the van, which had bucket seats, not the bench seats she described in her statements to prosecutors.
In light of the conflicting evidence, the district attorney decided to drop the most severe charges against the officers.
However, prosecutors continued to press other criminal charges since they indicated they were in possession of DNA evidence to prove a sexual encounter took place.
Plea Deal Reached
The two detectives, after battling these charges for years, agreed to plead to lesser charges of bribery and official misconduct. The plea deal called for five years of probation and zero jail time. Lawyers for the two detectives issued a public statement admitting their clients engaged in sexual conduct with an 18-year-old female who offered sexual favors in exchange for avoiding arrest, but they were not sexual predators.
Value of an Advocate
This case highlights the tremendous value associated with retaining a skilled and seasoned New York City criminal defense attorney. The charges brought against the two detectives were quite serious and the details of the allegations became highly publicized making it a volatile, high-profile case. It is in these moments that having an effective advocate on your side pays off. If the two detectives attempted to fight the charges on their own, who knows where the case would have ended up. Instead, they had skilled legal counsel who ultimately negotiated a favorable plea agreement that resulted in zero jail time.
Take Action by Contacting an Experienced Sex Crime Defense Lawyer in New York City
If you have been charged with a serious sex offense, it is imperative to retain the services of an experienced criminal defense lawyer. The penalties for a sex offense conviction can be serious and life-changing, but many defenses are available, as illustrated above. The evidence against you could be flimsy and based on erroneous or false accusations. Contact an attorney with the Bukh Law Firm, PLLC as soon as possible so we can get to work evaluating the available evidence and examining your legal options.