By Criminal Defense Lawyer Jeremy Rosenthal
The next several blogs in my continuing series on sexual abuse charges is going to be about how we defend these types of allegations. The common denominator for any effective defense is this: courage.
Remember, sexual abuse charges can be a Petri dish for injustice as I’ve said before. This is because you’ve got highly emotional folks on each side of these cases with accusations of detestable conduct on one side and life-altering consequences on the other. The corroborating evidence for each side’s story can be highly subjective, malleable, and with little or no scientific underpinnings.
It’s difficult to go to the 50 yard line at Cowboy’s Stadium and to shout “Go Cowboys!” in front of a capacity stadium. There are nerves involved with getting in front of that many folks or maybe even being on TV.
But it’s far more difficult is it to go to the 50 yard line of Cowboy’s Stadium and yell, “Go Eagles!” This is how it can feel to defend someone charged with sexual abuse of a child.
I’ve always like the movie where Rocky Balboa goes into Moscow and they boo him like crazy. They see how determined he is – and what a worthy adversary he is – and eventually they cheer for him. It’s campy, corny, and superficial – but there is a moral to it. It’s more important people respect you than like you. Rocky didn’t go into the boxing ring being apologetic for who he was. He worked hard, trained hard, and fought hard and it showed.
Our Adversaries Advantages
Police and prosecutors soak-up high fives from juries and random humans they meet even in casual conversation in line at the grocery store. The Children’s Advocacy Center is a non-profit who throws fundraisers and galas for donations (though as you recall it’s basically a highly unique police station).
Defendants are funded often by their own retirement funds, selling their homes, and sometimes their friends and families make similar sacrifices because they believe in their loved one’s innocence too. Simply being accused of this type of crime means almost certainly being ostracized by others – and the accused finds out who his real friends are and aren’t quickly. It’s no comparison.
I don’t want to short-change my opponents. They stand up and fight for what they think is right and I respect them greatly for it. They are hard working and they do have a very important job which I’m thankful they do. Standing up for a victim and standing up against abuse is hard. With apologies – defending someone accused of abuse is simply harder.
Back to Sports and Movie Analogies
Any defense in these cases must not only be executed with courage but must be aggressive and bold as well. If you’re going to go to the 50 yard line of Cowboy’s Stadium and yell “Go Eagles” then you may as well mean it. If you’re going to go to Moscow and fight Ivan Drago – then don’t be half-hearted about your efforts.
In the next few blogs – I’ll discuss a few more details about the nuts and bolts of defense work on sexual abuse charges.
*Jeremy Rosenthal is certified in criminal law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. He is designated as a Texas Super Lawyer by Thomson Reuters.