You’ll hear the phrase “he said she said” come up a lot in relation to certain types of court cases. Many times, it might be a family court matter. Other times, though, it’s a criminal case, especially when the alleged crime is sexual in nature. When you’re on trial in one of these kinds of cases, credibility is key… does the jury believe what you said, or do they believe the alleged victim? There are lots of ways that experienced Maryland criminal defense lawyers have of procuring evidence that will bolster your credibility, diminish the accuser’s credibility and give you the fairest possible trial.
Take, as an example, the case of R.G., a man on trial for rape in Montgomery County. At around 5:00 pm on Oct. 8, 2018, R.G. and the alleged victim met up and traveled together to his home. At the residence, the pair consumed tequila. By 7:15 am the next morning, the woman awoke in R.G.’s bed, naked and allegedly experiencing a great deal of pain in her genital area.
The prosecution’s theory of the incident was that the accused had manipulated the woman into drinking to excess, may also have laced a lime wedge with a “date-rape” drug, then proceeded to rape the woman repeatedly in an extremely violent and savage manner.
R.G.’s version of events was radically different. He asserted that the woman drank seven shots of tequila, each of which she poured herself. He also asserted that many of the injuries the woman suffered were from rough sex acts that the woman told him to perform on her. The sex was something that the woman “not only initiated but controlled, at times” and the woman “never told him to stop and several times moaned in pleasure, enjoying the encounter,” according to the accused man.
Using Character Evidence to Bolster Your Defense
To mount a successful defense, you not only need proof that reduces the credibility of the state’s witnesses (including the alleged victim,) but you also need proof that will help the jury see you as credible and honest. In a criminal case, the defense can present evidence of relevant character traits. The law is clear, for example, that you can present evidence of your peacefulness if you’re on trial for a violent homicide where you allegedly were the aggressor.
In this case, what R.G. sought to do was something similar but a bit different. He sought to present the testimony of three women, each of whom he had, at some point in the past, shared a romantic relationship. Each of the women sought to testify that R.G. was a peaceful and honest person, including in his intimate interactions with them. The defense’s intent was to provide evidence of R.G.’s “sexual peacefulness;” in other words, the accused’s propensity for propriety and non-violence during sexual interactions.
The Court of Special Appeals said that this kind of evidence is admissible proof. Sexual propriety or “sexual peacefulness” was a character trait within the rules of evidence and was relevant to the rape case at hand. “Under these circumstances, where the accuser and the accused presented two diametrically opposing versions of events, we conclude that” a defendant is entitled to present “character evidence for sexual peacefulness, nonviolence and propriety,” the court said, giving this man (and people in positions like him) an added tool in their defense arsenals.
Whatever kind of evidence and strategies your criminal defense requires, count on the skilled Maryland criminal defense attorneys at Anthony A. Fatemi, LLC. to be the powerful and effective advocate you need. Contact us at 301-519-2801 or via our online form.