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Prosecution dropped rape case, need help understanding why Sex Crimes, Sex Offenders

Discussion in 'Criminal Charges' started by HeresOtis, Sep 10, 2019.

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  1. HeresOtis

    HeresOtis Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Jurisdiction:
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    I have a female friend who was raped some time in June 2019. She told me about the incident the following day after it happened. She eventually reported it, which occurred in the Los Angeles County. She was acquainted with the suspect. She did the SART exam. She was able to identify him in a six-pack lineup. The detective had her come in to call the suspect on the phone while the call was being recorded. The got admission of guilt through the conversation. She even mentioned how she kept telling him to stop and that she didn't want to continue having sex, and he replied that he did hear her but he didn't think she was serious. All in all, some incriminating evidence. The detective even said it was strong evidence. The following day after the recorded phone call, the detective submitted the case to prosecutors. We recently found out that the case was rejected because of the following reasons:
    1. The victim and suspect were acquaintances
    2. Suspect has no (criminal) record
    3. He said he didn't do it
    4. No evidence
    My friend spoke with the detective who stated that those were the reasons why the case was rejected. Also, that they referred it as a "he said, she said" case.

    If there were really no evidence, wouldn't the detective not even submitted the case for review? They claim the suspect said he didn't do it, but the recorded phone conversation proves otherwise. Do detectives or prosecutors personally call suspects in sexual assault cases? It seems like laziness on the prosecutors end. Please someone enlighten us on this and what other things we can do to seek prosecution of the suspect.
     
  2. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    It's not that there's "no evidence", it's simply that the prosecutor feels there's not enough evidence to convince beyond a reasonable doubt the 12 people who may be sitting on a jury.
     
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  3. HeresOtis

    HeresOtis Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I understand. The detective never mentioned that they were going to try to acquire more evidence. Are we now just forced to live with the fact that nothing is going to happen?
     
  4. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    We all live with decisions with which we don't agree.

    Your friend could hire a lawyer and seek to convince higher ups in the DA's office that the case should be prosecuted.

    However, The District Attorney's Office represents the People of the State of California, not the individual alleged to have been harmed, and only the prosecutor can file or dismiss charges.

    It is the people of the state of California, Utah, Texas, or any other state or territory; that the DA prosecutes the case for and upon their behalf.

    This was decided 235 odd years ago for us in the USA, and hundreds of years ago in the English common law, which prosecuted on the behalf of the reigning Monarch.

    I hope your friend is getting the counseling that she needs, the medical attention, too.

    I pray she can recover from what was perpetrated upon her.

    The individual alleged to have been harmed does not have the power to “press charges” or to “drop charges” in a criminal case.
     
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  5. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

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    No. There is a difference between "no evidence" and "insufficient evidence" to prosecute. Without knowing more I suspect that telephone confession may not have held up to scrutiny and the suspect could have simply denied the allegation in court. The DA weighs the available evidence to determine whether or not to proceed. In this case apparently the DA felt there wasn't enough to obtain a conviction.

    The recorded phone conversation may have been a problem, depending on how the investigator obtained it. What the recording proves is for a jury to decide.

    Detective, yes. Prosecutor, no. The result obtained here is not necessarily lazy. It is in my experience the most common outcome of cases submitted.

    Prosecution is unlikely at this point as there is no more evidence to obtain. There could potentially be civil options if she wants to discuss that with an attorney.
     
  6. hrforme

    hrforme Active Member

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    "who was raped some time in June 2019. She told me about the incident the following day after it happened. She eventually reported it".... How long after it happened did she report it? How long after did she do the SART exam?

    I also suspect since it was a known acquaintance that the lineup was not really helpful. It would be easy to pick out someone you know (honestly I was fighting for my life, I couldn't tell you much more than a very few details about my assailant)

    And I suspect that " that she didn't want to continue having sex" didn't help either if she was in a situation that she was part of/started.....it does become a his/her perspective and a he/she said type situation.

    I can tell you the exact time and date of my assault, I immediately called 911, had a SART exam that same night, etc. It's hard when time has gone by and so much is missing. It can sound like regret/retaliation more than assault. In the end, my assailant was never caught for my assault either....

    I do feel for your friend, and do agree that a therapist is her best bet at this point.
     
  7. HeresOtis

    HeresOtis Law Topic Starter New Member

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    It happened overnight between Wednesday and Thursday. She reported it Friday morning and took the SART in the afternoon.
    We're just surprised because the assigned detective seemed somewhat positive after the tapped phone conversation. He openly admitted that he heard her request to stop penetrating. He admitted to asking her if she wanted to continue and admitted that he heard her say no. Then stated that he thought she was playing "hard to get". Again, all of this was recorded and submitted with the case. It sucks to know that she can get justice for her situation. She has terrible thoughts when she even sees an image of the person. Smh.
     
  8. Red Kayak

    Red Kayak Member

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    Of course, she could contact a lawyer a see if there's enough for a successful civil law suit...
     
  9. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    An important word missing from this sentence is "allegedly."

    Were you present when this conversation occurred or have you heard the recording? Did the police have a warrant to record the call? Was the suspect advised beforehand that the call was being recorded?

    Probably.

    "We"? This has nothing to do with you. As far as "enlightening" you, no one here has any insight into the situation. If your friend doesn't understand the DA's decision, she can contact the assistant DA who made the decision and ask for a meeting to discuss the matter.

    As others have noted, there's a big difference between "no evidence" and "insufficient evidence to warrant prosecution." I also suspect there are big questions about the admissibility of the recorded conversation and agree that the lineup likely was pointless since the alleged victim and suspect were acquainted. Your second hand explanation (second hand because I assume you weren't present when the incident occurred) also suggests that the encounter was consensual up to a point and that your friend is claiming it stopped being consensual at some point. That makes for an extremely difficult prosecution.
     
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  10. flyingron

    flyingron Active Member

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    Where Z is going here is that California has strong privacy laws. Absent a warrant or all the parties knowing that the call is being recorded, the recording is inadmissible. In fact, without a warrant or the defendant knowing that the detective was listening in, much of the subsequent investigation could likely be excluded.
     
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  11. HeresOtis

    HeresOtis Law Topic Starter New Member

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    For the phone call, the victim was asked by the PD to come into their station and to connect her phone to their equipment so PD can record the conversation. They guided her on things to say during the phone conversation with the assailant.


    Probably.



    Considering that the victim decided to get me involved with this situation, keep me updated with the communication between her and law enforcement, as well as seek counsel through this situation, I have no problem using "We" when trying to keep further insight to which I will relay back to her. I don't see the point in you even mentioning this statement. But if you want to be all technical, yes, I am not part of this situation since I am not a victim, suspect, witness, or anything to that matter.
    As mentioned above (in this same post), the conversation was recorded by the PD. And the situation was never consensual. As described to me and the detective, the assailant forced himself on top on the victim and continued from there.
     
  12. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    Ok, but that doesn't answer any of the questions I asked, which are critically important for the reasons that "flyingron" explained.

    The point is that you asked that we "enlighten us on this and what other things we can do to seek prosecution of the suspect." Because this has nothing to do with you (beyond your friend providing you with information), the prosecutor isn't going to care about anything you do.
     
  13. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

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    Perhaps the details just aren't clear, but in this case as described I see major issues with the recording, which means there is likely no confession.
    I would imagine at some point the police did contact this person and obtain a statement in which there was still no confession and no corroboration of what was said on the phone.
    Your friend will have to discuss with police if they intend to do anything more. Just because a case is rejected does not mean they can't do more work and try again.
    A civil suit may be the best option IF the suspect has some kind of assets worth pursuing.
     
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  14. leslie82

    leslie82 Well-Known Member

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    The prosecutor needs proof beyond a reasonable doubt. If there's any reasonable doubt a prosecutor won't go forward with a charge. I fell into that - my ex the first time he beat me up I waited one day to call the police. I went in later that week and talked to a female officer. She promised me he'd be arrested by the end of the weekend. Nope.

    They sent cops to talk to him and he lied. About all of it. So it turned into he said/she said. No other evidence since it was in a hotel room, I checked out (left him there) and so anything there was cleaned up after he left. Nothing really on cameras in the hallway.

    Then the female officer started to go meet with him off duty and talk about what I told her. She got reassigned after I told victim witness. Then I dropped it two months later because I knew they'd never file charges. Not after he lied.

    Sometimes - it sucks. Sometimes people get away with vicious crimes. If there's no physical evidence it's hard to prosecute rape cases. Even when there is - certain people still get away with it with light sentences or probation or nothing at all.

    I was a SARC in the Army for a few years too - and trust me I saw a lot of cases get ruled unsubstantiated (not false) because of a lack of evidence.

    Proof beyond a reasonable doubt is what a prosecutor needs. Defendants never have to prove innocence.
     
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