Fact Patterns And How They Relate To The Defense Of Sexual Assault Cases
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Interviewer: I think it would be really important to talk about the top three or four fact patterns that you hear over and over and over in these kinds of cases? Can you go over them?
I’m sure someone reading this, if what you explain matches what happened to them, are saying “I have to contact this attorney right away.”
Chris Cazares: The top three fact patterns, I think, obviously are the alcohol situation where the scenario is two members of the military who are having drinks together. I think that’s a pretty familiar fact pattern.
Our next fact pattern that you could encounter is going to be a situation involving a former significant other, such as a jealous or bitter spouse or an ex-girlfriend with an ax to grind. They make a false accusation as a method of striking back to trying to injure the other party.
I think the last one that you will see is the most traditional kind, the one that is most publicized but you don’t see statistically as often. That’s going to be the stranger rape, where the military person just coming into contact someone out in the world, and assaulting them. That usually involves a lot of physical evidence and violence.
As you can see, it runs the gambit of possibilities. You talk about each one of those different scenarios, in the first one there’s going to be alcohol, so there’s going to be a lot of credibility issues between those individuals and the factors that that played a role.
Too Intoxicated to Consent: Interaction between a Military Member and an Intoxicated Individual
Now with new 120, if a military member has had too much to drink or a civilian’s had too much to drink, the person that’s accused of the crime should have known that that individual was too intoxicated to consent. So that’s going to be a conviction.
That is one scenario. You see all the different factors that go into it like we’ve talked about. The toxicologist may testify about what happened and the psychologist that could testify to military character.
Using a Position of Authority as a Method of Coercion
Then, you switch scenarios and you look at a situation where perhaps a person is using their authority and that becomes a whole different type of investigation and will warrant a whole different type of defense.
They are going to look into the skeletons of that accused individual’s closet. How long have they been doing exhibiting this type of predatory behavior? So you’re defending not just this moment in time but his history.
History that you didn’t get an opportunity to cross examine when it was happening and is being selectively recreated.
Then finally, the physical evidence is introduced, which can include for example, many photographs.
Each one has its own challenges. Every single one of them keeps repeating over and over and over. The faces changes but their crimes, a lot of them just sound the same and that’s why defense attorneys experience deva vu and it shouldn’t be their first rodeo, so to speak.
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