How Likely Is It For An Alleged Victim To Recant Testimony In The Military?
Recent PostsThis case begins in 2011, when LaTasha Freeman, a civilian employee working as an administrative secretary on base in Afghanistan, was attacked by a bomb-sniffing dog named Kallie that had been brought on to locate hidden explosives along roadsides—one of...
Recent PostsChris: My name is Christopher Cazares. I am a military defense attorney. I represent members of the military accused of criminal behavior, worldwide, which are crimes against the Uniform Code of Military Justice. I travel all over the world in order to...
Recent PostsInterviewer: When someone active military gets into trouble or they’re accused of one or more crimes, what are the avenues available to them? Is there such a thing as a public defender? What can they do to get representation? Chris: When charges are...
Interviewer: Do you encounter a large number of female victims recant what happened or once they file the charges do they go through the entire case until the resolution?
Retracting an Accusation May Occur After an Article 32 Investigation but Attorney Cazares Believes That Most Alleged Victims Become Too Embarrassed to Recant
Chris Cazares: Sometimes you’ll see an alleged victim recant an accusation, particularly after the Article 32 investigation. However, I think in this climate what you end up seeing is the person who’s the complainant, the alleged victim, becomes almost emboldened.
Even though they may be aware of the consequences to the accused individual, no matter how crazy their story sounds, no matter how far-fetched it seems, they’re going to stick to what they say because for them they can’t live with the embarrassment of not having told the truth.
Interviewer: So they’d rather destroy someone’s life than admit that they might be under an inaccurate assumption?
Chris Cazares: That’s pretty much the reason for the report in the first place. This is because if you do take that fact pattern, two individuals had consensual sex, the following day they look back, they’re like “Oh, I didn’t want to do that, I didn’t mean to do that, I felt pressured.”
In an individual’s life, people can really talk themselves into believing what they want to believe about themselves.
The Use of Alcohol Can Create Inaccurate Recollections of Past Events
If there’s alcohol involved that’s a whole different set of factors. People will not remember entire events from the night before, but because they were in an inebriated state, they create essentially false or inaccurate memories.
Sometimes, these memories are consistent with what they believe about themselves. For example, they’d say, “I would never do anything like that.” That’s how they testify, that’s how they remember the event transpired and that’s the memory that ends up existing. It’s not really a fair fight.
Will Your Attorney Incorporate Testimony from Expert Witnesses When Defending Sexual Assault Charges?
Interviewer: Do have to call in expert witnesses who testify about the scientific evidence?
Chris Cazares: Actually every sexual assault case that I have worked on has involved either expert testimony. Almost every single case you have, especially those involving alcohol or blackouts resulting from excessive alcohol use almost always utilize the expert testimony of a psychologist.
Your Defense Attorney May Utilize Psychologists, Toxicologists and Other Medical Professionals
Interviewer: What are the typical expert witnesses that have come in on a sex assault case?
In addition to psychologists, what other type of medical professionals might you call on during the trial?
Chris Cazares: Psychologists can be utilized during a trial as well as toxicologists. Trained nurses may be called upon to testify for either the prosecution or defense trying to claim trauma to the complainant or the lack of trauma. I think those are typically the three professionals that are used during trial most often.
Sexual Assault Cases Are Not Limited to Male-on-Female Assault
Interviewer: Do you ever have cases where it’s a male-on-male sexual assault? Is that really a rare occurrence?
Chris Cazares: No, that happens. I think that’s the lower end of the spectrum but definitely you do encounter those types of cases.
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