Rape cases are among the most difficult to defend in front of a jury and they are among the most difficult to reach a reasonable settlement. In a rape trial constitutional rights are essentially thrown out the window. An example is that any prior rape allegation or accusation of sexual misconduct will very likely come into evidence even if the client does not testify.
The consequences are dire. A rape conviction does not only almost assuredly result in a prison sentence, but also results in lifetime registration as a sex offender, which in turn restricts where a person can live and go for the rest of his life. If an allegation that the rape occurred during a burglary or a weapon was used is proven, it will result in a mandatory life sentence.
If you need to hire a lawyer for a rape case, you need a lawyer that has experience with rape cases and that has won a rape case before a jury. I have not only done several rape trials, I have had a full acquittal in a rape trial where there was an allegation that the rape occurred during a burglary and that a weapon was used. There was a DNA match to my client, and yet with hard work we won the case.
My rape trial successes and experience:
- Dennis Castro
- Charges: Rape (Penal Code § 261(a)(2)) and forced oral copulation (Penal Code § 288a(c)(2), with allegations of the crime occurring during a burglary (Penal Code § 667.61(d)(4)), with the use of a weapon (a knife) (Penal Code §§ 12022.3(a) and 12022.3(b)) with a prior (Penal Code § 667.61(e)(4)).
- Exposure: Dennis was facing eighty years to life in prison.
- Outcome: Dennis was found not guilty of all charges and not guilty of all lesser included offenses.
The newspaper article covering Dennis and Addison's trial victory.
I have done three other rape cases where I was not able to prevail, however in one of those cases, my client was accused of raping his step-daughter while the SWAT team was outside the door of the room trying to negotiate with him. He needed to be acquitted of both kidnapping and use of a weapon in order to save him from a life sentence. I was able to beat the kidnapping charge, but not the weapon charge. He was also acquitted of one of the counts of rape with a foreign object.
Questions you should ask an attorney that you are considering hiring for a rape case:
- Have you done a rape trial before?
- This question is important because a rape trial involves complex legal concepts and is inevitably extremely emotional. Somewhat like a murder trial, it requires specialized knowledge and experience.
- I have done five rape trials.
- What were the results of your rape trials?
- This question is important because in a rape trial there are so many ways to fight hard and save the client from a life sentence and do as I've done and win so the client can go home. If an attorney has won a rape trial, that attorney has the experience and skills to handle the level of complexity involved in a rape trial.
- I have had a full acquittal in a case where the D.A. had a DNA match. In all criminal jury trials, the D.A. gets to file the charges and have a trial. They only do that with cases they believe they can win. The result is that in most jurisdictions the defense can expect to win no more than one in ten trials, if that, and maybe have a hung jury in one of ten trials. I have had a full and complete victory in one out four rape trials, which are among the most difficult trials to win. If you find another attorney that has done the number of rape trials that I have done and has had more successful outcomes than I have and that has had more clients go home free after a rape trial than I have, hire that person. If you want the best possible chance of not going to prison for life and potentially going home, you should contact me.
- Do you train others lawyers in your techniques for winning rape trials?
- This question is important because typically only the leading lawyers in a field are invited to conduct trainings of other lawyers.
- I was a speaker at the California Public Defenders Association (CPDA) homicide defense training in 2011 to train on my winning trials by humanizing the client method. I have also given that same training at the Riverside County Public Defenders Office, the Riverside County Barristers, the Santa Clara County Public Defenders Office and the San Francisco County Public Defenders Office. I was a speaker at the CPDA homicide defense training in 2012 to train on utilizing a neuropsychologist in a homicide case. All these skills and techniques that I teach are easily utilized in rape trials.
- How long were the rape trials you've done and how many days of defense did you present?
- These questions are important because although some cases just call for a short trial, a short trial can also mean that the prosecution was not sufficiently challenged or that no defense was presented. A rape trial that lasts five or so court days is reason for concern because it's an indicator that the prosecution is not being thoroughly challenged and a complete defense is not being presented.
- I have spent eighty-four court days in rape trials. I have success rate in rape trials that is really unparalleled.