Boston Criminal Lawyer Lefteris K. Travayiakis successfully represented a man falsely accused of raping of a woman dating back in 1988. The client had initially been indicted in 2003 with two counts of Aggravated Rape and Kidnapping. The Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office alleged that the defendant had raped a woman in 1988, but no one had been charged until the defendant’s DNA was linked in 2003 to the complainant’s physical evidence.
The complainant initially reported the alleged rape in 1988. She alleged that, while she was walking down the street, a car pulled up and a man jumped out and ‘snatched’ her into the car, blindfolding her and putting a gun to her head. He then allegedly drove her to an unknown location; got a motel room; allegedly raped her; and then drove her back to the area from where he allegedly kidnapped her.
Notably, the complainant admitted early on that, at the time, she was a ‘drug addict’ and ‘ran the streets’ as a “chef” (cooking and preparing pure cocaine into crack for distribution by drug dealers). She was a heavily drug dependent person and admittedly smoked at every opportunity.
She was called before the Grand Jury in 2003 and again gave sworn testimony at the trial in 2005. The details of her accounts, however, changed between her initial report in 1998 to when she testified before the Grand Jury, and then again in 2005. It appeared that she had conveniently forgotten some of the most horrific details that she had reported to the police. In 2003, she had no recollection of the person who ‘snatched’ her having a gun; as well as no recollection of ever being blindfolded. She further had no memory of these details when she testified at the first trial in 2005. Curiously, she had somehow forgotten the most traumatic details of the alleged crime…
At the client’s first trial in 2005, a jury acquitted him of both counts of Aggravated Rape, but did convict him of one count of the lesser-included charge of Rape. Following his conviction on that lone Rape charge, he was sentenced to 10-12 years in state prison. He appealed…and his conviction was thrown out for critical errors that occurred during the 2005 trial. In 2010, the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office then elected to re-try the client on the lone Rape charge.
In the meantime, however, the client had been convicted of other felony crimes, including Gun Crimes and other unrelated Sex Crimes. As such, he had been held in custody since 1992. If Attorney Travayiakis obtained an acquittal for his client, he would be released; otherwise, the client would likely spend at least another 6-8 years in prison.
The stakes were high for other reasons as well. Although the client had already been adjudicated and ordered to submit to Sex Offender Registration, another conviction for a Sex Crime would most certainly ensure civil commitment as a “sexually dangerous person” for life.
At the retrial, Attorney Lefteris K. Travayiakis focused his client’s defense in challenging the credibility of the complainant. Did it make sense, he argued to the jury, that this woman, who admittedly worked for drug dealers and got high whenever she could, was really raped? Did it make sense that someone who was viciously raped would somehow remember intricate details such as the person having a wedding ring on and forget the most traumatic details, e.g., the person blindfolding her and putting a gun to her head?
The defense also called into the question the physical evidence from the ‘Rape Kit’ that was conducted at the time, i.e., the evidence did not support the complainant’s allegation of a forcible rape. Under cross-examination, the prosecutor’s own medical expert essentially conceded that there was no evidence of trauma or other evidence, i.e., bruising, lacerations, torn tissue, that would otherwise suggest a forced sexual assault.
Despite a very heated jury trial, which included Attorney Lefteris K. Travayiakis having to object an extreme amount of times for impermissible statements made during the prosecutor’s closing argument, he successfully convinced a jury to acquit his client. The jury returned a unanimous verdict of NOT GUILTY as to Rape, and the client walked out of court a free man for the first time in almost 20 years.
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