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Jury Hangs on 19 Count Gross Sexual Assault Trial

For those of you who have been wondering where I have been, I've been in a wave of jury trials. This past week, I was in a 19 count Gross Sexual Assault (GSA) and Unlawful Sexual Contact (USC) trial. The GSA and USC counts are Class A crimes, which is the highest level of crime in Maine, other than Murder. The GSA counts, of which there were 10, each carried a 20 year mandatory minimum sentence.
Obviously, this was a crucially important case for our client - his very life was on the line. We were facing a very difficult case, however. This allegation was from a 10 year old girl, and there was a notch on her hymen that the State's expert, Dr. Lawrence Ricci, Director of the Spurwink Child Abuse Program, said was consistent with evidence of a prior penetrating trauma. I spent a significant amount of time doing medical research for Dr. Ricci's cross examination. On cross examination, Dr. Ricci acknowledged that the injuries were not diagnostic for sexual abuse, that there is a difference between a superficial and deep notch in the hymen, that superficial notches would not be consistent with prior penetrating trauma, and that the injuries could have pre-dated the time of the alleged sexual contact.
Obviously, there were other witnesses to conquer as well. The alleged victim testified very powerfully on direct. We spent a lot of time discrediting her testimony on cross. Likewise, we cross-examined and presented witnesses on our own to support our theory of the case - that this is a lie that snowballed based on a horrible custody case.
The jury was out for over a day and deadlocked. Ultimately they hung. A hung jury, especially in a case such as this, is a big win for the defense, and my client walked out of the courtroom with me - still a free man. ~Tim

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