Being the subject of any criminal accusation can be incredibly stressful. If you have been falsely accused of something as serious and as damaging as sexual assault, and more particularly, the crime of rape, the consequences can be exceptionally dire.
In order to successfully defend a false claim of child abuse or shaken baby abuse you will need the assistance of medical experts. I am often asked about the different kinds of experts and what exactly each type of expert does. Below I give a brief explanation of the different kinds of medical experts needed to assist your defense attorney in building your coordinated and comprehensive defense.
How then can there be a difference of opinion between the hospital doctors who claim abuse and the defense medical experts who say otherwise? This question must usually be confronted in preparing a defense to a claim of false abuse. At some point either a judge or jury will be forced to choose between the experts from the hospital and the defense medical experts. Understanding why there is a difference of opinion is critical to successfully defending a false claim of abuse. Below I address a few of the reasons why the two "sides" often disagree.
Understanding the development of Shaken Baby Syndrome can lead to a better understanding of the medical allegations levied against parents falsely accused of abuse. In a two-part post, I review the history of the development of SBS in an effort to reveal some of the shortcomings of the theory as well as give insight into defending false allegations of abuse.
After Shaken Baby Syndrome gained a strong foothold as the preferred medical diagnosis for infants who presented with the triad, legally the diagnosis became synonymous with "clear unrefutable evidence of abuse." Because no other "reasonable" explanation existed, once a child (particularly non-moving infants) had been diagnosed with the triad or SBS, defending such an allegation seemed impossible. Even though the theory of SBS and the causal link between shaking and triad had never been tested, it had also not been "disproved" because the pure scientific method cannot be employed to test the theory. Hence, convictions for child abuse seemed to be of common course, that was until the Louise Woodward case and subsequent research.
Complicity is the legal term for assisting or helping someone commit a crime. It is more commonly known as "accessory" or "aiding and abetting." Under the law a person can be charged with complicity if they solicit, aid or abet a person in the commission of a crime. However, it does not take much to aid or abet someone. Hence the smallest little help you provide could be sufficient to establish conspiracy. Further, you might be aiding another even if you do not think that you are. For example: being the lookout for a burglary is complicity. If your roommate is growing weed in his room with a grow lamp and you split the electric bill, that could be complicity. Giving a friend a ride to his "buddies" house to buy some "supplies," that can be complicity.
Even if you did not commit a crime, you might be charged with complicity. If you have been charged with Complicity to a crime (aiding and abetting), it does not mean that you are guilty. Often individuals are charged with complicity because they are associated with or were near an individual who committed or attempted to commit a crime (e.g. friend, roommate, relative, spouse, wrong place/wrong time). But just because you have some association with the events, does not necessarily make you guilty.
I represent many individuals charged with misdemeanor marijuana possession or paraphernalia possession. Most of these cases arise in connection with a traffic stop. The car is pulled over by police, the officer detains all individuals in the car, often asks to search, finds marijuana in the vehicle and then asks whose marijuana is it? Here is where it usually gets interesting. Often everyone denies ownership. The officer then threatens that everyone will get charged if no one comes forward. The result is 4 people charged with possession of 1 small amount of marijuana. How can they charge all four if it clearly is only one person's marijuana? The simple answer is: they can charge everybody, but that does not mean they can convict anyone.
A criminal case begins with the creation of a Complaint or Indictment. A Complaint (misdemeanor) or Indictment (felony) is a written statement that alleges a violation of law by a person at particular time in a particular place. For example, On May 1, 2014 in Fairfield County, Ohio, John Smith did unlawfully take property belonging to Walmart. The Complaint/Indictment is filed with the court and a copy is served or provided to the accused. Once a Complaint/Indictment is filed and served, the case is then scheduled for the first court appearance called an arraignment.
A TPO (Temporary Protection Order) and a CPO (Civil Protection Order) are very similar, but there are a few very important distinctions. Both are court orders issued by a judge that restrict the contact one person can have with another. In short, they are "stay away" or "no contact" orders. The order is issued against a single person and prohibits him from contacting or going near named individuals. A violation of either a TPO or CPO is a criminal offense and is punishable by up to 6 months in jail and a $1,000.00. Both the TPO and CPO can also restrict a person's access to his home, family, firearms, and require or prohibit many other actions. In both cases, a defendant or respondent is entitled to a hearing and to have legal representation.