Earlier this month, a circuit court in Virginia ruled on a defendant’s appeal of his rape conviction. Originally, the defendant was charged and convicted after he allegedly showed up as his ex-girlfriend’s house and had non-consensual sex with her. On appeal, the defendant argued the evidence was insufficient to support his guilty conviction, and he asked the higher court to reverse the verdict. The higher court, however, ultimately disagreed with the defendant and sustained his original conviction.
Facts of the Case
According to the opinion, the defendant in this case showed up at his ex-girlfriend’s home one evening, with whom he had been in an “on again, off again” relationship. The ex-girlfriend answered the door and said that she was very tired, that she had fainted earlier in the day, and that she just wanted to go to bed. She explicitly told the defendant she did not want to have sex, but she let him inside to lie in bed with her while she fell asleep.
The ex-girlfriend awoke to the defendant having sex with her while she was asleep. She told him to stop, jumped out of bed, and got a handgun from her dresser. She fired a warning shot into a mirror, and the defendant immediately ran away. The ex-girlfriend called the police, and the defendant was charged with rape.
At trial, a jury found the defendant guilty of rape. Immediately deciding to appeal, the defendant argued that the evidence did not actually support the verdict; most notably, said the defendant, the ex-girlfriend was not a credible witness when she testified. There were inconsistencies in her testimony, and he believed that his own testimony was more believable.
The higher court reviewed the jury trial’s record and decided that the guilty verdict should be upheld. According to the court, it is the job of jury members to decide whether a witness is credible or not. If the jury found the ex-girlfriend credible, that was their prerogative, and it was not the court’s job to question this finding. What’s more, said the court, it is natural for there to be occasional inconsistencies in the testimonies of sexual assault victims.
With this in mind, the court upheld the original guilty verdict. The defendant was later sentenced to five years in prison.
Have You Been Charged with Domestic Violence in Fairfax County?
Domestic violence charges, like rape charges, can be difficult to fight, but at Robinson Law, PLLC, we know how to argue against these charges persuasively and tactfully. Our experience as criminal defense lawyers makes us well-positioned to handle even the toughest of cases, and if you are facing charges that feel like the end of the road, we are poised and ready to offer you the most cutting-edge advice for your circumstances. We handle cases involving domestic violence, drugs, assault and battery, DUI, and guns. For a Fairfax County lawyer that will fight for your freedom, call our office today: we can be reached at 703-542-3616.