Philadelphia criminal defense lawyer Zak T. Goldstein obtained a full acquittal in a jury trial in the case of Commonwealth v. S.R. In S.R., the defendant was charged with one count of Indecent Assault for allegedly groping his friend while his friend was sleeping. The complainant, who was staying at his friend’s apartment for a few days in between leases, alleged that he awoke in the middle of the night to find S.R. with his hand in his pants. The complainant immediately confronted S.R., and S.R. allegedly admitted to having done the same thing two nights prior. S.R. promptly called the police and told the police what had happened. Police arrested S.R. and charged him with Indecent Assault as a misdemeanor of the second degree.
S.R. was initially convicted of the charge during a bench trial by a Municipal Court judge when represented by a different lawyer. However, because all defendants charged with a crime punishable by one year or more are entitled to have a jury trial, S.R. was able to appeal to the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas for a trial de novo. In a trial de novo, the Municipal Court verdict is set aside and the defendant is able to have an entirely new trial with a jury instead of a judge. S.R. exercised his right to a jury trial and was defended at trial by Attorney Goldstein.
Attorney Goldstein obtained a full acquittal following a two-day jury trial. Although the complainant testified similarly to his testimony at the Municipal Court trial, Attorney Goldstein was able to use his cross-examination skills to highlight a number of inconsistencies and problems with the complainant’s testimony and argue that the complainant was not telling the truth. For example, there were significant inconsistencies in the details of the alleged sexual assault between the complainant’s statement to police and his testimony at prior hearings. Further, instead of simply allowing the police to conduct their investigation and prosecutors to proceed with the case against S.R., the complainant continued to contact S.R. hundreds, if not thousands, of times while the charges were pending. Our investigators obtained phone records showing that even after calling the police, the complainant called S.R. hundreds of times in the year after the alleged assault and also sent S.R. hundreds of obscene, homophobic, and threatening text messages and voice mails. Further, Attorney Goldstein was able to introduce evidence that S.R. had good character and an excellent reputation in the community for being a peaceful, law-abiding citizen.
Using these inconsistencies, homophobic texts, and S.R.’s excellent reputation, Attorney Goldstein was able to convince the jury to reject the complainant’s testimony as false. Attorney Goldstein argued that there was simply more going on because the complainant’s reaction and ongoing harassment campaign, which continued for more than a year, was totally disproportionate to what was alleged. Thus, the jury likely concluded that the complainant must initially been interested in a relationship with the defendant but then had a change of heart. The jury quickly acquitted S.R. of all charges, and S.R. will be able to have his record expunged. The verdict is a huge win for S.R. because although Indecent Assault is a misdemeanor charge which may not carry jail time, it is a life-changing offense because it requires 15 years of mandatory Megan’s Law registration. S.R. will not have to register as a sex offender because of this acquittal.
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If you are facing criminal charges or under investigation by the police, we can help. We have successfully defended thousands of clients against criminal charges in courts throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. We have obtained full acquittals and dismissals in cases involving charges such as Conspiracy, Aggravated Assault, Forgery, Access Device Fraud, Rape, and Attempted Murder. Our award-winning Philadelphia criminal defense lawyers offer a free criminal defense strategy session to any potential client. Call 267-225-2545 to speak with an experienced and understanding defense attorney today.