Convicted rapist freed – because he didn’t do it.

George Rodrigues spent 17 years in jail for raping a girl. The problem was, he didn’t do it.

Rodrigues was convicted in 1987 on faulty scientific evidence. He was released in 2004 by a Texas appeals court.

He wasn’t re-tried for the crime. Why?

Because prosecutors cited concerns about having the victim, who had identified Rodrigues as one of the two men that attacked her, testify again. Sometimes that reason is valid. Being victimized is one thing. Having to go through a trial is another.

Criminal lawyers don’t make trials easy for victims. In fact, they often make it unpleasant.

They challenge what the the victim says they saw, what they say they heard. They challenge their motives, their intent, in some cases they challenge almost everything they said. Lawyers often, through their questions, attempt to cast doubt on the credibility of witness. The point of this line of questioning is to show that:

– either the witness is mistaken, or

– the witness is lying.

And for someone who’s physical integrity has been violated, that must be a terrible experience. That experience must be even worse when the victim is a child.

But for someone like George Rodriguez, a man who sat in the prisoners dock accused of a horrific crime, it’s exactly what you hope and expect your lawyer will do.

In his case, the victim was 14 years old at the time of the rape. She identified Rodriquez as one of the two men who raped her. I’m certain she was telling the truth when she testified she believed that Rodriquez did it.

She was mistaken.

It’s a great example of why a criminal lawyer would “go after” the testimony of witness – even if the witness is a young girl.

But what do you think?

What would you expect your lawyer to do for you if you were charged with raping a child, or some other horrific crime you didn’t commit?

 

 

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