I had been licensed for 10 months when I left the public defender’s office and started my own practice. I know, personally, what it’s like to be falsely accused of a crime. I was in high school when I was falsely accused of fleeing the scene of an accident. At that time, I was intending to go into the education field and I was volunteering at an elementary school, as my high school civics class required a certain number of community service hours. My volunteering time was during the school day, so I had to go from the high school, over to the elementary school, and then back to high school later. One day, I got home from my high school classes and a police officer came to my house. He accused me of hitting a parent’s car at the elementary school and fleeing the scene.
The allegation wasn’t true but my car had minor damage on the bumper, so the officer had made up his mind that I was the one who did it. He issued me a ticket for failure to control and leaving the scene of an accident. Leaving the scene of an accident is a very serious misdemeanor in Ohio. If convicted, it would ruin my future, so I set out to defend myself. I was fortunate enough to have parents who believed me and have the means to hire a well-respected attorney. We ultimately went to trial on the case because the prosecutor refused to make any plea offers. At the trial, I took the stand and testified on my own behalf and I was acquitted of all of the charges. It was an incredibly stressful situation.
More recently, I went through a divorce. There was a heated custody battle between my ex-wife and me and during the proceeding, she threatened to coerce the children into claiming that I sexually assaulted them. By that point in my life, I had been a litigator for many years and I was savvier than the average person. I was recording all of my conversations with her and I was able to use that recording of her threat to head off her scheme. I have walked the paths both of being falsely accused and being threatened with false accusations of sexual assault and I know first-hand how easy it is to become the target of false allegations.
By the time I got to law school, my philosophical path was to fight for the little guy. I had done trial advocacy and mock trial competitions through college and I knew trial work was my calling in life. I intensely studied death penalty litigation when I was in law school and my plan was to become a death penalty defense attorney. I wanted to work in a state public defender’s office and I wanted to try capital cases. The political reality of our time is that the death penalty is slowly being phased out in our country and death indictments are very rare. However, what I discovered is that sexual assault allegations are more frequent and the penalties are just as serious with most accused facing lifetime branding as a sexual predator and many facing life-long prison sentences.
Once I started focusing on sexual assault cases, I also found that the majority go to trial. The nexus between the seriousness of the penalties and the frequency of the cases going to trial made perfect sense for my practice focus. I then dedicated myself to learning every aspect of sexual assault cases.
False Allegations In Sexual Assault Cases: You Are Innocent Unless PROVEN Guilty
In college, I was falsely accused of sexual assault. I had no idea where to turn. I had no hope for my future. I had no similar experience to draw from in making the life-changing decisions I faced over the coming months.
When I was exonerated of the false allegation against me, I knew I would dedicate my life to defending the falsely accused. I know how it feels to be falsely accused. I’ve sat with hundreds of clients who felt the same lost, hopeless, ignorance I dealt with during my false accusation.
I’ve found time and again the remedy for those terrible feelings is information. I’ve also found in my practice that many people who are falsely accused receive precious little information from their attorneys and collect inaccurate and misleading information from non-attorneys and the internet. The idea for this book originated from my desire to educate those falsely accused. I want to bring to light the avenues and defenses available to them so they can assert their rights and fight back against those who seek to destroy lives.