Attorney Dan Nevins won a not guilty verdict for a client charged with 8 Felony Counts of Rape, Sexual Assault, Aggravated Indecent Assault and related offenses following a two day jury trial last week. If convicted our client faced a mandatory 25 year minimum sentence that the Commonwealth was pursing.
The case was made particularly challenging due to the introduction of 404b evidence against our client. Following an interlocutory appeal the Pennsylvania Superior Court had ruled that the Commonwealth was permitted to present evidence of a prior sexual assault that the Client admitted to committing some 16 years ago. The Superior Court cited the alleged factual similarities between the two case and opined that the incident fit under the “common scheme” and “absence of mistake” exceptions laid out by Pennsylvania Rule of Evidence 404b. In our minds this strongly prejudiced our client, but the trial court had no choice put to permit testimony by the complainant in the former case.
Fortunately, we were able to overcome this testimony by focusing not on our client’s prior bad acts, but on the veracity of the allegations in the current case. The Jury returned to deliver a full not guilty verdict following about three hours of deliberations.