Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Convicted, Then Found Not Guilty

Eau Claire Man Convicted Of Second Degree Sexual Assault & Child Enticement, Then Un-convicted, The Acquitted

We've all heard it can't be done - convictions cannot be reversed... 'les there is a prior conviction. But that is precisely what happened several months ago when our client, Aaron B. J. Frey was wrongfully convicted of second degree sexual assault of a child and child enticement. And then at trial, he was acquitted.

In November 2005, Aaron Frey was charged with sexual assault of a minor child and child enticement. The court appointed an attorney, and Aaron plead guilty to third degree sexual assault, with a dismissal of the enticement charge. He was sentenced to 18 months of probation and served 90 days in jail.

Frey then hired Birdsall Law Office to represent him on appeal of the conviction. Birdsall reviewed the court record, and set in motion a reversal of that conviction. The trial judge reversed the conviction based on a defective plea colloquy - inadequate covering of the elements of the offense.

The district attorney then proceeds to file charges based on "other acts" evidence, which allege another sexual encounter on a separate night (two nights prior to the charged crime - and on the alleged victim's 14th birthday). But the alleged victim says that the "other acts" are all wrong, and any "touching" that may have occurred was accidental. She was very worried that her mother would find out about her setting a time with Aaron to meet him after sneaking out of the house while her parent slept. And then there was the fact that they were both in underclothing when the police found them parked behind a building that was under construction at 3:30 a.m. on a school night, the additional fact that she had disarmed the home security alarm to sneak out, and the small technicalities that she was the primary person calling Aaron and she set up the meeting.

Trial began this past Monday, but last Friday, the alleged victim met with the district attorney and completed switched her story, stating that at least one of the "touching" incidences was not accidental and was in fact sexual, among other changes to previous testimony.

When a person testifies to one fact, and then switches that testimony to another fact, and the defense attorney brings up these changes under examination during the trial, the process is called "impeaching a witness".

The jury deliberated for 50 minutes and brought back the verdict of "not guilty" on both counts.

John A. Birdsall, Birdsall Law Offices, S.C.
135 W. Wells St., Ste 214, Milwaukee, WI 53203
414.831.5465 -