Attorney Christopher Spring convinced an Ayer District Court jury to acquit his client of assault and battery in a case that ended today. The jury deliberated for less than half an hour before exonerating Attorney Spring’s client.
The defendant and his wife have been married for several years, but they are currently in the midst of a divorce. On the date in question, they were arguing throughout the day. According to the wife, during the course of the argument (which happened in the kitchen), she sprayed the defendant with water and the defendant then placed her in a headlock. A pushing match ensued. As the fight escalated, the wife said the defendant forcibly (and without consent) shoved his fingers into her vagina. If true, this conduct constituted a digital rape. The defendant left the home and the wife supposedly called her friend to disclose the rape. Several hours elapsed and the wife stayed in the home. When the defendant returned late in the event, the wife was still present. The defendant locked himself into the basement to avoid contact with the wife, but she attempted to force her way into the room. The defendant videotaped her actions with his phone and the tape was introduced into evidence at trial. The wife then called the police and said she had been sexually assaulted by the defendant. The victim was transported by ambulance to a local hospital, but she left before being treated by a doctor. The defendant gave a full (videotaped) statement to the police, during which he admitted to touching the wife’s vagina.
The defendant elected to have a jury trial. At trial, the prosecutor called the wife to testify, and she told a story consistent with what she had told the police. Attorney Spring cross-examined her and attacked her story with the numerous inconsistencies between her trial testimony, the statement she gave to the police, and the affidavit she filed in support of her application for a restraining order. The wife was forced to admit to the inconsistencies before the jury. The prosecutor also called a police officer to testify at trial. He turned out to be a helpful witness to the defense, as he offered testimony that contradicted the wife’s story. During his closing argument, Attorney Spring attacked the credibility of the wife and argued her actions were inconsistent with someone who had recently been raped. Why had she stayed in the house after the defendant left? Why couldn’t she remember the last name of her friend who she allegedly told about the rape? Why did she leave the hospital before being examined? Attorney Spring argued the wife would have acted quite differently if she had actually been assaulted. In addition, the wife offered testimony that was contradicted by other evidence: she said the defendant was drunk, but the responding police officer said he did not appear to be under the influence of alcohol; she said her clothes had been ripped during the assault, but there were no visible tears (and her clothes were introduced into evidence at the trial).
The jury quickly found the defendant not guilty. The case is another important reminder that if you are accused of committing a crime, you should never, ever give a statement to the police. Instead, you should immediately contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to explore your options.