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Overcoming Bias in Sex Crime Cases

Published: Feb 13, 2019 in Criminal Defense, Sex Crimes, Sex Crimes Involving Children

Sex crimes carry more stigma than almost any other criminal allegation. As a result, if you’re accused of a sexual offense, you face significant bias from the very start of your case. An experienced sex crimes attorney is vital in overcoming this bias and achieving a fair outcome. However, time is not on your side – the sooner you reach out to a criminal defense attorney, the better chance you have of fighting bias in your case.

If you’ve been charged with a sex crime in the Houston area, contact The Law Offices of Ned Barnett as soon as possible. Call (713) 222-6767, or reach out via the online form to schedule a free case consultation.

Shifting Attitudes toward Sexual Assault

Over the last several years, there have been numerous stories of sexual assault reported by the media, many of which included high-profile politicians, athletes, and celebrities. We are just now realizing the extent of the problem, and are rightfully trying to take action in order to ensure that victims get the legal protection they deserve. However, there are valid concerns that the sheer volume of these stories encourages a rush to judgment over careful consideration of the evidence. While we can’t change public opinion, an experienced criminal defense attorney knows how important it is to understand how current events influence a jury.

Sex Crimes Involving Minors

Allegations of sex crimes involving a minor can be especially challenging for defendants. The nature of the crime is so abhorrent that people are inclined to convict whoever is charged with the offense. The other reason is that people often assume minors have no motivation to lie and are therefore telling the truth. This bias can be particularly powerful if the alleged victim is willing to testify in court.

Defending Against Juror Bias

A skilled criminal defense attorney understands that overcoming bias is necessary to achieve a fair result in your case. A sound defense strategy is built on a proactive and aggressive approach at every step of the process. Your attorney should take the following steps to eliminate as much bias from your case as possible:

Carefully evaluate potential evidence and witnesses that could help your case.

You should never assume that a piece of evidence is too small to make a difference. What may seem insignificant at the beginning of a case can later be instrumental in helping a jury see past its bias and make the right decision.

Scrutinize the prosecution’s case against you.

Prosecutors and law enforcement officers can also be biased, leading them to charge you with a crime you didn’t commit. In addition, their biases can influence the facts and evidence they choose to present, and the evidence they choose to ignore.

Aggressively participate in jury selection.

The prosecution and defense get an opportunity to interview the potential jurors. The prosecution wants the jury to be composed of 12 people who they think will be on their side before the case even starts. Your attorney should actively participate in the process to make sure this doesn’t happen, and to ensure your jury is as neutral as possible.

Clearly and persuasively advocate to remind jurors of their legal obligation to decide your case according to the evidence.

The prosecution will take full advantage of the jury’s bias against a defendant in a sex crime case. Constant and articulate repetition that you are innocent until proven guilty can help offset the bias that each juror brings to the courtroom.

Contact a Houston Sex Crime Defense Attorney

We would all like to believe that criminal defendants are innocent until proven guilty, but unfortunately, personal biases often overcome impartial consideration. With years of legal experience, attorney Ned Barnett understands what it takes to overcome bias in sex crime cases. If you’ve been charged with a sexual offense in the Houston area, he is ready to help you. To schedule a free and confidential evaluation of your case, contact The Law Offices of Ned Barnett at (713) 222-6767.