About seven years into a fourteen year prison sentence, a young man walked free from an Arizona prison—freed by DNA evidence initially used by the prosecution to gain a confession.
The suspect was 20 years old back in 2003 when he confessed to assaulting a woman in the park. But now DNA evidence has proven it wasn’t his genetic material on the victim, a fact that helped spur his release from prison and raise questions about the validity of a confession.
Yes he initially confessed to attacking the woman. But he was also facing 120 years in prison on unrelated child pornography charges. When confronted he immediately admitted the images found on his parent’s computer were his. The confession of rape took a bit longer.
After denying the attack repeatedly (60 times), four hours into an intense line of questioning, he confessed. Now he states the confession came when he was at the end of his rope and upon suggestions that it would give him a more lenient sentence in court. After all he was told DNA evidence on the scene was quite compelling and police made it seem as if a conviction was inevitable.
According to the Arizona Republic, he wanted to get out of pre-trial detention, go to prison, and seek resolution on the back-end of the case (through the appeals process). He didn’t believe he stood a good chance at trial and said of the decision to confess “It really was a business decision…I regretted it from the moment I made the decision.”
The confession and following guilty plea were part of a plea agreement. False confessions are not as rare as people think. When defendants are confronted told they will likely lose there case, and a confession can shave years off a prison term.
Facing charges of child porn and sexual assault, he was sentenced to fourteen years. Now, he’s free. And despite the DNA evidence being not his, police and prosecutors still believe he was the assaulter.
Despite his freedom, he will remain a registered sex offender because of the child pornography charges. And he never denied those photos were his, so the registration requirement is only right. As a matter of fact, his “business decision” to attack his case from the back-end through appeals seems to have worked for his benefit, considering he would’ve likely still been in prison if he had went to trial and not negotiated a more lenient sentence on the child pornography charges.
Regardless of the criminal charges you are facing, you may face a tough line of questioning from police. Consulting with your attorney before you answer questions can help ensure you don’t say anything that can be used against you in court.
Depending on your charges and the specific circumstances of your case, a mutually beneficial plea agreement might be an option for you. Contact our offices today to discuss your case and receive a free consultation.