In a sex crime trial, the prosecution will rely on a number of witnesses to make their case in court in efforts to turn a jury against you. Some of the most dangerous expert witnesses are those in the medical field, not only because they are trusted but because they are able to bring in more information about an alleged sex crime than most other witnesses. It is critical to work with a sex crimes attorney who knows how to combat damaging testimony, cross examine witnesses, and effectively fight the strategies used by prosecutors to secure a conviction in a Michigan sex crime case.
There are a variety of details that should be scrutinized in a medical professional’s testimony, and it is very possible that the case against you will rest on some of the details that come from the statements of a physician, medical assistant, or nurse in court. In addition, it may be possible to bring in a medical expert on behalf of the defense, and challenge some of the claims made by the state’s witnesses. Evaluating the claims made by a medical expert and preparing an effective response could be one of the most important pieces of your defense, and it is critical to begin fighting back against potential conviction as soon as possible.
During the course of a medical professional’s testimony, he or she will describe the process of examining a victim, note physical evidence and observations, and offer an analysis of these observations in light of the charges at hand. It is likely that an examination will have taken place as soon as possible after an alleged offense, and medical experts are often required to document any physical injury, pain or tenderness described by the alleged victim, substances or marks found on the body of the accuser, and any other physical evidence found during the course of a medical examination.
It is not the job of the expert to offer a diagnosis, or specifically say whether or not a sexual assault occurred. It is not possible for a medical professional to determine whether sexual activity was initiated by a particular person, whether force was involved and to what degree, if an act was consensual, or whether the described evidence definitively resulted from a sexual act and not another action.
For a medical expert to be considered credible, it is essential that he or she have specialized training in the field of sexual assault, and ample knowledge of normal findings as opposed to abnormal findings which could suggest sexual activity has occurred. There are many professionals who do not specialize in sex assault, and lack the ability to distinguish between standard findings and potential evidence of assault. During testimony and cross-examination, a number of problems with the statements made can arise, which could help the defense prove that a client is innocent.
Because most sex crime cases lack physical evidence, expert witnesses are critical to the prosecution’s case. Statements made during the course of an examination may be able to enter evidence if an expert can connect them to medical diagnosis, and additional repetition of accusations made throughout may also be used in attempts to prove that statements made by an alleged victim are consistent. This cannot always be relied upon, however, as the person on the stand is often a different person than whoever actually performed the examination. In addition, experts called to the stand by the state will almost always say what the state needs them to in order to convict a defendant, and oftentimes statements made can be explained or refuted by a medical professional called to objectively testify on behalf of the defense. It is crucial to highlight the many different interpretations of medical results especially in sensitive sex crime cases where it is likely that the jury will have an emotional response to statements made and develop and opinion on the case very early on in the process.
For a free initial case consultation, call 1-800-342-7896 now or contact Grabel & Associates online. Learn more about how testimony from a medical expert could affect your case, and begin fighting for an outstanding case result right away.