Evidentiary issue relating to sex crimes: It can cut both ways

At first blush, the emphasis regarding a criminal law evidentiary issue that has been thrust into public prominence recently is, unsurprisingly, where it might squarely be expected to be.

Namely, that is on alleged crime victims, specifically, those who are principally involved in cases where an individual has been accused of rape or another violent sex-based act.

At the core of many such cases, notes a major national news outlet, are rape kits that were assembled yet, for various reasons, still remain untested.

The number of such kits, notes a USA TODAY investigative team, is anything but insignificant. In fact, a probe undertaken by the newspaper last year revealed “a national accumulation of untested kits that likely reaches well into the hundreds of thousands.”

Obviously, justice is delayed for victims of sex crimes while those kits remain untested.

Tellingly, the paper spotlights one very important point concerning unevaluated forensic evidence that can be gleaned from the kits and from unstudied inspection of DNA evidence generally.

And that point — which is sometimes lost or, indeed, never referenced at all in stories regarding alleged criminal conduct — is this: As important as it can be for a crime victim to have evidence tested in timely and accurate fashion, it can be just as important to an accused criminal suspect.

As the USA TODAY article states, testing rape kits can “bolster prosecutions and in some cases exonerate the wrongly accused.”

Such evidence can be of critical importance to a defendant, as we note on a relevant page of our website at the Indianapolis-based Patel Defense law firm. Our attorneys seek to ensure that every one of our clients accused of crime has an advocate who believes in the presumption of innocence and works hard to fully promote the legal rights that lawfully vest in every criminal suspect.

Certainly it is imperative that rape kits be timely tested. It is vitally important for both crime victims and individuals who are also being victimized through wrongful accusations and public opinion that can be quick to judge in the absence of material facts.