In early January 2019, a client charged with Rape came into ZLM’s office unsatisfied with his then present counsel, desperately in need of an aggressive legal defense from experienced lawyers. The State alleged that the client forcibly raped a thirteen (13) year old girl and subsequently, the Cleveland Police Sex Crimes Unit filed a Criminal Complaint against the client for Felony 1 Rape. Once the Criminal Complaint was filed, the case, through the client’s previous counsel, was “bound over” to the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas where the State planned to present the case to a Grand Jury and obtain a formal criminal Indictment for Rape and other felony sex crimes against the client.
The client steadfastly maintained his innocence and stated that the allegations being made against him were completely, 100% false. However, the client expressed significant concern to ZLM because his current attorney had already started talking to him about a plea bargain (which would have surely sent him to prison and required him to register as a sex offender, possibly for the rest of his life).
With their client’s life hanging in the balance, and while racing against time to prevent the State from obtaining a Grand Jury Indictment, ZLM’s lawyers immediately sprung into action and began to mount an aggressive defense. ZLM’s attorneys immediately issued Defense Subpoenas for the production of evidence to various law enforcement agencies, schools, apartment buildings and State agencies, to obtain the necessary surveillance video footage, police reports, body cam recordings, and the alleged victim’s school records.
In addition, ZLM engaged the services of a Private Investigator who immediately tracked down and interviewed multiple witnesses to the alleged incident, all of whom stated that ZLM’s client was innocent and the victim of false allegations. Once ZLM received the evidence from the Defense Subpoenas, ZLM reviewed the evidence and discovered what ZLM’s attorneys suspected all along ¾ the alleged victim was no victim at all, but rather she was a habitual run-away and liar, well known to law enforcement and who, by her family members’ admissions, had a significant history of, and reputation for, lying and committing acts of dishonesty, including previous false allegations of abuse against members of her own family.
Finally, through its Defense Subpoenas, ZLM’s lawyers received and reviewed a video-taped interview of the alleged victim, which occurred before she claimed ZLM’s client raped her. In the video-taped interview, the alleged victim stated to police and her family that ZLM’s client did not rape her.
Simply put, the alleged victim’s later allegations of rape against ZLM’s client were lies, by her own admissions and statements, however this time her lies placed ZLM’s client’s freedom in jeopardy; ZLM’s lawyers refused to let that happen.
Armed with proof of their client’s innocence and the falsity of the allegations against him, ZLM immediately embarked on an aggressive campaign to provide this information to the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office. In the span of approximately twenty (20) days, ZLM’s lawyers accumulated extensive evidence and authored five (5) letters to the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office demanding the dismissal of the Rape charge against their client. Each of the letters not only explained the circumstances of what actually occurred, but also included copies of all of the evidence ZLM obtained through its Defense Subpoenas which demonstrated that the alleged victim was lying and that ZLM’s client was innocent. Furthermore, ZLM demonstrated to the State that were it to decide to bring a felony rape Indictment against ZLM’s client, ZLM’s attorneys were immediately prepared to try the case and prove their client’s innocence.
In February 2019, the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s office responded to ZLM’s letters and stated that in light of the information provided by ZLM’s attorneys in the letters, the Prosecutor’s Office was not going to present the case to the Grand Jury just yet, but they were going to “investigate further”.
Under Ohio’s speedy trial law, once someone is charged with a felony, the State has two hundred and seventy (270) days to bring them to trial.
Although the State did not obtain an Indictment against ZLM’s client, the Criminal Complaint for Felony Rape remained pending against ZLM’s client and for the next seven (7) months, ZLM’s client remained out of jail on a $100,000 bond, subject to GPS monitoring/ home detention, and additional strict pre-trial bond conditions. Thus, while ZLM’s client remained free on bond, ZLM knew that their client’s speedy trial clock was tick, tick, ticking away, one day at a time.
In mid-September 2019, ZLM’s client’s speedy trial clock expired and, hearing nothing from the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office, ZLM took immediate legal action. ZLM’s lawyers research, prepared and filed a Motion to Dismiss with Prejudice for Violation of the Defendant’s Right to a Speedy Trial.
Instead of opposing ZLM’s Motion, the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office dismissed all charges against ZLM’s client; the client’s case was closed, the GPS monitor was removed, the client’s bond money was returned and ZLM’s client was able to return to his normal life, truly a free and innocent man.
Choosing the right attorney is often times one of the most important decisions someone has to make in their life. In this case, although the client’s first lawyer had his eyes set on a plea deal, ZLM’s attorneys clearly took a different approach¾ ZLM’s immediate and aggressive defense led to the dismissal of all charges, and ZLM’s client walked free.
If you or someone you know is charged with, or even accused of, committing a serious crime such as Rape or another sex offense, it is absolutely imperative that you contact aggressive, experienced lawyers, such as the attorneys at ZLM, who take immediate action and mount a vigorous defense for their clients, sometimes, before charges are even filed.