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Imagine that you’ve been wrongfully accused of a violent, sexual crime. Your accuser is actually your assailant. You called 911 after the attack, but your attacker told the police that you had kidnapped and tried to rape her. They believed her. You’ve now been arrested and charged with rape.

Being falsely accused of a crime can be a horrifying experience for anyone. Being falsely accused of rape and kidnapping is enough to push anybody over the edge. After all, you could spend the rest of your life in prison for a crime you didn’t commit. Who would you turn to in such a situation? Who would believe you? Even if somebody believed your side of the story, how could you possibly convince the authorities of your innocence?

Joseph Melendez found himself in exactly such a situation, and he turned to the team at Zukerman, Daiker & Lear. After an extensive investigation, attorneys at ZDL succeeded not only in uncovering the evidence that proved the client’s innocence, they convinced the prosecutor to dismiss the charges against Joe. ZDL then convinced the county prosecutor to criminally charge those who had falsely accused our client. ZDL then sued Joe’s false accusers, winning a $1.5 million judgment.

One night in September, Joe was lured to the home of Gabrielle Bracken, someone who he thought was his friend. Once inside the home, Gabrielle and her husband James began physically attacking Joe with a baseball bat. Luckily, Joe was able to escape and call 911 at a nearby house. When police questioned the Brackens, they said that Joe had put a knife to Gabrielle’s throat and attempted to rape her. Joe was then arrested and charged with rape and kidnapping. Joe spent the night in jail until he posted a $75,000 bond.

ZDL immediately began conducting an extensive investigation to uncover the truth and clear Joe’s name. ZDL identified and interviewed eyewitnesses to the incident, who ultimately revealed that Joe was the real victim.

Armed with the truth, ZDL founding partner Larry W. Zukerman contacted and met with the prosecutor, convincing him to drop the charges against Joe and prosecute James and Gabrielle Bracken. “These people are a cancer on our legal system and need to be stopped,” Zukerman told The Lorain Morning Journal. The Brackens were eventually convicted of tampering with evidence, forgery, falsification, assault, and criminal damaging.

ZDL sued the Brackens for attempting to destroy Joe’s life and won a $1.5 million judgment. “I really thought they would try to beat me to death,” Joe said of the Brackens. “The whole point is not to gain money,” he said, “it’s to push it and say you can’t do this without consequences.”

Unfortunately, thousands of innocent people are wrongfully accused of crimes every day. If you ever find yourself in a situation like Joe’s, your first step is to contact an experienced legal team who will not rest until you are made whole. The attorneys at Zukerman, Daiker & Lear are here for you.

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