In my previous post on this subject, I wrote about how people sometimes ask me how I can defend clients accused of sex offenses, and of how my answer is always the same: Not everyone accused of a Massachusetts sex offense is guilty. A recent example is a young man by the name of Ross Currier, 26 years old, who was recently arrested by Boston Police, jailed, fingerprinted, and arraigned on charges of Assault & Battery and Indecent Assault & Battery on a Person Over age 14. He was brought into court, his name brought before the media, and his reputation ruined in the process. After being released on bail, he was forced to wear a visible GPS device, tracking his movements at all times. There was just one slight thing wrong: Currier was completely innocent; he never committed this crime.
On February 15 2014, a woman reported to Boston Police that she was jumped by a man, from behind, early that morning outside her North End apartment. She reported that the man threw her to the ground, groped her sexually, and took a photo under her skirt with his smartphone. About three weeks later, Boston Police arrested Currier on March 10 after the alleged victim saw him in the North End and told patrol officers that she was “90 to 95 percent positive” that Currier was the man who had attacked her.
Another slight hitch: It seems the alleged victim had previously also misidentified another man in a photo array she had been showed by police, who – unbeknown to her – just so happened to be incarcerated at the time of the alleged assault. Worse, Currier had an alibi, specifically that he was at home with his fiancée at the time of the alleged attack. Notwithstanding, Currier was charged with this extremely serious crime.
On Wednesday, April 9, Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley’s office issued a statement asserting that while prosecutors believe the alleged victim was acting in good faith when she picked out Currier in the photo array, Boston detectives later “Developed evidence to suggest (Currier) was not the assailant.” That evidence included investigation of Currier’s alibi, a forensic examination of his smartphone and relevant cell tower location records, as well as closer examination of a Boston sexual assault on March 16 that was very similar to alleged attack on Feb. 15 for which Currier was arrested and charged. The GPS device that Currier had locked on him as a condition of bail proved that he did not commit the March 16 assault. Click here to read a story on this published by The Boston Globe.
I credit the Boston Police Department for good detective work here, and for outing the truth that Currier did not commit this crime. And Suffolk DA Dan Conley, a District Attorney I admire and have written in this blog positively of previously, did drop the charges against Currier. But the Suffolk DA’s office did, through a legal filing known as a “nolle prosequi,” which translated, means that the Commonwealth chose not to prosecute the case. In my professional opinion as a Wrentham, Massachusetts sex offense attorney, that is a very legally ambiguous, and anemic, way to deal with exonerating someone such as young Mr. Currier, whose name and reputation have been forever sullied. A much clearer, much more just and much more adequate manner of dealing with this would have been for the Suffolk DA’s office to file a motion known as a “Motion for Dismissal with Prejudice.” This motion would have made it much clearer, as matter of public record, that the Commonwealth was completely in error in charging Currier with these crimes.
The DA’s office will say this is semantics. Tell that to Ross Currier. But before you do so, Google his name, and see what you find first. Then tell him that the full measure of justice was done here, in “exonerating” him.
Anyone still wondering how I can represent clients accused of Massachusetts sex offenses?