A Prosecutor’s Sexual Frustration

To read Matt Adam’s IndyStar story is to court outrage.  A former student at the University of Indiana got away with not one, but two, rapes. Sure, he was convicted of battery in a plea deal, but he spent a grand total of one night in jail, but for two rapes?  Outrageous!

The Monroe County Prosecutor’s Office admitted it was frustrated after a former IU student charged in two rape cases ended up spending one day in jail.

John Enochs will serve one year of probation after pleading guilty to battery with moderate bodily injury as part of a plea agreement. Two rape charges against him were dismissed.

Adams then describes, at length, Enoch’s dastardly crimes.

The most recent incident happened in April 2015. According to court documents, a woman told police she’d been raped at the Delta Tau Delta fraternity house but didn’t know her alleged attacker. She said she repeatedly told him to stop, but he held her down. Eventually she was able to leave the room and get away.

Security video showed Enochs entering the room with the victim. She left 24 minutes later; health officials said she suffered a laceration to her genitals.

Outrageous!  This is rape culture. This is how the law treats women. This is why we must do something.  But if you can clear the fury from your eyes long enough to make it through the horrible allegations, you finally reach this:

Prosecutors also said there were “evidentiary” problems with both cases. In the oldest allegation, the one from 2013, witnesses couldn’t recall some important details because so much time had passed and they’d been drinking. Photographs also existed that contradicted “the assertion that the complaining witness was incapable of engaging in consensual activity shortly before the alleged assault.”

In the more recent case, prosecutors said DNA evidence was problematic; prosecutors also said video before and after the alleged assault did “not support the assertion of a forcible rape.” They said that made it impossible for them to prove that Enochs caused the woman’s injury.

There was a clue up front, that the prosecution entered into a plea where Enoch would get one year’s probation.  What kind of lame-ass prosecutor would give such a deal to a double rapist? One that can’t prove any rape occurred. From the prosecutor’s statement:

This case presented a very unusual set of circumstances in that we had two unrelated accusations, two years apart. That was an important consideration in our initial decision to charge. However, under the law, a jury considering one case would not be allowed to know about the other. After the case(s) was filed, evidence continued to be developed that lead us to the conclusion that neither case, standing alone, presented sufficient evidence to prove rape.

This is the sort of logic that Nancy Grace adores, where there’s smoke, there’s fire. The best evidence they could offer as to the first allegation of rape is that there was a second claim two years later. Propensity evidence is itself inadmissible, because it feeds into the damning but baseless and extremely prejudicial feeling that it’s more likely that a person is guilty if he’s done the same crime again.  Except, that comes into play only when convicted of the crime, and only when the proven crime precedes the unproven crime.  There is absolutely nothing logical about a post hoc allegation used to bolster an earlier allegation.

There were also photographs that contradicted the assertion that the complaining witness was incapable of engaging in consensual activity shortly before the alleged assault. This is important because the complaint was that she was “unaware” that the sex was occurring due to her consumption of alcohol. Indiana law has a provision in the rape statute that makes this charge available to prosecutors.

 

Oh yeah, That too. But surely a second charge of rape was better grounded, right? Right?

The more recent case had similar evidentiary problems. In that case there is video evidence of activities of the complaining witness, before and after the alleged assault, which does not support the assertion of a forcible rape, which was the charge in this instance. There is also DNA evidence that is problematic, and made it impossible for us to prove that the defendant was the cause of her injury.

DNA evidence? That’s kind of a big deal, and yet the most the prosecutor or Adams has to say about it is that the DNA evidence was “problematic.” Microaggressions are problematic. Bad DNA evidence is fatal.

And what does the defense have to say about this allegation?

As the Monroe County prosecutors’ office has acknowledged through their voluntary dismissal of the rape charges, John Enochs did not rape anyone and he should never have been charged with these offenses.

Rather, due to the misconduct of the lead investigator who presented false and misleading evidence in her public probable cause affidavit—and failed to provide the Court with exculpatory evidence—John Enochs was charged with crimes he did not commit.

After John Enochs presented evidence to demonstrate his innocence of the sensationalized and false charges, the prosecutor’s office, on their own motion, dismissed both rape charges.

Wait. Innocence? But what about the outrage? What about the report smearing the defendant with the allegations, all above the fold?  And yet, the story isn’t about an innocent student accused of a heinous crime he didn’t commit, but about the poor prosecutors who wanted so badly to convict this student despite his innocence.

“This turn of events was frustrating for us as prosecutors, due to the fact that there were two complaints against the defendant. That fact is the reason we continued to pursue accountability on his part which led to this plea agreement,” Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Robert Miller wrote in a statement.

This “turn of events” is what someone else might call misconduct, deceit and a massive failure of evidence.  In other words, innocence.  But then, that wouldn’t have made a story worthy of outrage, an IU student falsely accused of two rapes, and everybody knows that stories of outrage are far more prone to go viral than stories of false accusations.

9 thoughts on “A Prosecutor’s Sexual Frustration

  1. B. McLeod

    Meanwhile, it’s a national media story, and somehow, a “rape” story at that. The accused has his name and picture plastered all over the Internet, while the Outrage Machine spins full bore. Meanwhile the women (even the one suing to access the university’s deep pocket) are allowed to accuse anonymously. Because they are “victims.” We know that, because they say so, and “victims” wouldn’t lie. (We know they are “victims” because they wouldn’t lie, and we know they wouldn’t lie, because they are “victims”).

  2. Dave

    While mere propensity evidence is supposed to be inadmissible, there is in Michigan MRE 404(b), which, in practice, means the prosecutors here could probably get both alleged rapes in at either trial. As prosecutors love to quote in Michigan, the rule is one of “inclusion, not exclusion” and no conviction is required for a “bad act” to come in. So really, propensity evidence comes in all while the prosecutor pretends it is for another purpose. (Such as identity or common plan or scheme).

    I guess it is at least good to know that in Indiana, according to this, prosecutors can’t get away with that as easily.

    1. SHG Post author

      It’s the standard Molineux criteria.

      Evidence of other crimes, wrongs, or acts is not admissible to prove the character of a person in order to show action in conformity therewith. It may, however, be admissible for other purposes, such as proof of motive, opportunity, intent, preparation, scheme, plan, or system in doing an act, knowledge, identity, or absence of mistake or accident when the same is material.

      Nothing in this case would implicate these criteria. And then, it remains subject to “prejudice outweighs the probative value” standard. And what does Michigan have to do with this anyway? Aside from it being the center of your universe?

  3. Scott Jacobs

    I bet Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Robert Miller would be less enamored by the “more than one complainant so we pushed ahead with charges” if he ended up being the one with two very shaky accusations…

      1. Scott Jacobs

        I just really enjoy the idea of prosecutors getting to enjoy life from the other side, having to defend themselves against utter bullshit because of the rules they set up and defended…

        1. B. McLeod

          Well, obviously journalists and social justice warriors know more about case evaluation than the prosecutors who only do it full-time, every day. The prosecutors should expect to be criticized when they don’t toe the PC line.

          1. Scott Jacobs

            Except this one did, and that’s the problem. He took to exceedingly marginal cases. And excuses it on the ground that there were two accusations, so clearly there must be guilt. By this logic Bill Clinton is a monster.

            Again, I would deeply love to see the prosecutor facing felony charges because of two accusations that aren’t supported by actual evidence.

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