Jury Acquits Doctor Accused Of Inappropriately Touching Patient
When you are on trial in criminal court after pleading not guilty to committing a crime, you do not have to prove to the jury that you are a perfect angel. You must only prove that the prosecution’s evidence leaves reasonable doubt about whether you committed the crime of which you are accused. Although this aspect of the criminal court process is rarely dramatized in movies and TV shows, deciding which pieces of evidence the jury is allowed to see and which testimony they may hear can have a major impact on the outcome of the case. Your defense strategy may involve persuading the judge to exclude evidence that the prosecution plans to show, on the basis that the evidence is irrelevant to the case, unfairly prejudices the jury, or was obtained in violation of your rights. In cases involving accusations of sexual assault and similar offenses, the prosecutors my summon as witnesses’ other people who have previously made accusations against you, but their testimony may not be admissible. If you are facing charges for alleged sexual misconduct against one person, but others have previously accused you, contact a West Palm Beach sex offenses lawyer.
Defense Lawyer Successfully Persuades Judge to Exclude Testimony from Other Accusers
Dr. Manuel Abreu is a physician who practices internal medicine in Palm Beach County. Over the past few years, several patients have accused him of inappropriate and non-consensual touching during medical examinations. Five of those cases settled out of court. One patient pressed charges against Abreu in 2015, but the court dropped the charges the following year.
This month, Abreu was tried for simple battery in connection with a June 2020 incident during which a patient claims that, during a visit to his office, he touched her in ways that the medical examination did not call for and without her consent. Abreu testified in his own defense, arguing that the accuser fabricated the allegations because she had pursued him for a romantic relationship, but he refused her advances out of fidelity to his wife. Jurors saw a transcript of text messages between Abreu and the patient, but there was no indication of flirtation.
The deciding factor may have been that prosecutors requested to summon a witness who claimed that Abreu had sexually abused her years earlier in the context of a doctor-patient relationship. Abreu’s lawyers persuaded the judge to exclude this former patient’s testimony, because the allegations were so severe that they would have distracted the jury from focusing on the present case.
The jury only deliberated for one hour before voting to acquit Abreu of the charges. The accuser in this year’s case still has the right to file a civil lawsuit against him. She has a chance of winning the civil lawsuit, because the standard of evidence is lower in civil cases than in criminal ones.
Contact a West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Lawyer Today
Attorney William Wallshein has more than 39 years of experience, including five years as a prosecutor in Palm Beach County. Contact William Wallshein P.A. in West Palm Beach, Florida to discuss your case.