Saturday, March 15, 2008

Justices toss out rape conviction

Justices toss out rape conviction, Seattle Times, March 14, 2008:

A Lynnwood man's conviction for third-degree child rape has been overturned by the state Supreme Court, which ruled that prosecutors were wrong to tell jurors his refusal to discuss the case with police implied guilt.

During his 2004 trial, Justin Burke testified he believed the girl was 16 — the age of consent — when they had consensual sex at a party in 2003. But Snohomish County prosecutors implied to jurors that if Burke had truly believed that, he would have told his side of the story to police during his initial interview.

The jury later found Burke guilty of third-degree child rape and he was sentenced to 13 months in prison.

A sharply divided Supreme Court, in a 5-4 ruling issued Thursday, agreed with Burke's appeal attorneys who argued it was unfair and unconstitutional to use his silence against him.
State v. Burke, No. 78528-7, majority (Chambers, J.), dissent (Madsen, J.).

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