WHITE PLAINS, NY (Westchester County Court), after three weeks of trial and over a year in waiting our client, IH, was unanimously acquitted of three criminal counts, Sexual Abuse in the First Degree (D Felony), Assault in the Second Degree (D Felony) and Unlawful Imprisonment in the Second Degree (A Misdemeanor).
The allegations of the case were stunning and accused IH, an Uber driver, of picking up his passenger in New York City and stopping along the Hutchinson River Parkway in Westchester County, NY. Once stopped, the passenger claimed that IH exited his car and sexually assaulted her while she slept in the backseat. Upon waking up, the passenger detailed a physical altercation, lasting more than ten minutes, during which it was asserted that our client, IH, fractured her right shoulder.
In support of these allegations and charges, the prosecution called numerous witnesses, including the passenger, her husband, her best friend of 20 years, the investigating detective, the investigating police officer, the passenger’s physical therapist, an intelligence analyst from the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office and a technical engineer from Uber.
On their face, the accusations were horrifying and the charged crimes were incredibly serious. If found guilty, IH faced years of incarceration, a lifetime on the sex offense registry and possible deportation.
Fortunately for IH, his defense attorney of the White Plains law firm of Proto, Sachs & Brown, LLP, took the time to investigate the allegations and analyze the evidence. This approach raised a number of questions regarding the factual allegations and led to the discovery of exonerating materials in the GPS data obtained from Uber, the passenger’s phone and the client’s phone.
After each witness testified for the prosecution, the defense used the information it discovered to conduct a withering cross examination that exposed numerous inconsistencies in the “story” told by the passenger and her husband. In speaking with the jury, our attorney made it very clear that the “truth does not evolve” and demonstrated that the passenger changed and/or omitted very important details each and every time that she made her accusations. The phone records revealed that she was not truthful about what she did both before and shortly after the alleged event took place. Additionally, a security video taken shortly after the alleged assault wholly contradicted one version of the passenger’s account.
However the most powerful evidence which proved that the client, IH, was not only “Not Guilty” of all of the charges, it also showed that it was not possible for him to have committed the crimes at all.
During his analysis and review of the GPS data provided by Uber in response to court subpoenas, our firm discovered that the vehicle driven by the client was never stopped along the Hutchinson River Parkway as alleged by the passenger. Under cross examination, both the Uber engineer and the intelligence analyst confirmed that our attorney was correct. The data, which was independently confirmed to be “highly accurate” by the Uber engineer, set forth detailed GPS information (longitude and latitude locations, times and speeds) which revealed that the alleged crimes could not have taken place at all as the vehicle was always in motion. As the jury correctly concluded, if the vehicle was in motion, then it would have been impossible for the client, IH, to have been in the backseat for more than ten minutes as the passenger claimed.
After deliberation, which involved read backs of relevant testimony and review of exhibits in evidence, the jury delivered justice for IH and returned a verdict finding “Not Guilty” of all counts.
When it comes to cases involving allegations of sexual abuse, it is important to remember that there are instances where those allegations are fabricated and motivated by other factors, including money or animosity. Due to the nature of these types of cases, the claims of innocence and actions of the accused are often overlooked or ignored. The rush to judgment in these circumstances must be balanced by the principles of our criminal justice system where the presumption of innocence must be maintained. In this case, IH was fortunate enough to have a criminal defense attorney who fought to make sure that his rights were protected and that the law was followed.