Courts properly reject some recantations, and any recantation made under circumstances where it appears a woman might have been pressured by her accuser should be examined with heigthened scrutiny. This news story about a recantation, then a recantation of the recantation, leaves no clues as to when the accuser was lying--but it's fairly clear she was lying about this incident at some point. In the absence of any clarifying evidence, this matter should not go to trial because, even though the man certainly might have done it, it's also reasonably possible that he's innocent, so there is reasonable doubt about his guilt. Read the story below.
New trial for man convicted of rape
Lycoming County Judge Marc F. Lovecchio recently granted a city man convicted of rape a new trial after the victim wrote a letter to the court recanting her story.
In January, jurors in Lycoming County Court found Jhalil K. Moore, 19, of the second floor of 802 Hepburn St., guilty of raping an unconscious young woman at a party in 2010.
The letter, Lovecchio's opinion reads, constitutes new evidence, which may result in a different verdict.
"Given the critical nature of (the victim)'s testimony and the fact that her letter can be used as substantive evidence to prove that the sexual contact between the defendant and her was consensual, the court concludes that the after-discovered evidence would likely result in a different verdict if a new trial were granted," the opinion states. "It is likely that a jury hearing these facts along with the other defense evidence introduced at trial would conclude that reasonable doubt exists as to the defendant's guilt."
At the time of trial, the victim, who admitted she was intoxicated at the time, said she could not remember if she gave permission to Moore or anyone else to have sex with her.
After the verdict, the victim wrote a letter stating that both she and Moore were intoxicated, and the sexual contact between them was with consent. In the letter she also indicated she did not want Moore to go to jail for "something he didn't do."
The victim gave the letter to Moore's girlfriend who passed it along to the court.
During a hearing regarding the letter held last month, the victim indicated Moore's girlfriend told her what to put in the letter regarding intoxication, consent and not wanting Moore to go to jail.
Despite acknowledging she wrote the letter and signed it, the victim said "it was a lie" and "nothing in the letter was true." She also told county Detective William Weber she was pressured into writing and signing the letter.
In granting the motion for a new trial, Lovecchio placed the case on the list for November trials.
Moore has been incarcerated in the Lycoming County Prison since March for violating the terms of his supervised bail.