One night, a male, the alleged victim, reported that he was robbed at gunpoint by four Puerto Rican males on one side of Bridgeport. Police broadcast his story to all officers on patrol and a police officer came to take a report from the alleged victim.
While questioning the alleged victim, another police officer on the opposite side of Bridgeport, broadcast that he had stopped a vehicle matching the description of the vehicle reported by the alleged victim. The four individuals in the car were being detained and held outside of the vehicle.
The reporting officer drives the alleged victim to the location where the four individuals are being detained, for identification. The alleged victim looked out of the police car window at the detained persons, illuminated only by police lights. The alleged victim reported that these were the individuals that robbed him and all four were then arrested on the spot and charged with first-degree robbery and larceny among other charges.
One of those arrested was a 19-year-old black female college student, the driver and owner of the vehicle. Also arrested were three of her friends, a black female, a black male, and a white male. The 19-year-old driver, who we will refer to as Jane Doe, contacted the law offices of Bellenot and Boufford, LLC. I met with her and her mother.
Jane Doe insists that neither she, nor her three friends, were involved in the robbery. They were never even on the side of Bridgeport where the robbery occurred. The prosecutor was not persuaded. A team of prosecutors moved forward with their case and prosecuted all four.
The lead prosecutor asked me to convey an offer to Ms. Doe. The offer was a suspended five-year sentence, if she pleads guilty and admits to the robbery. When I presented the offer to my client, a 19 year old college student, she refused, stating that she cannot accept, because she would be committing perjury and lying if she testified that she or any of her friends were at the robbery. The prosecutor would not back down. The case went to trial.
By way of cross examination of the alleged victim, and by playing an audio tape of his 911 call, I was able to establish that the alleged victim reported being robbed by four Puerto Rican males.
In his closing argument the lead prosecutor argued that people of Puerto Rican descent can appear to look Caucasian, Black or Hispanic.
During trial, one of the facts established was that none of the four suspects spoke with a Hispanic accent. I argued to the jury that neither my client, nor any of the other three arrested, gave the appearance of being Puerto Rican or Hispanic. Furthermore, the alleged victim reported being robbed by four Puerto Rican “males”. Arrested were one black male, one white male and two females. My client, the 19-year-old college student, was petite and could not be mistaken as a male.
I argued these and other facts established at trial to the Jury. It took to Jury less than two hours to return a verdict of not guilty.