In any criminal case, the burden is on the prosecution to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Regardless of the vehemence of witness testimony or the directness with which prosecutors make their claims, that burden is still there, and juries must weigh the evidence presented in court and disregard mere speculation.
Consideration of these matters resulted in the Feb. 27 acquittal of a Mesa doctor who was facing allegations that he assaulted and sexually abused nine of his female patients. Outside the courtroom, the 46-year-old doctor that said he shed “tears of joy” when the jury found that he was not guilty. He was up against one count of sexual assault and 11 counts of sexual abuse.
Back in 2010, two women made allegations against the doctor, and police arrested him that year. He was eventually released but was arrested again when seven other women spoke out against him. Since that time, his medical license has been revoked by the Arizona Medical Board, and the doctor will likely have some work to do to rebuild his reputation. After five years, he is allowed to reapply for a license.
An important aspect of the not-guilty decision, said one of the jurors, was that most of the women made allegations after they saw numerous media reports of the doctor’s arrest. This media influence was named as a cause for doubt about the allegations.
Anyone facing assault or sex crime charges in Arizona will need a strategic and meaningful legal defense to protect against negative repercussions. These charges are very serious, but a charge does not automatically lead to a guilty verdict.
Source: azfamily.com, “Doctor accused of sexually abusing patients found not guilty,” Andrew Michalscheck, Feb. 27, 2013