By now everybody has heard stories about how DNA evidence linked someone to a crime or, alternatively helped someone win a criminal trial. Not everyone however is aware that it is never too late to use DNA evidence to prove your innocence and right a wrong. Just today, a case decided by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court awarded a man who was convicted in 2003 of rape a new trial. This post discusses that case, Commonwealth v. Cameron, SJC-11835, and how DNA evidence is giving the accused another shot at freedom.
History of the Case:
The defendant Ronjon Cameron arrested in 1999 and charged with rape. He was convicted of two counts of rape in 2003 and sentenced to 12-16 years in state prison. He lost his appeal in 2007 in a published opinion, 69 Mass.App.Ct. 741. Post appeal, Cameron filed several new trial motions pursuant to Massachusetts Rule of Criminal Procedure 30(b). All were denied. The last motion incorporated new DNA results discussed further below. The Appeals Court affirmed the denial of the new trial motion. The Supreme Judicial Court granted further appellate review and released Cameron pending his new trial.
Statement of Facts:
The district attorney’s case focused on the testimony of the victim. She testified to having been raped vaginally and anally. She claimed that Cameron ejaculated. She reported the rape two days later. She provided a detective with the underwear she had worn that night. Five days later the victim went to the hospital. A rape kit was prepared and sent to the crime lab for testing. Seminal fluid samples revealed DNA from two male contributors. Cameron was excluded from one. There was no conclusion as to the other however Cameron was not excluded from that material.
DNA technology developed years later showed that the sample not excluding Cameron was actually female DNA.
The Supreme Judicial Court concluded that the prosecutor asked the jury to infer that the seminal fluid in the victim’s underwear resulted from her being raped. The results from the new test “would have been a real factor in the jury’s deliberations”. That being the case, this newly discovered evidence presents a substantial risk that the outcome of the case, with the new evidence, would have been different. A new trial was properly ordered.
As I have mentioned in many of my blog posts, it is never too late to fight for your freedom. There is a defense to every case. Technology evolves and improves everyday. Cameron benefited from new technology and a committed, excellent defense team that refused to quit. Notwithstanding the number of lost new trial motions and appeals Cameron was able to prevail. In Massachusetts it is never too late to exercise your rights and work towards vindication.
The Law Offices of Stephen Neyman, PC has been defending the accused for nearly three decades. We have won trials, appeals and new trial motions. We have vacated convictions and won freedom for countless people over the years. I encourage you to call my office at 617-263-6800 or to send me an email. We are open 24-7. Call now. We can help you.