Samuel Goldberg has been a Massachusetts criminal defense attorney for 20 years. Prior to that, he was a New York state prosecutor. He has published various articles regarding the practice of criminal law and frequently provides legal analysis on radio and television, appearing on outlets such as the Fox News Channel, Court TV, MSNBC and The BBC Network. To speak to Sam about a criminal matter call (617) 492 3000.

MASSACHUSETTS UBER DRIVER MAKES ILL-ADVISED STATEMENTS IN RAPE CASE

Today’s Boston Globe  updated us about a certain Uber driver, rape allegations against him and his showing the poor judgment of making a statement to law enforcement.

26-year old Ranjan Thapa (hereinafter, the “Defendant”) stood before the court on Monday. He has been accused of raping an intoxicated female passenger in his car in Boston over the weekend.

His statement?

He allegedly told the police, “I know I’m in trouble, I had sex with her,” prosecutors told the court.

His reward? Held on $10,000 bail.

Authorities allege the Defendant preyed on a woman who was so incapacitated that she could barely speak to investigators soon after the alleged rape.

She had been visiting a college friend Saturday evening, and the two became separated while they were drinking at a South Boston bar, a Boston police incident report said. The Commonwealth argues that an Uber was called for the woman, and a bouncer had to escort her to the Defendant’s vehicle when he pulled up shortly after 11:10 p.m.

At some point after midnight, the Defendant drove around Northeastern University police officers and told them that “his passenger was drunk,” had urinated in his car, and wouldn’t tell him where she wanted to go, the report said. The officers noted the woman was “reclined in the [front] passenger” seat with her pants unzipped and partially pulled down, according to the report. He allegedly also explained that, “I know I’m in trouble, I had sex with her.” The police report said the woman was “unable to communicate” on Hemenway Street and still couldn’t talk to investigators at a city hospital early Sunday.

The Defendant was able to talk, though. And according to the prosecution, that he did. He gave an interview to Boston police investigators, claiming the woman “refused to put her seat belt on” in his car and appeared drunk, the report said. “He further stated that at some point the victim did put her feet up on the dashboard, pulled down her pants, and urinated on his front passenger seat,” the report said.

In his apparent own defense, the Defendant is said to have claimed that the woman began grabbing him and saying she “wanted to [expletive] him,” the filing said. He told police they had intercourse twice, once on the driver’s seat and again on the front passenger seat, according to the report.

He apparently also explained that he had accepted the woman’s advances because he hadn’t “been with a woman in several years.” He rounded it all out with telling the police, “I knew I shouldn’t have done it. I knew I’d get in trouble”.

And the police ended up proving him right.

Attorney Sam’s Take On Taking Your Own Legal Advice…Especially When You Are Not A Lawyer

It would seem that it was the Defendant himself who involved law enforcement into his evening’s activities. That being the case, I guess it become alittle less shocking that he made the statements attributed to him.

“Well, maybe he was wondering what he should do next. You know, where to take her.”

Could be. Would have been much better to do that before having sex with her.  Twice.

“Maybe he thought he had not done anything wrong.”

Yeah…not so much. He keeps telling anybody who will listen that he knew he was getting himself into trouble.

“Well, it seems like she did not put up any fight. In fact, she invited it!”

And that the bottom line point.

It is hard to believe that any regular readers of this blog would still think that, but, in case you have not been listening, let me disabuse you of that thought process right now.

The primary issue here is consent. In order for the Commonwealth to prove lack of consent (which equals rape), there is no need to show that the complainant tried to fight off her attacker. In fact, usually, not even not saying “no” will not absolve a defendant. That factual burden (of consent) has inched a bit over to the side of the defendant these days.

Don’t misunderstand me. There are ways for a defense attorney can fight that war in court. That’s why one needs someone who is experienced and good.

There are two areas in which a criminal defendant charged with rape is not going to be able to argue consent, though. These two are areas in which the complainant was unable, as a matter of law, to give consent.

One of these is statutory rape. In other words, if the complainant was too young, then the complainant, the “child” actually, can not give consent. If the child says yes, and you follow up on that “yes” with sexual intercourse…even if you are both happily basking in the afterglow…you have just committed rape under the law and, if possible, will be prosecuted.

Similarly, someone who is incapacitated cannot, under the law, give their consent to sex. Incapacitated can mean drunk, stoned, or whatever else might deprive one of the ability to give knowing and voluntary consent.

In this case, not only has the Defendant allegedly admitted to the sex, but he joins the chorus of law enforcement in describing her as incapacitated. She is so drunk, apparently, that that she is urinating in the car, falling over and can barely speak.

And that’s from the Defendant’s own mouth!

 

 

 

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