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The DA's Office explains itself

A statement from Diane Nicks on why the charges against "Patty" were brought, then dropped.

What follows is a statement provided by the Dane County District Attorney's Office in response to questions from Isthmus regarding the belated discovery of semen on sheets found at the scene of a reported sexual assault, and the office's subsequent decision to drop charges. This development in the case was reported by Isthmus in ot August 27 issue. As in previous documents, Patty's last name is being withheld since she maintains she was the victim of a sexual assault.

From: Diane M Nicks, DA
To: Bill Lueders
Subject: Comment on dismissal of State v. [Patty]
Date: Monday, August 24, 1998 5:11PM

[Email message]
I shared your request for a comment with Deputy Karofsky and Assistant District Attorney Brian Brophy. We put the dismissal in context and answered questions that you previously raised regarding forensic testing and comparison with the sex offender data bank. This is in WORD 6.0. Let me know if you have any problem downloading. Have a good day.

[The attached statement]
Patricia [withheld] was charged with misdemeanor obstructing based upon the totality of the circumstances surrounding her report of a sexual assault to the Madison police. Some of the factors taken into consideration before charges were brought were: a lack of physical evidence which would be consistent with the violent assault which she reported; repeated changes in the account which she told to the police on four separate occasions; the fact that the stories which she told to the police did not square with events as related by her daughter [name withheld]; the naming of a particular assailant with whom she subsequently behaved in a manner that was wholly incompatible with her belief that he had violently assaulted her; and, her confession to having made up the assault.

{Patty] later complained that her confession was the result of "police brutality" and was made involuntarily. However, she presented no evidence of any "brutality" or of any violation of her constitutional rights in court. Moreover, the court record shows that at the outset of the interview, [Patty] was told that she could leave at any time. She chose not to. The court ruled that [Patty]ís confession was voluntary and that Miranda was not even implicated.

Further, at the conclusion of the interview [Patty] appears to have sincerely apologized to Detective Woodmansee for having lied to him, only recanting her story when faced with the prospect of telling family and friends that the assault had not occurred.Forensic evidence, semen found on [Patty]ís bedsheets, underlies the dismissal of the charges. The evidence corroborates neither Ms. [Patty]ís allegations that she was sexually assaulted by a particular individual nor the investigatorís belief that her charges were completely fabricated. Rather, it shows that at some point someone left semen on the sheets which were on her bed.

It should be made perfectly clear that the evidence from the State Crime Laboratory does exonerate the individual whom Ms. [Patty] named as her assailant, and, whose identity, though thankfully not whose name, you revealed as a rapist in your article. This evidence raises the possibility that Ms. [Patty] was assaulted and was perhaps mistaken about her assailant. In any event, it raises a reasonable doubt in my mind; therefore, the charge has been dismissed.

The sheets were not analyzed during the investigation because Ms. [Patty] confessed that she had lied about the assault. When it appeared that Ms. [Patty] was challenging her confession and that the case would go to trial the State sent the sheets to the Crime Lab. The results were only recently received because the Crime Laboratory analystsí huge caseloads prevent them from beginning forensic testing until a trial date has been set and the State is certain that there is not going to be an admission of guilt thereby making the tests unnecessary. Unfortunately, even in the most important affairs of life we are sometimes bootstrapped by limitations on our resources.

Again, the forensic report did not point to the person whom Ms. [Patty] accused of committing the sexual assault. This individual cooperated with law enforcement officials in every way. The investigation cleared him. The State Crime Lab reports that the DNA evidence is insufficient for comparison with samples provided by known sex offenders.

[End of document.]

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