Thursday, February 18, 2010

Super Bowl Party Leads To Conviction Of Lawyer

In a decision issued today, the Massachusetts Supreme Court affirmed most of the counts charging an attorney with a number of sex offenses. The court described the facts:

In 2004, the victim was an eighteen year old woman and a senior in high school. Through friends and family, she had known the defendant, an approximately fifty year old attorney, since she was twelve years old. In the months before the incident, the victim, who weighed approximately 119 pounds, was drinking frequently and had used cocaine five or six times, including an incident in December, 2003, where the defendant provided the cocaine. Beginning in December, 2003, the defendant also had made sexual overtures to the victim, which she rebuffed, sometimes laughingly. Several times she explained to the defendant that she had a boy friend.

The events at the center of this case took place on February 1 and 2, 2004. The victim attended two "Super Bowl" parties on February 1, and consumed alcoholic drinks at both. The defendant was present at the second party. There, he and the victim ingested cocaine twice. The defendant expressed interest in dating the victim but she declined. He invited the victim to his house for a party that same evening. Although the victim declined the invitation, she could not sleep because of her ingestion of cocaine and, at approximately 1 A.M. on February 2, she went to the defendant's house.

When she arrived, only the defendant was there. She consumed more alcohol, cocaine, and marijuana, all provided by the defendant. The victim testified that the pair stayed up all night talking. In the morning, the victim went to school, but she left twice, each time returning to the defendant's house. During the first time she returned, she drank a beer and used cocaine. The second time she returned, she was "still ... drunk and high."

During this second visit, she drank more beer and ingested more cocaine. The defendant again made advances toward the victim that she rebuffed. The defendant served her wine and the victim had three to four glasses. Because of the cocaine, the victim was not hungry and had almost nothing to eat that day; the last food she had eaten was when she was at the first "Super Bowl" party the night before. Moreover, she consumed approximately twelve beers at the defendant's house on February 2.

After the victim consumed the wine, the pair retreated to the defendant's bedroom, where the defendant kept cocaine. The victim testified that while in the bedroom she did not remember what happened but she realized her "clothes came off" because the defendant was kissing her vagina. When she tried to move away he told her to "do another line" of cocaine, which she did. She stated that she sat back down on the bed and "remember[ed] being in [the defendant's] bed [and] putting my clothes back on a few times, and then them coming off again." She did not recall how they came off, but remembered putting them back on. The defendant also sucked on her breasts, and licked and touched her vagina and penetrated it with his finger. She testified that she told him, "No. We're just friends."

At approximately 9 P.M., three of the victim's friends arrived at the defendant's house, went up to the bedroom, knocked on the door, and told the victim she had to leave with them. Although the victim answered that she was coming, when she did not, one friend opened the door. The friends testified that the victim was dirty, her hair in "knots," and messier than if she had just been sleeping. She smelled of alcohol, seemed to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, was slurring her words, and "seemed like she didn't know what was going on or why they were there." The friends had to help her put her shirt on. They saw her jaw moving in a peculiar manner although there were no words coming out. The victim was wobbly and unsteady on her feet and her friends helped her get down the stairs from the defendant's bedroom and had to help her into their vehicle. Her friends drove her to her father's house.

The victim's father testified that, when she arrived, she looked like a "zombie," she was screaming and crying and unable to focus. He also noticed her "involuntary jaw movement" and that she could not speak. Indeed, the victim testified that for a day or so after she left the defendant's house she could not eat because her mouth was sore from her chewing on her mouth and lips, something she did when she ingested cocaine. Her father brought her to a police station. The officer who interviewed her the evening of February 2 testified that she was intoxicated, crying, and upset. The victim had no clear memory of what she told this officer.

The court reversed the conviction on charges of drugging for purposes of unlawful sexual intercourse. The case is Commonwealth v. LeBlanc.

The web page of the Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers indicates that the attorney was suspended in January 2006. (Mike Frisch)

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/legal_profession/2010/02/in-a-decision-issued-today-the-massachusetts-supreme-court-affirmed-most-of-the-counts-charging-an-attorney-with-sex-offense.html

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