On Thursday, March 27, two men who were convicted of sex offenses had their convictions overturned by the Maine Supreme Judicial Court, according to The Bangor Daily News. The two men include 32-year-old Spencer T. Glover of Bryant Pond, and 41-year-old Jason M. Lovejoy of North Carolina.
In August of 2012, Lovejoy was sentenced to 20 years in prison with all but 16 suspended after being convicted on two counts of Class A gross sexual assault; he was also given 10 years probation.
Glover was convicted of Class B gross sexual assault, and sentenced to 10 years in prison, three years of probation with all but six years suspended in July of 2012.
In both cases, the state supreme court reversed both convictions after determining that in the two separate cases, jurors had been advised that the defendants refused to cooperate with investigators. Glover also refused to submit to a DNA test, which led prosecutors to suggest that his refusal implied his guilt. The justices ruled that Glover had a right to refuse testing, and prosecutors should not have suggested his refusal indicated his guilt to jurors.
In Lovejoy’s case, the defendant hung up on investigators when he was under investigation, and would not return their telephone calls. According to the justices, Lovejoy was denied a fair trial because prosecutors made statements regarding his “silence” to jurors, which justices said was Lovejoy’s right under the Fifth Amendment, he simply invoked his right against incriminating himself.
Glover allegedly sexually assaulted a friend who was sleeping in his home in January of 2011; he alleged that the sex was consensual, and that the two had consumed alcohol that evening. Lovejoy was accused of sexually abusing a female relative when she was between 5 and 8 years old; she reported this to Portland police in 2010 when she was 15 years old.
American Civil Liberties Union of Main Foundation legal director Zachary Heiden said that “Amendments were put in place for a reason, and prosecutors can’t just pick and choose when they apply.”
In Maine, Class A gross sexual assault is a felony which leaves the defendant facing a fine of up to $50,000 along with a maximum prison term of 30 years. In Michigan, the most serious sex crimes are charged as first-degree criminal sexual conduct; those convicted may face up to life in prison, along with other penalties.
Sex crimes are serious regardless of the state an individual lives in. Not only are the criminal penalties extremely harsh, those convicted are often required to register as a sex offender as well. This creates a stigma that will follow the defendant for the rest of his or her life, and also makes obtaining employment and housing difficult. Individuals who have been convicted of a sex crime and feel that their Constitutional rights were violated, such as in the above cases, or that were wrongly convicted should consult with a highly experienced Michigan criminal appeals attorney.