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Defendant Contends 6th Amendment Rights Were Violated During Trial


This is an appeal case. The case is being heard in the Second Department, Appellate Division, of the Supreme court of the State of New York. The respondent in the case is the People of the State of New York. The appellant of the case is Jean Cantave. The People of the State of New York are represented by John M. Castellano, Roni C. Piplani, and Sharon Y. Brodt from the District Attorneys office in Kew Gardens New York. The appellant is represented by the law offices of Lynn W.L. Fahey of New York, New York with De Nice Powell for counsel.

A New York Criminal Lawyer said the defendant is appealing an order that was made by the Queens County Supreme Court. The order was issued on the 28th of June, 2008 and convicted the defendant of first degree rape and first degree sexual abuse.

Case Background

On the 23rd of November, 2006, the defendant allegedly sexually abused and raped a young woman who rented a room located in the defendant’s home.

During the trial the complainant testified that the incident started when the defendant knocked on her door and asked to talk to her about the rent and the heat bill. During the course of the assault, which was estimated to be approximately 2 hours in length by the complainant, the defendant choked her, stabbed her with a fork, and pushed her down the stairs to the basement. While in the basement the complainant struggled against the defendant while he tried to put his penis inside her vagina. The defendant succeeded in penetrating her vagina.

The complainant testified further that the while she was struggling against him the defendant touched her breasts through her clothing.

The defendant took the stand during trial and denied raping, sexually abusing, or assaulting the complainant.

The jury returned finding the defendant guilty of rape and sexual abuse both in the first degree.

The defendant is appealing this verdict on the basis that his sixth amendment right to effective counsel was violated because his attorney did not cross examine the witness during the trial about the inconsistent statements that she made to the personnel of the hospital stating that she had succeeded in preventing him from inserting his penis in her vagina and that he penetrated her vagina with his hand instead.

Court Discussion and Decision

The case established against the defendant by the People was based largely upon the credibility of the complainant. A New York Sex Crimes Lawyer said the hospital records that included the inconsistent statements made by the complainant were received into evidence, but the defense did not make any attempt to impeach the complainant during the trial in regard to the inconsistent statements about whether or not penile penetration occurred. Penile penetration is a large and essential element in a case of rape in the first degree.

After reviewing the facts of the case the court finds in favor of the defendant. A Westchester County Criminal Lawyer said the defensive counsel did not do their job when it comes to using all of the evidence that was available to them during the trial. The court is granting the appeal and the case will be submitted to the Queens County Supreme Court and a new trial will be granted to the defendant.

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