The article about the Eric Frimpong case in Monday’s issue, (“Frimpong Trial Ends; Jurors Find Former Soccer Player Guilty,” Daily Nexus, Jan. 7) is inaccurate, misleading and appears to be based solely on the prosecutor’s view.
I do not know Eric or the people involved in this case. I am simply a concerned citizen and mother of four sons. I am also a former prosecutor and civil trial lawyer with a better than average understanding of how the justice system is supposed to work.
Based upon interviews of people who attended the trial, I believe a great injustice has been done.
The Daily Nexus article erroneously refers to “the 12 jurors responsible for determining the veracity of Eric Frimpong’s legal defense.” In our criminal justice system the defendant is presumed innocent. The prosecutor must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The defendant has no duty to prove his defense, though I am informed the prosecutor in this case made improper statements to that effect during the trial.
Frimpong was presumed guilty despite the “presumption of innocence.” The prosecutor and sheriff’s department’s public statements have been misleading and extremely prejudicial to Eric. There was no “overwhelming evidence” or “eye-witnesses” as Prosecutor Barron stated.
They sought to bolster a weak case by charging Frimpong with a second claim of “sexual assault” based on improbable allegations of another highly intoxicated girl who never made any such claim until publicity of the rape allegations. The jurors found Frimpong not guilty of that claim, but harm was done because the mere allegation allowed Ms. Barron to portray Frimpong as a serial sexual predator.
Evidence at the trial indicated the accuser’s blood alcohol was .31 at the time of the alleged attack, not a .20. Many hours after the alleged attack when her blood was analyzed it had dropped to a .20 due to what is known as metabolic “burn off rate.”
Prosecutor Barron dismisses even a .20 blood alcohol, yet her office is convicting people every day of DUI based on a .08 blood alcohol. She has now created a defense for all of them and I am she sure will be quoted by defense attorneys for years to come.
Eric’s DNA was not found on the accuser. The only DNA found was her boyfriend’s, who saw her that night with Frimpong and was upset. The sheriff’s deputies never interviewed him, inspected his clothes or body that night though they knew about him.
The detectives mishandled the evidence, altered reports and never swabbed the alleged bite mark on her cheek for saliva, thus depriving Eric of important evidence which would exonerate him. The prosecution hid exculpatory evidence and misrepresented facts regarding that evidence to the court.
During deliberations, the jury asked to review certain items of evidence including the accuser’s and Frimpong’s statements to detectives. After hearing only the accuser’s statement, observers report Judge Hill stated it would take too much time and sent them back to go over what they had already heard. Evidently he and a juror had vacations set to begin the next day. Two hours later Frimpong was convicted.
In a case where the accuser’s ability to perceive and recount events while severely intoxicated was a major issue, the juror arrested for drunk driving during the deliberations should have been immediately dismissed.
Those who know Frimpong do not doubt his innocence. He is described as a friendly, gentle, religious young man who was a very good student. He leads prayer groups for other inmates in jail as he awaits justice. He had a promising professional soccer career ahead of him. He planned to use his degree in mathematics for the good of his people in Ghana. There is not one incident in his past that would belie such behavior. He is half way around the world, cut off from his family, with no money, sitting in a jail, based only on the word of his accuser who had a .31 blood alcohol at the time of the alleged incident and a mad boyfriend in the vicinity.
If you are going to write articles about this case, be accurate and afford Frimpong the presumption of innocence to which he is entitled until the judicial process is complete. Consider that it should take more compelling and definitive evidence than exists here to convict a man of rape and send him to jail for eight years.