Supreme Judicial Court Overturns 1998 Rape Conviction

The John Adams Courthouse (left) and the Suffolk Superior Court, (right).
The John Adams Courthouse. –Barry Chin/Globe staff

A Franklin man will get a new trial after the Supreme Judicial Court reversed his 1998 rape conviction, according to The Herald News of Fall River.

From The Herald News:

The court ordered a new trial for Richard Aspen, who was convicted in Norfolk Superior Court of six counts of rape, rape of a child under 14, assault and battery, indecent assault and battery.

Universal Hub published the slip decision from the case. In it, the court ruled that Aspen’s appellate lawyer erred in not using questionable testimony from the trial as grounds to appeal.

From the decision:

Trial counsel, who appropriately objected to Dr. Brant's testimony, suggested to appellate counsel that he raise a violation of the Federico standard on appeal. Appellate counsel, in his affidavit, averred that he did not pursue this issue because he "did not believe it would be successful." This decision by appellate counsel was manifestly unreasonable.

Aspen was convicted of rape of a child under the age of 16, six counts of rape, two counts of indecent assault and battery, and assault and battery. He was serving a 30-year sentence.


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