Convicted Rapist Wins New Trial

Seventy-three-year-old John MacLean has won a new trial for one of the two rapes for which he was given a life sentence. The assaults occurred in Boca Raton during the 1970s. The 4th District Court of Appeal threw out one of the convictions stemming from the 1976 rape of a Boca Raton babysitter. A West Palm Beach appeals court upheld a separate conviction stemming from a sexual assault of a Boca Raton mother in 1977 while two of her children slept nearby.

The entire process may be moot since MacLean was given life sentences for both assaults. The district attorney has the option of retrying the case but may elect not to since the other life sentence is still in effect.

Prosecutors Acknowledged MacLean Deserved a New Trial

State prosecutors acknowledged that MacLean deserved a new trial for the 1976 case. MacLean was accused of raping a 15-year-old babysitter and found guilty by a jury in 2018. However, defense attorneys argued that the jury should have been made aware of the fact that they could have found MacLean guilty of a lesser charge of sexual battery.

Both cases were unresolved until 2012 when police linked MacLean through DNA to four rapes. MacLean was also connected to the rapes of two sisters aged 14 and 18 in 1976. However, the statute of limitations had elapsed on those cases making them unprosecutable. He was able to be tried for the other two rapes after lawmakers lifted the statute of limitations on armed sexual battery.

MacLean also served time for burglary and while in prison, managed to write a book called “The Secrets of a Superthief” in which he appears to brag about taking millions of dollars from unsuspecting homeowners. After he was released from prison on the burglary charge, he moved to Arizona where he was arrested for armed burglary and the sexual exploitation of a minor.

Will Prosecutors Decide to Retry MacLean?

The only reason to retry MacLean would be symbolic. The court vacated one life sentence but let another one stand, so MacLean will never get out of prison regardless of whether or not they prosecute. Prosecutions cost a lot of money and there are plenty of other criminals for prosecutors to spend their time prosecuting, so it stands to reason they will simply drop the charges.

On the other hand, they will probably want to discuss that option with the victim before they make that decision. New legislation such as Marsy’s Law puts the onus on prosecutors to clear their decisions with the victim prior to moving forward with their cases. If the victim wants the conviction to stand, then prosecutors may feel obligated to retry MacLean on the same charges.

Talk to a West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Attorney

If you’re charged with a serious crime, the West Palm Beach criminal attorneys at the Skier Law Firm P.A. can represent your interests and protect your rights as you navigate the criminal justice system. Call our office today or talk to us online and we can begin preparing your defense immediately.


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