Uber Driver Convicted of Rape Granted New Trial
An appeals court vacated the conviction of Gary Kitchens, a former Uber driver who was convicted of raping a 37-year-old woman who was one of his fares three years ago. Kitchings was an Uber driver as well as a respected foster parent. The 4th District Court of Appeals ruled that “multiple errors” led to Kitchings being improperly convicted of the crime. He was sentenced to 22 years in prison. Kitchings has always maintained his innocence.
The appeals court ruled that the judge who presided over the case, Krista Marx, should have allowed the jury to hear testimony that the sex was consensual. Kitchings told investigators that he and the 37-year-old woman had consensual sex on the way to her destination.
Prosecutors insinuated that Kitchings built his alibi from stories told by other witnesses and never admitted or confessed to any crime. He maintains that he told police that he shouldn’t have cheated on his wife, but that he did not commit a crime when he had sex with his accuser.
Kitchings was convicted of three counts of sexual battery, one count of burglary, and false imprisonment.
Jury Did Not Hear Kitchings’ Statement
Part of the problem with this prosecution was that prosecutors were able to pick and choose what information they presented to the jury out of Kitching’s statement. The appeals court ruled that had the jury been able to hear the entire statement, they would have been able to recognize that some of the prosecutor’s questions were misleading.
Further, prosecutors were able to use the same evidence twice. The victim gave an account of the events to rape counselors and then a second time. This gave the appearance that there was more corroboration for her story than there actually was.
Another element that tainted the conviction was the fact that the jury was allowed to hear evidence that Kitchings was taking a medication to “increase his sexual prowess”.
Woman Accused Another Man of Rape in New York
Another key element in this case is whether or not the jury should hear evidence that the woman accused another man of rape in New York at an earlier date. The appeals court agreed with the lower court’s decision to block the testimony, which could have been damning. The woman had an account on a site that advertised itself as the “top sugar daddy dating site in the world.” It was there that the accuser met a man who she would later accused of rape.
Kitchings is still being held in the Lancaster Correctional Facility at Gainesville. The complainant has since sold off her Jupiter home. Kitchings has been granted a new trial, but that doesn’t mean that he won’t be convicted again.
Talk to a West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Attorney
If you’ve been accused of a serious crime, a West Palm Beach criminal attorney could help. Call The Skier Law Firm, P.A. today and we can begin building your defense immediately.