We have previously discussed actual evil twin defenses in past cases (here and here and here and here). However, a case out of Colorado Springs now has a detailed opinion specifically allowing the use of the defense in a major case. District Judge David Shakes ruled Friday that an Army artillery officer, 1st Lt. Aaron Lucas, could argue that his twin brother may be responsible for a series of sexual assaults.
Since they have shared DNA, the argument presents an obvious challenge for prosecutors. They still have to face evidence directly related to Lucas’ movements. However, Shakes appropriately held that the defense, even if not persuasive, is still a legitimate argument for the defense to raise: “Whether it’s persuasive or not — that’s not my role. It’s the role of the jury.”
Lucas will argue that the police grabbed the wrong twin after discovering DNA on girls in Madison, Ala. and Texarkana, Texas. The attacks were two years apart. They say it was the work of Brian Frederick Lucas, who happened to live in both states. They say that a third unrelated man is responsible for assaults in Colorado.
I fail to see how the court could come to any other conclusion if another man has the identical DNA as the defendant. I have long been critical of the increasing micromanagement of trials by judges who now routinely bar defenses and theories that they find unpersuasive or unsupportable. The result is that defendants are sometimes denied the defense that they wish to make to a jury — the actual claim of innocence that they cite as the reason why they are not felons. The fact that prosecutors wanted to bar this defense shows their expectation that they can tailor criminal defenses and limit what the defendant can allege as the basis for his innocence.
What will be interesting is, if successful, the other twin could blame the current defendant at his trial.
Source: USA Today