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James Webb was paroled from the Orleans correctional Facility

On August 15, 1995, James Webb was paroled from the Orleans correctional Facility after completing only part of his sentence. When he was released he was provided the standard release bag, blue jeans, and white athletic shoes. Mr. Webb advised later that at the time of his release, he had facial hair in the form of a beard.

Five women were attacked between August 17th 1995 and December 4th 1995 in Brooklyn, New York. Four of the women were raped. Three were forced to perform oral sex. One of the girls was penetrated anally. One woman escaped before any sexual violation could occur. Police believed that all five of the attacks were executed by the same person because the person used similar language at each of the five attacks. The physical description given by each of the victims also was consistent. It described the suspected rapist as a clean shaven dark-skinned black male with a gap in his front teeth. The subject was described as being in his late thirties to early forties wearing blue jeans and white athletic shoes. In the last attack the suspect stole the victim’s white shoe laces. One of the victims was only sixteen.

On December 4th 1995, after the sexual assault, the perpetrator could not find his wallet. He told his victim that he was going to burn the location down because he could not find it. He did in fact set fire to the structure. Following this assault, the police drove the victim around the neighborhood in the police car to see if she could identify a suspect. A stranger approached the car and told the officers that the guy that they were looking for was hiding behind a garbage dumpster. When the victim saw the man behind the dumpster, she identified him as her attacker. Later when the victim was still in the hospital, she told the detectives that she was wrong and that the man behind the dumpster was not the man who had attacked her. The man who had been behind the dumpster was summarily released. It was later noted that he could not have been the attacker in at least three of the attacks because he had been in jail during the assaults. The rapist had left semen evidence inside three of the victims. The semen tested did not have any sperm in it. This condition is otherwise known as azoospermatic.

A composite sketch of the rapist prepared by the police with the assistance of the victims was circulated among law enforcement officials. One of these officials was the parole officer for Mr. James Webb. When Mr. Webb’s parole officer saw the picture, he notified the detectives in charge of the case that he believed that Mr. Webb was the suspect. He clarified this belief by stating that the picture looked just like him.

On December 6th 1995, Mr. Webb reported to his parole officer and police arrested him. On further investigation, it was revealed that Mr. Webb had been convicted of similar sexual assaults and that his mode of operation was the same as that identified as belonging to the rapist. One of the victims was shown a photograph of Mr. Webb and positively identified Mr. Webb as her assailant. When the prosecution ordered a physical examination of Mr. Webb, they discovered that he suffered from an inherited condition called congenital bilateral undescended testicles. His testicles had never descended and he was incapable of producing sperm. Mr. Webb also has a gap between his teeth like the one described by the victims. Mr. Webb had two white athletic shoe laces in his pocket at the time of arrest and was wearing a gray sweater that was described by the last victim as an article of clothing that her attacker had worn.

When the case went to trial, the state prosecution presented forty witnesses and forty four exhibits while the defense attorney only presented three witnesses and six exhibits. The lawyer, however, cross examined all of the witnesses exhaustively and made appropriate motions and objections as revealed in the transcript of the case. Regardless of the efforts, Mr. Webb was convicted of all but one of the charges.

During sentencing, the aid, appointed to Mr. Webb by the state managed to make motions that prevented the prosecution from telling the jury about Mr. Webb’s previous convictions for similar crimes or that he had just been released from prison two days before the attacks began. The Lawyers managed to prevent the state from presenting the composite sketch that resembled Mr. Webb. They also prevented the introduction of the white athletic shoes or the bag that were both the kind issued to prisoners upon their release from state prison. In addition, The Attorneys managed to block the prosecutors attempt to enter Mr. Webb’s medical records into evidence which would have shown that like the rapist, Mr. Webb could not produce sperm and that the likelihood that the rapes had been committed by someone else was about 1 in 900,000.

In spite of the excellent job performed by his defense team, Mr. Webb filed three motions to have his case reheard in the courts based on inadequacy of counsel. Each time, he has been denied because he could not show that he did not have excellent council on all charges. Judge Abraham Gerges stated simply that Mr. Webb’s charges against his defense team lack merit.
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