In August 2001, a woman in Pine Ridge, South Dakota claimed that Albert Curry raped her while she was passed out drunk. The victim said that Curry had made advances towards her earlier in the evening, and her sister testified that she walked into a bedroom and saw Curry standing over the victim while pulling up his pants. A rape exam found bruising on the victim and Curry’s semen. Curry claimed the sex was consensual.
In March 2002, a jury convicted Curry of rape, but before he was sentenced it was revealed that prosecutors withheld exculpatory evidence. An FBI agent had interviewed the victim’s sister and she had said that the victim had awakened and spoken to Curry. The agent had prepared a written summary of this interview – which contradicted the sister’s testimony at trial – but the prosecution failed to disclose that report to the defense.
Based on this evidence of prosecutorial misconduct, and on improper comments made by the prosecution in closing arguments, the trial judge ordered a new trial. At a second trial in 2003, Curry was acquitted of all charges.
- Stephanie Denzel