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MAN FALSELY ACCUSED OF RAPE RELEASED AFTER
SERVING MORE THAN 10 YEARS IN PRISON
Forensic Evidence Showed Accuser Self-inflicted Her Wounds
by Fay Arfa
Fay Arfa, a Law Corporation
Los Angeles, Lancaster Courthouse. After ten years, five months and fifteen days, two
trials and two reversals on appeal, the prosecution and the defense reached an agreement
releasing Daniel Clarke from state prison. Prominent defense attorney Fay Arfa, fought for
Clarke’s freedom and never gave up hope. Daniel Clarke had been serving a sentence of thirty
two years to life in prison for six felonies including the rape of pregnant T.G., the mother of his
son. Forensic evidence proved Clarke’s accuser lied and self-inflicted her wounds to keep
Clarke from gaining custody of their son.
The saga began when Clarke filed for custody of the couple’s son because T.G., now
pregnant with the couple’s unborn child, refused to let him see his son. On April 14, 2005,
Clarke filed a petition seeking legal and physical custody of their son. Two days before the
custody hearing, T.G. invited Clarke to her house where they engaged in sex. After Clarke fell
asleep, T.G. called the police. When the police arrived, T.G. grabbed her pajama shirt and ran
out of the house naked and claimed Clarke broke into her house, held a knife to her throat, cut her chest, thighs and genitalia with a knife and forced her to have sex. The police arrested
Clarke. He was convicted and faced a sentence of life in prison.
Clarke hired Attorney Arfa to file a motion for new trial. She spoke to Clarke, Clarke’s
family, saw the evidence and theorized that T.G. self-inflicted her wounds. Defense experts
appointed by the trial court agreed that the wounds, consisting of parallel, superficial lines,
proved that T.G. self-inflicted her wounds. Despite the compelling exculpatory forensic
evidence, the trial court denied Arfa’s motion for new trial and sentenced Clarke to 32 years to life in state prison. Clarke appealed and concurrently filed a habeas petition. The California
Court of Appeal ordered an evidentiary hearing. At the evidentiary hearing, the defense
medical experts testified that T.G.’s wounds were self-inflicted. The trial court denied the
habeas petition. Attorney Arfa then filed a new habeas petition in the California Court of
Appeal. The California Court of Appeal denied the appeal but granted the habeas petition
based on ineffective assistance of counsel.
The second trial started and the prosecutor told defense counsel he planned to present a
medical expert in rebuttal to prove the accuser’s wounds were not self inflicted. Meanwhile,
the prosecutor got a court order appointing the Los Angeles county coroner to analyze the
wounds. The prosecution’s expert agreed that T.G. had self-inflicted her wounds, but the
prosecution hid their expert’s exculpatory report from the defense. Once again, the jury
convicted Clarke and he was again sentenced to 32 years to life in prison. The jury refused to
believe a woman would deliberately wound herself.
Undeterred, after trial, Attorney Arfa contacted the prosecution’s wound expert, deputy
coroner, Lisa Scheinin, M.D. Dr. Scheinin told Attorney Arfa she believed T.G.’s wounds had
been self-inflicted. Attorney Arfa filed a motion for new trial based on the newly discovered
evidence, namely Dr. Scheinin’s report. The trial court denied the motion finding the coroner’s
report “cumulative.” The Court of Appeal reversed, finding the prosecutor unconstitutionally
failed to give the defense Dr. Scheinin’s exculpatory report proving T.G. self-inflicted her
wounds. The Court of Appeal again granted a new trial.
Before the third trial started, Attorney Arfa filed a Motion to Dismiss Based on
Prosecutorial Misconduct and a Motion to Exclude the Accuser’s False Testimony. On the day of the hearing, the prosecution offered a sweet deal: plead to a lesser, non-strike, nonregisterable offense (Pen. Code, § 273.5), time served, no parole, $320 fine and stay away from T.G. Clarke accepted the deal because it would have taken a year for the third trial to start and Dr. Scheinin retired and traveled extensively. To avoid the risk of a third jury trial, Mr. Clarke accepted the offer and the trial court ordered him released from custody.
“It’s the best feeling in the world to be able to tell a client that he or she is going home.
We always believed in his innocence; it’s a shame he spent ten years of his life in prison; but
we are thrilled with his release and we wish him all the best in the world,” said Attorney Arfa.
FROM: ATTORNEY FAY ARFA
Tel.: (310) 841-6805
Fay Arfa is a Criminal Defense attorney at Fay Arfa, a Law Corporation. Fay is past President of the Century City Bar Association, where she serves on the Board of Governors.
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