We are all familiar with the doctrine of “consciousness of guilt” wherein the prosecutor may introduce evidence such as flight or cover-up that permits an inference that the defendant believed he was guilty. But, there is also a less well-known and less widely accepted doctrine of “consciousness of innocence.”
I wanted to report on a pretrial victory by Daniel M. Gitner of Lankler Siffert & Wohl LLP related to “consciousness of innocence” evidence. Mr. Gitner represents Rengan Rajaratnam, the younger brother of Raj Rajaratnam, who was indicted on charges of insider trading and is awaiting trial. US. v. Rengan Rajaratnam, No. 1-13-cr-00211 (S.D.N.Y June 6, 2014). In a pretrial motion, U.S. District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald ruled that she would allow Rajaratnam to introduce “consciousness of innocence” evidence during his upcoming trial. The judge will allow jurors to hear about Rengan’s decision to fly from Brazil to the U.S. shortly after being indicted in March 2013. The defense argues that this evidence shows Rengan knew he was innocent.
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