Curtin was found guilty of aggravated rape (formerly known as first degree rape) and video voyeurism of sexual intercourse in Dec. 2021 for her participation in an incident with Dennis Perkins involving an unconscious adult. Although aggravated rape carries a mandatory life in prison sentence, Curtin has not been sentenced formally yet. She cannot be sentenced until all pending motions have been heard first.
In February 2022, Curtin’s attorney, John McLindon, filed two motions: a motion for new trial and motion for post-verdict judgement of acquittal.
McLindon’s motion for a new trial was based on four specific points.
The lead prosecuting agency on the case is the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office. Prosecutors responded to three points requesting a judge to deny Curtin’s motion for a new trial.
- The verdict is contrary to the law and evidence: This means “the weight of the evidence was not sufficient for any jury to find beyond a reasonable doubt that Melanie Curtin was guilty.”
The state fired back saying they “did prove beyond a reasonable doubt” that Curtin committed both aggravated rape and video voyeurism. They said they had recorded video of the alleged assault. In that video, prosecutors said it “clearly shows Curtin’s voluntary and deliberate movements and actions participating in and even assisting in filming parts of the assault.”
Plus, prosecutors said they showed text messages between Curtin and the adult victim the day after the alleged rape “showing Curtin’s knowledge & awareness of the previous night and that she knew the victim was unconscious the previous night.” One text said the victim had “passed smooth out.”
2. The court’s ruling on three separate motions and/or objections made during trial show prejudicial error: The defense claims there were two crucial pieces of evidence that the Court did not allow in.
Prosecutors said Curtin wanted to introduce the victim’s past sexual behavior in May 2021. Prior to trial, a judge denied the evidence, but prosecutors said Curtin did not argue then that they wanted this evidence in trial. Now that trial is over and a sentence is pending, prosecutors said Curtin is trying to bring up the victim’s past sexual behavior.
However, prosecutors said the “rape shield law” prevents a person’s “reputation or opinion evidence of the past sexual behavior of the victim” from being admissible in court. Plus, the court filings read Curtin is trying to prove the victim’s past consensual sexual behavior is equal to the victim consenting to any future sexual activity.
“This argument is obviously absurd and is exactly what the rape shield law was enacted to protect,” said prosecutors.
3. The defense has discovered since trial that there were improprieties in the jury deliberations and that one of the jurors was coerced into voting guilty when in fact he wanted to vote not guilty: The defense said after six hours of deliberating on Dec. 3rd, one juror did not want to vote guilty and that the Judge “improperly instructed the jury to continue deliberations.” Eventually, a unanimous jury found Curtin guilty. That juror then reached out to McLindon saying the juror “was uncomfortable with his vote and wanted to do something about it.”
Prosecutors argued this point with the Louisiana Code of Evidence that a juror cannot testify as to what took place during deliberations or the thought process of any juror’s mind or emotions during deliberations. However, a juror can speak up about any outside influence during deliberations that may have swayed any juror’s decision. In this case though, prosecutors said Curtin did not allege the juror’s issue pertains to outside influence. Instead, it pertains to the jury’s deliberations in this case.
“The State hereby moves and strongly urges this Court to strike the portions of Defendant’s Motion for New Trial that reference or cite to this juror’s statements, and the State further moves for an Order from this Court prohibiting this juror from testifying or submitting any sworn statement regarding the jury’s deliberations in this matter,” said prosecutors in their court filings.
Curtin’s fourth reason for requesting a new trial was that justice would be granted. The prosecution did not specifically respond to that point.
In their motion for post-verdict judgement of acquittal, Curtin put the blame on Dennis Perkins for having drugged the victim. Prosecutors fought back saying video evidence “clearly shows Curtin’s voluntary and deliberate movements and actions participating in and even assisting in filming parts of the assault.”
The motions are scheduled to be heard in a Livingston Parish courtroom on March 10th.
McLindon filed the motions on Feb. 9, 2022, before Cynthia Perkins’s scheduled trial on Feb. 14, 2022. Prior to jury selection however, Perkins accepted a plea deal where she would serve 41 years in lieu of trial. She was facing 72 counts in total and ended up pleaded guilty to three counts: 2nd degree rape, production of pornography involving juvenile under the age of 13 and conspiracy of mingling harmful substances.
Perkins pleaded guilty to taking baked goods that had been laced with her husband’s sexual bodily fluids and serving them to her students at a Livingston Parish school.
Since their arrest, Cynthia filed for divorce from her husband Dennis Perkins. His trial is expected to begin in May 2022.