A man convicted of molesting his daughter has proved the legal system wrong.
Jackob Trakhtenberg spent a long seven years in prison after being convicted in a trial that only took 53 minutes back in 2004.
After reading through the court documents, Trakhtenberg’s new defense lawyer realized how brief the trial was when he compared it to the average time of a trial in Oakland County, which is an hour and a half. He also found it unusual that the judge recommended a bench trial, meaning no jury was required, and never cross-examined the defendant’s ex-wife in court either.
During the trial, Trakhtenberg did admit to touching the girl, but only because his ex-wife asked him to apply ointment to an infection the girl had.
"My last words on the stand were, 'Your honor, you are putting an innocent man in prison,'" said Trakhtenberg. "I never thought I would ever go to prison because I've never done anything wrong."
The judge who convicted Trakhtenberg was later caught using court hours for personal time and eventually resigned in spite of the accusations. However, she was never accused of any wrongdoing in the Trakhtenberg case.
With the help of his new defense lawyer, Trakhtenberg’s conviction was overturned and his case was considered to never have been properly investigated. He was ordered to be released from prison in 2012, and his former defense lawyer has agreed to pay him $500,000 in an out-of-court settlement.
Although Trakhtenberg won the case, he still reflects on those seven years of his life he will never get back.
“It’s tough,” he said. “Seven years of your life for nothing.”