Shaoqiang He is better known by his American name, Jack, and better known for an ongoing custody case in Chancery Court, but last week he faced a criminal court jury on a completely different case.
While attending graduate school at the University of Memphis, He had been accused by a fellow student of sexual battery in October 1998. After almost four years of reset court dates, multiple changes in defense counsel, and eight hours of deliberations, He was finally acquitted of any wrongdoing.
"I think several things led to the jury's not-guilty verdict," said defense attorney James Hodges. "First, that [the alleged victim] walked all the way across campus to a building which had other people in it and yet no one heard her during the alleged incident, that she waited a week to report the incident, and that she brought the wrong pants to court to use during testimony."
He could have faced jail time or been deported had the jury returned a guilty verdict. Hodges and other attorneys had previously encouraged He to accept plea bargains, including administrative diversion, which does not require the defendant to submit a guilty plea, and after court-ordered counseling, the charge is expunged from the defendant's record. He denied all options, choosing instead a jury trial.
Next for He is the remaining custody case involving his 4-year-old daughter Anna Mae, who has been living in foster care with Jerry and Louise Baker since the child was 2 months old. "This [Criminal Court] verdict has a great effect on the custody case because it was being used to deny visitation to Mr. He from seeing his daughter," said Hodges. "It should have never happened like that because he had a clean record and had not been found guilty in this case, but it was being held against him."
Again, He has requested a jury trial to determine the outcome of this case and prove that he and his wife, Casey, are suitable parents. "Jack should get his baby back. I've seen him interact with his other child, and he is a doting father and a hard worker," said Hodges.
Hanging in the balance is an appearance in Immigration Court. The judge in that court agreed to delay his ruling until the matters in the other two cases were resolved.
During the cases, Casey has given birth to another daughter, now 5 months old.