Judge gives maximum sentence to 27-year-old Joe Hunter Constance for rape of child

Published: May. 11, 2022 at 6:45 PM CDT
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - Twenty seven year-old Joseph Hunter Constance received the maximum penalty of forty years in prison at his sentencing for raping a 13-year-old girl.

Judge Clayton Davis said the violence and devastation to the victim and her family should not be minimized and that the sentence was justified.

At trial, it came out the victim reported the rape only after her 11-year-old sister--under anesthesia-- revealed Constance was saying inappropriate things to her and making her uncomfortable.

Prosecutor Hope Buford is Section Chief of the Special Victims Unit. She said she’s proud of the victim for having the courage to tell her story:

“The victim is the one who should get all the credit in this case. She was brave enough to come forward and tell the story of the rape that happened to her as a 13-year-old,” Buford said.

However, defense attorney Todd Clemons called Constance’s accuser a liar.

“I’ll call her a liar because I firmly believe she’s a liar. I’m firmly convinced she falsely accused my client of raping her. So, that’s why I was not bashful, I was not hesitant in calling her a liar because that’s firmly what I believe, based on the evidence,” he said.

Yet, Buford said all the victim, now seventeen, had to gain was justice which prevailed:

“We presented our case to twelve jurors, that were unbiased that had never heard of this case. And they sat through three days of testimony and heard all the evidence presented and they’re the ones that came back with a guilty verdict of second-degree rape,” Buford said.

Clemons predicted the verdict will be reversed on appeal and the sentence set aside because he said the judge was biased and unfair.

“Joe Constance didn’t rape anyone. He was falsely accused of rape. He was wrongfully convicted of rape. Joseph was deprived of his constitutional right to a fair trial,” Clemons said.

However, Buford disputed and denied that the state always gets its way. She predicted the verdict and sentence will stand.

So, it will be up to the Third Circuit to decide.

Clemons also said he was not allowed to ask the victim all the questions he wanted, when she was on the witness stand.

And he said there were deficiencies in the investigation that he was not allowed to ask about. Clemons said the victim said her phone was in the room, during the rape, but that there was no evidence officers tried to get the phone.

And he said investigators seized the mattress top, but that there was no evidence it was tested or what the tests proved.

The D.A.’s Office said Joe Hunter Constance is the nephew of the long-time fugitive Joe Constance. The older Constance is wanted for allegedly murdering his estranged wife in 2011.

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