Articles Posted in Sex crimes

Criminal matters typically involve an evaluation of what strategy is most likely to result in a successful outcome, whether it is asserting an affirmative defense, seeking a deal on a lesser charge, or some other plan. In some instances, if a criminal defendant chooses one plan of action, it may preclude him or her from asserting other defenses. For example, the issue of whether a defendant that argues the statute of limitations bars criminal charges is entitled to a jury instruction of a lesser included offense on the same charges was recently addressed by a Florida appellate court, in a case in which the defendant was charged with sexual battery.  If you are faced with charges of sexual battery or any other sex crime, it is critical to meet with an experienced Sarasota sex crime attorney to discuss what plan of action is most appropriate in your case.

Procedural History of the Case

Reportedly, the defendant was charged with armed sexual battery. Before the trial, he moved to have the charge dismissed, arguing that it was not filed within the statute of limitations. The court denied the defendant’s motion, and the case proceeded to trial. Following the prosecution’s case in chief, the defendant waived his right to argue the statute of limitations so that the jury could be instructed on the lesser included offense of sexual battery. The State argued that the defendant could not waive the right, and the court agreed, declining to instruct the jury regarding the sexual battery. The defendant was convicted of armed sexual battery, after which he appealed, arguing the court erred in refusing to instruct the jury on the lesser included offense.

Right to a Jury Instruction Regarding a Lesser Included Offense

On appeal, the court stated that under Florida law, a criminal defendant cannot have a charge dismissed pursuant to the statute of limitations and then latter waive the statute of limitations argument as to lesser included offenses arising out of the dismissed charge. In other words, if the defendant gets charges dismissed based on the statute of limitations, he or she cannot then waive the statute of limitations as to other crimes arising out of the same criminal transaction.

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It is not uncommon in criminal cases for the affidavit for an arrest warrant to contain facts and allegations the State is ultimately unable to prove at trial. If the defendant is ultimately convicted of the crimes with which he or she is charged if the information in the affidavit differs from the evidence presented at trial, the court cannot consider the information in the affidavit in determining an appropriate sentence. If the judge does consider unsubstantiated allegations in sentencing a defendant, it may be considered a violation of the defendant’s constitutional rights and is grounds for vacating the sentence. This was shown in a recent Florida appellate court case in which the defendant was convicted of various sex crimes.  If you are charged with a sex crime in Sarasota, it is prudent to speak with a capable Sarasota sex crime attorney to assess your available defenses.

Procedural Background of the Case

Reportedly, the defendant was charged with lewd and lascivious battery of a child and with using a child in a sexual performance. A jury trial was held, during which the State introduced evidence that the defendant was involved in a sexual encounter with the victim, who was underage, and that he made a video recording of the encounter. The jury convicted the defendant of both charges.

It is alleged that during the sentencing hearing, the judge stated she was sentencing the defendant based on the circumstances surrounding the offense. The judge then proceeded to recite facts that were in the affidavit in support of the defendant’s arrest, which were different than the evidence produced at trial. The defendant’s attorney called the judge’s attention to the fact that there was no evidence of record to support the circumstances the judge relied upon in crafting her sentence. The judge agreed but issued the sentence of fifteen years imprisonment followed by fifteen years of sex offender probation regardless. The defendant appealed.

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In many cases, a defendant who is convicted of a crime will be sentenced to probation. If a defendant violates the terms of the probation, however, the court may revoke the probation and sentence to the defendant to a term of imprisonment. Recently, a Florida appellate court discussed a defendant’s rights in probation revocation hearings in a case in which the defendant’s probation was revoked due to an alleged sexual assault. If you live in Sarasota and are faced with charges of sexual assault or any other crime, it is prudent to meet with a dedicated  Sarasota sex crime defense attorney regarding your case.

Factual and Procedural Background

It is reported that the defendant was charged with aggravated child abuse. He entered into a plea agreement with the State and was sentenced to probation for 36 months. Subsequently, the State alleged that the defendant violated his probation by committing two acts of sexual assault. The violation report listed the offenses as the sexual battery on a victim under twelve by a person eighteen years or older. A trial was held regarding the alleged charges.

Allegedly, at the end of the trial, prior to the jury’s decision, an evidentiary hearing was held on the alleged probation violation. The court revoked the defendant’s probation without allowing the defendant to speak and sentenced the defendant to five years of imprisonment. The defendant was subsequently found not guilty of sexual assault crimes. The jury submitted a note to the judge stated that they believed the defendant committed an illegal act, but the evidence was insufficient to prove the crime charged.

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In Florida, if a person is charged with molestation of a minor child, the State is permitted to admit the child’s out of court statements if there is other corroborating evidence to support the statements, under the child hearsay exception. If the statements are not corroborated, however, they will be insufficient to support a conviction.  The District Court of Appeal of Florida, Third District, recently discussed the standards for admitting child hearsay in a case in which the defendant was charged with sex crimes against a child. If you live in Sarasota and a charged with a sex crime involving a minor it is essential to engage a skilled Sarasota sex crime defense attorney to discuss what evidence the State is permitted to use against you at trial.

Facts of the Case

It is reported that the defendant lived in the same house as his alleged victim, who was his eight-year-old niece. The victim reported to school administrators that the defendant touched her privates and threatened to kill her if she told anyone. She underwent a physical examination which revealed no injuries. A forensic interview was conducted of the victim, during which she stated that when she was in the defendant’s room, the defendant had placed his finger inside her privates, after which she bled. She also stated the defendant touched her outside of her clothes the day before in the living room.

It is alleged that the defendant was charged with sexual battery and lewd and lascivious molestation of a child under the age of twelve. During the trial, the victim’s out of court statements were admitted under the child hearsay exception. The victim also testified at trial but stated she did not recall the incident she talked about in her forensic interview where the defendant touched her over her clothes. Additionally, the victim testified regarding another incident that was not previously reported. The defendant was convicted on both counts, after which he appealed.

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Juvenile residents of Florida may be charged with sex crimes, and although they are generally treated with more leniency than adult defendants, they may still face significant penalties if they are convicted. For example, if a juvenile defendant is convicted of a sex crime, in certain cases, he or she may be required to register as a sex offender. The District Court of Appeal of Florida, Fourth District, recently explained the grounds for imposing a sex offender registration requirement on a juvenile, in a case in which the defendant allegedly violated the terms of his probation following a conviction for a sex crime. If you are a minor living in Sarasota and are charged with a sex crime it is imperative to meet with a knowledgeable Sarasota sex crime defense attorney regarding the potential penalties you face and what defenses are available to help you avoid a conviction.

Factual and Procedural Background

It is reported that the defendant was deemed delinquent for violating the terms of his probation, following a conviction for the lascivious or lewd molestation of a victim who was less than twelve years old. During the violation of probation hearing the court imposed a sex offender registration requirement on the defendant. The defendant subsequently appealed, arguing that the court erred in imposing the requirement. Specifically, he argued that the registration requirement was based on factual findings that were not made by the original sentencing judge and were therefore improper.

Sex Offender Registration Requirement

Under the Florida statute pertaining to the registration of sex offenders, a person will be deemed a sex offender if he or she has been adjudicated delinquent for committing one of the enumerated sex crimes if he or she was fourteen years old or older at the time of the offense. One of the crimes that require a person to register as a sex offender is lascivious or lewd molestation, if the court finds the molestation involved unclothed genitalia.

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Many criminal cases are resolved prior to trial. If a criminal case proceeds to trial, however, it is vital that the jury is correctly instructed on the precise elements of the crime, as the failure to do so can result in an unjust conviction. This was demonstrated in a recent case in which a Florida appellate court reversed the defendant’s conviction for sexual battery, due to the fact that the jury was improperly instructed on the elements of the crime. If you are a Sarasota resident facing charges of a sex crime, including sexual battery on a person under twelve years old, it is crucial to engage a skilled Sarasota sex crime defense attorney to develop persuasive arguments on your behalf to help you seek a favorable result under the facts of your case.

Factual and Procedural Background

Reportedly, the victim lived wither her father and her stepmother during the week, and her mother and the defendant on the weekends. On one occasion when the stepmother picked up the victim after a weekend with her mother and the defendant, the victim was acting strangely. The stepmother asked the victim if anything happened, after which the victim began to cry and reported that the defendant had touched her inappropriately.

It is alleged that the stepmother told the father, who called the police. They then took the victim to a clinic to be examined. The defendant was charged with sexual battery on a person less then twelve years old. In the amended information charging the defendant, the State alleged the defendant committed two acts of sexual battery by causing his genitals to penetrate or have union with the “butt” of the victim. The case proceeded to trial, and during the trial the victim, who was ten at the time, testified that the defendant had contact with her “butt.” She had difficulty remembering things and testified inconsistently as to the precise acts that occurred.

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In any criminal case, the State bears the burden of proving that the defendant committed each element of the crime. In many cases, the State does not have direct evidence and relies on circumstantial evidence to prove its case. In limited circumstances, the State is permitted to introduce evidence  that the defendant committed a collateral crime to show that the defendant is guilty of the crime he or she allegedly committed. A Florida appellate court recently analyzed when collateral crime evidence is admissible, in a case in which the State sought to admit collateral crime evidence of the defendant’s propensity to commit sexual battery. If you live in Sarasota and are charged with sexual battery or any other crime, it is essential to retain a proficient Sarasota sex crime attorney to discuss your case and the evidence that the State may be permitted to introduce against you.

Facts of the Case

It was reported that the victim alleged that the defendant penetrated her digitally without her consent while she was sleeping after a night of drinking.  Shortly after the alleged incident, the defendant left messages on the victim’s phone in which he apologized for being aggressive, getting carried away, and going over the line. The defendant was charged with sexual battery. Prior to trial, the State filed a notice that it would introduce evidence at trial that the defendant had previously digitally penetrated a woman who had passed out after a night of drinking.

The defendant filed a motion in limine to preclude the collateral crime evidence. Following a hearing, the court found that the collateral crime evidence was admissible to show the defendant’s propensity to commit the crime alleged. The collateral crime evidence was introduced at trial, and the defendant was found guilty. The defendant appealed, arguing, in part, that the trial court erred in permitting collateral evidence for the purpose of showing propensity. Continue Reading ›

If you are charged with a sex crime it does not mean that you no longer have any rights. Rather, under both Florida law and the United States Constitution, defendants accused of committing a sex crime have several rights, including the right to confront their accuser. If the court refuses to uphold the rights of a criminal defendant, it can result in a reversal of a conviction. This was illustrated in a recent case arising out of the Florida Court of Appeals, in which the court reversed a defendant’s conviction due to the fact the trial court denied the defendant the right to question his accuser. If you live in Sarasota and are charged with a sex crime it is essential to hire an assertive Sarasota sex crime defense attorney who will aggressively advocate on your behalf and help you to defend your rights.

Facts Regarding the Alleged Crime and Underlying Trial

Reportedly, in 2016, the defendant babysat his alleged five-year-old victim, after which the victim told her mother that she saw the defendant naked and they played a game in which they took off their clothes. The victim gave four different accounts of what happened when she was questioned regarding the incident on subsequent occasions. The defendant was charged with three counts of lewd and lascivious conduct, and a trial was held.

Allegedly, as there was no physical evidence of any harm, the defendant’s attorney sought to question the victim’s credibility by advising the jury of the different accounts she provided as to what happened. The trial court ruled, however, that it would not allow the defendant’s attorney to cross-examine the victim, due to her age. Rather, the court ruled it would merely show the jury any portions of the victim’s deposition that contradicted her testimony at trial. Thus, the defendant was unable to confront the victim regarding the inconsistencies in her accounts of what happened. The defendant was subsequently convicted, after which he appealed.
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