Articles Posted in Sex crimes

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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In many instances where a defendant is charged with a sex crime, the only evidence of the crime is the testimony of the alleged victim. In Clearwater sex crime cases where there is no other corroborating evidence of the alleged crime if the victim recants his or her prior testimony at trial, it is unlikely the State will be able to present evidence to support a conviction.

This was recently illustrated in a case decided by a Florida court of appeals, in which the defendant’s convictions for two sex crimes were overturned, due to the alleged victim’s repudiation of her prior statement at trial. If you live in Clearwater and are charged with a sex crime, you should retain a seasoned Clearwater sex crimes defense attorney as soon as possible, to analyze what defenses are available to the charges you face.

Alleged Sexual Battery

Reportedly, the defendant sexually battered his girlfriend’s 16-year-old mentally disabled sister. The victim’s mother took her to a hospital, where she gave a detailed account of the defendant’s actions. The State charged the defendant with three separate counts of sexual battery, for three acts of oral, penile, and digital penetration, based upon the victim’s account.

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Florida law affords individuals convicted of crimes certain rights with regards to sentencing. For example, certain sentences must be orally pronounced, and with few exceptions, a defendant has the right to be present at his or her sentencing hearing.

As the District Court of Appeal for the Second District of Florida recently held in Darwin v. Florida, if the trial court imposes a sentence without the presence of the convicted party, it can result in the sentence being reversed. If you were charged with a sex-crime in Clearwater, it is important to retain an experienced Clearwater sex crimes attorney who will fight diligently to protect your liberties.

Defendant’s Sentencing

Allegedly, the defendant was convicted and sentenced for uninformed HIV-infected sexual intercourse. His sentence included a $525 discretionary fine. During the sentencing hearing, the fine was not orally pronounced; therefore, the defendant filed a motion to correct the sentence, arguing that the fine was improperly imposed due to the fact that Florida law requires discretionary fines to be orally pronounced to ensure due process. The trial court agreed and scheduled a status conference during which the court orally pronounced the fine, but made no other changes to the sentence. The defendant was not present at the status conference. He subsequently appealed the discretionary fine, arguing that the trial court erred by imposing the sentence without his presence at the hearing. The court agreed and reversed.

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