When a person is charged with a capital felony for having sex with a minor under the age of 12, you better believe it is a stacked deck and an uphill battle. The penalty is mandatory life without parole and the State prosecutes these types of cases with a vengeance. You get no sympathy from either the judge or the jury. In defending these child sexual battery cases, you have to treat them just as serious as a murder case. In fact,in my experience as a criminal defense attorney, I have found that it is easier to win a homicide case than a case where the child is under 12. The sad truth is that many people simply are not guilty. Little kids can be led to believe that things happened when they really did not. Keep in mind, young children believe in Santa Clause, the tooth fairy and the Easter Bunny. Young children can be manipulated into believing things that do not exist or things that never happened. The younger the child, the more difficult the case is to win.
Immediate investigation of the allegation is critical. Many times, there is a hidden motive for kids to make something up. This is particularly true in child custody and divorce cases. The mother can manipulate the child and use the child as a weapon in a divorce proceeding. In shared parenting cases, an allegation of improper sexual contact with the child will almost always result not only with an unlawful arrest, but almost always, a no contact order. The prosecutors will have the child interviewed by what is supposed to be an impartial child protective team advocate. They are not supposed to “lead” the children in their statements but invariably they do. The State will file a “child hearsay” notice and try and introduce what the child says through the testimony of an adult like the mom, a grandmother, an Aunt or the DCF interviewer. In defending these cases, as an attorney, I am allowed to do a video deposition of the child. In some cases, you can establish facts that dramatically impact the child’s credibility. The prosecutors brainwash the kids and go over their testimony trying to correct any inconsistencies before trial. You really need to lock down the facts air tight.
Jury selection is the most important part of the case. You have to identify and challenge the jurors that because of their personal experiences, are biased. Getting jurors to open up about their past is tough but necessary. You have to challenge the admission of the child hearsay testimony. The State will try and load it up with pure opinion testimony as opposed to what the child actually says. I have been trying child sex crime cases now for over thirty years. Good results are not impossible but they don’t come easy. Many criminal defense lawyers shy away from these types of cases, particularly if they have young kids themselves. It truly is a stacked deck when this type of horrible accusation is made, but hard work and experience can make a difference. If a loved one, a son, a spouse, a brother or friend has been charged with a capital sex crime or charged with a lewd act on a minor and you want to talk, feel free to call for a confidential consultation at 941 366 3506