Articles Posted in Computer Sex Crimes

It is well-known that there is a constitutional prohibition against double jeopardy, which is the term used for being tried or convicted more than once for the same criminal offense. This does not mean that a person cannot face multiple criminal charges for criminal conduct in a single criminal episode, however, as recently discussed by a Florida appellate court, in a case in which the defendant was convicted of both attempted lewd battery and unlawfully traveling to meet a minor. If you are a Clearwater resident faced with charges of a sex crime involving a minor or any other sex crime it is essential to retain an assertive Clearwater sex crime defense attorney to fight to protect your liberties.

Facts and Procedural Background

Allegedly, in June 2016, the defendant communicated online with an undercover police officer who was posing as a fourteen-year-old girl. During their conversations, the defendant offered to pay the girl money for sexual activity and arranged to meet the girl at her house. On the way to the agreed upon location, which the defendant believed to be the girl’s home, the defendant reportedly stopped to get cash and buy condoms. When he arrived at the home, he was arrested. He was subsequently charged with unlawful travel and attempted lewd battery.

It is reported the defendant moved to dismiss the attempted lewd battery charge, on double jeopardy grounds. The court ruled that although both crimes arose out of the same conduct, and a single criminal episode, it found that each charge required elements of proof that the other did not. The trial court denied the defendant’s motion and he pleaded no contest to the charges. He then appealed from the final judgment. Continue Reading ›

It is important for anyone charged with a crime in Florida to understand that prosecutors at all times bear the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that they committed the crime with which they are charged. That means establishing each and every legal element of the specific crime, as Florida’s Second District Court of Appeal recently explained.

A defendant was charged with two counts of using a computer to commit lewd or lascivious exhibition, which in Florida is a second-degree felony. Prosecutors alleged that the defendant sent several text messages to an unidentified 12-year-old girl. The victim asked him to stop contacting her, but prosecutors said he responded by sending the girl several sexually explicit messages. The content of those messages, according to the court, showed that he was aware of the girl’s age at the time, the court said. He was convicted following a jury trial.The defendant later appealed the decision, arguing that prosecutors failed to prove all of the legal elements of the specific crime with which he was charged. The Second District agreed. The appeals court explained that Florida law defines the crime of using a computer to commit lewd or lascivious exhibition to include the “intentional exposure of the genitals in a lewd or lascivious manner . . . live over a computer online service, Internet service, or local bulletin board service.” Prosecutors also have to prove that the person charged knew or had reason to believe that the exhibition would be viewed by a person under the age of 16.

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