What Potential Defenses Can Be Used In Sex Crime Cases?
Potential defenses rely on physical evidence. If medical exams have been performed on individuals that say they were sexually assaulted, or violently assaulted, and there is no consistent proof that type of harm was done to their body, that is good evidence. If someone is saying that, an individual was at a certain place at a certain time, and you have alibi evidence to show that individual is not credible, that is good testimony.
There are some more advanced techniques when talking about child pornography, or things involving the use of computers, and internet mail. You can attack the potential forensic analyst who looks at computers, and determines whether certain files, or certain things were actually accessed by this individual through this computer, or whether another individual could have accessed them.
Even in those cases, the state is thorough when they charge cases like that. It would take quite an extraordinary turn for an expert on the defense side to be able to show that someone was setup, or framed. Depending on the type of crime, there are many different resources at the defenses disposal in these cases, especially where we see high costs of representation, and high costs of defense expert witnesses. You are asking them to invest; it is not free, and not cheap.
Your life is on the line. Other than capital crimes or homicides, for someone convicted of child pornography, they will be charged one count per image; every count comes with a mandatory ten-year sentence. Therefore, if you have one-hundred photographs, then you are going to serve a life sentence for all intent purposes. Arizona has just decided that certain crimes like that are going to be zero tolerance. Obviously hands-on offenses carry very high potential sentences as well, but that is the one example where Arizona is very tough on crime when it comes to pornography.
One of the examples I use to explain is the difference between state, and federal law. Remember Jared Fogel, from Subway? He recently was convicted, did a plea deal for all kinds of sex crimes involving images, actual sex with children, and interstate travel to have sex with minors. This sounds horrible, horrible crimes when added together, that should put him in prison for life. Instead, he signed a deal for someone in his teens, for fifteen years, something like that, and so much of that is because federal sentencing guidelines are completely different, much less harsh when it comes to these types of offenses.
If he had just been committing them all in one location, one jurisdiction, any other state would probably have been able to hammer him much harder for what he did, but if you are going to commit a sex crime, you typically want to be dealing with the Feds. If you are going to commit drug trafficking, drug sales, or whatever, those are typically crimes you are going to deal with the local authorities. The federal guidelines are a lot harsher. It is always interesting how the same type of behavior can be treated differently if you engage in any type of interstate travel, or criminal activity.
What Sets You Apart In Handling Sex Crime Cases?
When I left the office, I was in the sex crimes bureau, which deals exclusively with these crimes. For the majority of my time in the prosecutor’s office, I dealt with violent, drug, and property crimes. I received extensive training and headed to the sex crimes bureau shortly before I left the defense attorney’s office. Getting that experience is priceless and continuing to get experience dealing with these crimes and defending these crimes has been important. Obviously, I have defended numerous types of cases since leaving. Just about a year ago I was out in Las Vegas for a national conference on defending sex crimes where some of the nation’s best experts, and attorneys gave presentations on all different aspects of defending cases like this, not just at trial, but from the get-go, from the inception of an investigation.
I continued to educate myself with these cases. I think what sets me apart from people that may have some experience with these cases. I mean these are really the type of cases that you do not go to just a criminal attorney for, you need to go to somebody that has dealt with these because as I said, the consequences outside of maybe capital crimes, are some of the most serious in the state.
Additional Information Regarding Sex Crimes In Arizona
The only thing I comment on is obviously punishments; the range runs the gamut, misdemeanors to felony, probation, jail, prison, all of that obviously is on the table. Counseling, classes, whatever, but I think the one important aspects of sex offender convictions regardless of what the conviction is, is to understand that in Arizona, you can be both required to register as a sex offender which can be forever, and that means that you have to report every time you move in certain types of offenses. You will be posted on the sex offender registry, and website. It makes it very difficult to get almost any type of job, and you will have to work closely with the probation department to find employers who are willing to employ you.
There are many restrictions on probation; typically, one of the most obvious one we see is the restriction on computer usage, access to Smartphones, laptops, tablets, and all of the things that people take for granted. Sometimes probation, or with certain types of restrictions, you will have some heavy monitoring for the duration of your life. If you fail to report, if you move, or if you fail to report your status to the local authorities you are going to be charged with another felony for failure to report. Therefore, sex crimes really do lead to a complete and total change in people’s lives.
Sex offender probation, on top of registration, is often and can be for life. You are under heavy scrutiny where anything you do to violate your probation could send you to prison. Many people cannot deal with the weight of that every day for the rest of their lives, especially when those terms can be applied to someone who is not the most, as I said, violent or a horrific offender. They can still be placed under that type of probation or scrutiny and many people just cannot deal with that stigma, and that control over their lives. The lack of independence they will have for the rest of their lives becomes somewhat alienated.
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