Articles Tagged with sex crimes defense attorney

Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorney clients accused of a felony crime – especially one as serious and morally fraught as a sex offense – have told us it feels like the whole world is coming to an end. The reality is arrest is just the beginning of the process. Evidence can be refuted. Witnesses may recant or not be credible. Criminal investigators may do a poor job. There may be lesser crimes to which one can plead that do not have the same stigma or penalty.criminal defense lawyer

Having an skilled criminal defense attorney is imperative. This person will be defending your integrity, your credibility and your civil right to due process and fairness. Because sexual crimes are among the most reviled (and the consequences so steep), it is extremely important that you work with a defense lawyer who has experience and a history of prevailing.

In the state of Florida, sexual battery is described in F.S. 749.011. It’s extensive and there are varying degrees of offense. For example, if you are 18-years-old or older and are accused of sexual battery on a person also older than 18 without that person’s consent, it’s considered a first-degree felony, which is punishable by up to 30 years in prison. However, if the defendant did not use physical force and violence likely to cause physical injury, it’s considered a second-degree felony, punishable by 15 years in prison. The offense can be aggravated by a number of circumstances, including the use of a firearm. Continue reading

The Broward County Sheriff’s Office has come under scrutiny after it was revealed a man arrested on charges of sexually assaulting a juvenile last year was charged earlier this month with armed kidnapping and sexual battery of another person in 2003. That case had remained cold for 15 years.criminal defense attorney

At the time, the woman reported to police she was walking on South State Road 7 one night in late December when an unknown man approached with a gun and threatened to shoot her if she struggled or made a scene. She then said the man forced her to a nearby car dealership and sexually assaulted her repeatedly inside a vehicle. The woman survived the attack, reported it to police and a rape kit was performed and submitted to the crime laboratory at the Broward County Sheriff’s Office. But nothing happened. Defendant has a lengthy criminal record and documents from the Hollywood Police Department show their agency received a crime lab report from Broward in 2006 indicating a routine search of their national DNA database had returned a possible lead in the 2003 case with this particular defendant. It’s unclear why neither agency followed up.

A 2014 audit of practices at the Hollywood Police Department, according to NBC Miami, revealed the agency had dozens of sexual assault evidence kits stowed away in a locked evidence room, rather than submitted to a crime laboratory. Once the audit was finished, two arrests were made in the two dozen cases that were reviewed. The chief reported at the time that he was establishing a special unit solely to handle rape kit analysis.  Continue reading

Comedian Bill Cosby’s conviction for aggravated indecent assault was born of a set of highly unique circumstances. It involved a civil case deposition that was previously sealed. It involved a high-profile defendant. It involved a previous agreement not to prosecute (one the Pennsylvania DA simply ignored). But perhaps one of the most important unique elements of this case is the testimony from previous victims. criminal defense

While the case isn’t likely to serve as an exact blue print for how we might expect future sexual assault investigations to go, but we could well see a difference in criminal defense lawyer strategies. Attitudes both inside and outside the courtroom toward accusers and alleged victims of sexual assault and harassment are changing in the er of #MeToo.

Take for instance the fact that when this case first went to trial, none of Cosby’s other accusers (and there are many) were allowed to testify because, as the court reasoned, those incidents had nothing to do with the specific accusations against the defendant in this incident. Andrea Constand accused the star of drugging and sexually assaulting her at his mansion in 2004. Constand is gay and was in a relationship with a woman at the time of the incident, despite Cosby’s insistence that this encounter – and several others prior – were consensual.  Continue reading

A county commissioner in his 70s has been immediately suspended by the governor following his arrest on multiple misdemeanors alleging prostitution. The commissioner, from Hernando County, reportedly wrote the governor and asked he be suspended effective July 17th – significant because that’s the day after which it would be too late to put his elected seat on the ballot this year. Gov. Rick Scott chose instead to remove him from the post right away.prostitution defense

The Miami Herald reports the commissioner was arrested for:

  • One count operating a location for the purposes of lewdness, assignation or prostitution;
  • Two counts purchasing services from a person engaged in prostitution.

Both of these are violations of different parts of F.S. 796.07, which prohibits prostitution and related acts. A first offense for any of this is considered a second-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to 60 days in jail. But for many individuals, like this defendant, the problem is less about the jail time (though two months in jail could easily cost one his or her employment) or even the maximum $5,000 fine. The more troubling aspect is the permanent stain on his or her criminal record record. Continue reading

Often when a law enforcement officer is working long hours, it’s a sign of diligence. However, for the colleagues of Broward County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Kreg Costa, suspicions were heightened because the road duty supervisor was staying in his office during and after his shift with the lights off and uniform and gun belt removed. Staffers who witnessed his behavior called it “bizarre.” police2

Detectives with the agency’s public corruption unit launched an investigation that included asking for computer use reports from the sergeant’s work laptop from January to March. That’s when they found images of hardcore pornography, bondage and incest-related sites. Further he was reportedly engaging in sexually explicit messages with a 16-year-old girl on both video chats and Twitter. Costa allegedly instructed the California teen to record herself engaged in sexual activity.

Costa was arrested when he arrived at work for a scheduled training. He has been suspended without pay and faces a total of 29 serious criminal charges, including soliciting a child for unlawful sexual conduct using a computer, use of a child in sexual performance, possession of child pornography and lewd lascivious battery. Continue reading

The alleged gang rape of a Florida Atlantic University student at last year’s “South Florida Oil Spill” party remains unsolved as event organizers prepared to host the party again this year. It will be the seventh annual for the event, in which 600 to 800 college students from across the state pack into a party spot and pay a $30 flat-rate for all-you-can-drink and live music. nightclub

According to the Sun Sentinel, it was at this event at the Wayne Barton center just two miles off campus in Boca Raton last year that a young woman, separated from her friends while dancing in the center of the gym, was allegedly dragged off the dance floor, guided briefly onto the main stage and then pulled into an enclave to the left of the stairs. There, she would later tell authorities, the men pulled a curtain over her head and took turns raping her.

Today, there are no suspects and no arrests, but authorities say they are hoping for a break in the case, which at this point will hinge on DNA evidence. When the woman was taken to the hospital – hours after the alleged attack – there were traces of semen found inside her. At this point, that may be the only way to identify those allegedly involved.  Continue reading

“Justice delayed is justice denied,” goes the old saying.handcuffs1

And this is as true for a defendant as it is the victim. That’s because when cases are filed five, 10 or 20 years or more after an alleged crime, it becomes exceedingly difficult to challenge the veracity of the charges. Witness memories fade. People retire. Others die. Receipts that might have verified or disproved certain elements are gone. Records are trashed.

That’s why if you are accused of a Broward sex crime that involves years-old allegations, you must hire an experienced defense attorney to help ensure your rights are protected.

One such case was recently reported by The Sun Sentinel, involving a Pembroke Pines defendant accused of raping one child and molesting another two decades ago. Continue reading

Prosecutors say Pelayo Alexander Cerulia grew increasingly brazen with his exploits over the course of two years. He allegedly started by peering into the homes of unsuspecting women. Then he started doing so while touching himself. Then, he began shattering their windows with marbles fired from a slingshot. Then, in the most serious incident, he is accused of trying to break into a woman’s home this past July, demanding that she show her breasts and bragging he would never be caught. windows

The Sun-Sentinel reports Cerulia was terrorizing the same five women (and possibly others) over the course of 24 months. The women tearfully spoke publicly about these repeated encounters and Cerulia turned himself into police two days later, on New Year’s Eve.

Initially, prosecutors argued the judge should set no bond in the case, arguing the 43-year-old defendant was a danger to the community. But defense argued there was a significant flaw in the eyewitness account provided by the woman who alleged attempted burglary: She described a man who was “Irish-looking” with “reddish complexion” who was a “pasty white guy.” His client’s skin is tan and his hair is dark and graying near his temples. He also has thick black eyebrows.  Continue reading

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