Lewd Sex Crimes Procedure

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  • How do sex cases originate?
  • What is the procedure these types of cases typically follow?

Sex Crimes usually come about when a parent makes an allegation against an individually accusing them of committing a lewd act or sexual battery against their child. This could be an allegation of touching, exposure, or penetration. After the police are called, an officer will be sent out to take a statement from the parent and the child. The case will then be assigned to a detective from the sex crime unit.

One of the first things the detective will do is set up an interview with the Child Protective Team for the child involved in the case. This interview is videotaped. The interview is conducted by a member of the Child Protective Team, not the detective. This individual is supposed to be trained to conduct forensic interviews, even though there is no special course they are required to take and many times do not have a degree or any training in child psychology. The detective watches the interview. In some jurisdictions, the forensic interviewer will have an earpiece so the detective can request the interviewer to ask the child questions while the forensic interview is in progress. In other jurisdictions, the Child Protective Interviewer will take a break, consult with the detective, and then go back into the room and ask the child follow-up questions. It is always best that these interviews take place as soon as the allegation is made so that the child is not influenced or coached by anyone and the allegations are fresh in the child’s mind.

After the child interview, the detective will usually conduct a “controlled phone call” with the individual accused by the child. This is done by making a phone call to the individual accused of the crime and tape recording the conversation. The call will be made by either the child or the parent. Many times the detective will tell the parent or child what to say during this call. The detective does not usually speak on the phone and the individual accused has no idea the phone call is being recorded. Under Florida law, it is illegal to tape a private call, unless it is at the direction of a law enforcement officer. Therefore, the phone call is admissible in court. In addition, because the accused is not “in custody”, the police do not have to read the accused their Miranda rights. These phone calls often play a key role in the trial and are difficult to get suppressed (thrown out of court). There are some arguments to be made and for more information on this subject call and set an appointment immediately.

Eventually, the police will attempt to conduct an interview with the individual accused. Sometimes these interviews are recorded by audio and video, but there is no requirement that this be done. An individual also has a 5th Amendment right not to answer any questions that may incriminate them and should contact me immediately if they think they are the subject of a sexual allegation or any criminal allegations so that their constitutional rights are fully protected.

If there is any physical evidence, that will be processed also as part of the investigation. However, often there is no such evidence in these cases. that means the only evidence the police and prosecutor may have is the child’s statements! Every client and their loved ones always ask

“HOW CAN THEY ARREST OR CONVICT SOMEONE IF ALL THE EVIDENCE AVAILABLE IS THE CHILD’S STATEMENT?”

The child’s statement is evidence. Just like any other criminal case, it becomes a question of who will jury believe, the child or the person accused. The child’s statement is all the police need to make an arrest and can be the only evidence to convict someone of one of these crimes that carry heavy penalties such as 25 year mandatory prison sentences!

CLICK HERE FOR INFORMATION ON THE COURT PROCEDURE IN CHILD SEX CASES AFTER AN INDIVIDUAL IS ARRESTED FOR A SERIOUS CHILD SEX CRIME IN FLORIDA

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