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There are several basic strategies that are well known. In this article I will focus on the subject at the more advanced level.
First, a Fact Pattern Report from the client is essential. Dinosaur lawyers and law firms use the “chat in the office” method without any written account from the client. This was fine in 1990. Until a client almost went to jail because he forgot to tell me something at my very first jury trial. Since then, I’ve used Fact Pattern Reports from my clients. They are required, and every law firm and defense lawyer should put the time in to research this issue. Chatty office visits with lots of hand holding comfort may sell more cases, but it doesn’t win in court. Absent a significant brain problem, every client is expected to complete a Fact Pattern Report.
Second, carefully target pretrial deposition testimony. Clients do not realize that many attorneys take depositions that a) have the potential to weaken their case, and; b) many lawyers practice CYA law. As a consumer, you don’t want a lawyer focused on CYA law at your expense. Even the sequence of who testifies when before trial is important.
Third, understand that the truth does not matter in a court of law. Yes, we are all raised to uphold truth as the American Way, that honesty is good, etc. But ask an Islamic cleric, an atheist and a fundamentalist Christian what happens when people die. You will get some very conflicting versions of the truth in the form of belief. In court, the truth is what a jury believes to be true. This distinction is important but usually overlooked.
Fourth, think creatively about the discovery process. When I handled the first Facebook and other social media discovery sexual battery case in Okaloosa County, no one had done it before. Same with SPECT brain imaging mitigation. Creative thinking is essential. A man is walking free today because the Facebook private messages of a false accuser came back to haunt her in front of a jury (of course, she cried).
Here is an example people dismiss immediately – because they are not thinking creatively enough.
When the facts line up, I like to have a high technology, modern polygraph testing of my client. Everybody knows that lie detector tests are inadmissible in court. So why bother? When a highly advanced computerized polygraph is performed and my client passes, the State Attorney has a major ethical problem: can the complaining witness be called to testify at all? An ethical question that has now been presented that invokes the very disciplinary rules of the Florida Bar.
It is amazing how before trial polygraphs are inadmissible, but the moment someone is convicted of a sexual offense, guess what they have to do every year for the rest of their lives; take a polygraph examination. My argument is if my client passes a polygraph or if the state attorney puts a false accuser on the stand then they have committed an ethical violation that the Florida bar needs to investigate.
A lot of people would like the law to be cut in to black and white. The law is not like that at all, particularly when it comes to sexual battery prosecution, child sexual battery prosecutions, lewd or lascivious molestation act or battery prosecutions. These are very technical prosecutions with special rules of evidence and very high stakes.
Finally, other things that people would not normally think of, such as a black box data from a motor vehicle. If somebody claims that so and so met them at this location and did this sexual thing to them, most vehicles on the road have the automotive equivalent of an airplane black box.
The Importance Of An Experienced Attorney In Defending Sex Crime Cases
Sex offenses are an area of law like the death penalty litigation; extremely serious. The moment you say murder, manslaughter or sex crime in a sentence, right off the bat, it is extremely serious. This requires a higher level of expertise than most lawyers have. This is why certification is so important. No one should even consider defense lawyers who have failed to become certified specialists unless they are working with counsel that is a certified specialist. There are special rules of evidence within sexual offense cases that you will not see in the context of burglary. You will not see these rules in a DUI case and you will not see them in most murder cases.
I would suggest someone go straight to a criminal law specialist in order to have a proper defense, whether that defense is focused upon settling the case or taking it to a jury trial. With a specialist, you don’t have to hope they are skilled enough to handle your case, you know.
For more information on Defense Strategies In Sex Crime Cases, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (850) 466-1522 today.