APPEALS COURT OVERTURNS DISMISSAL IN SEX STING CASE
The Fifth District Court of Appeal in December of 2013 and again in January of 2014 reversed the Circuit Court Judge and reinstated criminal charges in two sex sting cases from Orange County, Florida. Both cases involved sex stings where the defendant was charged with attempting to solicit a minor for sex using an electronic device. The lower Court had thrown out the charges holding that there had to actually be communication with the minor. In the State v Wilson case, the undercover cop posed as an aunt offering her 13 year old niece for sex.
The defendant had traveled to meet the minor and had been charged under two different Statutes. The Fifth District held that the lower Court misinterpreted the “attempt” statute and that the statute applied when a person attempted to solicit a child through an intermediary.
Basically, the Court ruled that the “attempt” statute made it a crime to solicit a child through an intermediary. There is in fact a separate statute that makes it a crime to solicit a parent, legal guardian or custodian of a child but the State had not charged the crime under that statute. Basically the Court held that you could be charged either under the attempt statute or the or F. S. 847.0135(3)(b).
There are two ways you can win a sex sting case. One way is on the law. That is getting tougher and tougher as the Courts generally rule in favor of the State. The other way is with a jury on the facts of the case. Thank God for the jury system. The State still has to convince six people that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. As a sex crime lawyer I do appreciate how frustrating it is given the terrible publicity created by the local sheriff after each of the Sex Stings. It is difficult, but not impossible. There are still several cases working their way through the Courts on the issue of Entrapment. Hopefully in these cases the lower Courts dismissal will be upheld. The battle goes on……
If you feel that this ruling impacts your case and would like more information you can contact our firm For a Free Consultation call now at (941) 366-3506