An Air Force Sergeant was the latest man to be arrested and prosecuted in Federal Court in Tampa just days ago. The Air Force office of Special Investigations is still running stings on the Internet on Craigslist.com and other social medial adult dating sites. All of the details of this latest sting are not available yet, but the prosecution has been filed in Federal Court to take advantage of the harsh Federal Sentencing Guidelines. As a former Federal prosecutor and a former Federal agent, I understand why sometimes cases are filed there instead of the local State Courts. In this instance, the case originated with a military investigation. The military also has the option of proceeding in military court where the defendant’s fate is decided by a panel of officers as opposed to regular citizens. Federal Court is the big league and the penalties there are harsh and oppressive.
In my opinion, the military should deal with military issues and stay out of the sex sting business. I guess it is just too tempting for some of the investigators. Doesn’t the military have enough to do dealing with actual rapes and sex crimes committed by military men or fellow military members? Sex Sting Cases are just too easy to create. It is like shooting fish in a barrel. It is an easy way to run up statistics. I have represented a number of military men in State Court prosecutions in Florida, Alabama and Georgia. I have represented a number of military men in State Court prosecutions in Florida, Alabama and Georgia. Those cases were all filed in State Court. In Clearwater, I handled a case where an Air Force Special Investigator by the name of Glidewell was involved in a purely State investigation and prosecution. That is a direct violation of a Federal Law, the Posse Comitatus Act, a law that specifically prohibits the military from enforcing State laws.
That is probably why now they are bringing Federal prosecutions instead of State cases.
Not all lawyers are admitted to practice in Federal Court and not all lawyers are familiar with the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure or the Federal Rules of Evidence.
Few are familiar with the military proceedings and not all criminal lawyers have experience defending sex sting or sex crime cases. A successful defense of an Internet Sex Crime takes real know how and experience. These types of cases can be won given the right set of facts, a knowledge of the law, and good hard work. Winning is not an accident. The Internet is a dangerous place. My advice is to stay away from the Internet dating sites and if anyone ever even remotely hints they are a minor, or suggests hooking up with a minor, terminate all communication. Never, no never, travel to meet a minor for anything, much less sex. Imagine being a registered sex offender for life. It just is not worth it. If you or someone you know has been questioned or arrested in a Federal Sex Sting take down in Seminole, Brevard, Orange, Lake, Broward, Monroe, Miami Dade, Polk, Highlands, Citrus, Pasco, Sarasota, Manatee, Pinellas, Lee, Charlotte, Desoto or Hillsborough county call us on or before the arrest. We have the experience that you need.
If you have questions or comments or would like to discuss this issue, feel free to call my office at 941 366 3506