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OPERATION HOME ALONE SEX STING
More Arrests Coming in Clearwater Tampa Internet Sex Sting
The arrest of thirty five men in Clearwater is only the beginning in Operation Home Alone Sex Sting. The team that includes Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, Investigative Operation Bureau, Special Victims Unit, Crimes Against Children Unit, Patrol Operation Bureau, Violent Crimes Task Force, DUI/SEU Unit, Clearwater Police, St. Petersburg Police Department, Polk County Sheriff’s office, Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations, H.E.R.O. Child Rescue Corp., FDLE, FBI, United States Air Force, Office of Special Investigations, Pinellas-Pasco State attorney Office, and ICAC Task Force promise up to 50 more people will be arrested in the next month. These men did not travel to meet a minor, they simply chatted with an undercover posing as a minor on the Internet. If a person sends a sexually explicit image to a person believed to be a minor (usually, an undercover cop), they can be arrested and charged with transmission of improper images to a minor. If you get convicted of such a crime, you become a registered sex offender for at least the next twenty years.
If you think you chatted or emailed with what could be a cop don’t wait for them to knock on your door. Whatever you do, do not consent to an interview with a detective or a sheriff’s investigator. They are not your friend. They are there to arrest and prosecute you. Do get sucked into their “thought crime” mentality. The truth is that the Internet has become the new phone sex substitute. People engage in fantasy chat with what they thing are adults. It is just a fantasy. The police do not treat it as such and will bust you for even talking about having sex with a minor.
There are more arrests coming out of the latest sting in Pinellas. Seventeen agencies worked on this and they are desperate to create more arrest statistics. You have the right remain silent and you darn sure should. Never try and talk your way out of it. The only words coming out of your mouth are “I want to talk to a lawyer”
If you have a loved one busted in this latest sex sting and want a sex crime lawyer contact my office for a free consultation. Don’t wait for them to come for you. For a Free Consultation Call 941-366-3506
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Massive Arrests in January 2014 Clearwater Sex Sting Operation Home Alone
As I predicted the Clearwater police and the Pinellas County Sheriff’s office have arrested at last count 35 suspects in the latest Tampa Bay Sex Sting, “OPERATION HOME ALONE”. They are already beating the drums and claiming that they arrested “sex predators” and are protecting our children from pedophiles. Nothing could be further from the truth. The real truth is that many otherwise innocent men are now the victims of classic police entrapment. What the public is not told are the details of the cases. Most of the men were in adult sites expecting to email, text and chat with adults. This is classis bait and switch tactics. The real truth is that the police have a financial incentive to produce results. They forfeit the cars and seize computers and cellphones. Many of the Counties get money from the Feds in terms of their share of the ICAC Federal grants.
You cannot believe what you see on TV and read in the media. Most of the people arrested really were not after children. Most of those arrested had no prior contact with children. The police set them up carefully luring them into situations where they would travel. They used the best bait in the world, SEX. As a Florida sex crime lawyer. I have handled many of these so called Internet Sex Stings and time after time, when the real truth comes out, it is the police that are doing the luring and seducing. These cases can be won if you have the right facts and a good experienced criminal defense attorney. Not all criminal lawyers are experienced in sex sting cases or are savvy as to the tactics the police are using in entrapping innocent people. As a former prosecutor and thirty year veteran criminal trial lawyer I know the truth about what the police are really doing. It may make good press for the police but in ruins innocent lives.
If a loved one has been arrested in this child sex sting, give me a call and I will fill you in on the real truth about law enforcement entrapment techniques.
Call today for a free consultation at 941 366 3506
related article: http://www.pcsoweb.com/news-release/14-015-operation-home-alone-nets-35-arrests/
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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
Can You Get Off the Sex Offender Registration List?
Under some very specific conditions, you may be able to be removed from the Sex Offender registration list. One of the ways is under Florida Statute 943.04354. This Statute is called the Romeo and Juliette law. It is designed to address the situations where the “victim” is between 14 and no more than17 and the defendant is no more than four years older. For example, if the victim was 15 years of age and the defendant was 19, the Court may enter an order directing that the defendant not become a registered sex offender. This law is intended to rectify the situation where kids in high school engage in sex and it is a technical violation of the law.
As a sex crime lawyer I often encounter a situation where teenagers have engaged in sexual relations and the girl is under age. Angry parents are generally the catalyst in bringing these cases to Court. In defending sex crimes involving teenagers, I have also been successful in convincing the Court to sentence under the Youthful offender Act and in some instances even withhold adjudication. In the best case scenario, it is possible to keep the accused from becoming a felon and becoming a registered sex offender. The motion has to be made 21 days before sentencing. Having a criminal defense attorney that knows all of the options is critical.
I also get calls from men who many years ago became registered sex offenders as a result of a plea in another State where they were afraid to go to trial. It may not be too late to get off the sex offender registration list if you meet certain criteria. If you are on the list and there is a legal way to get off the list, you really need to do it.
In Florida, law enforcement looks for ways to charge registered sex offenders for minor technical violations like not reporting a change in address, not registering a screen name or not registering with the Department of motor vehicles. As a sex offense attorney I run into this all the time. If you can get off the list, do it now.
Call 941 366 3506in Sarasota or call 239 334 8890 in Ft. Myers for a free consultation or you can visit my website for further information.
Georgia Supreme Court hears Argument on Internet Sex Sting Case
After the lower Court reversed a conviction in a Caloosa County sex sting case, the County prosecutor appealed to the Georgia Supreme Court. At stake are a number of Georgia Internet sex sting cases dealing with entrapment. The Georgia case dealt with undercover officers posing as parents offering sex with their children. This is a very common tactic in cases here in Florida, particularly Manatee County. The decision although not binding on the Courts here in Florida, may be persuasive argument in the many pending cases.
There are many prosecutions here in Florida where the police and the FDLE agents who are members of ICAC task forces pose are parents promoting sex with their children. They generally post in adult social media sites like Craigslist with suggestive posts in adult only sections. The then move the texts and emails to discussions about sex with children. Usually they mention a fourteen old daughter or in some cases a fourteen year old sister suggesting that the child needs to learn about sex. These are totally bogus ads and entrapment at the highest level. Some of the courts and some of the juries are now catching on to this police entrapment technique. The officers will pretend to be concerned and cautious using phrases like “you are not a cop are you”. This phrase is designed to put the person on the other end at ease. As a sex sting lawyer I have reviewed thousands of texts and emails and there is a pattern to the police entrapment cases. The police generally post in adult only sites like Craigslist or Dating.com. They will imply or suggest that there is a young girl who in “inexperienced” and needs to learn about sex. The girl will generally be 13 or 14 years old. They will use phrases like “Spring Break” or “parents are away for the weekend”. They will use smiley faces and the typical “lol’ in their texts. They will tell the person responding that “you are hot”. All of this is part of a bait and switch to lure an adult seeking sex with an adult into chat or texting with a minor.
The police will send photos of a minor, usually a photograph of another officer when they were in their teens. Sending photographs is against the rules and procedures but they do in anyway.
If you or a loved one have fallen victim to this police entrapment do not give up. Many of the people arrested are simply lonely men who were texting out a fantasy on the Internet. These cases can be successfully defended if the facts support entrapment.
As a sex crime lawyer I follow and track the cases being decided in Florida and there is a trend towards the public becoming more and more aware of what the police are really doing.
Call 941 366 3506 for a free consultation