Sex Sting Prosecution in Federal Court in Tampa

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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

In 2015 Orange County Sheriff Sued Over 2011 Sex Sting Arrest

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A man had his case thrown out in Orange County and has filed a lawsuit against the Sheriff in Orange County. He was arrested in a sex sting and clearly entrapped. The State Court Judge dismissed the case when it was shown that he clearly never intended to solicit or have sex with a minor. The police basically tricked him. He was not able to see his kids for over two years. He lost his job and was subjected to terrible publicity and disgraced. As his attorney said, most people will always look at him as a sex offender although he clearly did nothing wrong.

It is going to take a Federal lawsuit to reign in some of the outrageous police misconduct. This appears to be the first one so far in Florida. Some of the State Court judges are finally showing the courage to throw out a few of the cases. It is going to take a judgment against the Sheriff to finally wake up people like Grady Judd. So far, there has been no downside for law enforcement. If a judge later throws out an arrest, it is simply no big deal. Now, if they get sued, and if they lose, they may temper some of their terrible entrapment techniques.

The Orange County case was one of the ones that started on Craigslist.com.

Over and over the man indicated he was not interested in sex with a minor. It was classic bait and switch. Only when he showed up to meet the adult woman at her “home” was the fact that there were three of them mentioned. It was absolute trickery by the police.As a sex crime lawyer, I wish this man good luck. It will be years before the case is decided, but it is about time someone has taken on the system. To win a lawsuit against the police, you really need the perfect set of facts. Filing a lawsuit and winning it are two different things. You still have to convince a jury to return a verdict for a serious amount to make it worth while. We all wish him luck.

Related Article with Video:

Man arrested in Orange County Sex Sting sues over Arrests

Is another Sex Sting in the Works for Sarasota County in November 2015?

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There have been at least twelve sex stings so far in Florida this year and another one could be coming soon.
There was a heavy presence of law enforcement in Sarasota today, November 2nd, with task force members from Osceola, Pinellas and Polk County getting together. That usually means something is in the works for another Internet Sex Sting or Child Pornography Sting.
By my count there have been 213 felony arrests so far this year with surely more to come in the remaining two months with holidays. The cops can not seem resist holidays and giving out invitations . The names given to the “Stings” are almost laughable.
The one in Okaloosa was called “Wolf Hunter”. The sting in Osceola was called “Blind Date”. One of the ones in Seminole was call “Safe Summer” and one in Jacksonville called “Operation Savior”. In Manatee “Operation Green Shepherd IV” a horrible sequel.
I have an idea for some new names for the upcoming stings. What not call it like it is with something like “Operation Bait and Switch” or “Operation Master Baiter”? How about something catchy like “Operation Mo Money” or “Operation Grand Stand”? The simple truth is most of the men caught up in the stings had no intention whatsoever of targeting minors. Most are gullible lonely introverts on the Internet in “adult only” dating sites looking for companionship. Many are simply engaging in fantasy chat where, in truth, both sides of the conversation are lying through their teeth.
Why is it that when the police lie, and claim to be something else, and engage in seductive chat that it is ok? When on the other end a person lies about age, lies about sexual history, and engages in seductive that, the police claim it is the truth. The Internet is about adults lying to each other most of the time. Men get prosecuted basically for lying in these stings.

I had a judge recently comment in dismissing one of these cases “This is just two adults lying to each other”.

The bottom line is never chat or text with a minor about anything, much less sex. There are no real horny young girls on the Internet. There are no parents, single moms or older sisters who want their kids to learn about sex. It is always the police. The solution and the real answer to protecting kids is to keep them off the Internet. If you see a child on the Internet, flag them, block them and report them. Do your part and keep real children off and out of adult Internet dating sites.

If you feel that you may be under investigation as a result of a conversation or communication you had on the internet, phone or chat room. Everyone  at sometime or other make mistakes. Do not wait call me, Peter Aiken as soon as possible so that I may address or dismiss your concerns. I blog on this all the time and sadly men still get busted doing something stupid. If you need an experienced sex crime lawyer or just want a second opinion on your sex sting case feel free to call my Sarasota office at 941 366 3506.