| Read Time: 2 minutes | Criminal Defense

False Rape Accusations on the Rise?

Rape and sexual assault are among the most heinous crimes a person may be charged with short of murder. Any type of sex crimes conviction carries serious penalties in Florida. A defendant is facing not only possible jail time, but also a lifetime of legal and public condemnation as a “sex offender.” Rolling Stone Scandal Shows How False Rape Accusations Go Viral Given the gravity of any rape accusation, it is imperative that law enforcement perform their due diligence before charging a suspect. Prosecutors must also be strictly held to their legal burden of proof: guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Unfortunately, in our social media-crazed age, people are quick to rush to judgment. There is an understandable, if legally misguided, view that we should “always believe the victim,” which can end up trampling on the constitutional rights of the accused. At the end of the day, a judge and jury need to see evidence beyond a mere accusation before convicting someone of a felony. And while studies have shown that the majority of rape accusations are credible–or at least, they are not deliberate fabrications, there is increasing anecdotal and scientific evidence that false allegations are on the rise. On the anecdotal side, there was a recent report about a video where a passenger using a popular ride-sharing service verbally threatened to accuse the driver of rape following a disagreement. Heat-of-the-moment exclamations are one thing. But then there are the false rape accusations that “go viral” and are willingly spread by the national news media. Consider the July 2014 report published in Rolling Stone magazine accusing several University of Virginia students of raping an unidentified female accuser. Although none of the accused students were ever charged with a crime, the uncorroborated accusation alone was enough to prompt a wave of stories decrying the purported “rape culture” on the nation’s college campuses. Rolling Stone later retracted the story after acknowledging its reporter and editors never bothered to corroborate the accuser’s story. Cathy Young, a writer for the libertarian magazine Reason, noted in the aftermath of the Rolling Stone scandal that “[t]he willingness to treat uncorroborated narratives of victimization as fact may be partly due to sensationalism,” but also “reflects a climate in which any suggestion that a woman who says she was raped may be lying is often treated as ‘victim-blaming’ or ‘rape apology.’” Have You Been Falsely Accused of Rape? But false rape accusations do happen. A study authored by a group from the University of Massachusetts and Northeastern University in Boston found that “the prevalence of false allegations is between 2 percent and 10 percent.” That may not sound like much, but consider that each false rape accusation represents a potential criminal conviction for an innocent person. This is why if you or a loved one is accused of a sex crime, you need to take it seriously. Do not assume it is a misunderstanding and that the police (and the press) will simply believe your claims of innocence. You need to speak with an Orlando criminal defense attorney who has experience in dealing with these types of cases. Contact the offices of Moses & Rooth, Attorneys at Law, at 407-377-0150 if you need to speak with a lawyer right away.

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Federal Crimes

Accused of federal crimes? Here’s what to expect

If you are facing allegations of federal crimes, you probably have a lot of questions about the legal process upon which you are about to embark. Federal criminal cases are significantly different from federal civil cases, and it is important to understand the distinction between these two. Further, although processes for federal drug crimes and other violations may resemble those held at the state level, there are some important distinctions. Let us address some of those differences to help criminal defendants learn more about their legal rights. First, it is important to remember that criminal proceedings place the burden of proof squarely upon the government. We have all heard of the “innocent until proven guilty” mantra — that is of utmost importance in a federal crime courtroom. In civil cases, the defendant often must prove that the allegations are false. In criminal trials, the government must prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt; that is a much stronger standard for evidence. In federal cases, more than 90 percent of defendants choose to plead guilty instead of going to trial. Plea agreements allow federal prosecutors and defense attorneys to negotiate for a more lenient sentence than the one that would be imposed after a criminal trial. Judges typically wait for the results of a comprehensive presentencing report before issuing a sentencing decision. A defendant who pleads not guilty will proceed to a criminal trial. Sentences for federal crimes often include fines, restitution or time in prison. Defendants may also be required to submit to supervision requirements, including drug testing and completing treatment programs. The fact is that no two Florida federal crime cases are the same; defendants need the advice of an experienced team of legal professionals in order to truly comprehend the nature of their alleged violations. Source: United States Courts, “Criminal Cases” Sep. 15, 2014

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Domestic Violence

Domestic assault allegations do not have to ruin your life

If you are facing allegations of domestic violence or family abuse, you know that the ramifications of these accusations can be serious and immediate. The accuser may have left you with little social traction, causing you to be removed from your home and family without much recourse. Being charged with domestic assault does not have to be the end of the road for your reputation, however; you can combat these allegations using a variety of legal strategies employed by our trained attorneys. When you are the subject of a restraining order — or you are charged with child abuse or domestic battery — you may not know what to do. Turning to an experienced legal team may be the right answer for your professional and social future. First, our attorneys will thoroughly analyze your case and the associated evidence, even interviewing the victim for more information. Key questions asked during this analysis may reveal additional mitigating circumstances that can lower your risk of jail time and other severe consequences. Those who are facing domestic violence charges still deserve to have their rights protected in court. Attorneys may be able to help defendants address bond issues, perhaps allowing them to leave custody while their case is being processed. Further, a trained legal team can help expedite your case by making specific appeals to the court in your interest. Whether you are facing allegations of domestic strangulation, false imprisonment, battery or any other domestic violence charge, you deserve the full protection of the Florida legal system. Our attorneys may be able to pursue alternative resolution in your case, allowing you to attend therapy or substance rehabilitation instead of having to spend time behind bars. Your life does not have to end simply because of a domestic violence conviction or arrest. Source: Moses and Rooth, Attorneys at Law, “Orlando Domestic Violence Defense Lawyers” Sep. 01, 2014

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Criminal Defense

Man facing parole violation in Florida courts accused of arson

A criminal defendant in Daytona Beach has been arrested and is facing charges in connection with a series of nearly 30 arson incidents in the region. The man is currently charged with parole violations, disorderly conduct and resisting an officer, though he is suspected of igniting the string of Florida fires. He may be required to mount a criminal defense against arson allegations, depending on the outcome of the current investigation. Authorities say that the 40-year-old defendant was arrested after a suicide attempt and police chase. He had been named as a person of interest in several arson cases, so officers were on the lookout for him. They found him walking near a surf shop in Daytona Beach. The man ran to the second floor of that establishment and was threatening to jump, but he was eventually talked down from the ledge. Police believe that the man may be involved in 11 arsons that have occurred this summer in the Sanford area, along with 16 unusual fires in Orlando. Three additional fires were also reportedly set in Volusia County during the second week of August. One of the fires in July destroyed a historic schoolhouse. Several of the other fires were set in both the downtown area of Sanford and in rural parts of the county. The defendant’s half-brother is facing serious criminal charges for his alleged role in an August fire at a mobile-home park in Sanford. Defendants can be arrested on unrelated charges and then charged with additional criminal allegations after being taken into police custody. This is not considered a violation of defendant’s rights. However, “persons of interest” do have specific legal rights that protect them from police and law enforcement abuse. Source: Orlando Sentinel, “Officials: Person of interest in 30 arsons arrested” David Harris, Aug. 16, 2014

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Criminal Defense

Pre-teen to mount criminal defense against murder allegations

A 12-year-old Florida boy has been arrested in connection with the murder of a 54-year-old man in late June. The young man, who was just one suspect in the case, apparently worked together with a second 16-year-old suspect. The pair will mount a criminal defense against allegations that they shot the victim in the head at a strip mall in Jacksonville. Official reports show that the victim was homeless, but he did have family members in the area. He was only carrying a small pocketknife, if any form of personal defense, according to his sister; the man had been robbed shortly before the incident, and he did not have much personal property. He had visited his sister before the shooting incident. Authorities say they are struggling to identify a motive. The defendant in this case admitted that he was seen in a security camera video at the scene of the crime. He also told authorities that he was involved in a murder. Some experts speculate that the incident may have been gang-related, even though officers have not said anything to that effect. Violent activity tends to increase with youngsters who are working their way through gang initiation, according to representatives at a local youth crisis center. Children turn to gangs because they are missing the intimacy that comes along with family relationships. The children in this case will be facing criminal charges for their involvement in the alleged shooting. However, it is not yet clear whether the 12-year-old will face criminal proceedings in the juvenile or adult system. No matter the nature of the allegations, both individuals deserve the full protection of the legal system; an arrest for a violation does not mean that the defendant is automatically considered guilty. Source: First Coast News, “12-year-old arrested on murder charges” Aug. 01, 2014

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Sex Crimes

Sting leads to charges against Florida theme park worker

It is the greatest place on Earth, unless you are an accused sex offender. That is what one Florida man has discovered about Walt Disney World, his former employer, after he was charged with child pornography sex crimes. The man pleaded not guilty to charges of traveling to meet a minor for unlawful sexual activity, along with allegations of soliciting a child for sexual acts. The man is just one of dozens of Disney workers who have been accused of sex crimes against kids in recent years; in all, 32 area theme park employees have been convicted since 2006, with some representing Universal Studios and SeaWorld. The man in this case argues that he was attempting to protect the fictitious 14-year-old girl who was soliciting sexual encounters online in Lake County, Florida. It turns out that the encounter was a ruse set up by area police officers; those who arrived at the girl’s supposed home were taken into custody. The man tells officers that he intended to call authorities when he arrived at the girl’s home, and that he never wanted to harm her or commit any sex crimes. This defendant had overseen ride repairs at Disney’s Magic Kingdom. Other workers have also been identified in police stings, including those in the costuming department, security guards, tour guides and maintenance specialists. A recent sting concluded this month, with three theme park employees being arrested for alleged sex crimes against children. Officers tread a fine line between entrapment and legal crime-prevention strategies when they set up this type of sex sting. Defendants should remember that they are not automatically considered guilty simply because they are arrested for alleged solicitation of a minor. Legal options are available for those defendants who find themselves targeted by police through these dubious methods. Source: CNN, “Theme park employees caught in sex stings, child porn arrests” Kyra Phillips and Scott Zamost, Jul. 14, 2014

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| Read Time: < 1 minute | Sex Crimes

Florida man with extensive record assaults girl in Walmart

A man in Florida who has a list of arrests for sex crimes has recently found himself facing more charges after he allegedly touched a girl while in a local Walmart. Most recently, the man was allowed to leave prison in the summer of 2013. This event could end up putting him back behind bars again if he is convicted. According to authorities, the entire thing was recording by the various security cameras in the department store. It appears that the man followed the girl, perhaps establishing an intent to assault her. He then touched her the first time, and she went to another part of the store. The man allegedly tracked her down there and touched her again. The girl is 12 years old. Another shopper who was asked, who has children of her own, said that a situation like this is frightening and that every parent dreads having something of this nature happen to their children. One interesting aspect of the previous stint in jail, the one that ended in June of 2013, was that the man was given a sentence of 11 years. For reasons that are not immediately clear, he did not have to serve more than roughly three years of that sentence before being released. His name has been previously added to the Sex Offender Database used by authorities across Florida. In this case, he has been denied bond. Police have stated that they do have some suspicion that this girl may not be the man’s only victim. When facing molestation charges or similar sexual charges, those who have been accused still have the right to a fair trial for the current allegations, regardless of their history of other convictions and jail time. Source: Click Orlando,

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Sex Crimes

Former educator accused of sexual battery dating back to 1990s

The former chair of an East Coast school board has been arrested and charged in Florida in connection with a variety of sex crimes dating back to the 1990s. Authorities report that the 53-year-old technology expert is accused of abusing girls in Virginia, where he served as a politician, ex-military police officer and teacher. The defendant was arrested on June 2 after the sexual battery charges came to light. Official reports show that the man is accused of sexually abusing four alleged victims, all of whom were ages 6 to 10 at the time of the supposed abuse. In all, the man is being charged with a whopping 48 counts of both aggravated sexual battery and indecent liberties with a minor while in a supervisory role. He is also accused of 15 counts of object penetration. Authorities say that although the man was reportedly active in church and school activities during his time in Virginia, it does not appear as though any of the molestation incidents are connected with those responsibilities. The defendant was taken into custody after an investigation for a routine background check through the Defense Intelligence Agency. The man had been working with that branch of the Department of Defense until he was arrested; he has been suspended from his job. Although it may seem easy to sympathize with victims in such cold cases, it is important to remember that physical evidence is a critical part of many criminal proceedings. Abuse dating back to the 1990s may not be supported by enough concrete evidence to convict the man of the sex crimes. It is possible that the allegations are based on false accusations from the reported victims. Criminal defendants have a right to be protected from such nefarious actions. Source: Orlando Sentinel, “Sex crimes alleged against Brevard man who led Virginia school district” Kevin P. Connolly, Jun. 09, 2014

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| Read Time: 2 minutes | Sex Crimes

Orlando woman charged with prostitution and child neglect

A 22-year-old woman has been arrested in Orlando, Florida, and charged with child neglect and prostitution, as well as theft. She allegedly lured men to her home with solicitation of sex with young girls, and then the men were robbed at gunpoint when they entered the home. Her scheme was said to have been going on for about four months before she was busted. It all started when a 17-year-old friend moved in with the woman. The teen was expected to watch the woman’s 2-year-old child to pay for her keep. Then a 16-year-old runaway moved in with her 17-year-old friend at the house. The woman allegedly exposed her scheme to them and asked them to join her. The woman ran an enticing online ad for prostitution. The girls were mainly supposed to be decoys for the men who answered the ad. When the men arrived at the house, they paid at the door. Then as they entered the house, some were robbed at gunpoint, while others were treated to the promised sexual favors with one of the girls. Alleged gang members were used for the robberies, and the woman received a portion of the take. According to what the woman allegedly told the girls when she exposed her scheme to them, she was making thousands of dollars a week. However, her scheme went sour when the 16-year-old runaway decided to go back home to her family. She told family members about the criminal activity she was involved in. The 16-year-old alleges that she actually only had sex with three of the men and was mostly used as a decoy. The 22-year-old woman, now facing these felony charges, will need a strong defense team to counter these charges. Unfortunately, this woman has been arrested previously on charges of aggravated battery, which will not help her attorneys when trying to portray her innocence in this case. However, people need to remember that allegations are not fact, and everyone is innocent until proven guilty. Source: Daily News, “Florida mom used underage prostitutes in robbery scheme: sheriff” Doyle Murphy, Apr. 06, 2014

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| Read Time: < 1 minute | Criminal Defense

Florida woman accused of embezzling from employer

A Florida woman has been accused of embezzling $190,000 from her employer. Police state that she was purportedly overpaying herself and also endorsing checks from the office in order “to make personal credit card payments.”  She is now charged with felony grand larceny. Though the woman apparently works for a medical office, the specific location of the employer was not disclosed. Her employer apparently terminated the woman’s job after allegations were made that embezzlement had taken place. We do need to keep in mind that an arrest is different from a conviction.  Though newspapers write stories up as if allegations actually occurred, it remains up to prosecutors and arresting officers to prove that a crime did take place.  Individuals charged of any crime still have the right to be considered innocent in the court of law until proven guilty.  Though police in this case stated that the following of a “paper trail” led to the arrest of this woman, evidence obtained needs to be reliable for this to result in a conviction. Also, even if the woman was involved in a crime, we still do not know what her personal situation would be that would have led up to such an act.  When police state that the woman was using embezzled funds to pay off credit card payments, we don’t know how much in credit card payments the woman was required to make or whether she fully intended to pay her employer back. Criminal defense attorneys will do what they can to tell the side of the story of an individual charged with a crime.  Though individuals are sometimes found guilty, attorneys can sometimes provide courts and prosecutors compelling reasons as to why a sentence should be reduced. Source: KIVI TV, Sep. 17, 2013

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