One of the protagonists from a famous 2009 movie encouraged others to “enjoy the little things.” In the law, it is less about enjoying the little things than it is about paying keen attention to the little things because sometimes the little things can make a huge difference in your criminal case. That was the case for one defendant who was facing sexual assault charges and who won a reversal of his conviction because the trial court, in issuing jury instructions, misstated the crime with which the state had charged the man. These and other minute but highly important details are examples of the types of areas in which experienced Florida sex crime attorneys can help you.
In the case, recently decided by the Fifth District Court of Appeal, the defendant was accused of trying to take advantage of an inebriated woman. Specifically, the defendant, the victim, and several of the defendant’s co-workers had spent the night drinking, and the victim ended up passed out in a field next to the bar’s parking lot. Eventually, several of the group got the unconscious woman to a van owned by one of the group. Even though the victim was “essentially non-responsive,” everyone except the victim went back inside the bar. After that, the defendant went back outside, purportedly to check on the victim. Then, sometime after that, the van’s owner went out to check. She discovered the victim, still largely not responsive, in a “half-naked” state and the defendant, with no pants on, standing over her.
At trial, the jury heard replays of phone calls, made by the victim but recorded by the police, during which the defendant “admitted that he attempted and probably did try to have sex” with the victim. Eventually, the case went to the jury, and the jury convicted the man. With facts like these, the case against the defendant might seem, to a layperson, to be ironclad. However, in many aspects of the law, from contract law to criminal defense, the difference between a favorable and an unfavorable outcome can be the smallest of details and knowing how to present those details to the courts. Additionally, even with alleged facts that are offensive and potentially triggering for some, the law still requires that all defendants receive a trial that comports with all of the fundamental elements of fairness.