Today, the Fifth District Court of Appeal issued a ruling in a Lewd and Lascivious sex case. In this sex case, the individual was charged with two counts of lewd or lascivious molestation in violation of section 800.04(5)(b), Florida Statutes. In the criminal sexual molestation case, the prosecutor charged the defendant, a person eighteen years of age or older, with intentionally touching in a lewd or lascivious manner the genital area or clothing covering the genital area of the victim, a person less than twelve years of age. In count two, the State Attorney charged the defendant with intentionally forcing or enticing the victim to touch his genitals in a lewd or lascivious manner. The defendant entered a plea of "no contest" to the two criminal charges. The court adjudicated him guilty of both counts of lewd or lascivious molestation and sentenced him to fifteen years in the Department of Corrections on each count to run concurrent. The prison sentence was to be followed by 10 years sex offender probation.
This means that the prison time on each count would run at the same time. So even though he was sentenced to 15 years on each count, the total sentence would be 15 years Florida State Prison (FSP) not 30 years. After he is released from prison he would then serve 10 years sex offender probation as long as he was not held under a civil commitment under the Jimmy Ryce Act. Because he pled "no contest" he could appeal the "double jeopardy" of being convicted of two crimes even though it was only a single criminal episode. He could also appeal the ruling based upon a due process violation of his constitutional rights against "double jeopardy".
The Fifth District Court of Appeal ruled against the defendant and held that the punishment did not violate 'double jeopardy" protections. This decision is in contrast to the Fourth District Court of Appeal which recently held the opposite in a similar sex case. The issue in these sexual battery criminal cases, multiple acts within a single criminal episode can constitute separate crimes if they are “distinct acts.” The courts are in conflict on how to interpret a single episode when a suspect is criminally charged with molestation or conduct. The question turns on a factual determination of whether the sex acts are a single episode or two distinct acts. These case are in conflict with each other and another District Court of Appeal. The Second District Court of Appeal which is binding on Polk County criminal cases disagrees with the Fifth and could benefit you if charged with this serious sex crime.
If you have been arrested for sexual molestation, sexual battery, sexual assault, capital sexual battery, or possession of child pornography in Polk County, you need an aggressive criminal defense attorney that keeps up to date on the latest rulings from the appellate courts so that you get the best outcome to your case. You want a lawyer that knows what the law is before he walks into the court room so that he can properly advise you of the strengths and weaknesses of your case.
Call for your free consultation from an attorney actually located in Polk County. Many times I see attorneys from other counties take these serious crimes in Polk, but do not want to travel to Polk and have other attorneys cover their court dates. How are you supposed to meet with your attorney if he is not in Polk? Are you going to drive to their office or just talk over the phone? Is he working on your case or driving across the state? Will he get tired of driving and stop fighting for you? Does he know the prosecutor and judges? Talk to an aggressive Polk County criminal defense attorney willing to fight for you in court.
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THOMAS C. GRAJEK 863-688-4606
Office - Lakeland, FL
Experienced criminal attorney handling all sexual battery, assault, lewd and lascivious, and child molestation crimes in Polk County, Florida.