Articles Posted in Sex Crimes

Published on:

It’s that time of year again folks! Downtown Tampa and Bayshore Boulevard will be packed this weekend with pirates doing all sorts of piratey things. The rum will flow, the booty will be plundered, yards will be peed in and some of us might even get arrested! While part of this sounds like perfectly reasonable pirate behavior, the eight different law enforcement agencies working this weekend and many local homeowners might have a slightly different take on our beloved festival. While I can personally attest that our little celebration is a blast, there is no disputing that some take it a bit too far, only to find themselves sitting pretty in a drunk tank until they can be transported to the Hillsborough Hilton. No it’s not ok to pee on that road cone or invite yourself in to Derek Jeter’s fantastic new house. With each passing celebration local law enforcement has tightened the belt on the festival and worked to contain the alcohol to specified locations. Take your drink outside of those “wet zones” and you could find your wallet to be a bit lighter.

No, the police really aren’t looking to give you a hard time at Gasparilla, nor do they really want to mess with having to arrest your royal drunkenness. Having attended many a Gasparilla parade I’ve witnessed with my own eyes a fiasco or two where an otherwise fine lad was led away in silver bracelets. Generally the police made contact with him and asked him to go back to a wet zone or simply asked him to cool it on some other form of jackassery. I’ve also received a ton of phone calls from those who got a little loud and rowdy and ended up in the clink. Honestly, at this point it’s kind of difficult to get arrested at Gasparilla unless you’re just asking for it. If you drink outside of the wet zone you will likely be fined $75 for a first offense, $150 for a second, $300 for a third, and $450 if you are ridiculous enough to do it a fourth time. While no one wants to be fined during Gasparilla, be happy Tampa passed this ordinance as it may prevent you from going to jail. It’s the lesser of two evils people. If you’re so hammered that you can’t stand up or speak, you’re likely going to be arrested for public intoxication, miss out on the rest of the fun, and will enjoy the thrill of sitting in the office of a Tampa criminal attorney next week. What if you have to pee? While at times the bush in your immediate field of vision might offer a reasonable place to relieve yourself, you are not in the backwoods of Alaska, nor are you on an airboat in the Everglades miles from civilization. You’re in the fine city of Tampa, home to the worst football team in the NFL and the best chicken wings of all time. I’m looking at you Hattrick’s! Hose that bush down and you could find yourself charged with a violation of Tampa City Ordinance 14-52 for public urination, thereby subjecting yourself to a $500 fine and 60 days in jail. You don’t have to pee that bad. What if that sweet babe with the sock on her head and 356 strands of beads around her neck (I wonder how she got those??) invites you to the aforementioned pee bush for a little romantic “live action?” Think twice hombre! If you make a baby in public you’re going to go to jail. Scientific fact. No, the wet zone won’t provide a loophole so don’t call me Monday and ask. No one, and I mean no one, wants to see what either of you are packing. If said package is out, soaking up the sun, you will be arrested for indecent exposure, charged with a first degree misdemeanor and come sliding into court just under the sex offender cut off.
Continue reading →

Published on:

Retired Supreme Court Justice Major Harding wrote in a letter to Florida State University quarterback Jameis Winston’s attorney Sunday that Winston was cleared of all code of conduct allegations against him. In Justice Harding’s letter it was cited that, “[i]n sum, the preponderance of the evidence has not shown that you (Winston) are responsible for any of the charge violations of the Code.” For a little over the past year Jameis Winston has been the focus of an alleged sexual assault against a former FSU student after the two left together from local bar Potbelly’s. In spite of Leon County State Attorney Willie Meggs declining to file criminal charges against Winston, FSU went forward with their own Title IX investigation, electing to allow the option of one of three retired Florida Supreme Court Justices to sit as the finder of fact. In using this process, both Winston’s attorney and the accuser’s attorney could veto one of the three judges each. After the vetoes were made from both parties the ultimate selection was Justice Major Harding, a man without ties to Florida State. Justice Harding is a distinguished and respected jurist having sat on the Florida Supreme Court from 1991 to 2002, with two years of his tenure as Chief Justice.

In Winston’s code of conduct review, the threshold allegation was whether it could be proven by a preponderance of evidence that Jameis Winston violated Florida State University Student Conduct Code 6C2R-3.004(1)(e)1 for an allegation of sexual misconduct. “Preponderance of the evidence” under Florida State University code, means that the evidence, as a whole, shows that the fact sought to be proved is more probable than not. 6C2R-3.004(1)(d)8. In other words, if Winston’s accuser could have shown by just a tip of the scale or by 50.1% of the evidence, that Winston violated the code of conduct, he would have been found to be in violation and could have faced expulsion from the institution. Unlike the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard in a criminal case, preponderance of the evidence is a considerably easier standard to meet for the party that bears the burden of proof. As a Tampa criminal attorney when I defend someone accused of a crime, I have the benefit of defending an individual to a standard that in order for them to be convicted, the State must show there is no other reasonable explanation for what occurred than the specific facts they allege. When one thinks of beyond a reasonable doubt in the inverse it is a little easier to see just how difficult the standard is to meet assuming the jury holds strongly to the jury instruction’s dictate.
Continue reading →

Published on:

Oh Florida, here we go again. Generally it’s the average Joes and Janes making the news for crazy allegations, now it’s the cops. 32-year-old Broward County Sheriff’s Deputy Ted Arboleda is accused of foregoing a legitimate arrest of a woman in exchange for her offer of oral sex. Arboleda is said to have made routine contact with the woman at a local gas station where he found her to be without a valid driver’s license, in possession of marijuana, and in possession of an unlabeled bottle of prescription medication, all while on felony probation. According to news reports, initially the woman tried to bargain with the good deputy with cash in exchange for him to look the other way, though that wasn’t convincing. Allegedly, in the course of the course of the skillful negotiation it was decided that not only would Arboleda not arrest the woman, he would drive her home where the oral sex is alleged to have occurred. According to news reports, Arboleda told the woman this was his first time in this kind of rodeo and that he ultimately, “could not believe he agreed” to what he’d done and told her not to tell anyone.

Yes, Ted. Good strategy. Tell the lady with the drug problem who just agreed to tune you up (allegedly) to keep quiet. No doubt she is the one you can rely upon to keep your dirty little secret. In all seriousness, Ted Arboleda is entitled to the same deference anyone else is when accused of a criminal offense. He is entitled to be considered innocent until proven guilty, just as his accuser was when she was initially charged with her crimes. The reality of this situation is that it could come down to a he said she said incident, unless there is video footage, reliable eyewitness testimony, some type of GPS tracking system on his car, or Deputy Arboleda ignorantly elected to talk to the police. If none of that exists, if it comes down to his word against hers, chances are his word will prevail and I believe that’s how many criminal attorneys would handle this case, at least in part.
Continue reading →

Published on:

Heisman Trophy candidate Jameis Winston finds himself in both a National Title race and also subject to an allegation that he sexually assaulted a Florida State University student in December of 2012. Since this story broke it has been at the forefront of the college football world and has consumed the minds of many Florida State fans. With attention, rumors and allegations are bred, some conceivable, others absurd. The outcome will shake out how it may and at the end of the day, the truth must be found so justice is served. With what is known as of the time of writing this blog, there doesn’t seem to be enough evidence to make a filing decision. If that’s the case, it’s hard to imagine charges being filed.

Everyone that knows me, knows well that I am a Florida State Alum and a huge Florida State football fan. My Saturdays revolve around it, plain and simple. I love my Noles to a fault and I’m a cranky fan. I get made fun of for living and dying on every play and like the Chicago Bear superfans I have had numerous tiny heart attacks caused by my team. No doubt I’m at a baker’s dozen by now. That being said, before you start barking that this blog will be biased, even if Mr. Winston were a Gator or Hurricane, my opinion on this investigation would be the same. Considering the evidence known at the time of this blog (This is important folks. I’m writing based on what’s known at the time of posting this blog) it doesn’t seem to me there is a case against Mr. Winston for criminal sexual assault.

At the time of this blog there is nothing more than an allegation that Jameis Winston sexually assaulted a young woman in Tallahassee. The journey from allegation to proof beyond and to the exclusion of any and all reasonable doubt is long. State attorney Willie Meggs has said, and he’s correct, that there must be a “reasonable likelihood of conviction” to bring a criminal charge. In spite of the fact that Winston’s DNA was found on the property of the alleged victim, more is needed to show that a sexual battery occurred. Necessarily under FS 794.011(5), Florida’s sexual battery statute as it would apply to this case, there has to be some showing that there was no valid consent. As a general rule, proof of no consent is offered by showing that a rape kit was performed and that there is medical opinion of injury to the victim, amongst other items of evidence. If this exists it could be damning for Winston. His DNA, coupled with medical opinion that the alleged victim’s body was injured would be a mountain to overcome for the even the best criminal attorney. Conversely, if the victim chose not to seek medical attention or if a medical evaluation reflected no signs of injury, this would benefit Winston. If an eyewitness saw the sex act this would be relevant for either side, depending on the observations. Was there a sexual relationship between the parties before and after the alleged incident and what was the nature of that relationship? If the answer is yes, and that relationship continued after the alleged act, this fact would help Winston as it could be argued that no one who was actually assaulted would go back to the person that victimized him or her. Following with the idea of a relationship between the two, are there pictures of them together after the alleged incident? If so, this damages the State’s case.
Continue reading →

Published on:

Authored by Paul J. Wallin of Wallin & Klarich | A Law Corporation

If you’ve been accused of rape in California, and you live in Tampa, Florida you need to be aware that the state of California will likely extradite you so that you can be tried for this very serious crime. This means California can take the legal action necessary to physically return you to California. (This is called extradition). Therefore, speaking to an attorney experienced in rape charges in California can make the difference in your case. At Wallin & Klarich we have over 30 years of experience defending clients accused of rape.

What is rape under California Penal Code 261?

Published on:

Pennsylvania woman, Jessica Lynn Weitkamp, 28, is alleged to have entered a Wal- Mart in Pennsylvania with no regard of the standard “no shirt, no shoes, no service” sign. It is alleged that Ms. Weitkamp entered the Wal-Mart, nude, and casually strolled through the store’s aisles, yelling at interested onlookers and breaking $346 worth of merchandise in the process. We’ve all borne witness to many of nature’s miracles when perusing the inventory at our local Wal-Mart stores. From cutting edge fashion to the latest trends in automotive technology and design, Wal-Mart is a treasure trove of information worthy of the rise of even the most scrutinizing eyebrow. Ms. Weitkamp, if she in fact performed these alleged deeds, simplified what can normally be seen at Wally World and in doing so, ramped up the intensity levels far beyond the norm. Despite her alleged actions likely being completely accepted for those members of the “People of Wal-Mart” society, Officer Friendlies throughout our great nation may not be of the same opinion. Evidently and unfortunately for Jessie Lynn, these Pennsylvania officers did not agree with her artful expression.

In all honesty when I saw this headline I immediately thought she would need a Tampa criminal attorney, as no doubt this had to happen in a nearby village in Florida. While that could generally be a reasonable assumption, this incident is far from here geographically. What if we used our imaginations as if this did occur in Florida? What would Ms. Weitkamp be charged with? Several things.
Continue reading →

Published on:

A Jacksonville Beach, Florida mother pled guilty in Duval County Circuit Court on January 30th to four counts of Child Neglect. Dalina Nicholas, 36, is accused of repeatedly selling sex with her 6-year-old daughter to drug abusing and homeless men in exchange for drugs and money to support her own drug habit. Nicholas, originally facing a sexual battery charge has agreed to testify against those men alleged to have sexually abused her daughter in exchange for that sexual battery charge being dropped. Sexual battery under Florida Statute 794.011 as alleged against the other defendants and likely as initially alleged against Nicholas is a Capital Felony with the requirement to register as a Sexual Predator. Generally Capital felonies are punishable by death. However, in Capital cases for rape of a woman or child not involving death, execution has been ruled to be unconstitutional by the United States Supreme Court through their decisions in Coker v. Georgia, 433 U.S. 584 (1977) and Kennedy v. Louisiana, 554 U.S. 407 (2008). As you can imagine, despite the terrible allegations against her, Nicholas has dodged a certain life sentence in her agreement to cooperate with the State. In all candor I believe this is a deal any Tampa criminal lawyer would advise his client to enter into should the implicating facts be overwhelming.
Continue reading →

Published on:

60 year old pornographic filmmaker Ira Isaacs was sentenced on January 17, 2013 in the Central District of California for the Federal crime of producing and selling obscene videos and distributing obscene videos. Isaacs is known as a “shock porn” director and has routinely made videos depicting bestiality and sexual conduct involving feces. One such video was known as “Two Girls, One Cup” and involved a sexual encounter with two women eating human waste. Isaacs’ criminal defense attorney argued that despite the horrific nature of the videos that they are protected speech under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. This argument fell on deaf ears when a federal jury convicted Isaacs on April 27, 2012 of a superseding indictment involving several counts. Pursuant to his sentencing Isaacs was ordered by Federal District Court Judge George H. King to serve 48 months in the Federal Bureau of Prisons, be subject to supervised release upon his release from prison for three years and pay a $10,000 fine. Isaacs was tried previously, both ending in mistrials. In 2008 his initial trial ended in mistrial when presiding Judge Alex Kozinski was forced to recuse himself after it was found that he possessed pornographic material on a personal website. Later, during a trial on March 6, 2012 a jury deadlocked at 10-2 resulting in a second mistrial.

As best as I can tell Isaacs was indicted for violations of 18 USC 1465 for Production and Transportation of Obscene Matters for Sale and Distribution, 18 USC 1462(a) for Importation or Transportation of Obscene Matters and lastly 18 USC 2257(f)(4) for failing to keep records of actors and actresses involved in his movies. The applicable language or gist of the statutes of which Isaacs was charged is as follows:

18 USC 1465- Whoever knowingly produces with an intent to distribute into interstate or foreign commerce for the purpose of sale or distribution, any obscene material, would be guilty of 18 USC 1465 and subject to a five year term in the bureau of prisons and a fine.

18 USC 1462(a)- Whoever brings into the US or uses an express company for carriage in interstate or foreign commerce any obscene, lewd or lascivious motion-picture film shall be subject to a five year term in the bureau of prisons and a fine.

18 USC 2257(f)(4)- It is unlawful for one to produce any motion picture as described in the preceding statutes without creating an individual and identifiable record pertaining to each performer in the motion picture. In essence this law is aimed at preventing minors from engaging in such movies.
Continue reading →

Published on:

16 year old Steubenville, Ohio students and football players Ma’Lik Richmond and Trent Mays will be tried as juveniles next month for the rape of a 16 year old girl who passed out due to what is thought to be administration of a date rape drug at a house party last August. It is alleged that Richmond and Mays were part of a group of high school boys who gang raped the unwilling victim. This case has taken social media and the Internet by storm partly due to the posting of a video depicting a recent Steubenville High School graduate making jokes about the victim and the interaction of the “Rape Crew” with her as she lay unconscious. Adding to the interest of a Nation is the idea that Steubenville is a town, much like the fictional town of West Canaan, Texas in the movie Varsity Blues, where high school football rules. There is the notion that in Steubenville winning high school football games is such a priority that their own local prosecutors and Judges shouldn’t be trusted to try Richmond and Mays’ case. For these reasons the town of Steubenville is on a quest to debunk these ideas and show that these actions won’t be tolerated. In spite of all the back and forth, justice must be served and that must be done via a fair trial system.

Under Florida law I believe Richmond and Mays, because they are 16, would be charged as adults pursuant to a State Attorney’s discretionary Information under Florida Statute 985.557(1)(b). In charging a juvenile as an adult the State Attorney, upon a conviction, gives the Court jurisdiction to sentence a 16 year old juvenile to an adult sentence. As it stands this opinion runs contrary to the election in Ohio to try them as juveniles. I won’t speculate as to the reasoning behind the Ohio Prosecutor’s decision to leave these young men in the juvenile system. I, like the rest of us, only have access to what I read online and in the newspapers.
Continue reading →

Published on:

Waffle House CEO Joe W. Rogers Jr. is accused of forcing his former personal assistant to “perform sexual services” as a part of her employment with him. Rogers is accused of going so far as requiring his former assistant to “masturbate him” as part of her employment. The assistant further alleges that on numerous occasions Rogers attempted to force himself on her and requested oral sex.

Aside from the above referenced acts it is alleged that Rogers’ assistant was forced to often purchase pornography for him and was made to appear naked in front of him. Rogers’ accuser claims the inappropriate conduct began in 2003 and carried through until her resignation on June 29, 2012 upon learning that her son earned a college scholarship. The accuser claims to have remained in her job despite the abuse because she was a single mother and needed the income to support her family.

Not only might Rogers face a significant civil lawsuit, should the Atlanta prosecutor’s office elect to pursue these charges he could face some very embarrassing criminal charges. Because this is a Florida legal blog we will attempt to explain what would happen if Mr. Waffle would have conducted himself in this manner in Florida.

Oddly enough, Rogers would not face a sexual battery charge, as, according to this report, there was no oral, anal, or vaginal penetration of any kind. Without penetration, there is no sexual battery. Rogers would escape any kind of lewd and lascivious battery charges or molestation as again there was no penetration and his alleged victim is over the age of 16. At the end of the day, were this act in Florida, despite his perversion Rogers would likely only face a first degree misdemeanor battery charge and a second degree misdemeanor charge of indecent exposure.
Continue reading →