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.
What of the statement made by the alleged victim’s attorney that a consent defense is too little too late? Speaking generally about this attorney’s statement, her statement is ludicrous. Winston’s attorney has properly advised him to exercise his 5th Amendment right to remain silent. I would have given the same advice. An individual facing a criminal allegation should be willing to speak with two people; their attorney and a psychiatrist/psychologist if one is necessary. No criminal attorney is going to advise his or her client to say a word. Winston doesn’t have to say a word and he shouldn’t. Winston never denied having consensual sex with the alleged victim.
Time will tell as to the outcome of this situation. If no more evidence is present than what is known right now, I don’t see charges being filed against Winston. That said, if there is additional evidence the police and State Attorney aren’t disclosing at this time, this could be damaging for Winston. From what we know right now this appears to be a he said, she said case. If that holds true, I don’t believe Mr. Meggs will have a reasonable likelihood of earning a conviction for sexual assault against Jameis Winston as more will be needed to show that consent wasn’t given for the sex act. Whatever the case, justice must be served whether that justice is for a victim of a sexual assault or a young man falsely accused.
If you’ve been accused of a crime in the Tampa Bay area contact Jason Mayberry at the Mayberry Law Firm at 813-444-7435 or at 727-771-3847.