Court Discusses Evidence Sufficient to Convict for Sex Crimes in Florida

Under Federal law, it is illegal for adults to engage in sexual activity with minors. As such, if an adult participates in a romantic relationship with a person under the age of 18, they may face serious criminal charges. As demonstrated in a recent opinion delivered in a Florida case in which the court discussed the evidence sufficient to sustain sex crime convictions, people may be found guilty regardless of whether they intended to commit the crime with which they are charged. If you are faced with accusations that you committed a sex crime, it is in your best interest to meet with a St. Petersburg sex crime defense lawyer regarding your case.

Factual and Procedural Background

It is alleged that the victim ran away from home when she was 16 years old and began trading sex for money. She met the defendant when she was 17, and shortly thereafter, they began a romantic relationship. They traveled together, and during one of their trips, the defendant took a picture of them engaging in sexual relations. The defendant also, essentially, began acting as the victim’s pimp.

It is reported that the defendant became jealous that the victim had sexual relations with other people, and the situation became violent. The victim called the police on the defendant, who was arrested and charged with numerous crimes, including producing child pornography and sex trafficking a minor. The jury found the defendant guilty of all the charges, and he appealed.

Evidence Sufficient to Sustain Convictions for Sex Crimes

On appeal, the defendant argued the government failed to produce evidence sufficient to sustain his convictions. The court disagreed and affirmed his convictions. Regarding the sex trafficking charge, the court explained that the government was required to show the defendant’s, including recruitment, knowing involvement with a minor under 18, and awareness that the minor would engage in commercial sex acts in order to obtain a conviction. The court found that the evidence presented at trial demonstrated the defendant’s role as the victim’s pimp, providing accommodations, coaching her on pricing and techniques, and benefiting from her prostitution. As such, the court affirmed his conviction.

Similarly, as to the child pornography charge, the court found that the evidence presented at trial showed that the defendant intentionally engaged in sexual activity with a minor and recorded it using his phone. Regarding the defendant’s argument that the alleged production of child pornography was incidental, the court explained that the specific intent element of the offense does not require the defendant to be solely focused on producing child pornography during the sexual encounter. As such, it affirmed his second conviction as well.

Consult a Skilled Florida Criminal Defense Attorney

People charged with sex crimes often fear that their lives are irrevocably changed, but many people accused of sex offenses are found not guilty. If you are charged with a sex offense, it is imperative to consult an attorney about your possible defenses. The skilled St. Petersburg sex crime defense lawyers of Hanlon Law can assess the facts of your case and gather the evidence needed to provide you with a good chance of a favorable result. You can use our online form or call us at 727-897-5413 to schedule a meeting.

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