Defending Allegations of Child Sexual Abuse

October 15, 2015

By Collin County Criminal Defense Lawyer Jeremy Rosenthal

(972) 369-0577

www.rosenthalwadas.com

No one anywhere approves of sexual abuse of children and no one anywhere approves of destroying the lives of the innocent.  The clash of these two core values in the courtroom are not for weak or timid lawyers.

The Deck is Stacked Against You

I’ve got bad news.  If you are being questioned about child sexual abuse charges — the police, CPS, or Children’s Advocacy Center very likely think you are a child predator even though they may not tell you directly.

The legislature has given law enforcement more than enough ammunition to destroy the lives of those accused of child sexual abuse.  If you think you are being accused of such charges you must contact an attorney immediately.

What Makes Being Charged with these Crimes So Severe?

Here are some of the obvious:

(1) The Harshness of the Penalties.  Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child carries a penalty of 5-99 years in prison.  If the victim is under 6, then it is 25-years to life with no parole.  Indecency with a Child can be either 2-10 years of prison or 2-20 years of prison based on the elements. Continual Sexual Abuse of a Child carries a 25-life sentence with no parole.

(2) The Destruction of a Family.  Many sexual abuse cases involve family members or close family friends.  Allegations often cause family members to take sides against one another.  These cases can be contentious as you can guess so it stands to reason many wounds never heal regardless of the outcome.

(3) The Stigma.  The label, stigma and shame of being a sex offender is obvious — if the first two consequences weren’t enough.  Whereas a theft charge, drug charge or even a robbery charge might allow someone to still fit into society as a productive member after their debt is paid — someone labeled as a sex offender has a much bigger (if not impossible) challenge to rebuild their life.

What Your Lawyer Must Be Able to Do

They must show the jury destroying the life of an innocent person is intolerable even if it is being done with the best of intentions.  To accomplish this, your attorney must know the facts of the case better than the prosecutor, understand the law better than the prosecutor, and have a skilled plan of attack.

*Jeremy Rosenthal is an attorney licensed to practice in the State of Texas and he is certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.  Nothing in this article is intended to be legal advice.  For legal advice about your case or any situation you should contact an attorney directly.  Contacting the attorney through this blog does not create an attorney-client relationship.  Additionally comments, posts, or communications through this blog are not confidential.


Scientific Evidence of False Memories

July 26, 2013

By Collin County Criminal Defense Attorney Jeremy Rosenthal

www.thecollincountylawyer.com

(972) 369-0577

The New York Times published this article talking about how scientists have been able to create false memories in mice.

Eyewitness testimony has been extremely problematic in criminal cases.  Not only are human’s imperfect in their ability to recollect specific facts and incidents — the problem is compounded because people can convey their poor recollections in a persuasive manner.

*Jeremy Rosenthal is an attorney licensed to practice in the State of Texas.  Nothing in this article is intended to be legal advice.  For legal advice about any situation, you should contact an attorney directly.


Can I Recant a Police Statement?

June 20, 2012

By Collin County Criminal Defense Attorney Jeremy Rosenthal

(972) 369-0577

www.rosenthalwadas.com

Generally speaking a statement made to police in the course of an investigation can be considered by the police, a judge, or a jury for it’s full meaning.  Recanting the statement might call the original statement into question… then again it might not.

Who Made the Statement?

Statements of the Accused

Important in the analysis is who made the statement, what role that person plays in the proceedings, and the timing of the statement or statements.

A statement by an accused is referred to as an admission by a party opponent under Tex.R.Evid. 801(e)(2).  If the statement is relevant to a jury then it’s fully admissible.  The person or person(s) the statement was made to can testify to what was said by the accused or can have a written statement admitted.

Practically speaking, an accused and his or her lawyer would have to explain their reason for recanting such a statement although the burden of proof never shifts to the defendant under any circumstance.  Many judges and jurors would be naturally skeptical — and police tend to believe statements which fit their theory of the case.

Witness Statements

A statement by a witness or an alleged victim is a different and far more complicated matter.  The defendant in a case has the right to confront accusers in open court.  A witness who gives inconsistent statements to police — or attempts to recant a previous statement to police could be impeached or cross examined on the inconsistent statements before a judge or jury.

Suppressions of Statements

An accused’s remedy to have a prior statement nullified is usually a motion to suppress.  This would be in a situation where the original statement was taken illegally in violation of Miranda rights (or in Texas known as Tex.Code.Crim.P. Art. 38.22).  Those provisions do not apply to statements made prior to custodial interrogation (arrest).

Warnings about Inconsistent, Changed, or Recanted Statements to Law Enforcement

Depending on the situation — a person might not have a duty to cooperate with law enforcement.  An accused person, for example, always has the right to remain silent.  If you are cooperating with law enforcement, however, you have the legal duty to do so honestly.  Making inconsistent statements or admitting that previous statements were false could result in a person being prosecuted for criminal offenses of making false statements to law enforcement, obstruction of justice, or even perjury in some circumstances.

If you’re in the situation where you are considering in good faith recanting or amending a statement to law enforcement — you should have an attorney involved to counsel you.

*Jeremy F. Rosenthal is an attorney licensed to practice in the State of Texas.  Nothing in this article is intended to be legal advice.  For legal advice about this or any circumstance you should contact an attorney directly.  Contacting the attorney through this forum does not create an attorney-client relationship nor are communications or postings in this forum privileged.


Official Oppression

June 9, 2012

By Collin County Criminal Defense Lawyer Jeremy Rosenthal

(972) 369-0577

www.rosenthalwadas.com

Texas Penal Code Chapter 39.03 governs official opression which occurs when a public servant acting under the color of office:

“(1)  intentionally subjects another to mistreatment or to arrest, detention, search, seizure, dispossession, assessment, or lien that he knows is unlawful;

(2)  intentionally denies or impedes another in the exercise or enjoyment of any right, privilege, power, or immunity, knowing his conduct is unlawful; or

(3)  intentionally subjects another to sexual harassment.

(b)  For purposes of this section, a public servant acts under color of his office or employment if he acts or purports to act in an official capacity or takes advantage of such actual or purported capacity.”

Official oppression is a Class A misdemeanor punishable up to a $4,000 fine and/or one year of county jail.

Generally speaking this statute keeps public officials accountable in the event they misuse their office.  The difficult part in proving this offense would be to show that the public official knew their conduct to be illegal.  Ignorance of the law is no excuse but having a good faith belief that what you are doing is legal is a different matter.  Official acts of police, judges and prosecutors are given extremely broad leeway so they do carry out their public duties in constant fear of being prosecuted themselves.  The law is subjective and as long as an official has some sort of good-faith belief in the legality of their actions, it would be extremely difficult to prove official oppression.

*Jeremy F. Rosenthal is an attorney licensed to practice in the State of Texas.  Nothing in this article is intended to be legal advice.  For legal advice for any situation you should contact an attorney directly.  Contacting the attorney through this forum does not create an attorney-client relationship and communications with regard to this blog are not confidential.


America’s Imprisonment Crisis

April 22, 2012

By Collin County Criminal Defense Lawyer Jeremy Rosenthal

www.rosenthalwadas.com

(972) 369-0577

Today I’m going to share a great piece I saw this morning on CBS Sunday Morning called “Incarceration Nation“.  The stats are stunning.  America jails a higher percentage of it’s population than any other country on the planet.  We account for 5% of the worlds population but 25% of the worlds inmates.  It’s even more puzzling when our national crime rate has dropped by more than 40% over the last 20 years.

The story will make you think twice the next time you hear a politician trying to score cheap points by being “tough on crime.”  The Texas legislature has made a push in recent years to alleviate the burden drug cases cause the system, yet the legislature continues to toughen it’s vice grip on other crimes with harsh mandatory minimum sentences and eliminating parole opportunities.

*Jeremy F. Rosenthal is an attorney licensed to practice in the State of Texas.  Nothing in this article is intended to be legal advice.  For legal advice about any situation you should contact an attorney directly.  Contacting the attorney through this blog does not create an attorney-client relationship.  Communications through this blog are not confidential nor privileged.