How We Do It – EMHA for Unlawful Sexual Conduct with a Minor

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The Law Office of Brian Jones, LLC recently secured a sentencing victory for a client accused of kidnapping, rape, and unlawful sexual conduct with a minor. The case was resolved through a plea bargain with no agreed sentencing recommendations. Over the prosecutor’s strenuous objections, our client was sentenced to ninety (90) days of electronic house monitoring and five years of supervision.

This case began with a father scrolling through his teenage daughter’s cell phone and finding evidence of online sexual relationships. He filed a report with local police and an investigation begun. Video surveillance evidence was found linking the accuser with the client and the government pursued an indictment.

The client came to the Law Office of Brian Jones, LLC, specifically because he had heard about our focus on defending against accusations of sexual assault. We brought our strategy of holistic criminal defense to the case and immediately began a thorough investigation of the client and the accuser. What we found changed the outcome of the case.

Investigating the accuser revealed substantial county social services involvement with her family. The government worked hard to try and keep us from access to these records, but we met them in court to argue to see the records related to the case – and won. We discovered that through the course of an unrelated investigation, the accuser disclosed using mobile devices to form online, sexually-charged relationships with adult men, including her solicitation and receipt of explicit photographs of those men on her mobile devices. Shockingly, neither her parents nor the county social services workers took any steps to protect her from the internet or these types of online relationships. Indeed, she met the client in an online chatroom years after her parents and government officials were aware of her actions.

Our investigation of our client revealed a combat veteran who struggled to cope with a history of surviving multiple prior sexual assaults. His diagnosed post-traumatic stress disorder was exacerbated by the death of his only child. After decades of using alcohol and drugs to cope with emotional pain, the client had achieved and maintained sobriety, but the demons of his past sexual abuse at the hands of adults when he was a child and others when he was in the military haunted him and twisted his perception of appropriate sexual relationships.

We encouraged the client to seek additional counseling through the V.A.; while the case was pending, he was admitted to a special program for sexual assault-related post-traumatic stress. While the client worked on himself through group and individual therapy, we continued to investigate the circumstances of the case and more importantly, figure out how to overcome the surveillance footage.

The State continued its investigation as well and was forced to hand over exculpatory evidence in the form of the contents of the accuser’s mobile devices. Suffice to say the accuser was a very active chatroom user and had progressed to exchanging nude photographs. These facts encouraged the State to offer a plea bargain and the negotiations began.

After multiple rounds of offer and counter-offer, the State agreed to dismiss the kidnapping and rape charges in exchange for a guilty plea to three counts of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, a felony of third degree. There was no agreement as to a recommendation on sentencing.

The client was facing a maximum of fifteen years. At the sentencing hearing, the State argued strenuously for an eight-year prison sentence. However, we had filed a powerful sentencing memorandum that included arguments supported by confidential records revealed by our investigatory subpoenas and letters of support that were coordinated and collected by our office. We matched our written arguments with an equally persuasive oral argument, showing the Court a road map for the client’s rehabilitation designed by licensed treatment providers and coordinated by the V.A.

The client was sentenced to 90 days of electronic house monitoring and five years of probation. He will also register as a Tier II sex offender. This combat veteran and sexual assault survivor will not serve any prison time as a result of this case.

“Investigation – fighting for the county social services records, and the information we gathered from actually reviewing the thousands of pages of mobile device data, and the client’s total embrace of our advice to seek treatment were the keys to this incredible outcome,” said lead criminal defense lawyer in Delaware Brian Jones.

“I compare it to the idea that ‘a smoking gun’ does not matter if you’re not solving a murder anymore,” said criminal defense Attorney Elizabeth Osorio, author of the sentencing memorandum. “We can overcome any obstacle in a case through empathy. A sentencing memorandum is the best vehicle to start that journey.”

If you or your loved one is facing an accusation of sexual assault, do not wait to find out what holistic criminal defense can do for you. We’re here when you need us – 24/7/365.

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