TAMPA SEX CRIMES DEFENSE
Ken Lewis, Esq.
Why hire Attorney Ken Lewis and Ron Pliego for Tampa sex crimes defense?
Ken Lewis-former chief homicide prosecutor in Orlando
Over 50 jury murder trials
Over 200 jury trials
Former sex crimes prosecutor for over 4 years in Orange and Broward County
Experienced in all aspects of scientific evidence
Ron Pliego-native Tamponian practicing in Tampa and St. Pete for last 18 years
Ron Pliego, Esq.
When choosing a sex crimes attorney there is no substitute for experience. Ken Lewis has had numerous sex crimes trials. A sex crimes conviction in Florida can have severe consequences including life in prison for the most serious charges as well as having to register as a sex offender or sexual predator. Sex crimes are complicated legal cases that often rely on scientific evidence. There is no substitute for an experience in this area because the law is complex and detailed. Ken Lewis is a knowledgable and experienced sex crimes attorney that will fight for you to achieve the best result possible; if that means going to trial, then you will have the piece of mind that one of the most experienced and accomplished trial lawyers in Florida is by your side. We have handled numerous sex cases including date rape, lewd and lascivious molestation, solicitation of minors, child abuse including shaken baby and capital sexual battery.We also handle school academic hearings and Title IX hearings relating to sexual misconduct allegations.
We represent sex crimes clients in the following Tampa area counties: Citrus, Hernando, Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk and Sarasota
Ken Lewis fights for you!
Ken Lewis gets results!
Sex crimes criminal defense attorneys Ken Lewis knows forensic evidence!
Why that matters in sex crimes cases:
In a sex crimes case an attorney that knows forensic science can poke holes in the State's case that can lead to reasonable doubt. DNA evidence, forensic pathology, cellphone technology, computer forensics, and interpreting medical evidence can make or break your case. As a former chief of the State Attorney's Office homicide unit and as a sex crimes prosecutor for almost 5 years Ken Lewis has dealt with all types of scientific evidence and has cross examined some of the leading forensic scientists in their field. Prosecutors routinely rely on various experts hoping to persuade the jury, but far too often, these experts are less than qualified, have used questionable methods or have reached faulty conclusions. If you are hiring an attorney who does not have extensive experience in forensic science you are doing yourself a disservice. Where many attorneys might read a forensic report and move forward under the presumption that everything is accurate, I break down this evidence thoroughly to bolster my clients' cases. I have the knowledge and experience in scientific method to break down this evidence, and find errors that can potentially alter the outcome of your case.
My knowledge of forensics benefits my clients in a variety of ways:
DNA evidence: This is perhaps the most critical piece of forensic evidence in the modern criminal trial. Everything from murder to petty theft often comes down to DNA evidence left at the scene of the crime.
Toxicology reports: Toxicology comes into play to determine the levels of intoxicants in suspects' or victims' systems, and toxicology comes into play in other criminal cases as well.
Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS): This forensic method is used commonly in drug cases as well as in OVI cases involving blood or urine tests. It is used to detect and identify substances as well as quantify the amount of drug or substance present.
Abusive head trauma and multiple fractures: Successful defense of these types of cases requires a solid understanding of the medical processes involved, including things such as brain hemorrhages, dural rebleeds, contrecoup effect, venous thrombosis, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, rickets, classic metaphyseal lesions and more. Ken Lewis has tried multiple child homicides and has worked with numerous experts regarding Shaken Baby syndrome.
Fingerprints: I have worked closely with fingerprint experts in many cases. I am familiar with the importance of obtaining a second opinion when it comes to "subjective" forensic sciences such as fingerprints and handwriting analysis.
These are just a few of the important aspects of forensics I handle in my practice. My experience and knowledge provide benefit in understanding complex scientific evidence, cross-examination of expert witnesses and other important aspects of criminal defense.
I challenge everything. Working with a private investigator and a team of forensic experts, I leave no stone unturned. If there is any error in the forensic evidence, I will find it.
*Do not even consider hiring an attorney on a sex case without asking them how many sex case trials they have tried. Ken Lewis has tried numerous sex cases.
Sex Crimes Law in Florida
Defendant's conduct, committed as part of a “sexual mentor” sting operation initiated by a law enforcement cybercrime squad, constituted mere preparation and not overt acts leading to the commission of a sexual battery on a minor less than 12 years of age, and thus defendant could not be convicted of attempted sexual battery; arrangement to meet at restaurant and “get to know each other first” and, if either party felt uncomfortable for any reason, he or she could just walk away, was just a preliminary step to whatever followed, and, when defendant was arrested in the restaurant parking lot, he was approximately 60 miles and eight-to-ten hours away from the proposed sexual contact with the fictitious minor, so he did not have a realistic expectation of imminent contact with the minor. West's F.S.A. §§ 777.04(1), 794.011(2)(a).
State v. Duke, 709 So. 2d 580 (Fla. 5th DCA 1998)
SIMILAR FACT EVIDENCE OF OTHER CRIMES (WILLIAMS RULE) CAN BE ADMISSIBLE IN FLORIDA SEX CASES
Florida Statute 90.404 (2)(b) 1. In a criminal case in which the defendant is charged with a crime involving child molestation, evidence of the defendant's commission of other crimes, wrongs, or acts of child molestation is admissible and may be considered for its bearing on any matter to which it is relevant.
In the line of cases allowing Williams Rule evidence to corroborate the testimony of a child, it is important for there to be a special need to corroborate the child's testimony. This exception was established because the courts recognized the special problems inherent in proving these cases. There is rarely any corroborating evidence for the state to offer. Therefore,
if the state has ample corroborating evidence, the appellate courts frown on allowing the admission of this evidence under this exception.
Saffor v. State, 660 So.2d 668, (Fla. 1995):
Evidence of defendant's prior attempted lewd assault of his niece was not sufficiently similar to charged offense to be admissible where ages and genders of the two children were different and acts took place during different time frames, at different locations, and at different times of day. Although fact that collateral sex crime and charged offense both occur in familial context constitutes significant similarity for purposes of Williams rule, there must be some additional showing of similarity in order for the collateral sex crime
evidence to be admissible.
The Court also does not impose the same stringent similarity
requirements necessary for cases outside the familial context. Instead, the court adopts a "relaxed" similarity requirement: "We hold instead that when the collateral sex crime and the charged offense both occur in the familial context, this constitutes a significant similarity for purposes of the Williams rule, but that these facts, standing alone, are insufficient to authorize admission of the collateral sex crime evidence. There must be
some additional showing of similarity in order for the collateral sex crime evidence to be
State v. Rawls, 649 So.2d 1350, (Fla. 1994):
Evidence of prior similar offenses was admissible to corroborate child victim's testimony even though offense did not occur within familial or custodial setting where evidence was strikingly similar to victim's testimony, and victim's credibility was at issue. Familial relationship must be one in which there is recognizable bond of trust with defendant. Consanguinity and affinity are strong indicia of familial relationship but are not necessary. Defendant and victim need not reside in the same home, and familial relationship may exist where individual legitimately exercises parental-type authority over child or maintains custody of child on a regular basis. This case was decided on a motion for rehearing. This opinion revises the court’s previous opinion. The Supreme Court gives an excellent review of Florida case law as it relates to "Familial or custodial authority." The Court rules that "Where an individual legitimately exercises parental -type authority over a child or maintains custody of a child on a regular basis, a familial relationship may exist for purposes of the
admissibility of collateral crimes evidence under Heuring. The Court then rules that the facts of the instant case do not qualify as familial or custodial authority, but do qualify as strikingly similar. The Court then follows the lead of Charles Ehrhardt and rules that testimony can be used to corroborate the testimony of child victims even when they do not fall under familial or custodial authority heading.
Schwab v. State, 636 So.2d 3 (Fla. 1994):
In a sexual battery and murder prosecution, testimony from three boys aged eleven to fifteen was relevant to show identity, motive and opportunity among other things. All were short, had blond hair, all weighed less than one hundred pounds. Schwab ingratiated himself with the family of one of the witnesses, as he did with the instant victim, and attempted to befriend the others before offering them rides. He held each at knifepoint and admittedly cut the instant victim's clothes off with a knife. This case was decided on principles common to all cases. There was no unique analysis by virtue of the victim being a child. The Court also addresses the
"feature of the trial" issue.
Feller v. State 637 So.2d 911 (Fla. 1994):
In cases involving sexual battery within familial situation, evidence of other sexual batteries on another family member can be admitted to corroborate testimony of victim that defendant committed sexual abuse upon victim; however, the charged and collateral offenses must share some unique characteristic or combination of characteristics which sets them apart from other offenses. The charged offense involved allegations of several incidents of penile and digital penetration of the vagina while the child was unclothed inside the family dwelling. The collateral offense involved a single episode of touching on outside of the child's
clothing while she sat on the defendant's knee as they were fishing.
Duckett v. State, 568 So.2d 891 (Fla. 1990):
Testimony of petite 19 and 18 year old women concerning police officer's "passes" at them made while he was in patrol car, on duty, and in uniform was admissible similar fact evidence in prosecution of officer for sexual battery and first degree murder of 11 year old girl, relevant to establishing officer's mode of operation, identity, and common plan. Testimony of 17 year old woman that she had voluntarily met police officer at remote area while he was on patrol and performed oral sex on him was not sufficiently similar to
facts in prosecution of officer for sexual battery and first degree murder of 11 year old girl
to be admissible but admission of testimony was harmless.
Beasley v. State, 518 So.2d 917 (Fla. 1988):
Testimony of victim's sister that defendant had committed lewd and lascivious assault
upon her was admissible in prosecution for attempted sexual battery and lewd and
lascivious assault to establish that defendant had opportunity to perform illegal acts on
victim, who was defendant's stepdaughter.
Heuring v. State, 513 So.2d 122 (Fla. 1987):
Evidence that the defendant charged with sexual battery of his stepdaughter had sexually battered his own daughter 20 years earlier was admissible in that the opportunity to sexually batter young children in a familial setting occurs only generationally and evidence was relevant to corroborate the victim's testimony.
This case involved a situation in which the defendant was accused of sexually molesting his step daughter between the ages of 7 and 12. The State offered Williams Rule evidence that the suspect sexually battered his daughter when she was between the ages of 7 and 15. The Williams Rule evidence involved acts that had
occurred approximately 20 years before the charged offense. The court first addressed the issue of remoteness in time. In holding that a 20 year span did not require exclusion of the evidence, the court stressed that the opportunity to sexually young children in the familial setting often occurs only generationally. The suspect had battered the children only when the opportunity arose. The court does not address the issue of what its ruling would be if the defendant had encountered several other opportunities yet failed to act
upon them. In holding that the similar fact evidence is relevant simply to corroborate the victim's testimony, the court noted the special problems encountered in cases involving sexual battery committed within the familial context. The court noted that the victim is typically the sole witness and corroborative evidence is scant. Credibility becomes the focal issue in the case. Although many courts have tried to stretch the similar fact evidence as to be relevant for modus operandi, common scheme or plan etc...the Heuring court feels that
the better approach is simply to treat it as corroborating the victim's testimony. Understanding the rationale of this ruling will assist greatly in arguing it to the court as it applies to your case.
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