Articles Posted in Sex Crimes

$20 Million Annual Contract to Hold 650 Men

Florida has a facility tucked away in the small, nondescript town of Arcadia.  Under Florida law, an inmate with a sexually violent past or a history of sexually motivated offenses will be scrutinized just before his release from jail or prison.  If deemed a threat to reoffend, he will be “Ryced Out” and sent to the Florida Civil Commitment Center in Arcadia.  The Jimmy Ryce Act regarding civil commitment is named after a  nine year old, Samuel James Ryce, who was raped, decapitated and dismembered by Juan Carlos Chavez.  Chavez was executed in February of 2014.  The Jimmy Ryce act allows the State of Florida to hold designated sex offenders essentially for life.  This form of risk management by the state can keep a man behind the razor wire(but it is  not to be called prison) because he might offend in the future.  He is held because he might commit future sex crimes.  He can be coming out of prison on a totally non-violent, non-sex charge for which he has served his sentence.  If he has a sexually motivated offense in his past, the “Thought Police” of the combined bureaucracies of the Department of Corrections, the Department of Children and Families and the State Attorney’s Office can send him to Arcadia for the rest of his life without his recently completed sentence having anything to do with sex.  He will be held indefinitely without any new crime being committed.  Florida subcontracts out this Guantanamo style of incarceration(no crime required, years between court dates, fear of future offenses) to the GEO corporation after previously jobbing out the facility to Liberty Healthcare for seven years.

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Arrested in Volusia County

Law enforcement in Volusia County, Florida conducted a sex crime sting operation and arrested a former Jacksonville Sheriff’s Officer, Brian McCree.  McCree, already retired from JSO at age 51, reportedly used a computer to entice or solicit a minor for sex.  The allegations are that McCree packed well for his trip to meet the supposed minor.  Reports state that he took a gun, a bottle of liquor and 100 images of child pornography to his arranged meeting with whom he thought was a minor.  The child sex sting netted 14 arrests with McCree being the oldest arrested.  McCree during his police career probably took hundreds of suspects “to the ground” as part of an arrest.  There is a video of McCree being taking to the gound himself on  News4Jax.com.

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Florida Statute S794.05, Unlawful Intercourse With a Minor of Previous Chaste Character

Under the above statute, a 24 year old who engages in sexual activity with a person 16 or 17 years of age commits a second degree felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison.  The former school security officer in the instant case, according to Jacksonville.Com, Douglas Tilley, was arrested in January of this year for having sex with a 17 year old 12th grader he knew from the school he was assigned to guard.  Tilley’s arrest paperwork shows him as 25 years old.  Tilley’s attorneys were skilled enough to have the prosecution reduce the sex case down to a 3rd degree felony of Child Neglect, to which Tilley entered  a guilty plea.  Tilley received a withhold of adjudication meaning he was not convicted of the felony.  He entered a plea to a felony and will go on three years of felony probation but most importantly, he is not a convicted felon.  Should he come back to court for a violation of probation  during the next three years he would be facing possible jail or prison time and the withhold of adjudication would probably be converted to an adjudication of guilt, i.e., conviction.  Under Florida Law a probationer who violates probation is not entitled to a bond, even if on misdemeanor probation.  The setting or not setting of a monetary bond  on a warrant or capias for a violation of probation is purely at the discretion of the supervising  judge.

Rule Number One: Avoid the Sexual Offender or Sexual Predator Designation

The above defendant avoided a sex charge that would have had him registering with the State of Florida, or any state he moved to, for the remainder of his life.  On balance, many times a prosecutor will make a very fair offer to the defendant regarding any jail or prison time but still insist on the defendant getting the designation and strict monitoring as a sex offender.  Sex cases “score” in Florida.  This means that a person with no criminal history, once scored under the Florida Sentencing Guidelines Worksheet, is usually facing prison.  The prosecutor on the case has tremendous discretion and power as to just how the case is filed.  If the prosecutor files a case where the defendant “scores”, and the defendant either pleas or is convicted, the judge must sentence the defendant to at least the bottom amount of time on the sentencing worksheet. Defense attorneys can file a departure memorandum and motion prior to a sentencing hearing but the motion must clearly designate what are statutorily listed reasons for departure.  The court then has a two part test. First,the court has to determine if a departure is allowed. Secondly, the court determines is a departure should be allowed.  Many sex crimes carry minimum mandatory sentences up to an including a mandatory life sentence.  On mandatory life, if the defendant rolls the dice and exercises his or her constitutional right to a trial, and loses, they are going to die in prison. The judge is required to give a life sentence by law.  In many sex crimes there is no forensic evidence.  Often, the defendant is arrested and charged on allegations, 100% verbal statements of a victim only, that can come forward years later. The accused either negotiates a sentence that allows him to be released after 10 plus years into society as a sex offender, or, takes his chances at trial.  At trial, the defendant has to prove a negative which is a pretty hard task.  Usually the defense strategy focuses on the motivation and inconsistent statements of the victim.

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Los Angeles Clippers Owner Says of Magic Johnson, “He Has the Aids”

In a television interview this week on CNN, host Anderson Cooper was interviewing the recently embattled owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, Donald Sterling, regarding his potential loss of his team, his lifetime ban from the NBA and his thoughts and feelings on retired NBA great, Magic Johnson.  Johnson is widely known for announcing that he had HIV on November 7, 1991.  The virus was discovered during a team physical during the 1991-1992 season.   Johnson retired after the announcement, came back later for a handful of games, then fully retired.  He has since become enormously successful in business and philanthropic efforts.  CNN’s Cooper, while conducting the interview of Sterling, interjected and corrected Sterling that Johnson did not have aids or full blown aids, but has HIV instead.

In Florida You Must Tell Potential Sex Partner of HIV Diagnosis

Florida Statute 384.24 reads:  “It is unlawful for any person who has human immunodeficiency virus infection, when such person knows he or she is infected with this disease and when such person has been informed that he or she may communicate this disease to another person through sexual intercourse, to have sexual intercourse with any other person, unless such other person has been informed of the presence of the sexually transmissible disease and has consented to the sexual intercourse.”  Violation of this statute is a third degree felony under Florida law carrying a maximum sentence of five years in prison.  Defendants who have repeatedly violated this statute can be charged with a first degree felony and face up to thirty years imprisonment.  The sex partner of the infected defendant does not have to show any diagnosis of the virus.  The defendant in these cases will usually raise an affirmative defense that the victim knew of the condition and consented to sex anyway.  Many cases of this sort involve married couples with one partner not knowing of the other’s condition until many years of marriage. The outcome is that one partner goes to prison, and judges typically sentence toward the maximum on these cases, and the other partner may or may not have HIV as their live goes forward. Continue reading

Florida Laws are Tough on Sex Offenders

Florida residents, through their elected officials,  have enacted some of the nation’s toughest penalties for those convicted of sex crimes.  According to News4Jax.com, 47 year old Elmer Bowman, after being convicted of kidnapping, torturing and raping a young woman, who, according to law enforcement was a prostitute, may be sentenced to life in prison along with the added chemical castration the prosecution is seeking.  The state attorney’s office has given Bowman the flexiblity of voluntarily submitting to a physical castration as opposed to the chemical castration.  The State of Florida does not blind the convicted voyeur, does not cut the hand off of the convicted thief, does not cut off the feet of those who flee from police; however, in certain sex crimes, the body parts of the convicted male are subject to chemical destruction or physical removal.  There is no mention of any such punishment for female sex offenders.  For anyone with a background in ranching or raising horses what happens here is essentially “gelding a stallion.”  The gelding is a stallion who has lost the privilege (think testicles) of being a stallion.  Think Sharia law.

Florida Statute 794.0235

Under the above statute a Judge may sentence the convicted sexual batterer to chemical castration.  For a defendant with a prior sexual battery conviction, upon conviction for a subsequent or new sexual battery, the court “shall sentence the defendant to be treated with medroxprogesterone acetate (MPA).”  This “treatment” is to be administered by the capable hands of the Florida Department of Corrections.  Amazingly, under Florida Statute 794.0235(5)(b), should a defendant,  court ordered to be “treated” with castration, who refuses such “treatment” would be guilty of a new second degree felony and could face up to fifteen more years in prison.  The prosecutor here is seeking life in prison.  A “lifer” facing 15 more years verses facing castration may make a decision where suddenly the prosecutor has no real leverage.  The marginal cost of the 15 years is not a deterrent to a defendant who knows he will not serve the time verses what he gets to keep. Continue reading

Executed Over 18 Years Later

Juan Carlos Chavez was executed February 12, 2014, by the Florida Department of Corrections. He was convicted in the fall of 1998 for the kidnapping, capital sexual battery and first degree murder of nine year old, Samuel James “Jimmy” Ryce.   In the fall of 1995, Chavez, by his own admission and confession after a 55 hour long interrogation, abducted Jimmy Ryce.  He confessed to raping and murdering the child. He led investigators to where he had hidden the child’s beheaded and dismembered corpse hidden in three plastic containers of concrete.  Chavez confessed three months after the killing when the gun he used was located near the child’s backpack which was near Chavez’s trailer.  The murder of Jimmy Ryce was the basis for the “Jimmy Ryce Act.”

The Jimmy Ryce Involuntary Civil Commitment For Sexually Violent Predators’ Treatment And Care Act

 The Jimmy Ryce Act was passed by a unanimous vote in the Florida Legislature in 1998, becoming the law on January 1, 1999.  The law calls for inmates in the state prison system, prior to being released, that have any sex offense history, to be be reviewed and scrutinized for any risk of reoffending.  This review is completed by Corrections, Department of Children and Families (DCF) and prosecutors from the state attorneys office.  Should an inmate be deemed a risk to reoffend sexually, he or she is ordered into a involuntary civil commitment.  These inmates, though considered released after fulfilling their respective criminal sentence, are transported to Arcadia, Florida.  At Arcadia, the former Desoto Correctional Institution houses the involuntarily committed.  Although the facility is a condemned former prison, and the inmate is sent there through the actions of a prosecutor, it has been euphemistically renamed a “treatment center.”  Since the above act only deals  with released state prisoners, this act would not have helped a prosecutor send Chavez, since he was not just released from prison, to “treatment” in what is essentially a renamed prison. Continue reading

Retired Jacksonville Corrections Officer Gregory Kazon Fields, according to the Florida Times Union, was recently arrested for lewd and lascivious battery against someone younger than sixteen.
Reportedly, Fields paid the young girl for a sex act and took her into a wooded area. Fields was a veteran corrections officer with almost thirty years of service before he retired in July of 2013. According to the Times Union a portion of his duties included being a jail spokesman and also being involved with a juvenile justice program and state attorney program taking “at risk” juveniles on jail tours.

Officer Kazon Was Previously Arrested for Sex Crimes in 1988
Officer Kazon, per records at the Duval County Clerk of Circuit Court, in case 1988-CF-008810, was arrested on two counts of Sexual Battery, both first degree felonies at the time in 1988. According to the Times Union, Kazon became a Jacksonville Sheriff’s Officer in 1984, thus, four years before this felony arrest for sexual battery. These two felony sex charges were later dropped less than two months after Kazon was arrested. Although a fellow Sheriff’s Officer had to have decided earlier there was probable cause for the arrest of Kazon, the State Attorneys office later decided to “nolle prosequi” or drop the case. According to clerk records, there was also a search warrant issued. This means a judge had reviewed the facts as presented and determined there was enough indication of wrongdoing to justify a search warrant.

Convicted of Solicitation for Prostitution
Kazon, according to Duval County Clerk of Circuit Court records, was convicted,adjudicated guilty, of the misdemeanor offense of solicitation for prostitution in case 1984-MM-038801. According to clerk records, he was convicted of this charge in October 1984 the month before he started his thirty year career with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office. It is not known if the Sheriff’s Office knew or cared about the solicitation arrest. Kazon was convicted of a second degree misdemeanor and could have been sentenced to sixty days in jail.

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Last month, a 51-year old Jacksonville man was convicted for the sexual assault of a 60-year old victim. According to a report by Jacksonville.com, the man knew his victim. Apparently, the victim had taken out a protective order against the man that required the man stay a certain distance from the victim.

Earlier this year, in September, the man allegedly forced his way into the home of the victim and, when she tried to escape, he forced her to have sex with him. At trial last month, the man was convicted of burglary, sexual battery, and aggravated stalking. He was found not guilty of false imprisonment. At sentencing, the man will face the possibility of life in prison.

Sexual Assault Crimes in Florida

There are few crimes taken more seriously by Florida police, prosecutors, and courts than sexual assault crimes. Regardless of the victim, the criminal justice system punishes sexual offenders harshly.

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In recent news, the star Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston has been cleared by prosecutors after being investigated for a sexual assault. According to a report by USA Today, the redshirt freshman was initially investigated for his involvement in a sexual assault that was alleged to have occurred in December 2012. Despite the police department’s knowledge of the report, the department did not communicate the report to the District Attorney’s office until November of this year—eleven months after the investigation began.

A DNA sample taken in November showed that Winston’s DNA was on the victim’s underwear. However, another man’s DNA was found on her pants. The District Attorney cited this discrepancy as one of the reasons the charges were dropped.

Police and Prosecutors Must Follow the Rules

When a police officer arrests a suspect, a timer begins to count down. From that moment on, there are several appearances and entries that must be made on the record before that case can proceed to trial. If the police or prosecutors delay the process and miss any of these deadlines, then the defendant may get his case dismissed based on a violation of his constitutional or statutory rights.

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Earlier last month, an 18-year old high school student entered a plea of no contest to misdemeanor battery and felony interference with child custody to avoid the possibility of a 15 year prison sentence and mandatory lifetime sex-offender registration. She was originally charged with lewd and lascivious assault on a minor but was offered a deal by the county prosecutor. According to a Reuter’s report, the high-school student was involved in a sexual relationship with a 14-year old teammate.

The 18-year old—who was charged as any other adult would be—would have faced felony sex offender charges had she elected to reject the plea offer and proceed to trial. Such charges would have potentially exposed her to a maximum term of 15 years in prison and mandatory sex offender registration for the rest of her life. Instead, she will remain in jail until December 20, at which point she will be released and be placed on felony supervision for three years.

Sex-Related Offenses Are Some of the Most Serious Crimes in Florida

Aside from homicide crimes, sex offenses are the most serious crimes in Florida. Most sex offenses are punished as felonies, which means that—at a minimum—a convicted defendant is looking at a sentence of:

  • Up to 5 years in prison, and
  • A fine of up to $5,000.

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