Ernest Albert Rankin of Jacksonville, was convicted of two counts of second degree sexual battery, one count of false imprisonment, grand theft auto and misdemeanor battery, in total facing over 41 years in prison. Rankin attacked a 32-year-old woman by beating her and forcing her to have sex with him. Rankin held the victim against her will for 24 hours.
Florida law defines the term “sexual battery” to mean vaginal, oral, or anal union with or penetration by the sexual organ of another or the vaginal or anal penetration of another by any other object. If the touching was done for any legitimate medical purpose, then Florida law specifically excludes that conduct from the definition of sexual battery.
The crimes that convey the most humiliation and penalties today are crimes involving sex. Even a mere accusation that one committed a sex crime can impact the rest of one’s life. While the charges are extremely serious, they are often based on the testimony of one or two people with little physical forensic evidence.
Many times, the person accused of a sex crime has had no prior dealings with the criminal justice system. There is sometimes DNA and other scientific evidence. When one is accused one must act quickly to have someone experienced analyze and investigate the methods taken to get the evidence, the procedures used to test the evidence, and to investigate the person or people interpreting the evidence.
Many times, proper investigation and analysis will show law enforcement rushed the investigation. The nature of sex crimes accusations also contributes to a less than objective investigation. Law enforcement officers often believe the alleged victim even as the physical evidence begins to prove contrary to those accusations.
Individuals who are innocent of the accusation of sexual battery should be particular careful not to make any statements. Those statements can be misconstrued and ultimately used against one. One’s side of the incident can best be told through one’s attorney who can preserve favorable evidence and witness testimony.
False imprisonment is a lesser included offense which carries significantly less prison time than a typical sex crime. False imprisonment differs from sexual battery because the prosecution merely has to prove that the accused by threat or force, confined, abducted, imprisoned or restrained a victim against their will without lawful authority. The additional elements under the kidnapping statute do not have to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt by the prosecution.
False imprisonment is a second degree felony punishable up to fifteen years in prison. However, under the State of Florida Sentencing Guidelines Offense Severity Ranking Chart, false imprisonment does not score out to mandatory state prison. One needs an experienced Jacksonville sex crimes defense attorney who has been successful in getting these types of charges dismissed on many occasions.
The Forbess Law Firm has been aiding clients who face criminal charges in Jacksonville for years and is here to provide aggressive criminal defense to anyone accused of a crime. If you or a loved one requires a Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer, contact our firm today. We are available through our website or by calling us at 904-634-0900.
Additional Sources: Man convicted of sex crimes and false imprisonment, First Coast News