Kaitlyn Hunt, the Florida high-school student charged in February with a felony sex crime over her affair with a younger girl accepted a plea deal to avoid becoming a registered sex offender. The case against drew national attention after supporters accused authorities of picking on her because of her sexual orientation. Indian River County prosecutor Bruce Colton said Hunt was charged like any other adult for having sex with a child.
Though Hunt had argued the sex was consensual, Florida law considers it a felony offense to have sex with a person under the age of 16 who is considered not legally able to offer consent.
Under the original plea deal, Hunt would plead no contest to two counts of battery and one felony count of interference with child custody. Under this plea, Hunt would not only escape jail time, but would not have to register as a sex offender or wear an ankle bracelet. In exchange, the now 19-year-old would be subject to a curfew, have to perform 150 hours of community service and serve probation.
Florida’s juveniles want to do what they want to do and sometimes will be charged with sexual battery charges because of them are registered in the system and have records as sex offenders. This can be damaging to many of Jacksonville’s best and brightest in finding careers, particularly for those juveniles whose charges were pursued by disapproving parents who did not like the young girl or boy that their child was involved with, rather than that juvenile actually being guilty of any crime.
Other times, juvenile sex charges are the result of two love-struck teenagers who were caught by their parents and reported to police. Males used to be the prime target for being placed on the sex offender registry, but as this story shows, females have now taken some precedent in sex crime charges in Florida. No matter the individual or the circumstance, being listed on the Sex offender registry can severely hinder this first and probably only-time offender’s future of a decent career.
Often, the accused will choose a plea deal in order to receive a less severe sentence
because of hedging the amount of time served for the crime, rather than betting their freedom on a gamble, the risk they take if they were to go to trial and be convicted.
In this case, Hunt pled no contest to a felony charge of interfering with child custody. A charge of interfering with child custody, a felony charge, is a very serious charge to bring against someone, particularly of Hunt’s young age, as this particular charge cannot be expunged under Florida statute.
Florida’s juveniles want to do what they want to do and sometimes will be charged with sexual battery charges because of them are registered in the system and have records as sex offenders. This can be damaging to many of Jacksonville’s youth in finding careers, particularly for those juveniles whose charges were pursued by a disapproving society who did not like the decisions that the youth made, because they were contrary to their own notions and ideologies, rather than that juvenile actually being guilty of any crime. In this case, it seems now that Hunt will want to reject any plea from the State, in order to prove the point that the State cannot silence certain ideological communities.
As this case, and many others like it show, plea bargaining is an effective but not always best option for the accused in a criminal suit. Some crimes may be too serious, and therefore require a trial. Others are clear cut cases of police misconduct or cases of tampered evidence that can and should be suppressed. However, many State attorneys will attempt to rush a plea agreement before the truth of one’s innocence or the invalidity of the evidence comes to light.
One in a situation such as this should obtain an experienced Jacksonville sex crimes defense attorney to fight for one’s case and ensure one’s rights, defenses, and options are known and protected. One cannot fight this battle alone. With the help of an experienced attorney, one can be sure that this mistake will be whited out of one’s life and become a thing of the past.
The Forbess Law Firm has been aiding clients who face criminal charges in Jacksonville for years and are here to provide aggressive criminal defense to anyone accused of a crime. If you or a loved one require a Jacksonville criminal defense lawyer, contact our firm today. We are available through our website or by calling us at 904-634-0900.
Additional Source: Florida high-schooler takes plea deal in sex crime case, Barbara Liston