Ever since the hearings two weeks ago on the confirmation of the Supreme Court Justice, there has been an explosion of people coming forward, mostly women, claiming they were sexually abused years and years ago.
These allegations are from former employees, family members, former dates, former classmates, stepdaughters, and old girlfriends. How do you defend against someone claiming you did something years ago? The problem becomes a nightmare when the person accusing you claims that they were underage when they claim it happened. It is one thing to defend against something that they say happened last month and quite another to defend against something ten years ago.
For some crimes there is a statute of limitations that gives the State a certain number of years to file the charge. For some sexual battery crimes, particularly when a minor was involved there may be no limit as to how long the State can wait. We have been defending date rape cases for decades.
Sometimes, women do not want to take responsibility for their own actions.
They may say “I was drunk” and you should not have taken advantage of me. They may say that “we were stoned” or “under the influence” at it is your fault. I have found that many times, the accusation is simply false or both people are at fault. Over the years, I have found that many times, it is a stepdaughter simply making a false claim to get rid of her mother’s new partner.
News flash……teenage girls sometimes are drama queens and masters of manipulation. If they falsely accuse their mom’s new man, DCF is called, the police show up, the man gets arrested and gets kicked out and the real dad comes back into their life and to their rescue. They become the focus of everyone’s attention. Sadly many female prosecutors in a knee jerk sympathy reaction believe the false accusation and file the charges.
Here in Sarasota we have a large number of elderly residents. Consequently, there are a large percentage of arrests involving elderly victims.
One of the most commonly charged offenses is battery on a person over 65. If you hit or slap someone, it is a misdemeanor. In domestic violence cases, family members, spouses, brothers and sisters are often charged with domestic battery. If the person struck is over sixty five years old, the State has the option of charging it as a felony. If the elderly person is badly hurt, the aggressor will in all likelihood get a felony arrest. Sadly, many old people because of their attitude as they age, are the aggressors and provoke confrontation. Just because they are old does not mean they are nice. Many times you have elderly couples in their seventies or eighties that get in fights. My goal where possible is the end the ordeal for both parties. Early dementia can result in confrontations ending badly. Early diagnosis and counseling and treatment is a much better option than jail.
Another commonly charged crime involves family members taking advantage of the elderly financially. It is common for care providers to trick the elderly into writing checks or making payments that are unjustified. Over the years, I have defended professionals, such as lawyers or trustees who are alleged to have taken advantage of their fiduciary relationship. The problem that arises is that old people suffer memory lapses and often do not remember authorizing a transaction or making a payment. Jealous relatives come along later and accuse the caretaker of an impropriety when in fact it was legitimate. Money can motivate a false accusation by a relative seeking the money for themselves.
Here in Sarasota it is also common for people doing home improvements or repairs to over sell or overcharge and elderly person. These types of cases are tough for the State to prosecute and tough for the defense in that there is sympathy for any old person taken advantage of.
In the last ten years I have seen an increase in sex crimes involving the elderly. I have defended many grandfathers charged with a lewd and lascivious touching of a grandchild. Age sometimes does strange things to men. They may have led a perfect life and then in their seventies, something “snaps”. Some elderly men end up on the Internet and get charged with traveling to meet a minor as a result of a sex sting operation. These cases are particularly sad.
If you have a relative or friend charge with a crime involving the elderly and want to talk, call my office in Sarasota for a free consultation at 941 366 3506