Citrus County Online is reporting that the 20-year-old Floral City man who was set to go to trial next week for sexually battering an eight year old girl accepted a plea deal last week of 25 years in prison and lifetime probation. He was facing life in prison.
The man was charged with sexual battery on a child and false imprisonment of a child relating to the February blindfolding, handcuffing, and sexually battering of a 8-year-old Brooksville girl. According to the State Attorney’s Office, the plea negotiation was approved by the girl’s family because understandably, they did not want the child to have to testify in open court about the horrific experience.
In abuse cases involving children making statements to law enforcement or other adults regarding their abuse, the State has an extra burden if they want these statements to be introduced at trial. Under the Florida Rules of Evidence and Florida Statutes Section 90, the State must show, at a hearing separate from the trial, that the child’s out of court statement about the abuse is reliable. Some of the factors courts can consider in determining whether these child hearsay statements are admissible for a jury to consider include: when the statement was made in relation to the abuse, how the child’s statement was elicited, whether the child was coached prior to questioning and whether forcing the child to testify in open court would cause serious emotional harm. Many times, getting these statements into evidence can make or break the State’s case, as it is quite common for children to recant their statements as time passes.
Comments about this post can be directed to Citrus County Criminal Defense Attorney Whittel & Melton, LLC at 352-726-0078.