IT IS NOT A CRIME FOR A PARENT OR A PERSON WHO IS ACTING AS THE LAWFUL GUARDIAN OF A CHILD TO IMPOSE REASONABLE PHYSICAL DISCIPLINE ON A CHILD FOR MISBEHAVIOR UNDER CIRCUMSTANCES EVEN THOUGH PHYSICAL INJURY RESULTED FROM THE DISCIPLINE.
LET A FORMER CHILD ABUSE PROSECUTOR WORK FOR YOU
If someone you know is being accused, investigated or charged with child abuse, now is the time to consulate with a defense attorney who has the experience, knowledge and understanding of how the criminal justice system operates against an accused facing a child abuse allegation in the State of Florida. Every child abuse allegation automatically invokes unique laws, evidence, police officers, and prosecutors; all designed to convict, incarcerate, and possibly terminate parental rights of the accused.
Department of Children and Family Services
An individual accused of child abuse must come to the realization that his or her relationship with their child, as they know it, may no longer exist. A child abuse allegation shall cause the Department of Children and Family Services to conduct a dependency case to determine whether probable cause exits that a child is in danger, if said child remains in the family home or with the parent. A child protection investigator from the department shall inspect your home daily intruding upon your privacy.
If the child protection investigator determines probable cause exists, a shelter petition is filed, and within 24-hours a shelter hearing shall take place invoking the jurisdiction of the civil family court. The petition will ask the court to either remove or keep the child from the parent. Depending on the allegation, a child abuse allegation could result in the parent being compelled to leave his or her home leaving the child with a spouse, relative, care giver, or even Social Services. The shelter hearing shall determine if visitation is permitted; whether it is unsupervised, supervised and or monitored by Social Services.
Please understand, the Department of Children and Family Services, shelter hearing, and placement of an alleged abused child is separate and distinct from the criminal investigation conducted by law enforcement, the prosecution conducted by the State Attorney’s Office, and possible penalties imposed by a criminal circuit court Judge.
The fight for any individual facing a child abuse allegation is therefore two-fold: (1) Civil Family Court, the Department of Children and Family Services acting as a prosecutor, and (2), Criminal Circuit Court, the State Attorney’s Office prosecuting you for the offense of child abuse. Your ability to retain a highly qualified defense attorney who is knowledgeable and experienced in both fields may result in the difference between terminating your parental rights or going home to your child. A seasoned litigator can make the difference between prosecution, incarceration, or exoneration.
If you have been arrested or accused of child abuse please understand that the State Attorney’s Office, Sex Crimes / Child Abuse Unit, will take approximately 21 days to make a “filing” decision against you. During this time, a child abuse detective shall take sworn statements from an alleged victim, collect evidence, and interview witnesses. Within this 21 day period, the detective will complete the investigation, and then a “pre-filing interview” shall be conducted at the State Attorney’s Office with the alleged child victim, custodial care giver, guardian-ad-litem, the detective, and a child abuse prosecutor assigned to the case. The prosecutor can formally charge an individual with a child abuse crime, alter the charge, or decline the case as well.
DO NOT RELY ON THE GOVERNMENT’S CASE. CHALLENGE IT!
These 21 days are crucial to any individual facing a child abuse allegation. The best defense to a child abuse allegation is to conduct an Independent Investigation. This investigation is invaluable for the purposes of gathering exculpatory evidence. Who reported this alleged incident of child abuse? What was his or her motive, bias, and prejudice. What was the reporting individual’s intent? Motive is the most significant piece of evidence overlooked by defense attorneys in proving the government’s allegation of child abuse is nothing but a sham.
Evidence gathered from your independent investigation shall be presented to the detective, prosecutor and the court. I highly recommended that you retain a private investigator. This alone can make a difference between prison and freedom. I employ only highly seasoned, well trained, ex-law enforcement officers who have the knowledge and understanding in how to investigate a child abuse allegation.
After your investigation is complete, I shall meet with the detective and the child abuse prosecutor to persuade the State Attorney’s Office not to file charges against you. An open, transparent, and honest line of communication with the detective and prosecutor is invaluable for: Bond, evaluation of the alleged Evidence, Discovery issues, and potential Plea Negotiations. Any individual accused of child abuse must retain an experienced defense team capable of protecting you throughout this most difficult process.
While I was a student attending Nova Southeastern University School of Law, I became a certified legal intern prosecuting cases for the Broward County State Attorney’s Office in the Spring of 1990. I prosecuted misdemeanor cases in county court prior to my admission to the Florida Bar.
Upon being admitted to the practice of law by the Florida Bar in September 1990, I was employed as an Assistant State Attorney by the Broward County State Attorney’s Office. I was responsible for prosecuting individuals accused of misdemeanors such as driving under the influence, petit theft, assault, and battery. In September 1992, I was promoted to county court supervisor.
In December 1992, I was promoted to felony circuit court responsible for prosecuting individuals accused of aggravated battery, aggravated assault, robbery, burglary, firearm offenses and felony narcotic violations. In November 1993, I was promoted to Lead Prosecutor, Felony Trial Unit.
FORMER CHILD ABUSE / SEX CRIME PROSECUTOR
In August 1994, I was promoted and assigned to the Broward County Child Abuse / Sex Crimes Unit. As a former child abuse prosecutor, I conducted numerous “pre-filing interviews”. I communicated consistently with child abuse detectives and made the ultimate decision whether to charge an individual with a child abuse crime.
As such, I have conducted numerous forensic interviews with alleged child victims. This is where I learned the skills to understand the state of mind of not only an alleged child victim, but the reporter as well. Does the reporting parent, grandparent, or care giver have a motive in reporting such a serious allegation?
As a former prosecutor, I reviewed, was responsible for, and admitted evidence in court uniquely associated with child abuse such as: DNA, Hair, Fiber, Child Hearsay, and the ability to conduct a forensic interview of a child.
Failure of law enforcement to properly secure, maintain, and process a crime scene can be the difference between guilty and not guilty.
A defense attorney who does not know how evidence is to be secured, maintained, and processed, should not represent an individual accused of child abuse.
An attorney who defends an individual charged with child abuse must understand what substantial competent evidence is, and its application to today and tomorrow’s law. It is a combination of both fact and law that must be presented and argued to a child abuse detective, prosecutor, and the court.
Upon leaving the State Attorney’s Office in 1997, I have dedicated my professional life in defending individuals charged with serious crimes. Please utilize my extensive training, background and experience to defend and protect you. I will carefully examine each aspect of your case. From the interviews conducted, the alleged evidence derived from the crime scene, and most importantly, we must examine the alleged victim. Motive, intent, bias, and prejudice of the government’s alleged victim and witnesses shall be brought forward before the detective, prosecutor, and Court.
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