When a prosecutor brings charges against a suspect, it can easy for Memphis, Tennessee, residents to assume they are true. However, it is important to remember that in the criminal justice system, suspects are innocent until proven guilty. Furthermore, a suspect cannot be proven guilty unless he or she receives a fair trial, where the prosecutor must prove each element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt.
Recently in another state, these protections were illustrated when a man accused of sexual battery was acquitted by a jury. The man was a security guard in a grocery store, where he was accused of romancing women and then taking them back to his apartment to perform sexual acts on them. During the trial, prosecutors alleged that he brought a woman and her 3-year-old daughter back to his apartment and then forced the woman to have sex with him. Since the jury was not convinced that all necessary elements of the crime had been proved beyond a reasonable doubt, the man was acquitted.
People who are accused of sexual battery have a number of defenses available to them. One defense is asserting innocence. This can be shown by either having an alibi or by using DNA or other evidence showing they did not commit the crime.
Another common defense to sex crimes is consent. This is where the suspect admits the sexual act took place but asserts the victim consented to the act. Consent negates an essential element of the crime, which requires the sexual act to occur against the will of the victim. It is important for those accused of sex crimes to know and understand what defenses may be available to them at trial. Otherwise, a wrongfully accused person could end up spending years in prison.
Source: Sun Sentinel, “Tamarac man acquitted of sexual battery,” Wayne K. Roustan, Jan. 16, 2013