During Zell Miller's administration as governor of Georgia, stringent new penalties were imposed for a number of crimes including some sexual offenses. Rape, aggravated sodomy and aggravated child molestation were put in a special category of offenses that carried a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years without parole and a maximum sentence of life. Since that time the Georgia legislature has increased the mandatory minimums to 25 years without parole. A second offense on any combination of these offenses carries a mandatory life sentence without parole.
Any person facing a POSSIBLE accusation of one of these crimes should immediately contact an attorney. Police officers assigned to sex crimes units are trained to lull potential suspects into a false sense of security while purporting to do a "preliminary investigation to find out the truth". In fact, most officers assume that the suspect has engaged in some type of illegal activity if a child or a female makes an outcry of sexual assault. The officers attempt to get the target to make incriminating admissions while cutting off potential defenses. Any person so targeted has a right to have an attorney present while the police are attempting to do an interrogation as part of an overall investigation. In most cases the attorney will not allow the client to say anything until the attorney has first done his own investigation. The client needs to know that in most cases the police are not trying to help him; but are trying to put him in prison for a very long time.
Even being accused of a sex crime can have a devastating effect on a person's life. Loss of a job, separation from family members, especially children, and estrangement from friends and associates can occur to one so accused. False accusations often arise in divorce cases. Allegations of child molestation all too often occur in bitter child custody battles. An entire cottage industry has evolved in the prosecution and defense of crimes against women and children. The State has a number of experts who will testify as to the so-called "child-abuse syndrome" to try and add credence to the testimony of child witnesses. An attorney with special training in the Defense of child molestation cases is needed to counteract the often scientifically unreliable "child-abuse syndrome" evidence.
One of the lawyers in our firm once heard a so called expert witness testify that she had interviewed hundreds of children who had claimed they were sexually abused by adults, and that, in not a single case, did a child lie or make a false accusation. Clearly, the testimony of such a witness has to be rebutted with a defense expert.
The state will often record an alleged victim’s testimony in such a fashion as to gain the sympathy of a jury. For example, children will be given teddy bears to hold while they are being visually recorded. Females will be coached by a victim advocate prior to giving their testimony.
If you (or anyone you know) face the possibility of being the target of a sex crime investigation, you should contact our office immediately to find out what your rights are and how you can best protect yourself facing this onslaught from the police and the prosecution.