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Neither the victim’s lack of chastity nor the victim’s consent is a defense to any of the offenses that are categorized as lewd and lascivious.
Additionally, the perpetrator’s ignorance of the victim’s age, the victim’s misrepresentation of his or her age, or the perpetrator’s bona fide belief of the victim’s age cannot be raised as a defense in a prosecution.
Florida is one of the toughest states on sex crimes and abuse, imposing the most strict sentences and penalties, and frequently making an offender’s return to the community extremely difficult.
Spector called Murrell and asked him whether he was sincere in his interests and whether he was a “cop.” Murrell replied that he was sincere, but that he wanted the same assurances from Spector. Murrell was convicted for attempt under the statute because there was no actual minor involved who could have been influenced. Put another way, Murrell contends that the minor's inducement may not be effected indirectly via an intermediary, and that accordingly, he could not have intended to induce a minor to engage in sex by speaking only to a go-between. Heritage Dictionary of the English Language 671 (William Morris ed., Houghton Mifflin Co.1981). To that end, we disfavor the former interpretation of “induce,” which is essentially synonymous with the word “persuade.” By negotiating with the purported father of a minor, Murrell attempted to stimulate or cause the minor to engage in sexual activity with him. In this case, we have neither an actual victim nor an undercover law enforcement officer “victim.” We must therefore determine whether the increased sentence is justified where there is only a fictitious victim. Because the Sentencing Commission specifically provided that undercover officers are “victims” for purposes of § 2G1.1, we deduce that the enhancement is directed at the defendant's intent, rather than any actual harm caused to a genuine victim.
Spector also gave Murrell his undercover phone number. Hence, a conviction under the statute only requires a finding that the defendant had an intent to persuade or to attempt to persuade. Murrell asserts that he could not have intended to induce a minor to engage in illegal sex acts without actually speaking to a person he believed to be a minor. It can be defined as “[t]o lead or move by influence or persuasion; to prevail upon,” or alternatively, “[t]o stimulate the occurrence of; cause.” The Am. § 2G1.1(b)(5) Murrell also received a two-level enhancement under U. Accordingly, we affirm Murrell's conviction and sentence. Commentary and Application Notes to the Sentencing Guidelines are binding on the courts unless they contradict the plain meaning of the text of the Guidelines.
There is an array of sex crimes, all requiring the help of a knowledgeable and experienced attorney who can successfully challenge the prosecution’s case and mount a strong, persuasive defense. Weiner is a board-certified specialist in criminal trial advocacy with the knowledge and skills necessary to prepare and present a successful defense in cases involving criminal charges of a sexual nature, contact our Miami sex crime & abuse attorney today.
In Florida, a sexual offender is a person who has been convicted of committing, or attempting, soliciting, or conspiring to commit, any of the criminal offenses of a sexual nature proscribed in the laws of Florida, or similar offenses in another jurisdiction.