Phoenix, AZ criminal defense lawyer Robert J. McWhirter discusses the issues he sees in sex crime cases.
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Related to defending sex crimes, those usually take a lot of getting into the details of the case. You have to go in, and a lot of times, for instance, if it’s a sexting case you have to go in and look at all the texts, see all the context. A lot of times people get caught up in things and they don’t intend to try to lure a minor, but they might be thinking that the person, although the person is saying they’re a minor, they’re not. A lot of times people have a sense that they have profile online and they think their profile is communicating with another profile. They don’t really believe anybody is who they are because they don’t present who they really are. And all of a sudden you have a profile talking to another profile. Well, that profile they’re talking to is actually a 38-year old cop who’s sitting around pretending to be a 14-year old kid. And everybody’s pretending and all of a sudden this guy who doesn’t have any inclination to go after a 14-year old girl is now charged with doing that when they didn’t really do anything. They were just sexting. So those are kind of the issues.
You know, the real issue with a lot of this is you have competing norms in society. And there’s a certain way of conduct that’s accepted, but that’s not what some people think the law should be or is. And people get charged with crimes for behavior that in their mind isn’t criminal at all. And so those are the issues, and sometimes that takes going to a jury and actually having a verdict on that.