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The prosecution does not have to prove that your son knew that what he did was a crime, only that he intended to do the act with a criminal intent-mens rea- or bad intent. The emotion issues, as your public defender correctly points out, would not prevent him from being convicted of a crime, but may help in sentencing or in a plea deal
The public defender most likely has a lot of experience in this and similar cases so he probably knows what is in the best interest of your son. If the proof is there, then a plea agreement may be the best option. And the public defender can attempt to reason with the prosecutor in trying to explain the toxic nature of the relationship and that it was not just one-sided
So, what you are saying is that the prosecution does have to prove criminal intent?
By the way, this public defender has never tried a cyber stalking or stalking charge. There is the proof of the text messages. Also, my question was.. can we actually call witnesses to the stand to verify his disabilities and impulse control issues? I thought that you can call ANY witnesses to the stand to try to prove your case.
And... you did not even mention the fact that my son was only 17 when he met her and slept with her. Is that a crime???? Can we bring this up in court if she testifies????
I do not have much faith in your answers as you very well know that the public defender is only there for plea bargains and does very little to pursue justice or a trial for the indigents. You were once probably a prosecutor and your answer shows it. Sorry, I do not rate your answer as very informative or of any help as you did not even answer any of my pertinent questions. What about the character of the accuser??? Does that even matter. You did not even answer my question about my son testifying..
Sorry, let me continue in my responses to aid you.
The prosecution does have to prove criminal intent, but that does not mean that they have to prove he knew he was committing a crime. They just have to prove that he was acting with a malicious or bad intent, that he intended to do something that was wrong. For instance, if he was joking, then he wouldn't be acting with mens rea, or criminal intent
If your son was 17 and she was 31, then that would be considered a crime, and it could possibly be used to attack the witnesses credibility when she is put on the stand.
The only problem though is that there is proof outside of her testimony, specifically that the text messages exist.
There is a possibility that she might drop the charges if threatened with litigation over the fact she was having a relationship with a minor
Plea bargains are useful if the evidence is very strong. The fact that there are text messages are harmful; however, if it was only one or two times when your son was angry, then it might not be considered cyberstalking and just one act of being angry.
However, if there are multiple text messages over a long period of time, then it could be an issue.
According to Florida statutes, “Cyberstalk” means to engage in a course of conduct to communicate, or to cause to be communicated, words, images, or language by or through the use of electronic mail or electronic communication, directed at a specific person, causing substantial emotional distress to that person and serving no legitimate purpose.
Notice that it is "a course of conduct" so it is not just one act, but multiple acts over a longer period of time
Ok, now we are getting somewhere. So, you say " a course of conduct"? It was only one night and after a big fight. There were only 4 text messages. One actual one was " I am going to call your mom". He did speak to the police and tell them that he only did it to "annoy" her. Would that be considered criminal intent? An annoyance?. Also, again should he testify for his defense so he could explain some of his relationship with her? Also, you have not answered the question regarding the defense calling ANY witnesses that would benefit his case including the school psychologist who has told me that his impulsibility disorder would render him to believe what he did was only an annoyance not a crime. In essence, he really did not think what he did was actually wrong. Can we call her to the stand in his trial?? I appreciate your feedback and I will take in all of your advice. Thank you.
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