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Brandon M.
Brandon M., Counselor at Law
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 12620
Experience:  Attorney
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SETTLE THIS DEBATE! We were chatting about a case in Florida,

Resolved Question:


We were chatting about a case in Florida, Katherine Hunt: A then 18yr old female who, against the wishes of the parents initiated and continued a sexual relationship with a 14 yr old girl.

She is now being offered a plea deal where she pleads to two misdemeanors, no sex offender registry and maybe 1,000 hrs of community service.

Anyway, the discussion meandered to "jail bait" and if asking for ID (and verifying same) is any defense to the charge of "sexual contact with a minor" (or however that concept is worded in any state statute)

What do you think!

Please answer carefully, an extra large Pizza is riding on the outcome!
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Brandon M. replied 3 years ago.
Hello there:

Thank you for your question. Help me understand the parameters of this hypothetical scenario--are you asking if asking for the minor's ID, and reviewing the same, would be a defense? I'm a bit unclear on why that might be a defense unless you are contemplating a scenario where the minor presents falsified identification that misrepresents his/her age.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
That is EXACTLY the scenario.

In the meandering discussion, it wandered on a case where these two young soldiers where charged with Statutory rape after they had consensual relations with two young girls who were drinking in a bar - they had shown (fake) ID to the bartender in order to be served but were under age.

The young men to my knowledge did not ask the girls to show them ID, probably assuming that they were of age if they were drinking in the bar, etc.

At this time, I've lost the link to the news report, so I cant say what the current status is, but regardles, the debate centers on: If they had asked the two girls for ID and were presented with same, could they have a defense

( I acknowledge there are obvious caveats: the apparent age of the girls, the "authenticity of the id and any efforts to verify same" etc

Lets say the girls look old enough and the driver license was checked via and found to be a valid license.

We eagerly await your learned reply!
Expert:  Brandon M. replied 3 years ago.
In Florida, it would NOT be a valid defense. I direct you to Florida Statute 794.021:

794.021 Ignorance or belief as to victim’s age no defense.—When, in this chapter, the criminality of conduct depends upon the victim’s being below a certain specified age, ignorance of the age is no defense. Neither shall misrepresentation of age by such person nor a bona fide belief that such person is over the specified age be a defense.

This is the law in the majority of states. So I can earn those bonus points, in New York and Pennsylvania, among a few others, it WOULD be a valid defense.

That said, the truth is that if the defendant really didn't have reason to know that the minor was underaged, and if the minor really did produce a convincing fake ID, the District Attorney's office would probably not be interested in using its resources to prosecute. Even when the letter of the law is broken, justice is not always served by prosecuting.
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Customer: replied 3 years ago.
You've saved me a large pizza!
I'll split my winnings with you and thanks!
Expert:  Brandon M. replied 3 years ago.
Awesome :-) This conversation actually made me hungry for pizza. I just put a pineapple Canadian bacon pizza in the oven :-) Have a good evening.
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