In a legal dispute, opposing sides may have different factual accounts of the events or evidence. Witnesses and experts may also have different interpretations of documentary evidence.
When disagreements over facts do arise, a judge typically responds to evidentiary objections made by each party’s attorney in real time. The end result, after each side has presented its case, is a single, narrowed factual recitation of events and evidence. That narrowing may help a judge apply the law in a more neutral manner.
When it comes to a sex crime, however, neutrality seems to be the last thing on the minds of prosecutors and police officials. In a recent example, a 47-year-old Florida man suspected of sexual misconduct with a child and possession of child pornography was recently shot by authorities that were questioning him inside his Leesburg apartment.
According to the local police, the man invited them into his apartment when they arrived. At some point during the interview, officers claim that the man retrieved a hidden handgun. It’s unclear how much time actually passed before the man went for his gun. Unfortunately, the situation quickly escalated. Although there were several officers inside the apartment, one claims that he felt he was in mortal danger. That officer was the only one to fire at the man.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating the shooting, which is standard procedure. The officer that fired his weapon has been placed on administrative leave, pending the outcome.
A sex crimes attorney might observe that the man did not have previous arrests to his record, and that he had voluntarily invited the officers into his apartment. Those two facts suggest that the interviewing officers may have afforded the man less than fair treatment.
Source: Orlando Sentinel, “Eustis police officer shoots, kills man suspected of child sex crimes,” Erica Rodriguez, Jan. 8, 2014