Articles Posted in Sex Offenses

“Moving forward, our office will continue to pursue stiff penalties [for child pornography cases] …”

That was the strong message delivered by Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Aisha Braveboy on November 20, 2023, following the sentencing of Patrick Wojahn. Wojahn, the former mayor of College Park, pled guilty to 140 counts of possession and/or distribution of child pornography and was subsequently sentenced to 30 years in prison. The prosecutor assigned to that case explained during the sentencing hearing, “The reason why he pled to 140 counts was because our office is not going to take a position as to which child deserves to have their rape—that was memorialized on video and forever lives on the internet—pled to.”

So, you can imagine the angst my client felt when he learned on December 7, 2023—just a little over two weeks after the Wojahn sentencing—that he had been indicted with the same criminal offenses, in the same jurisdiction, by the same prosecutor. Like Wojahn, my client had no prior criminal record, was well-educated, a devoted family man with a good paying job. Yet here he was facing the possibility of decades in prison.

Sex Offenses including Second Degree Rape charges are among the most serious criminal offenses that are handled in the criminal just system. Anyone who is charged with Rape or any other Sex Offense requires the assistance of an Aggressive and Experienced Criminal Attorney who has substantial experience handling these types of cases. In the twenty years that I have been practicing exclusively criminal law, I have handled scores if not hundreds of Rape and Sex Offense cases both as a prosecutor and as a criminal defense attorney.

I have written many times in this space about the importance of hiring an experienced criminal specialist when charged with any criminal offense. When dealing with Rape of Sex Offense charges, it is not just important, it is an imperative. I just finished successfully defending a 19 year old charged with Second Degree Rape in St. Mary’s County that was a shocking example of what can happen if this imperative is not observed. I was brought into the case 8 months after the charges were filed and just after the client’s current lawyer told him that he should plead guilty to Second Degree Rape and accept a 12 year prison sentence. His parents then reached out to me for a second opinion. Here are the facts:
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As an Aggressive Baltimore Maryland Criminal Defense Attorney I have represented hundreds of people charged with Sex Offenses. Many of these case deal with adults (typically men) having sexual contact with underage victims (typically girls) – so call Statutory Rape Cases – although Maryland Law does not use that specific terminology. The basic rule is that if a child is under the age of 16 – which is the age of consent in Maryland – it is illegal for an adult who is at least 4 years older than the child to have an form of sexual contact with the child. These crimes are prosecuted very aggressively throughout Maryland and typically result in jail time as well as requirement to register as a sexual offender for 15 to 25 years or even for life.

What makes these cases even more difficult to defend is that they are so called “Strict Liability” offenses, which means that it does not matter if the adult was aware that the child was underage. This applies even in circumstances in which the child affirmatively lies about or conceals her age. As unfair as this may sound, it is the law in Maryland and in many other states. It also does not matter who initiates the sexual contact. The adult will be held liable even if he was aggressively pursued by the child to have sex. I successfully resolved a case that falls into this latter description last week in Baltimore County Circuit Court. Here are the facts:
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As a full time Maryland Criminal Lawyer and former Baltimore County Prosecutor practicing exclusively in the criminal arena for almost 20 years, I have handled more Sex Offense Cases (on both sides of the aisle) than I can recall. Recently we have seen an uptick in the number of Craig’s List initiated Solicitation of Minors for Sex cases being charged, particularly in Baltimore County. Most of us are familiar with this type of sting operation from the Chris Hanson “To Catch a Predator Series” on MSNBC. These are extremely serious cases that are prosecuted aggressively by both the State and Federal authorities. It is imperative that a person charged in one of these stings immediately retain the most experienced, aggressive and influential attorneys they can find.

My law partner former Federal Prosecutor Andrew C. White who directed the Child Sex Offense of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for over 7 years, and I have teamed up to successfully resolve dozens of these cases over the past decade or so when we first starting seeing these sting operations. It is imperative to have someone very experienced and influential in the federal system as there is dual federal and state jurisdiction to prosecute these cases. We were hired by someone caught up in one of these investigations just last week. I won’t go into the specifics of any of the cases for obvious privacy reasons, but here is an outline of a typical case such as this.
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As an Aggressive and Experienced Maryland Criminal Defense Attorney, I have represented dozens of people who have been charged with Sexual Solicitation of a Minor. In most of these cases, the defendant is caught in a sting operation conducted by state of federal law enforcement.

I represented a client in one such case this week in Baltimore County Circuit Court. The State was seeking a sentence of 10 years in the Division of Corrections with all but 5 years to be suspended. I was able to get him a sentence of just 4 weekends to be served in the Baltimore County Detention Center. This, in spite of the fact that we ended up in front of a judge who is widely regarded as a very tough sentencing judge and the fact that we literally had no defense. How did this happen? The answer is we put together a compelling presentation of mitigating facts and circumstances to argue for a sentence much less than the State was demanding.

It may surprise some to know, that in many criminal cases there really is no plausible defense to the charges. In street parlance these cases are known as “dead up” or “slam dunk” cases. The fact of the matter is that in many if not most cases, the police do their job correctly and gather enough evidence to make conviction a virtual certainty. In these matters, it is vital that the criminal defense attorney have the requisite experience and judgment to first recognize the fact that the case is indefensible and then the integrity to break the bad news to the client. In these cases it is always in the client’s interest to accept that conviction is inevitable and concentrate on doing what is necessary to limit the damage. In other words, work on mitigation. All too often, I see inexperienced or ineffective attorneys pursuing unrealistic defenses in court that result in their clients to be punished more harshly by the courts either because the client didn’t get the benefit of accepting responsibility for his or her actions, because the court believes that the client lied on the stand, or simply because the judge imposes a trial penalty. Another way to say that is that the court doesn’t give the defendant the benefit he would have received in a plea bargain. Here are the facts of the case I had this week.
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As a Baltimore Maryland Criminal Attorney I have always found that among the most difficult types of cases to defend is the client who is wrongfully accused of a I have blogged about this issue in the past but I am currently representing someone whose situation is a little different that most of my past cases. In most of the cases like this that I have handled, the issue was consent. There was never any question in these cases that sexual contact had occurred between the parties. The issue was did the woman consent or was she forced in some way or simply too intoxicated to validly consent?

The case that I am currently handling is even more difficult because the charges are an outright fabrication. As we all know, it is extremely difficult to prove a negative, that is, prove that something did not happen. This is precisely what we are faced with in this case because the alleged incident simply never occurred. Here are the facts:
Continue reading › Baltimore Maryland Criminal Attorneys, we are often called upon to defend college students and other young people who are charged with what is commonly termed “date rape” allegations. These allegations invariably involve young women who are highly intoxicated on drugs or alcohol engaging in sexual activity that they later allege was non-consensual. The vast majority of these cases involve situations wherein the young woman involved became voluntarily intoxicated but we have seen several cases in which the so called “date rape drug” was found to be in the alleged victim’s system.

We have successfully defended a large number of these cases many of which having occurred on or around one of the numerous college campuses in the area. We recently defended an individual in just such as case and were able to have all charges against him dismissed prior to trial. This particular individual did not retain us until after he was charged which was a mistake on his part as we have successfully prevented many similarly situated individuals from ever being charged. Here are the facts of the case:
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