These kinds of sting operations always face ethical questions.
Rockledge, FL (PRWEB) September 05, 2013
A Sheriff's Office sting arrested eleven people accused of soliciting sex with minors last week, according to deputies. Criminal defense attorney David Katz says catching child molesters is a victory but the deputies' undercover tactics will be scrutinized if the cases go to trial.
Deputies worked undercover through internet sex ads, according to WESH News (07.26.2013). Individuals who sought out an encounter with a minor were then offered an appointment for an encounter at a private house, where deputies arrested them.
“These kinds of sting operations always face ethical questions,” said Katz, co-founder of criminal defense law firm Katz & Phillips, PA. “For instance, would these individuals have acted if deputies hadn't baited them?”
Contrary to popular belief, Katz says that there is no law requiring undercover police to identify themselves if directly asked. But he says that charging someone with a crime becomes questionable if police talk the person into the crime in the first place.
“Defense lawyers will review the language of the online ads,” he said. “They'll review chat logs. It's fine for deputies to put out a net and catch criminals. It's not fine to talk people into meeting with minors, and then play 'gotcha.'”
The ages of those arrested ranged from 24 to 69. Deputies say that they also identified three minors who were victims of sex crimes during the operation.
“Asking these tough questions helps put criminals behind bars,” Katz said. “If these suspects are molesters, no one wants them to walk free because a sting was done in an illegal way.”
About David Katz:
David S. Katz is a Florida sex crime lawyer and a founding partner of Katz & Phillips, PA. Nationally recognized as leader in criminal defense, he has trained other attorneys in defense strategies and has suppressed prosecution evidence in hundreds of cases. He can be contacted at:
Katz & Phillips, PA
509 W. Colonial Drive
Orlando, FL 32804