Former Texas Rangers star and World Series MVP John Wetteland has been charged with sexual assault against a minor, which is a very serious charge. What is more, John Wetteland has a high profile as a former big league athlete and the man who brought a World Series to Dallas. Therefore, it is unquestionable that the establishment wants to bring him down with a sexual assault charge and send him to prison for a significant number of years. In turn, he will need an aggressive defense that is willing to do battle with the powers that be.
High Profile Prosecutions
It is a misconception that people in the spotlight obtain special treatment when they are charged with crimes. Often, when an athlete or other high profile person successfully has charges dismissed against them, there is a public outcry accusing the justice system of going easy on that person just because he or she has celebrity status. They claim that the celebrity defendant would have faced more serious consequences had that person not been a celebrity.
This is a fallacy. When the prosecution successfully prosecutes a high profile person and that person is made to pay, people in the prosecutor’s office are giving each other high fives. In contrast, when the prosecution successfully prosecutes the average person, no one in the prosecutor’s office is in a festive mood.
Therefore, celebrities facing legal consequences are generally in more danger of facing the consequences that the average Joe.
Sexual Assault Charges
In Texas, the Texas Penal Code states that the age of consent for a minor is 17 and that sexual assault is a strict liability crime. That is to say, a minor can only provide consent to sexual interaction if he or she is 17. In addition, it is a strict liability crime, which means that the law does not account for the proposed offender’s thoughts and actions. Even if the defender reasonably believed that the victim is 17, this mistake is not material. The law only considers the action.
In the case of John Wetteland, where the victim claimed assault starting at the age of 4, there is no defense in saying that he reasonably believed that the victim was 17. He will have to provide a better defense.
Defending Against Sexual Assault Charges
Sexual assault cases are often fact specific and rely on the credibility of witnesses. What are the facts of the case? Do witnesses have credibility? Can these witnesses survive a cross examination? Should the alleged victim take the stand? Can the alleged victim manage a cross examination?
In this instance, the lawyer’s job will be to present the defendant’s side of the story in the light most beneficial for the defendant. The prosecution need prove that the defendant committed the alleged act beyond a reasonable doubt; the defendant need only demonstrate that doubt exists with respect to the prosecution’s claims
Have you been accused of sexual harassment or assault in Texas? The prosecution and the media are against you. You need a lawyer who provides aggressive representation. Contact the criminal defense firm of Christopher Abel.
(image courtesy of Greg Raines)