Television Meets Truth: Sexual Assault and “Making a Murderer”
This is Part Two of a Four Part Series Investigating the Legal Significance of the media’s most sensational crime dramas in 2016: Serial Seasons 1 & 2, Making a Murderer, and The Jinx
The enthralling Netflix series “Making a Murderer” is not your average suspenseful, chilling true-crime story. For those of you who have not watched yet (and without giving any spoilers) it is the true tale of a man, Steven Avery, who was wrongfully convicted of a sexual assault. After spending 18 years behind bars for a crime he did not commit, local law enforcement comes at him again with vengeance, accusing him of a different crime (murder) with a different victim.
With significant questions of both police and prosecutorial misconduct, Mr. Avery’s story is deeply concerning for the criminal justice system. The initial charges that Mr. Avery faced were sexual in nature; sexual assaults and allegations of rape can destroy lives, relationships, and be emotionally damaging for everyone involved. If you or anyone you know has been accused of sexual assault, it is critical to speak with a knowledgeable criminal sex crimes defense attorney right away to preserve your legal rights and reputation.
California Sex Crimes Offenses
While first-time offenders are generally entitled to more lenient sentences than those with prior convictions, the punishments associated with any violent or sexual crime can be quite severe regardless of your criminal history. In Mr. Avery’s case, he was sentenced to 32 years for the sexual assault and attempted murder of a young woman. He served only 18 due to DNA evidence that exonerated him from his alleged crimes. Sex crimes, though not eligible for the death penalty, can carry life sentences. The punishments in California are particularly severe for those convicted of crimes against minors or those crimes that are uniquely violent in nature.
Sex crimes are not only serious due to the significant sentence associated with a conviction. Nearly all crimes that are sexual in nature require a convicted offender to register as a sex offender. A registered sex offender has significant limitations about where they can live, where they can travel, and with whom they can associate. The status will affect their relationship with their families, children, and friends.
There is also a significant social stigma in our society against those that have been not just convicted, but accused of sex crimes, particularly those against women. Despite public opinion, sexual crimes are committed against men as well as women, and only a fraction of all sexual crimes are reported to authorities. Merely being accused of a sexual crime can have an adverse effect on your family, personal, and professional relationships. You may have to spend time in jail or miss work for court appearances, which can raise questions that you do not want to answer. Taking the allegations against you seriously and hiring effective legal counsel right away, even if you are innocent, will greatly improve your chances of having your legal rights protected and minimize the severity of the potential charges against you.
Los Angeles Sex Crimes Defense Attorney
Whether you are facing criminal charges for a sexual assault you have a defense for (such as consent) or a sexual assault you did not commit, you have legal rights. It is important to know both your rights and responsibilities when you have been charged with a sexual offense, and Los Angeles criminal defense attorney Ambrosio E. Rodriguez can help you navigate the criminal justice system. If you have already been convicted, Attorney Rodriguez can also assist you with your sex offender reporting requirements to ensure you are in compliance and can also help you with the appeals process if you have reservations about your conviction as well.