The Trend Of Women Being Involved In Sex Crimes Is Rising Steadily
Interviewer: Would that be accurate to assume that not only men that commit sex crimes. It could be also women as well?
Zach Peagler: Yes, and it’s getting more and more prevalent in society. I think for many years, it was almost an unspoken rule that only men committed sex crimes. The general public perception when they think about sex crimes is, the most heinous sex crimes. Yes, most of those happen by men, by virtue of the violent nature of the classic rape charge, but more and more now, we see cases of women sexually abusing children or teachers sleeping with minor students and that type of thing.
Under The Law A Woman Convicted of a Sex Crime Faces the Same Penalties as a Man
Interviewer: Are the penalties the same for women? Does the court treat that any differently?
Zach Peagler: No. Under the law, they’re not treated any differently. Under the societal norms, I think that by and large, you would see women are probably … I haven’t looked at any statistics on this, but if I had to surmise, I would say that women are probably treated a little bit more leniently. Probably more cases of sexual abuse particularly in the way of teachers sleeping with students and that type of thing, go unreported.
The State of Alabama Does Not Focus on Therapy or Treatment of Sex Offenders
Interviewer: If someone were to be convicted, are they given any mandatory counseling or therapy?
Zach Peagler: Unfortunately, Alabama does not really focus on therapy and treatment of sex offenders. I think that that is unfortunate because a lot of the reason for these crimes is probably psychologically based. There is such a violent and heinous nature to the worst sex crimes that the legislature is more intent on deterrence and punishment than they are on rehabilitation.
The Advent of the Internet Has Caused an Increase in Cases of Child Pornography
Interviewer: What about internet-based cases that you’re dealing with cases that have to deal with, like say, child pornography or something along those lines?
Zach Peagler: Yes. Those are prevalent nowadays for sure. With the advent of the internet, there’s so many new ways that crimes are being committed. It’s something that law enforcement is certainly putting a lot of resources into.
The Penalties Associated With Child Pornography Cases in Alabama
Interviewer: What happens in that kind of case? What are some of the penalties for something like that? A lot of those people get caught typically. What are their chances for actually having a successful case?
Zach Peagler: Oftentimes for many various reasons, law enforcement can execute a search warrant on someone’s computer, for instance and find child pornography. Or, they may come about in different types of cases. If you’re going through a divorce and your spouse gets access to your computer and turns that over to their attorney. Charges may be levied in that manner. The defense in those cases often has to do with who had the control and the access to the computer and requiring the government prove that the person charged is the one responsible for downloading or distributing or viewing the particular images that broke the law.
Cases in Which People are Participating in Group Sharing of Child Pornography Can be Proved by Email Correspondence
In the worst cases, people are participating in groups that share child pornography and that type of thing. Those cases can be proved by email correspondence and that type of thing. Sometimes, somebody may have a defense, but they’re not the only one with access to their computer, and so that people may have put things on their computer that they didn’t do. Those are difficult cases. In this whole area, the law is a difficult one to deal with, because there’s competing values for the criminal defense lawyer as well. It’s not something that we take lightly in trying to represent people guilty of some of these terrible crimes. You balance that with the fact that everybody deserves a fair shot in the legal system, and then also, that there are cases out there of wrongful accusations and wrongful prosecutions. You have to have somebody to protect innocent people that have been wrongfully charged.
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