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Articles Posted in Assault

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Victim statements can affect sentencing in a Miami aggravated assault case. In a recent appellate decision, the defendant pled no contest to aggravated assault and then appealed from the sentence. The defendant argued that the lower court had made a mistake in accepting the victim’s unsworn statement at sentencing, thereby violating section 921.143(1) of Florida Statutes.

The appellate court affirmed, explaining that the defendant hadn’t preserved his argument for review and there had been no fundamental error.

At the sentencing hearing, the victim wasn’t emotionally able to verbally speak to the court. Accordingly, the prosecutor offered an unsworn statement and other documents. The defense attorney responded by saying he wanted to cross-examine but didn’t object to most of the documents. The court asked the defense attorney whether it should review the prosecutor’s documents, including the unsworn statement, and the defense attorney told the judge to go ahead and review.

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Domestic violence cases typically conjure images of violence taking place in the home, but Florida’s law in this area encompasses a multitude of crimes, including false imprisonment and kidnapping. According to Florida law, kidnapping involves the confinement, imprisonment, or abduction of another against his or her will. The act must be done using force, secret, or threat and without any lawful authority.

Additionally, the defendant must possess the requisite intent, which must consist of one of the following:

  • The intent to hold the person for reward or ransom, or to use the person as a hostage or shield;
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