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New investigation opened in case of alleged rape

Florida readers who follow college sports may remember the recent legal issues surrounding Jameis Winston, the well-known lead quarterback for the Florida State Seminoles. Earlier this month, the Department of Education Office for Civil Rights opened an investigation against Winston involving charges of rape. The investigation was a response to a complaint filed in early March by Winston’s accuser.

According to the complaint, Winston sexually assaulted the young woman in 2012. Although the young woman reported the alleged incident within several days, it wasn’t until late in 2013 that prosecutors learned of it. Winston has maintained his innocence, asserting that the sexual involvement was consensual. Last December, prosecutors declined to press charges for the incident, presumably for lack of evidence to support charges.

The current investigation by the Office for Civil Rights concerns whether the university acted correctly in response to the report of rape. Already, two witnesses to the intercourse have been charged with violating university code. It remains to be seen what more will come of the incident.

Charges of rape are among the most serious that an individual can face, and it is critical for defendants in these cases to understand the legal protections available to them and how to take advantage of them. In rape cases, the right to cross-examine witnesses is important in order to establish the credibility of those who testify in support of criminal charges. The right to obtain a fair trial is also an important one in such cases, particularly when the accused is a public figure. In cases where there is a risk of a mistrial due to juror bias, there are protections available to ensure the integrity of the trial.

Working with an experienced criminal defense attorney cannot be underestimated. A good defense attorney will be a zealous advocate for the rights of the accused and will help to ensure the best possible outcome in the case.

Source: Huffington Post, “Florida State University Under Federal Investigation In Connection To Winston Rape Case,” Tyler Kingkade, April 4, 2014. 

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