A Davie police officer is about to begin his second trial after his first trial resulted in a mistrial due to allegations that a jury conducted their own research during deliberations using the Internet.
The officer - who is suspended from his department without pay pending the outcome of this case - was initially charged with sexual battery over allegations that he drugged a family member and engaged in non-consensual sexual activity with the alleged victim while she was unable to resist.
However, after his first trial resulted in a mistrial, the state filed an amended information (charging document) increasing the charges from "ordinary" sexual battery (a second-degree felony) to sexual battery where the victim is physically helpless to resist. This is a first-degree felony and requires the state to prove that the alleged victim was unable to physically resist the sexual battery at the time it occurred. This is a more serious charge because it deals with alleged victims who may be unconscious due to being drugged or under the influence of alcohol.
The officer allegedly rejected a plea offer of 3 years and is pushing ahead. If convicted, he faces up to 30 years in prison.
It is speculated that the state filed the amended information in an attempt to get the officer to take a plea.
Eric Matheny is a criminal defense attorney serving Miami-Dade and Broward. Attorney Eric Matheny has successfully defended clients charged with sex crimes in Miami-Dade and Broward.