Wednesday, May 22, 2013

ACLU & Personal Attorney Weigh In On Lesbian Florida Juliet & Juliet Case Charges

By Brody Levesque | MIAMI, FL -- In separate statements issued Tuesday, the ACLU and the attorney for Kaitlyn Hunt, the 18-year-old high school senior in Florida currently facing felony sex offender charges for having sex with her minor girlfriend, condemned the legal approach that Indian River County State Attorney's prosecutors are taking in the case.
ACLU of Florida Media Relations Manager Baylor Johnson criticised the State Attorney's office noting, 
"The facts as we understand them suggest that the state is prosecuting Kaitlyn for engaging in behavior that is both fairly innocuous and extremely common. Such behavior occurs every day in tens of thousands of high schools across the country, yet those other students are not facing felony convictions (and, in Florida, the lifetime consequences of a felony conviction) and potential lifelong branding as sex offenders. 
This is a life sentence for behavior by teenagers that is all too common, whether they are male or female, gay or straight. High-school relationships may be fleeting, but felony convictions are not."
Hunt's attorney, Julia Graves wrote;
"It is our position that this is a misapplication of the law that will destroy the lives of two high school teenagers, while doing nothing to serve justice. With the deadline coming up, at this time we hold out hope that common sense will prevail and the damage that already has been done will be mitigated by halting any felony prosecution."
Johnson also made the point that should Hunt manage to avoid sex-offender registration, a felony conviction will harm her for the rest of her life, catastrophically damaging her employment prospects and even her right to participate in her community as a citizen and vote.
"Her promising future could be ruined merely because she engaged in behavior that countless other students in every school operating under the state attorney’s jurisdiction also engage in. This prosecution does nothing to protect Florida’s young people but instead causes a great deal of harm."
Graves also added,
"Kaitlyn and her parents have been given until Friday to decide whether to go to trial and have the most intimate details of the relationship played out in public or to take a plea agreement that includes forever having a record even if adjudication is withheld.  In addition with the sex offender conditions, Kaitlyn would be subjected to sitting in group counseling meetings with legitimate convicted sex offenders that the law was truly meant for. 
As the attorney for Kaitlyn, although there are different statements out in the media, we have NEVER requested that the charges be completely dropped. We have suggested since the day of her arrest that we are willing to enter a plea to a misdemeanor charge with appropriate punishment that will allow everyone to move on and not dwell on this their entire lives."
The case which has drawn global notoriety and media scrutiny has  raised questions about the age of consent laws, especially when applied to teenagers who are social and academic peers, despite some being legally considered adults.
The family of Hunt has taken to putting pressure on Florida officials by their launching of a social media campaign last week that has gone viral. Hunt's parents, have publicly stated in numerous media interviews, the current legal case is "nothing more than a religiously motivated anti-gay witch hunt,."
The family also noting that Hunt's former girlfriend's parents, James T. and Laurie Smith of Vero Beach, refused to settle the matter of their daughters' relationship between them, instead choosing to call police and have her arrested under charges of "lewd and lascivious battery on a child 12-16 years of age."
When contacted by LGBTQ Nation Monday, Mr. Smith refused comment and indicated that he and his wife would possibly make a statement about the pending case after the Friday deadline for the plea agreement had passed.
Although Florida's Romeo & Juliet law would allow the eventual Circuit Court Judge hearing the case the discretion to relieve Hunt of the legal requirement to register as a Sex Offender, a spokesman for the Florida Attorney General's Office told LGBTQ Nation that the law does not affect the charges adding that felony convictions would certainly compromise Hunt's future.


Anonymous said...

Where was the ACLU when Brian Banks and Sean Lanigan were falsely accused of sex crimes by underage females? Brian Banks spent 5 years in prison before his accuser admitted she had falsely accused him. Sean Lanigan spent 6 figures defending himself. It seems the ACLU wants Kaitlyn Hunt to get a pass for what is clearly defined by law as a sex crime because of her gender and sexual orientation.