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Woman convicted of first-degree sexual assault gets new trial

In Milwaukee and elsewhere, sexual offenses are severely punished. An appeal of any sentence given on criminal sexual charges may be beneficial in reducing penalties for those who have received a sentence with significant penalties, which undoubtedly will affect the defendant's life, and the lives of their loved ones, in the present and the future. Recently, a Wisconsin appeals court ordered a new trial for a man accused of sexual assault, which shows that mistakes are sometimes made during trial that led to the conviction of individuals for serious sex crimes and other criminal offenses.

In 2010, a jury convicted a Wisconsin man of first-degree sexual assault. The man allegedly sexually assaulted a girl in his parent's laundry room. A Wisconsin appeals court found that the trial judge incorrectly instructed the jury to convict the man regardless of whether jury members agreed on where the sexual assault took place.

Each state defines the nature of criminal sexual offenses and the different levels of each offense. Generally, sexual assault is defined as involuntary sexual acts executed through force, coercion or the incapacity of one individual. In Wisconsin, a person convicted of first-degree sexual assault must be registered on the state's public sex offender registry, which can be seen by family members, friends and potential employers. This may affect the defendant's ability to obtain a job in the future, as well as where the person lives, because many jurisdictions have strict laws as to where convicted sex offenders may live in their communities.

A person accused of a sex crime may have several defenses that may reduce the harsh penalties. For example, evidence of a false accusation based on motives such as revenge or fear of being punished by parents, may be taken into consideration.

A conviction of a sex crime could tarnish the defendant's reputation for the rest of the defendant's life. As a result, it is important for a defendant facing these significant penalties to develop a meaningful defensive plan so that the defendant may receive a fair trial.

Source: Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal-Sentinel, "Appeals court grants new trial in sex assault case," Associated Press, Nov. 27, 2012

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