Stephen G. Cobb - Florida Criminal Defense Lawyer

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What Is The Flow Of Events After A Child Abuse Allegation Is Made?

Disclaimer: This article is in response to questions frequently asked of Mr. Cobb and is an unedited dictation transcript. Just like talk to text on your smartphone, there may be misspelled words or sentence fragments. There are a lot of factors that determine the flow of events after a child abuse allegation has been made. You have to start with an understanding that child abuse and child sexual abuse investigations are different. Quite often, they are handled through a separate branch office of the state attorney, rather than the main state attorney’s office. They have a series of special prosecutors… Read More

What Happens If A Child Recants Allegations Of Abuse?

In the context of child abuse cases, sex offense cases and especially domestic violence cases, people often ask whether or not the charges will be dropped if the victim recants his or her allegation. The answer is no; only the state of Florida can file formal charges. When someone reports that there may have been some form of abuse to a minor, the minor is interviewed in some way, shape, form or fashion. At that time, a law enforcement officer will decide whether or not there is probable cause. The threshold is very, very low to have a probable cause… Read More

What Are Some Situations Where Children May Falsely Accuse An Adult Of Abuse?

Disclaimer: This article is in response to questions frequently asked of Mr. Cobb and is an unedited dictation transcript. Just like talk to text on your smartphone, there may be misspelled words or sentence fragments. In any situation that involves a child making an accusation of child abuse, we consider the family dynamic. For example, are the biological parents of the child going through a divorce? If the answer is yes and there is a parent whom the child perceives to be the wrongdoer, then fabricated allegations of child abuse may arise. Fabricated child abuse cases can also come into… Read More

What Is Actually Considered As Child Abuse In Florida?

Disclaimer: This article is in response to questions frequently asked of Mr. Cobb and is an unedited dictation transcript. Just like talk to text on your smartphone, there may be misspelled words or sentence fragments. Florida statute 827.03 defines the abuse of children in multiple ways. Aggravated child abuse involves something along the lines of a felony occurring to a child under the age of 18. Aggravated battery, willful torture, malicious punishment and caging in a willful and unlawful manner are all considered forms of aggravated child abuse. Knowingly and willfully abusing a child and causing great bodily harm, permanent… Read More

Is There An Opportunity To Reduce A Sentence At A Sentencing Hearing?

Disclaimer: This article is in response to questions frequently asked of Mr. Cobb and is an unedited dictation transcript. Just like talk to text on your smartphone, there may be misspelled words or sentence fragments. Yes, there is an opportunity to reduce a sentence at a sentencing hearing. This takes us into the area of what is known as post-conviction relief. There are a couple of different ways that post-conviction relief can happen. One is under rule 3.800 of the Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure. It lays out the different ways that the trial court retains jurisdiction to modify or… Read More

Can Witnesses Or Alleged Victims Speak At A Sentencing Hearing?

Witnesses and alleged victims can speak at sentencing hearings, but as a practical matter, very few do. Florida provides a constitutional right for victims to be present at what’s called a crucial stage of the legal proceedings. Sentencing is always considered a crucial stage. The input from a crime victim is always very important. Lawyers don’t talk about it very often, but my experience with criminal defense cases has taught me that it’s critically important to determine how a purported crime victim feels about a particular case. Sometimes if the case is handled incorrectly, they end up angry at the… Read More

Is Someone Sent Straight To Jail After A Sentence Hearing?

What Happens at Sentencing? A defendant who has been given a sentence of jail time often wonders whether or not they will be taken to jail immediately. This is the exact reason why no one should enter a plea of no contest or guilty at their first court date outside of the jailhouse, and something that an experienced defense attorney would never allow to happen. A courthouse surprise can (and often does) happen. I am quite certain that at this very moment, a defendant in Florida is being taken immediately to jail because they decided to throw themselves at the… Read More

What Should I Expect To Happen At A Sentencing Hearing?

Disclaimer: This article is in response to questions frequently asked of Mr. Cobb and is an unedited dictation transcript. Just like talk to text on your smartphone, there may be misspelled words or sentence fragments. I normally describe the legal system as an upside down letter Y. It starts with an investigation, follows with an arrest and ultimately leads to a trial or some kind of sentencing. This question involves materials strictly on the side of the upside down letter Y that leads toward sentencing. Although I don’t go into this very often in my explanations or diagrams, this question… Read More

Step 7: Make Decisions From The Perspective Of A Third Person

Disclaimer: This article is in response to questions frequently asked of Mr. Cobb and is an unedited dictation transcript. Just like talk to text on your smartphone, there may be misspelled words or sentence fragments. When you are involved in a criminal case as a family member or as a defendant, it’s very easy for your emotions to run away with you. Often you feel like you’re in that old cartoon, where the devil is poking someone standing in front of two doors. One of the doors says “Damned if you do” and the other one says “Damned if you… Read More

Step 6: Never Dress Nice For Court

Disclaimer: This article is in response to questions frequently asked of Mr. Cobb and is an unedited dictation transcript. Just like talk to text on your smartphone, there may be misspelled words or sentence fragments. Most people are shocked when they hear me say that a criminal defendant should never dress nice for court. I cannot tell you the number of times in the last few years that I’ve heard lawyers say, “Now remember we have trial and jury selection on Monday. Make sure you dress nice for court.” I’m cringing when I hear this. My insides are flipping and… Read More