Florida Cyber Crime News Alert: Court of Appeals Rejects Text Messaging Argument in Case of State V. Cassano; Defendant Will Serve 19 Years in Prison

August 8, 2012 by David S. Seltzer

Whether you committed a violent crime or cyber crime in Florida, you might be able to leverage an array of defense arguments to clear your name or at least get a more lenient punishment.

But understand that, even if the evidence connecting to you to the crime is only circumstantial, you can still be convicted, if the evidence proves your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Consider, for example, the case of State v. Cassano, in which an Ohio Court of Appeals recently rejected to hear an appeal to overturn a conviction of “four counts of felonious assault, two counts of aggravated robbery, and two counts of having a weapon while under disability.”

Adam Cassano and codefendant Gerrell Glenn were charged with robbing several victims and shooting two of them, one in the neck. The victim survived but could not identify Cassano directly as the shooter. To build their case, prosecutors used compelling circumstantial evidence. A critical element of the circumstantial case was the “nature of text messages” passed between Glenn and Cassano prior to, during, and after the shootings.

Without getting into too many details, the text messages established pretty compelling evidence that the recipient of the messages got directed to the parking lot where the robbery occurred. For instance, one message on Cassano’s phone was “we are on our way.”

In appeal, Cassano argued that prosecutors should not have been allowed to build a case that the defendant had received Glenn’s text messages. The Court of Appeals said that, while the texts “did not directly identify Cassano…the circumstantial evidence allowed the court to infer reasonably that Cassano was in possession of the telephone at the time of robbery.”

Furthermore, the Court of Appeals said that "even if the trial judge had taken exception to the hearsay rule in error, this would not have been necessarily relevant because the implications of any error would not have helped Cassano’s defense." Ultimately, the court rejected the text messaging argument as well as the other appellate arguments and affirmed Cassano’s 19-year prison sentence.

Potential lessons for your Florida cyber crime defense

The arguments governing what evidence can be admitted, when, and how can be profoundly complicated – and often require a deep knowledge of Florida law and relevant case history. Both the nature and structure of the defense that your Florida cyber crime attorney develops can have a major influence on whether you will achieve your goals… or whether you wind up facing heartbreak at trial and a long jail sentence.

The team here at the Seltzer Law, PA, has the tenacity, knowledge, and knowhow to develop your cyber crime defense strategy. Connect with the team today at 1-888-THE-DEFENSE (1-888-843-3333) for confidential help, any time of day or night.