Prosecutors Drop Charges Against Deerfield Beach Man Accused of Sexually Abusing Child

August 7, 2013 by David S. Seltzer

Because I defend a lot of people accused of sex crimes, I was interested to see a recent article about a South Florida man accused of molesting a 10-year-old girl. According to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the charges against James Hollis, Jr. were dropped by prosecutors more than a month after his arrest. Prosecutors wrote in an Aug. 1 memo that there was no reasonable likelihood of conviction for several reasons. For one thing, the child’s aunt waited two days to report the allegation—saying she wasn’t sure if it had really happened. For another, a laboratory analysis of the t-shirt and pillowcase the girl was using at the time found no semen. That finding convinced state’s attorneys that the case was unlikely to succeed, according to the article. Hollis, 23, also denied that the molestation had happened.

According to the article, the girl said Hollis, a friend of her family, had committed sexual battery against her while they watched a cartoon together. He was arrested for it in June. However, prosecutors later concluded that there wasn’t enough evidence to make a conviction reasonably likely. The finding does not mean that prosecutors or police don’t believe Hollis did what he was accused of doing. Rather, they don’t believe they could prove it beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. This is an important distinction. As I noted after the Casey Anthony trial, “beyond a reasonable doubt” is a high standard—and it should be when someone’s freedom is at stake. If prosecutors bring more charges than the evidence supports, they run a strong risk of losing the trial. Because the Constitution forbids double jeopardy, they would never be allowed to re-try the defendant.

However, having the charges dropped doesn’t mean the accusation will have no effect on Hollis. Being accused of sex crimes against a child often results in immediate conviction in the “court of public opinion,” without a trial. Reputations can be ruined by these accusations before anything is proven. If the accused works in a job with an elevated behavioral standard (such as the military) or with children, he or she may be fired long before a trial. People who know the accused may turn against him or her based on their feelings of revulsion about the crime rather than the evidence. That’s one reason a strong defense is so vital for people accused of this crime. A strong showing that the evidence is on your side can help correct some of the damage the charges can do.

Seltzer Law, P.A., represents clients accused of all kinds of crimes—no matter how serious or upsetting. Based in downtown Miami, we represent clients across South Florida, in Orlando and throughout the state. Lead attorney David Seltzer is an experienced former Miami-Dade state’s attorney who understands how prosecutors put together their cases. Now, he uses that inside knowledge to help clients defend against serious criminal charges. We understand that criminal charges and arrests can come 24 hours a day and seven days a week, because police officers don’t go home after business hours. That’s why we answer potential clients’ calls 24 hours a day and seven days a week.

If you or someone you love has been accused of a crime and you’d like to discuss your options, don’t wait to call Seltzer Law. You can reach us through our website or call toll-free, any time, at 1-888-THE-DEFENSE (1-888-843-3333).

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