Sex crimes are often subject to aggressive prosecution in Utah. Because of the nature of the crimes, people are often harshly judged from the moment allegations of sex crimes arise. Prosecutors want to take these crimes seriously and are often willing to “throw the book at” those accused of sex crimes. Furthermore, the local and national news media often picks up these stories and further sensationalizes them.
This sort of treatment can make it very difficult for those facing allegations of sex crimes — including charges for child molestation or rape — to get a fair trial. However, it is everyone’s constitutional right to have fair and unbiased criminal proceedings. In cases of sex crimes, people need to fight to make sure this happens, and to give themselves the best opportunity to fight the charges.
Recently, a Utah man requested that the venue for his criminal proceedings be moved. The man is charged with sex abuse. According to police, an 18-year-old girl claimed that the man sexually abused her on multiple occasions. Accordingly, the man was charged with forcible sexual abuse, forcible sodomy and object rape.
The man is supposed to go to trial on the charges on July 28. However, the man’s attorneys have requested that the trial location be changed. According to the man’s attorneys, a small private newspaper in the area has published a story about the man’s case. This story apparently contained details about the case that were not going to be made public at trial.
According to reports, the prosecution has agreed to change the venue as a result of the story. Despite the agreement between the defense and the prosecution, it is up to the judge to agree to the change.
A change of venue is just one way that those accused of sex crimes can help ensure that they receive fair treatment by the criminal justice system. People accused of sex crimes need to make sure that they understand this option and all the options available to them as they craft a defense.
Source: Daily Herald, “Attorneys request change of venue in rape case,” Paige Fieldsted, July 9, 2014