Interviewer: What experts are utilized for, I guess, the average sex crime case?
Zach Peagler: Yeah. You want to have the DNA independently evaluated and have a DNA expert in cases that involve DNA. Then, also their psychologists or psychiatrists are often used as experts. Many cases that involve children, the state has an expert by way of the social worker or psychologist that often interview the children and gets statements from the children
It Is Critical For a Defendant to Have an Independent Psychological Expert
It’s critical for a defendant who claims to be innocent to have an independent, psychological expert, if they can’t get access to the child, which they oftentimes can’t, they can at least evaluate the techniques used by the state to interview the child. Children are particularly vulnerable to suggestion and those type of things that unfortunately, can result in wrongful accusations.
Children Recanting Allegations as They Grow Older is a Common Occurrence
We see cases from time to time where children, as they grow older, come back and recant their story. It can result in what is often viewed as the worst case scenario of an innocent person going to jail.
A Lot of Times Children May Get Confused Regarding Instances of Abuse
Interviewer: Why do they recant their story? Is it specifically because they were put into that situation or they were just confused at the time?
Zach Peagler: Yeah. There’s a lot of times children can be confused or unfortunately, in an instance where parents are getting divorced or fighting, or their marriage has ended in divorce, there can be suggestion by one party or the other that leads children into believing that certain things happened that may not have happened.
It is Critical to Review Every Case For Validity of Allegations
I’m not throwing a blanket over these cases at all. I don’t want to say that. It’s certainly not something that happens in the majority of cases by any means, but it’s the fact that that possibility exists and that those cases do happen, that makes it so critical that every case is thoroughly evaluated to make sure, as best as you can, that those type of things aren’t happening in your particular case.
It is Advisable for an Individual Accused of a Sex Crime to Seek the Services of a Qualified Attorney
Interviewer: What advice would you give to someone who is facing a situation like this? We’re coming to the conclusion of our interview here. What advice would you give? What sort of tips would you give to someone who may be facing a sex charge? For a charge of a sex crime?
Zach Peagler: This is a blanket statement for any criminal investigation or charge is this, seek the advice of an attorney immediately. Don’t wait. Don’t hope things get better. Don’t hope things go away. Go talk to an attorney. There’s hardly a more serious accusation that can be made against an individual and if you don’t understand the legal system and the processes involved, you’re really setting yourself up for a horrible nightmare.
A Defendant Needs to Understand Which Are the Best Possible Avenues For a Viable Defense
I’m not saying an attorney can make it go away or anything, but you need to understand what are the best avenues for you to approach your case, to the extent practicable if you’re innocent of the charges to cooperate in every way you can. Again, cooperation can turn into … It can turn a bad situation worse if you’re not prepared for what you’re facing.