How can I find a lawyer who is willing to take a pro bono case to help a sex offender using the Romeo and Juliet law in FL?

Asked almost 3 years ago - Sarasota, FL

My brother-in-law is a convicted sex offender. When he was 18, he had consensual sex with a 15 year old girl who not only lied about her age, but also initiated the act. He is interested in attempting to have himself removed from the sex offender registry based on the Romeo and Juliet law. He was just released from prison and does not have a job or any money. (After he went to jail the first time, he developed a drug habit.) He has not committed any other sex crimes. He is trying desperately to get his life back on track. There may be one glitch. The girl did originally say that she was raped so that she, "Wouldn't get in trouble with her parents." She has since admitted the truth although not in any legal forum. I don't know if she would be willing to cooperate, but it's worth a shot.

Additional information

I don't know if this is relevant, but I should also point out that he wasn't arrested until three months after the crime took place (although he was questioned the night it occurred and he did tell the cops the truth). Many people feel that he was given a stricter penalty because the crime occurred around the time that Carlie Brucia and Jessica Lunsford were killed, and there was a lot of pressure to crack down on sex offenders. In fact, Carlie lived and was killed in our neighborhood.

Attorney answers (2)

  1. John Matthew Leace

    Contributor Level 14

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . It will be very difficult to find someone to take this on, especially pro bono. Since he doesn't actually have a case pending, a public defender is out of the question. In this situation, you are attempting to find or create an exception to a State statute which is very challenging, very time consuming, and very unlikely to be successful. Most attorneys take on pro bono cases based upon personal convictions, so you'd need to start with some sort of organization that has a mission of changing sex offender laws. I don't know of such an organization. I wish you luck, because I have seen cases similar to what you describe and know that the draconian outcome doesn't always fit the circumstances.

  2. Richard Earl Hornsby

    Pro

    Contributor Level 17

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . You won't find a good lawyer who will handle something as delicate as this for free.

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