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MERGING ARRAVATED CHILD MOLESTATION , CHILD MOLESTATION, AND STATUTORY RAPE

Atlanta, GA |

CAN THESE CHARGES BE MERGED INTO ONE IF THEY SUPPOSEDLY OCCURED DURING THE SAME ACT

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Attorney answers 3

Posted

I can't speak for the law in Georgia. You would have to ask a Georgia attorney about that. In many states, the prosecutor is permitted to charge in a separate indictment or in a separate count of an indictment every violation of the law that might arise out of a single act. As a matter of law, or as a matter of the judge's discretion, the charges might all have to be tried together in a single trial. Some states have a rule that only one conviction can arise out a single act, and if that is the law in your state then any counts on which there was a finding of guilty would merge into a single conviction, probably for the most serious charge. But this is a matter of state law and the answer will be different in different states; and the question is also highly fact-specific. Small differences in the facts might make a major difference in the legal result. If you are, or think that you might be, facing any of these charges you should consult an attorney immediately and discuss the matter with nobody else. That is NOBODY else.

Posted

Generally, your question is so broad that it can't reasonably be dealt with in a brief forum like this.

The other attorney is correct on the general law.

In terms of a brief additional answer, there are two issues I see: (1) Even if you are talking about a single act (e.g., a single period of time, rather than multiple periods of time during the same day or possibly over multiple days), the specific facts of your case will influence whether any merger of the offenses occurs, because while you may have a single event period, multiple acts (i.e., criminal offenses) could technically still occur, and you technically be guilty of all of those, while they are all linked factually.

(2) Under the law, there is a doctrine known as the "merger doctrine" re: sentencing -- generally, the elements of related offenses at issue in the particular case are examined to determine whether they share elements. If there is a sharing of elements, one or more of the offenses may merge entirely within a more severe offense (e.g., assault merging into armed robbery) and you only be convicted (or sentenced, depending on the particular case, etc.) for the more severe offense. (In the alternative, one or more of the lesser offenses may be what you get convicted or sentenced for rather than the more severe offense). In the event that the merger is not complete (i.e., all elements fitting within another offense), the possibility still exists of at least being convicted of multiple offenses.

Notwithstanding, a defense attorney would likely argue at one or more points in the trial (or pre-trial with motions, etc.) that a merger possibly does exist, and so before the jury gets the case re: jury deliberations, the court and the attys should sort out whether it is necessary to actually proceed on all the charges, esp. if there does appear to be a duplication of facts and/or of elements for the offenses. This helps to streamline the process and the issues actually being tried.

Posted

Mr. Ellis has a good statement of issues.

But there's another point- Aggravated CM carries such a draconian sentence (25 year minimum, parole imitations, and life on probation...) that it really does not matter much whether the other two charges merge because it was one act.

If the defendant's attorney is looking at it that way, I would hope that the attorney would consider the rule of lenity- that the same act can be punished three ways, so it should be punished in the least punitive manner.... It worked for Marcus Dixon, and most certainly should be considered here. Jut a thought. And if the accused doesn't have a lawyer, get one.

Good luck.

Thanks for reading my response to this question. If your found this answer "Helpful" or "The Best Answer" PLEASE MARK IT, because Avvo awards me points. Thanks! Note that the questioner and any reader do not have an attorney-client relationship formed by our communications on this website. Advice given by me on this website is general advice based on partial information. You should not rely on any advice given without first hiring a lawyer in the area where the case is pending, and providing that lawyer with full information.

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