What goes into the decision to prosecute sexual battery cases? - WFLA News Channel 8

What goes into the decision to prosecute sexual battery cases?

Posted: Updated:
A lot of evidence gathering goes on behind the scenes when prosecutors are deciding whether they'll file charges in a sexual battery case. A lot of evidence gathering goes on behind the scenes when prosecutors are deciding whether they'll file charges in a sexual battery case.
TAMPA, FL (WFLA) -

When prosecutor Willie Meggs announced Thursday that sexual battery charges would not be filed against FSU Heisman Trophy candidate Jameis Winston, he also said the Florida State Attorney's Office "didn't feel we had the likelihood of a conviction".

Regardless of whether the accused is a high-profile sports figure or not, prosecutors across the state hold this as a barometer when it comes to deciding if they'll file charges.

Shortly after Meggs made the announcement, WFLA.com spoke to an attorney in State Attorney Bernie McCabe's office, which prosecutes cases in Pinellas and Pasco counties.

Related: No charges against FSU quarterback investigation

"It's a very high standard for us," said the attorney, who did not want to be identified. "You need to be able to prove the elements to a jury without a reasonable doubt."

A lot of evidence gathering goes on behind the scenes when prosecutors are deciding whether they'll file charges in a sexual battery case.

"We look at everything in every case," she said.

Alleged victims are given a sexual assault victim exams, also called a "SAVE Exam". This is performed with the victim's consent by a nurse who has special training in the field. The nurse looks to see if there is any physical evidence like bruises and cuts. DNA swabs are also taken.

The attorney also says alleged victims in the case must also be credible.

Prosecutors take testimony from victims and witnesses. Their responses are compared to the interviews they gave to police to see if there are any discrepancies. If their stories change or contradict each other, that can be a red flag for prosecutors.

The attorney said that decisions are made on a case-by-case basis, because the circumstances in each case can be very different.

But there is one common denominator, "Our office is aggressive in pursuing cases we believe in," she said.

To get an idea about what jurors must consider when a sexual battery case makes it to trial, read the Jury Instructions for Sexual Battery.

  • NewsMore>>

  • One dead, one injured on beach after plane crash

    One dead, one injured on beach after plane crash

    Sunday, July 27 2014 11:57 PM EDT2014-07-28 03:57:43 GMT
    Man killed and his daughter was critical injured when they were hit by a plane making a crash landing on Caspersen Beach in Venice.Man killed and his daughter was critical injured when they were hit by a plane making a crash landing on Caspersen Beach in Venice.
    An emergency landing by a small plane on Caspersen Beach in Venice claimed the life of a man walking with his young daughter Sunday, the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office said.About 2:45 pm, Venice Airport contacted the sheriff's office regarding a small plane in distress that was unable to make it back to the airport, Sarasota County sheriff's spokeswoman Wendy Rose said in a news release. Instead the pilot was going to try to land on the beach.The 1972 Piper Cherokee airplane hit the man and...
    An emergency landing by a small plane on Caspersen Beach in Venice claimed the life of a man walking with his young daughter Sunday, the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office said.About 2:45 pm, Venice Airport contacted the sheriff's office regarding a small plane in distress that was unable to make it back to the airport, Sarasota County sheriff's spokeswoman Wendy Rose said in a news release. Instead the pilot was going to try to land on the beach.The 1972 Piper Cherokee airplane hit the man and...
  • ATVs, trailer missing from Winter Haven home

    ATVs, trailer missing from Winter Haven home

    Sunday, July 27 2014 10:13 PM EDT2014-07-28 02:13:05 GMT
    An ATV missing from a Winter Haven home.An ATV missing from a Winter Haven home.
    About 9 a.m. Sunday, a Winter Haven man discovered his 2006 12-foot black "Emerson" style trailer missing his yard on Roselawn St. SW. The trailer, decked out with 5 1/4 inch floor boards, had been taken overnight, the Winter Haven Police Department said. Two ATVs were on the trailer, the police department report said. One of the he ATVs was described as green/black 2005 Polaris MV7 with custom tracks in place of the tires. The second one is a tan/black 2002 Honda TRX250 2X4 with 25 inch...
    About 9 a.m. Sunday, a Winter Haven man discovered his 2006 12-foot black "Emerson" style trailer missing his yard on Roselawn St. SW. The trailer, decked out with 5 1/4 inch floor boards, had been taken overnight, the Winter Haven Police Department said. Two ATVs were on the trailer, the police department report said. One of the he ATVs was described as green/black 2005 Polaris MV7 with custom tracks in place of the tires. The second one is a tan/black 2002 Honda TRX250 2X4 with 25 inch...
  • Automated car tests close Selmon Expressway elevated lanes

    Automated car tests close Selmon Expressway elevated lanes

    Sunday, July 27 2014 5:54 PM EDT2014-07-27 21:54:58 GMT
    The gray Audi is the self-driving vehicle.The gray Audi is the self-driving vehicle.
    BMW touts itself as the ultimate driving machine. Audi may want to start a campaign touting its cars as the ultimate machine you don't have to drive, until you hit 40-miles an hour. The company is testing automated or piloted driving tests in Tampa on Sunday and Monday. On Monday, to facilitate those tests, the Selmon Crosstown elevated lanes will be closed from 10 am till about 3:30 or 4pm. Sue Charzan with the Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority says rush hour traffic should not be aff...
    BMW touts itself as the ultimate driving machine. Audi may want to start a campaign touting its cars as the ultimate machine you don't have to drive, until you hit 40-miles an hour. The company is testing automated or piloted driving tests in Tampa on Sunday and Monday. On Monday, to facilitate those tests, the Selmon Crosstown elevated lanes will be closed from 10 am till about 3:30 or 4pm. Sue Charzan with the Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority says rush hour traffic should not be aff...
  • Sign up for WFLA News Channel 8 Email Alerts

    * denotes required fields






    Thank you for signing up! You will receive a confirmation email shortly.
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Lakeland man spray-paints garage door with message for thief

    Lakeland man spray-paints garage door with message for thief

    Saturday, July 26 2014 9:53 AM EDT2014-07-26 13:53:51 GMT
    Jerry Ashley's message spray-painted on his garage door.Jerry Ashley's message spray-painted on his garage door.
    A Lakeland man, grieving his wife’s passing, has spray-painted his garage door with a message for the thief who stole his late wife’s laptop filled with sentimental photos.
    A Lakeland man, grieving his wife’s passing, has spray-painted his garage door with a message for the thief who stole his late wife’s laptop filled with sentimental photos.
  • Pregnant woman injured in accidental shooting

    Pregnant woman injured in accidental shooting

    Sunday, July 27 2014 11:15 AM EDT2014-07-27 15:15:28 GMT
    Hernando County sheriff's deputies are investigating the shooting of a five-month pregnant woman late Saturday.About 6:45 p.m. Saturday, theHernando County Sheriff's Office Emergency Communications Center received a call about a shooting at20079 Suncrest Drive in Brooksville.Sheriff's deputies and Hernando County Fire Rescue emergency units responded to thescene, where they found Kathleen Hoover with a head injury, a ...
    Hernando County sheriff's deputies are investigating the shooting of a five-month pregnant woman late Saturday.About 6:45 p.m. Saturday, theHernando County Sheriff's Office Emergency Communications Center received a call about a shooting at20079 Suncrest Drive in Brooksville.Sheriff's deputies and Hernando County Fire Rescue emergency units responded to thescene, where they found Kathleen Hoover with a head injury, a ...
  • Restaurant Ratings Most Violations: July 14 -19

    Restaurant Ratings Most Violations: July 14 -19

    Friday, July 25 2014 5:38 PM EDT2014-07-25 21:38:43 GMT
    Ever wonder what goes on in the kitchen of your favorite restaurants? We’ve gathered details about the 30 Tampa Bay restaurants that received the most violations during inspections conducted from July 14 to 19, 2014.
    Ever wonder what goes on in the kitchen of your favorite restaurants? We’ve gathered details about the 30 Tampa Bay restaurants that received the most violations during inspections conducted from July 14 to 19, 2014.
Powered by WorldNow

200 South Parker Street, Tampa, FL 33606

Telephone: 813.228.8888
Fax: 813.225.2770
Email: news@wfla.com

Can’t find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.