As a parent, canI do anything about what a prosecutor decides to charge the defendant in a case in which my child was the victim?

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As a parent, canI do anything about what a prosecutor decides to charge the defendant in a case in which my child was the victim?

A long time friend of my wife exposed his penis to my 5 year old son. The TX charge for that crime is indecency with a child 3rd degree. However the prosecutor decided to charge him with indecent exposure instead which is a misdemeanor and will keep the defendant off of the sex offender registry. They want my fiance to sign a paper so they can pick him up on the new charge but we don’t feel its fair to us or our son. What can we do?

Asked on September 12, 2011 under Criminal Law, Texas

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

In the end, the final decision on what to do with a criminal case is up to the prosecutor.  But you may be able to go up the ladder to get a better resolution.  Before you do that, you probably want to ask a few more questions and understand the decision that is being made.  Indecency with a child requires more that just exposure, it also requires a specific intent to gratify the sexual desires of any person, including the defendant.  The prosecutor may be reducing the charge because this intent component is missing.  You are not required by law to sign anything agreeing to this, but they should at least explain the reasoning to you.  If you are having difficulties getting a better explanation, some victim advocacy groups will also help you get to the right person to talk to, which may include the elected district attorney in your county.  In the end, the elected DA will be the best person to help reverse an unreasonable trial or charging decision.


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