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?

UPDATED: Sep 12, 2011

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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


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

Answered 11 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.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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