Local police and other Alabama law enforcement agencies are active on a daily basis pursuing individuals from Huntsville, Mobile, Bessemer and Tuscaloosa (among other cities) who are accused or suspected of criminal sexually behavior. Sex-based crimes are one of the more heavily prosecuted areas of criminal justice in Alabama and around the country.
As a Birmingham criminal defense lawyer, my goal is to provide an aggressive defense for each of my clients, many of whom profess their innocence outwardly. Fortunately, our system of laws provides every individual the opportunity to confront his or her accusers and to be considered innocent until proven guilty by a jury of their peers. This is applies to every kind of alleged crime, be it drug possession, grand larceny, sexual abuse or white collar criminal behavior.
A resident of Whistler, Alabama, who was convicted of attempting to have sex with a nine-year-old boy, successfully persuaded an appeals court recently to throw out two of three charges against him. According to reports, although the appeals court threw out two of the charges, that fact will not significantly reduce the man's life prison sentence.
News reports indicate that Michael Ryan South was sentenced in 2008 to life in prison plus 10 years by a U.S. District Court judge. To make things worse for South, there is no parole in the federal system.
The recent appeal of South's conviction resulted in the court throwing out his conviction on the second count of the indictment — a charge of traveling with the intent to engage in a sexual act with a juvenile — on grounds that it was same offense alleged in the first count, namely traveling with intent to engage in aggravated sexual abuse.
According to reports, the appellate judges in the recent appeals case allowed the man's conviction on the first count to stand. The appeals court rejected a constitutional challenge to the conviction in which the man's attorney argued that a life-without-parole sentence amounted to "cruel and unusual punishment."
Federal Court Digest: Sex offender sees 2 charges dropped, AL,com, February 15, 2010