Crimes against children often result in heavy sentences. As well as serving long sentences, people who commit them often end up on sex offenders’ registers after their release from prison. When a mentally ill family member is accused of crimes against children, the ordeal can be overwhelming.
Sexual crimes against children are understandably shocking to society. However, these are difficult cases because they may rely on the testimony of a young child with no other corroborating evidence.
When a defendant has mental health issues, the problems are compounded when he or she is faced with accusations of crimes against children in Arizona.
Since the 1980s, studies suggested children are more prone to “false-memory reports” than adults. Some research has questioned this claim.
However, other studies pointed to an increase of false memories between early childhood and adulthood.
In 2013, a study by Mark L. Howe of City University London questioned the accuracy of child witnesses in court cases.
“Memory often serves as the key or only evidence in the courtroom,” Howe wrote in Nature Reviews Neuroscience. He claimed police officers, jurors, and judges “are naive when it comes to understanding how memories are formed, how they become distorted over time, and how stress and emotion affect remembering.”
He said few people have an accurate sense of memory until they reach the age of eight.
Although the metaphorical jury is out on the science, it’s clear that courtroom juries routinely hand out lengthy prison sentences to those convicted of crimes against children in Arizona.
These accusations carry a heavy stigma, even when defendants are acquitted of crimes. Those convicted of crimes against children can lose access and custody of their own children. These crimes place family relationships under intense strain. When the defendant also struggles with a mental health disorder, the turmoil can prove too much.
Many studies point to a link between child abuse and neglect, and mental illness. Others suggest people who were abused as children are more likely to be abusers. When people with mental health issues are charged with crimes against children, they face an uphill battle to fight these preconceptions.
Although allegations of crimes against children test family relationships, it’s important to support your family member as much as possible.
Attorney Bernardo Garcia will represent you or your loved ones whether the charges include crimes against children, aggravated assault, sex crimes, or any other alleged offenses against children Please contact the Garcia Law Firm at (602) 340-1999 for a free consultation in English or Spanish.