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Local man sentenced to 40 years on sexual battery charges

Posted on November 02, 2010 3:00 AM EST

A former chef entered a guilty plea into numerous sexual battery and attempted sexual battery charges. The defendant was accused of committing multiple rapes on Miami Beach between 2006 and 2008. The Miami criminal defense lawyer representing Arturo Ortiz-Soto originally negotiated a 30 year sentence between the defendant and the Miami-Dade County State Attorney's Office. After hearing the plea agreement, the circuit court judge presiding over the case refused to accept the deal as being too lenient. The judge offered 40 years to resolve the defendant's case which was immediately accepted. While it is not typical for a judge to reject a plea offer, judges always have to ratify any plea deals between the state and the defense. The nature of the charges involved with this case plus the media attention probably led to judge to reject the original agreement.

The information(s) accused the defendant of committing several violent rapes on South Beach. In state court, the information is the charging document which sets forth the number of and the types of charges a particular defendant is facing. The defendant at the time he allegedly committed the rapes worked as a sushi chef on Miami Beach. The first information accused the defendant of committing a sexual battery against a women in an alley on the beach. A second information alleged another sexual battery committed in an alley. The third and fourth information(s) alleged attempted sexual batteries which also occurred in alleyways on Miami Beach.

The last attack allegedly committed by the defendant was caught on video tape. After committing the last attack, Miami Beach police officers apprehended the defendant wearing a blood soaked shirt. After being arrested, the defendant purportedly admitted to all the crimes for which he was charged. DNA evidence came back positive on two of the cases. With the strength of the evidence, the defendant made the logical choice of entering a plea because he was facing up to 140 years in prison for his sex crimes. If the defendant had chosen not to accept a guilty plea, the prosecution would have had the opportunity to try him on 4 separate occasions. The judge would not have granted a motion to consolidate the cases as they all occurred on separate dates and at separate locations.

Another problem the defendant was facing if he went to trial would have been that the prosecution would have attempted to introduce the facts of all the cases to support a conviction in one of the sexual battery cases. Rule 404(a) prevents the prosecution from admitting evidence of other crimes, wrongs, or acts to prove the bad character of a defendant or propensity to commit the crime. However, the prosecution can use other evidence to prove motive, opportunity, intent preparation, plan knowledge, identity or absence of mistake. Based on the fact that the offenses were committed in a similar fashion, all the cases would have been heard to support a conviction in the primary case. Prior to other evidence of wrongdoing being admitted at trial, the court will hold a pre-trial hearing to determine if the evidence being sought to be admitted is proper.

Sushi-Chef Rapist Sentenced to 40 Years in Prison, The Miami Herald.com, November 2, 2010.
Categories: Sex Offenses