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Kidnapping as a Crime in the State of Florida

How would you feel if you discovered that the only mother you had ever known was actually your kidnapper? This unfortunate situation happened to one young woman who was abducted from a Jacksonville hospital when she was merely hours old in 1998.

Eighteen years later in 2016, Kamiyah Mobley found out the truth about the woman she called "mama" and who she thought was her mother her whole life. Gloria Williams was not only not her biological mother, but the woman was a kidnapper who had posed as a hospital nurse and stolen Kamiyah from her mother's arms after she was born and then fled with the child across state lines from Florida to South Carolina.

Now, Williams faces her sentencing of 18 years in prison, one year for each year she kept the child away from her birth parents, a reduced sentence from what it could be as part of her plea deal. Kamiyah has been reunited with her birth mother and biological family, but not without a lot of heartache and pain on each side. Though this kidnapping story ends with the victim being reunited with her family, not all kidnappings have a peaceful resolution. Here is more information about how the state of Florida defines a kidnapping, and what penalties kidnappers can expect.

Kidnapping Defined

In the state of Florida, kidnapping is defined as the "confinement, abduction, or imprisonment of another person against his or her will." This act must be committed forcibly, secretly, or by threat and without lawful authority.

The person committing the crime also has to have the intent to:

· Hold the victim for ransom or reward, shield or hostage

· Interfere with the performance of any government or political function

· *Commit or facilitate the commission of a felony

*The latter felony does not need to be completed in order to face a kidnapping charge.

The kidnapping of a Child

The confinement of a child under 13 years old without the consent of his or her legal guardian or parent is considered kidnapping of a child. The perpetrator must also commit one of the following:

· Aggravated child abuse

· Sexual battery

· Lewd or lascivious battery, molestation, conduct, or exhibition

· Procurement of child for prostitution, or forcing, compelling, or coercing the child to commit prostitution

· Exploitation of the child

Aggravated Kidnapping

Aggravated kidnapping occurs when there is a dangerous weapon or firearm used during the crime. This can also apply to situations where someone in law enforcement or public office is kidnapped, or the victim is kidnapped during the course of their official duties. Additionally, aggravated kidnapping can be the charge if the victim is under 13.

Penalties for Kidnapping

Kidnapping is considered a felony of the first degree and is punishable by a prison sentence of up to 30 years and a fine of up to $10,000. Aggravated kidnapping is a crime that is punishable by life in prison, or at least 25 years behind bars with the remaining years of life under community control and up to $15,000 in fines. The penalties are even more severe if the defendant has been convicted of a prior violent felony.

Being accused of kidnapping is a major felony accusation. In the event that you are arrested and charged with the crime of kidnapping, it's imperative that you contact a skilled defense attorney. Your attorney can help you with the defense against your charges.

References:

Cohen, H. (n.d.). 'No winners and losers': 'Mama' sentenced to 18 years for kidnapping baby 20 years ago. Retrieved from http://www.miamiherald.com/news/state/florida/article212804919.html

Florida Kidnapping Laws. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://statelaws.findlaw.com/florida-law/florida-kidnapping-laws.html

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