Just before Florida State took on Duke for the ACC championship, Heisman frontrunner and quarterback Jameis Winston learned he would not be charged for an crimes related to sexual assault following an investigation by state authorities. A lawyer representing the alleged victim was defiant in her response to the initial decision but is not ready to let the case go. Pat Carroll, who represents a woman claiming to have been raped by Winston in December 2012, told ABC’s Good Morning America program Wednesday morning a civil lawsuit is coming.
“I want heads to roll,” Carroll said in the live television interview. ”Absolutely you’re going to see a civil suit. You can not have law enforcement that is not held accountable.”
Carroll is setting her sights on the Tallahassee Police Department in addition to Winston, who is coming off leading Florida State to a BCS championship and this past season’s Heisman Trophy winner. According to Carroll, the Tallahassee Police Department was negligent in handling her client’s case and believes improper procedures by the police led to the prosecutor’s decision to drop the case in December.
Keep in mind that the court of civil law does not require as much concrete evidence that a typical lawsuit would require to prove anything beyond reasonable doubt. That means selling the case to a jury may be easier to do when it comes to testimony if Carroll can sway a jury enough in her client’s favor. The civil lawsuit may also go after Florida State University as well.
“The family is proceeding, with civil action against the TPD and Jameis Winston,” Carroll said Wednesday. “And possibly the university.”
Ultimately what matters most is having justice served in the court of law, regardless of the outcome. From a football perspective, which obviously takes a backseat to any court cases related to sexual assault of course, the hope will be that this is all taken care of in an appropriate amount of time. If it can be wrapped up before the football season, Florida State will know exactly where they stand with regard to Winston. Being found guilty in a civil case may not carry the same impact being found guilty in a state case would, but it will surely provide a distraction in the offseason until playing out in court. Any further analysis of what this may or may not mean for Winston and Florida State is best put on hold until a civil case is brought to the court and a timeline starts to form.