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UPDATE: First conviction in ‘Operation Stolen Innocence’ overturned by judge

Daniel Mitchell was convicted on one count of attempted lewd or lascivious battery and one...
Daniel Mitchell was convicted on one count of attempted lewd or lascivious battery and one count of unlawful use of a two-way communications device following a day-long trial on Tuesday, April 27, the State Attorney’s Office says.(Leon County Jail)
Published: Apr. 29, 2021 at 12:38 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - A Tallahassee judge has overturned a guilty verdict in the first trial connected to a large-scale human trafficking investigation in the Big Bend, according to court documents.

The Tallahassee Police Department publicly announced the success of “Operation Stolen Innocence,” in which 178 people were arrested, with other law enforcement agencies in Nov. 2020.

Daniel Mitchell was among those arrested — but his conviction on charges of attempted lewd or lascivious battery on a child and unlawful use of a two-way communications device has been thrown out, court documents say.

According to the documents, Mitchell had no knowledge the alleged victim he was talking to on an “adults only” website was 13 years old. The website listed the alleged victim as being 21 years old, and Mitchell offered to pay her $100 for sex, the documents say.

“The Court finds that there were no acts taken toward commission beyond preparation, and no evidence that Mr. Mitchell was prepared or preparing to have sex with a minor 16 years of age or younger,” the document says.

Although Mitchell no longer faces those charges, the court did find him guilty of solicitation for prostitution, a misdemeanor.

Mitchell’s original trial was held in April 2021.

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