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January 29, 2012

"Should Teens Be Jailed for Sex Offenses?"

The title of this post is the headline of this lengthy recent piece in The Daily Beast, which carries this subheading: "Parents are fighting powerful laws that imprison teens for sex.  Prosecutors say kids should respect the law. Meet one young Romeo who didn't — and spent six years behind bars." The full piece gets started this way:

Francie Baldino, a mother of two from Royal Oak, Mich., can tell you the day she became an activist against America’s sex-offender laws.  It was the day her teenage son went to prison — for falling in love with a teenage girl.  “The prison term was unthinkable,” says Baldino. “He was just a dumb kid.”

Her son, Ken, was an 18-year-old senior in high school when he was arrested for having sex with his girlfriend, a 14-year-old freshman, in 2004.  The age of consent in Michigan is 16.  He got sentenced to a year in jail and three years’ probation.  After that, when the two teens resumed their relationship — violating his probation — he got five to 15 years.

His mother is part of a surprising rebellion that has now spread to all 50 states: parents fighting against sex-offender laws — the very laws designed to safeguard their children. These parents argue that the laws are imposing punishments on their high-school sons that are out of proportion to the crime.

Baldino’s son, for instance, spent more than six years behind bars and today must wear a GPS device the size of a box of butter.  Sometimes, he says, it loses its signal and sets off an alarm.  “That’s really helpful when I’m at work,” says the blue-eyed 26-year-old, who wears stud earrings and works at a door-and-window store.

No one keeps a tally of how many cases fall into this category nationwide. But there is one measure of the scale of the movement: there are now more than 50 organizations — at least one in every state — battling against prosecutions like these.  Baldino’s group is Michigan Citizens for Justice, which she says includes more than 100 parents.  Another group in Michigan, the Coalition for a Useful Registry, has around 150 parents as members, it says.  Organizations in other states report similar numbers.  One of the largest, Texas Voices, claims some 300 parents as members.

The questions are difficult: Should the scales of justice be weighted in favor of the young? Is a sex crime somehow less terrible, if it involves teens?   The cases they are fighting are highly complex, charged with emotion, and rarely black-and-white.  The questions are profoundly difficult: Should the scales of justice be weighted in favor of the young?  Is a sex crime somehow less terrible, if it involves teens?  The judge in the Baldino case, Fred Mester, openly acknowledged the complexities.  Referring to his own high-school days when handing down the prison sentence in 2005, he said, “Half my senior class … were dating freshman girls, and I suspect half of them would be in here today.”

Prosecutors say it’s simple: kids should obey the law, and parents need to keep their children under control.  Paul Walton, a chief assistant prosecutor in Michigan, says Baldino’s son had only himself to blame: he was an adult, and he chose his own actions. “The court isn’t imposing restrictions because it’s fun — it’s the law,” Walton says.  “You can disagree on the age of consent, but the law says that prior to that age, a person doesn’t have the ability to consent.”

January 29, 2012 at 04:13 PM | Permalink

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Comments

Hmmmm...no comments yet. Oh, it's Sunday. The 3Bs (Berman's Butthead Boys) must all be in church.

Posted by: anon | Jan 29, 2012 5:29:20 PM

Well, no. The law is not the law. It is a phony, rent seeking scheme by a criminal cult enterprise. It has no external validation, in science, logic, common sense, nor even in history or custom.

I urge the families of victims of this criminal enterprise, the lawyer profession, begin lists of its perps, and boycott them. No product or service provider services the lawyer on the black list. Then drive them out of town with a campaign of vilification, until they stop their unjustified, relentless attack on the productive male. EVery untoward utterance should be reported to the disciplinary counsel or the judical review board. EVery tiny parking violation should be ticketed. Bring a ruler, and call the police to issue a ticket if their car is parked farther than 12 inches from the curb.

In the case of consent laws, they are not only invalid, they contradict 100,000 of human history. Apprentice at 12 and 13. Go out and start a family after 14. Everything happens biologically at 14, nothing of note happens at 18 that does not happen any other year. So a 60 year is more mature than a 40 year. Make the age of majority 60, if emotional maturity is a factor.

So the DA is a hate filled feminist running dog, acting in bad faith. He should be treated as any member of a criminal mob should be, coming around to extort payments from productive enterprises. Prosecutors and judges have also falsely, and selfishly dealt themselves absolute immunity from criminal and tort liability. If it is true that torts is a substitute for violence, then immunity is a justification for a remedy of self-help violence, in formal logic, being the true contrapositive.

As a taxpayer of Michigan, I would be outraged that a bed for a violent repeat offender is being filled by someone who dated the wrong person, as his crime. As his girlfriend, the alleged victim of the crime, she is far more victimized by the prosecution, depriving her of her husband, a father for any potential children, and a bread winner for their home. I understand she cannot sue the feminist running dogs for her damages, so she should enjoin the rent seekers. Apply for a TRO, in federal court.

I am aware of the Anti-Injunction Act. (From Wikipedia) Here are the three exceptions to the Younger abstention:

Where the prosecution is in bad faith (i.e. the state knows the person to be innocent)—as applied in Dombrowski v. Pfister; or
Where the prosecution is part of some pattern of harassment against an individual; or
Where the law being enforced is utterly and irredeemably unconstitutional (e.g., if the state were to pass a law making it a crime to say anything negative about its governor under any circumstances).

Even if dismissed, the claim would deter this prosecutor, by the cost of defending the office. The state knows the high age of consent has no biological validation. It could never withstand a Dauber review, for example. The prosecution is a part of a pattern of feminist persecution of productive males, a hate speech pretextual use of the law. And it is unconstitutional in violating the free association clause of the First amendment and the Ninth Amendment.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Jan 29, 2012 5:33:11 PM

anon --

Although I disagree with them, I don't see the need to take a totally out-of-left-field shot at Grits, Huh? and Al Ammo.

P.S. Is there something wrong with being in church? What would that be?

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jan 29, 2012 7:00:23 PM

In NC a 22 year old guy who has sex with a willing, and sometimes initiating, 15 year old girl, faces a B1 felony, the second most serious charge on the books calling for enormous time in prison. We are seeing a rash of these cases involving precocious 15 year olds, and stupid guys in their twenties.

I have filed several postconviction motions seeking Eighth Amendment relief in cases such as the case where the girl's statement to the police said, " It is not his fault. I was having trouble at school because I hadn't lost my virginity and I asked him to help me."

Or, the case in which the girl, on three different occasions, supplied the condoms.

I am writing such a motion tonight in another case in which the girl testified on behalf of the def saying she didn't want the def prosecuted. The guy received 300 to 369 months in prison without possibility of parole,

Posted by: bruce cunningham | Jan 29, 2012 11:55:13 PM

Bruce: The crime of statutory rape has strict liability, as if one were a dynamite making plant, or kept tigers in one's apartment. That is the feminist view of heterosexual sex as always a form of rape even if between two consenting people 90 years old. Are there any cases of lesbians being prosecuted for the same acts? I would like to see more aggressive defense work. An Eighth Amendment argument is a nice start but inadequate. Other arguments. The age of consent should be left to family and cultural upbringing.

1) Physically and historically, 14 is adulthood. This law contradicts scientific biology. There are no unique events of maturation at 18. One mellows out with age, and gets more mature from experience. Make the age of majority 60 to insure true maturity. The law of majority is fictional. It has the validation of laws against witchcraft and the casting of spells.

2) Demand e-discovery of the prosecution, and even of the judge computers. Any feminist utterance makes this a prosecution in bad faith, an act of hate, like membership in the KKK might imply bias in the trial of a black person.

3) The failure to prosecute the female shows the persecutory improper motive.

4) Criminal prohibitions should prevent a harm. Procreation and sexual gratification can only be considered harms by Victorians, religious extremists, and feminists. The law should not cater to these extremists. Procreation seems to be a harm to these feminist extremists only when the color of the skin of the baby is dark.

5) The prosecutions violate the right to privacy from the Ninth Amendment. The same right was violated in Roe v Wade.

6) Incapacitation for such an act takes up valuable bed space in prison meant for repeat violent offenders. So, as a matter of public safety policy, sentencing should remain outside of prison.

7) Most of these girls cannot be told what to do, not even, do your homework. The idea of coercion or vulnerability is ridiculous. They do only as they please, empowered by the feminist lawyer, and laws criminalizing all forms of family and school punishment as abuse. One many not even verbally criticize these hussies without an allegation of emotional child abuse. One may not even ignore these hussies, because ignoring bad behavior is a form of emotional neglect, according to child abuse laws.

8) Ultimately, I cannot think of a wealthy constituency motivated to lobby for a change in the law, but libertarians should have the law changed to return the responsibility of avoiding such sexual unions to the family. Allow punishments within the family and schools. End the child abuse laws that interfere with family discipline. So if the family objects to such early, irresponsible sex, have the police retrieve the child when the family asks them to. Stop calling any punishment or verbal criticism abuse.

9) On another matter of policy, the father of a child that results should be working, to provide child support, not laying about doing nothing is prison. The deprivation of a father by imprisonment has devastating consequences to the upbringing and outcome of the child. These prosecutions promote damaging bastardy. They are government worker rent seeking schemes and in bad faith. The government has to support the father in jail, and the bastard child on the outside. The resulting pathologies in the bastard child also generates a necessity for massive government services in schools, health, social welfare, and criminal justice. Listing the father on a sex offender registry will also devastate his ability to work, or to even rent an apartment.

The consequences of being fatherless were gathered and listed by this British think tank.

http://www.civitas.org.uk/pubs/experiments.php

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Jan 30, 2012 3:03:20 AM

The crime of statutory rape has strict liability, as if one were a dynamite making plant, or kept tigers in one's apartment. That is the feminist view of heterosexual sex as always a form of rape even if between two consenting people 90 years old. Are there any cases of lesbians being prosecuted for the same acts? I would like to see more aggressive defense work. An Eighth Amendment argument is a nice start but inadequate. Other arguments. The age of consent should be left to family and cultural upbringing.

1) Physically and historically, 14 is adulthood. This law contradicts scientific biology. There are no unique events of maturation at 18. One mellows out with age, and gets more mature from experience. Make the age of majority 60 to insure true maturity. The law of majority is fictional. It has the validation of laws against witchcraft and the casting of spells.

2) Demand e-discovery of the prosecution, and even of the judge computers. Any feminist utterance makes this a prosecution in bad faith, an act of hate, like membership in the KKK might imply bias in the trial of a black person.

3) The failure to prosecute the female shows the persecutory improper motive.

4) Criminal prohibitions should prevent a harm. Procreation and sexual gratification can only be considered harms by Victorians, religious extremists, and feminists. The law should not cater to these extremists. Procreation seems to be a harm to these feminist extremists only when the color of the skin of the baby is dark.

5) The prosecutions violate the right to privacy from the Ninth Amendment. The same right was violated in Roe v Wade.

6) Incapacitation for such an act takes up valuable bed space in prison meant for repeat violent offenders. So, as a matter of public safety policy, sentencing should remain outside of prison.

7) Most of these girls cannot be told what to do, not even, do your homework. The idea of coercion or vulnerability is ridiculous. They do only as they please, empowered by the feminist lawyer, and laws criminalizing all forms of family and school punishment as abuse. One many not even verbally criticize these hussies without an allegation of emotional child abuse. One may not even ignore these hussies, because ignoring bad behavior is a form of emotional neglect, according to child abuse laws.

8) Ultimately, I cannot think of a wealthy constituency motivated to lobby for a change in the law, but libertarians should have the law changed to return the responsibility of avoiding such sexual unions to the family. Allow punishments within the family and schools. End the child abuse laws that interfere with family discipline. So if the family objects to such early, irresponsible sex, have the police retrieve the child when the family asks them to. Stop calling any punishment or verbal criticism abuse.

9) On another matter of policy, the father of a child that results should be working, to provide child support, not laying about doing nothing is prison. The deprivation of a father by imprisonment has devastating consequences to the upbringing and outcome of the child. These prosecutions promote damaging bastardy. They are government worker rent seeking schemes and in bad faith. The government has to support the father in jail, and the bastard child on the outside. The resulting pathologies in the bastard child also generates a necessity for massive government services in schools, health, social welfare, and criminal justice. Listing the father on a sex offender registry will also devastate his ability to work, or to even rent an apartment.

The consequences of being fatherless were gathered and listed by this British think tank.

http://www.civitas.org.uk/pubs/experiments.php

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Jan 30, 2012 3:23:44 AM

This prosecutor feminist running dog allows 90% of FBI Index felonies in his jurisdiction to go unanswered. He coddles vicious predators in plea bargains. He goes all out when it comes to a productive male. This biased, hate monger, incompetent needs to resign. This rent seeking cult criminal allows a violent and property rate of crime 5 times the national average in his town. He wastes the taxpayer money on a dating crime.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Jan 30, 2012 5:02:23 AM


mr. claus: "That is the feminist view of heterosexual sex as always a form of rape even if between two consenting people 90 years old."

me: no feminist actually believes that - many feminists in fact enjoy heterosexual sex very much.

mr. claus: "Are there any cases of lesbians being prosecuted for the same acts?"

me: yes, but its very rare. probably because the fact that women mature faster than men leads teenaged girls to be attracted to older men and men to be attracted to teenaged girls. However, women would not normally be attracted to teenaged girls just like women are not normally attracted to teenaged boys - again, that is a product of maturity.

mr. claus: "The age of consent should be left to family and cultural upbringing."

me: so if I tell my children they can't have sex until they are 25 or finished a graduate degree, you're fine with that. Because I believe that no one should get married until that point and no one should have sex before marriage, that seems fair.

on the other hand, if my children are anything like me, it might be more effective telling them to have as much sex as possible when they are teenagers so they will do the opposite of what their mean mommy says. Why hasn't anyone thought of that? It seems more in tune with teenagers than "absidence only education" :)

mr. claus: "The failure to prosecute the female shows the persecutory improper motive."

me: its not illegal for the teenager to be seduced by a predatory adult who is only looking to exploit her immaturity for sex :P

mr. claus: "Procreation and sexual gratification can only be considered harms by Victorians, religious extremists, and feminists"

me: veneral diseases, teen pregnancy, a lifetime of regrets, being beaten by daddy if caught, getting thrown out of the house and onto the streets, a starring role on MTV's "Teen Mom," finding the only available career choice as a high school drop out/mom is to get a boob job and become a stripper/prostitute - those all sound like serious risks to me.

mr. claus: "The prosecutions violate the right to privacy from the Ninth Amendment."

me: not according to the Virginia Supreme Court who held in wake of Texas v. Lawrence that its still illegal to receive oral sodomy from a 17 year old girl. sorry :)

erika :)

Posted by: virginia | Jan 30, 2012 6:30:45 AM

mr. claus: "Most of these girls cannot be told what to do, not even, do your homework."

me: that must be why girls are totally out achieiving boys academically :P

many girls are self motivated to achieve - I didn't need my parents to tell me to do my homework :)

mr. claus: "They do only as they please, empowered by the feminist lawyer, and laws criminalizing all forms of family and school punishment as abuse."

me: just because schools and parents cannot get away with beating children anymore doesn't mean there is no abuse. Anyone who advocates beating teenaged girls on their bottoms as "punishment" also seems rather pervy to me :P

mr. claus: "One many not even verbally criticize these hussies without an allegation of emotional child abuse."

me: you just called several teenaged girls a hussies which is listed in the thesaurus as meaning the same as "prostitute." Maybe D.S.S. should investigate you for emotional child abuse if you consider it acceptable to call a teenaged girl a prostitute.

mr. claus: "One may not even ignore these hussies, because ignoring bad behavior is a form of emotional neglect, according to child abuse laws."

me: actually for many teenaged girls, being ignored by their parents is more likely to be seen as a "reward" and not "abuse."

mr. claus: "Allow punishments within the family and schools. End the child abuse laws that interfere with family discipline."

me: since the only punishment which has been banned in most states in schools is corporal punishment and the only ban in homes is "excessive" corporal punishment, you are definitely calling for teenaged girls to be beaten here. That definitely sounds pervy to me.

But if you are going to allow parents and schools to beat children, why not return to the Biblically approved discipline method of stoning unruly children to death?

mr. claus: "So if the family objects to such early, irresponsible sex, have the police retrieve the child when the family asks them to."

me: so rather than being out fighting crime, you would have police officiers running around looking for teenagers having sex?

mr. claus: "Stop calling any punishment or verbal criticism abuse."

me: so if a parent beats a kid to death, its okay because they were just trying to punish the kid? If a father gets a sexual thrill from spanking his teenaged daughter's bottom, you're fine with that? If children get permanently injured by being scalded with hot water or beaten as "punishment" that's fine? Or perhaps the real question is that do you believe that there is any actual child abuse?

plus this constant support for spanking teenaged girls does make you sound rather perv-like :P

erika :)

Posted by: virginia | Jan 30, 2012 6:31:33 AM

mr. claus: "As his girlfriend, the alleged victim of the crime, she is far more victimized by the prosecution, depriving her of her husband, a father for any potential children, and a bread winner for their home"

me: oh come on, as if a relationship between an 18 year old high school senior and 14 year old high school freshman is actually going to last past him leaving for college and if he doesn't leave for college, he's obviously a loser who is not worth staying with so any girl with common sense would dump him immediately (of course, 14 year old girls don't have common sense which is the problem in the first place). Even if the girl has no common sense and stays with the loser who is still hanging around town working in some low status, low paying job, the relationship will end when freed from high school, he finds its no longer socially acceptable to be still dating a high school student as an adult and he dumps her. Or he dumps her when he meets someone at his low status low paying job. Or the relationship against all odds lasts long enough for her to dump him as soon as she gets her driver's license and no longer needs that loser to get away from home. The only way that relationship lasts if if he gets her pregnant and then that is the very social disaster which laws keeping adults from having sex with 14 year olds is aimed at preventing.

Oh puhleaze mr. claus, you might have a case that they are using each other for what they want - him using her for sex and her using him for freedom and to feel more sophicated in dating a senior, but at least try to be realistic.

erika :)

Posted by: virginia | Jan 30, 2012 6:48:46 AM

bruce: "In NC a 22 year old guy who has sex with a willing, and sometimes initiating, 15 year old girl, faces a B1 felony,"

me: in Virginia, it doesn't carry a lot of prison time (think its a Class 6 felony with a max of 5 years in prison), but that act would be classified as a "violent sexual offense" which is rather silly even by my standards. I do believe that the dumb 22 year old should be listed on the sex offender registry as a potential danger since any 22 year old who is too stupid and horny to know that its not acceptable to accept the invititation of a 15 year old to have sex is stupid and horny enough to be a potential danger. In such a case, it may be appropriate to have a later review to see if the guy remains a threat to teenaged girls and if not remove him from the sex offender registry, but at least classify him as a threat against teenaged girls for a period of time.

I do not see why the first offense of that would lead to a long prison term. I think in the Michigan case the article discusses, the judge made the right call - give essentially a warning sentence and then when the guy didn't get the message to keep it in his pants until the girl gets older, hammer him with a prison sentence. I believe that is the proper approach with such cases - the first offense should be essentially a warning and the second offense (especially if involving a different girl) society should hammer the guy.

Sorry, but a 22 year old should be old enough to know better than to have sex with a 15 year old - especially a 22 year old who already was convicted of the offense once.

erika :)

Posted by: virginia | Jan 30, 2012 6:59:42 AM

Obviously the answer to the Dr. Berman's question is "it depends."

Obviously, society should hammer teenagers who commit forcible sex offenses and sex offenses against prepubscent children.

With a case like the one mentioned, the answer is probably exactly what the judge did in the Michigan case discussed - first offense, no - it should be a warning. Second offense - yes - if someone gets a warning that its illegal and unacceptable to have sex with underaged girls, and still persists in the action, it goes beyond a horny and stupid teenager making a mistake perhaps in ignorance of the law. That is someone who definitely knows the law and knows the consequences and persists in the action. That person is definitely a danger to teenaged girls and likely to society since to act for one's pleasure without regard to consequences to self or others displays antisocial tendancies.

Hence, because we have a person thumbing their nose at the law after giving a warning, and because they are displaying antisocial tendancies which marks them as a threat to society, they should be given prison terms.

The sex offender mentioned in this article has nobody to blame but himself for going to prison and being on the sex offender registry. For him to blame others because even after being arrested once he still couldn't keep it in his pants is riduculous and shows that he is someone who believes that the law doesn't apply to him. He gets no sympathy from me.

erika :)

Posted by: virginia | Jan 30, 2012 7:09:10 AM

If the same 14 or 15 year old shot someone in the head, she would be prosecuted as an adult, but prosecuted in any event. Yet, the law says that a 15 year old girl who solicits an 18 year old with a proposition for ______________, has no responsibility.

Parents of the 15 year old girls are the ones who usually bring the matter to the police, as if the reporting process will cleanse their conscience from whatever it is that caused feelings of guilt in the first place.

Also, these days on campuses, allegations of rape are rampant. If SHE is drunk=rape; If HE is drunk=rape; If SHE changes her mind in a day or two=rape; If her friends make fun of her and she needs to do repairs=rape. In fairness, there are real sexual assaults that need to be punished, but false allegations are a daily occurrence.

Posted by: Stanley Feldman | Jan 30, 2012 7:47:50 AM

Stanley, outside of a few states who continue to have unenforcd and unconstitutional antifornication laws and unless it is for money, it is not illegal to have sex with an 18 year old. Hence, your strawperson collapses under the weight of its own fallacy. Now, if there were a large number of 15 year old boys prosecuted for having consensual sex with 15 year old girls and the 15 year old girls were not prosecuted you'd have a point because both kids violated the same law. But no hypocracy involved when only one party actually conducted illegal actions.

I've never heard of a truly false rape allegation either. Mysognists always act like there is a huge number of them, but such allegations are exceedingly rare.

Incidentially, I want to run public service announcements which state: "ATTENTION LOSERS - THAT HOT 15 YEAR OLD GIRL WHO THINKS YOU ARE THE HOTTEST MAN ON EARTH IS ACTUALLY AN UNDERCOVER COP."

erika :)

Posted by: virginia | Jan 30, 2012 10:20:54 AM


We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office. ~Aesop

Posted by: monday | Jan 30, 2012 1:15:06 PM

Erika says, "I've never heard of a truly false rape allegation."

I guess she was living in a cave when a drunken stripper made a 100% false rape allegation against several members of the Duke lacrosse team.

And it was not just that the stripper picked out the wrong guys. It was that there was no rape at all, and nothing approaching a rape. The whole thing was a hoax. Once started, it was carried forward by a hateful bunch of feminist/Leftist Duke academics calling themselves the Gang of 88, and by a corrupt Democratic prosecutor named Mike Nifong. Nifong was in a tough primary battle for his job as Durham D.A., and wanted to exploit the racial angle in the case to motivate what he hoped would be his black base.

It became probably the most notorious case of prosecutorial misconduct in years. As I say, the whole thing was a hoax. The drunken stripper was never touched, much less raped.

But Erika claims she "never heard of a truly false rape allegation."

P.S. The whole thing is brilliantly exposed in the book "Presumed Guilty" by Stuart Taylor (of the National Journal) and K.C. Johnson.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jan 30, 2012 2:03:38 PM

My point had to do with an age (15) where on the one hand a girl can be held absolutely responsible for her actions (murder prosecution) while on the other hand, she is incapable of responsibility no matter what the facts!

To borrow from Bill Otis in the recent discussion of the death penalty, " The very phrase, "no matter what the facts," spills the beans in this debate." The "no matter what the facts" prosecution of statutory rape often results in an unjust outcome.

Posted by: Stanley Feldman | Jan 30, 2012 2:43:46 PM

Mr. Feldman --

Thank you for expressing agreement with my view that neither cases nor punishments can legitimately be decided "no matter what the facts."

Does that mean you are not a death penalty abolitionist?

P.S. One further question: Are you an adherent of the view that there is no such thing as a false rape allegation? I never heard of a defense lawyer who thought such a thing, but I'm willing to get an education here.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jan 30, 2012 4:31:16 PM

how true bill. Every study i've seen puts the number of "false" rape charges at somewhere between 40-50%

Posted by: rodsmith | Jan 30, 2012 7:13:38 PM

I absolutely agree will Bill Otis comment above.

It happens "way more often" than society realizes. Plea bargains help with defendant peace of mind and lock in (before sentencing) an previously unknown variable.

That should scare the hell out of everyone, that a defendant would rather plea than go through what would be a loosing battle, because our current society believes the lies told by our elected politician's.

Posted by: Book38 | Jan 30, 2012 7:53:07 PM

...and the lies repeated by our bought out main stream media!!!

Posted by: Book38 | Jan 30, 2012 7:54:42 PM

I am not a DP abolitionist. My biggest problem with the death penalty concerns misidentification.

I posted above, my view that false allegations occur.

Posted by: Stanley Feldman | Jan 30, 2012 9:47:26 PM

I wonder why in any Romeo and Juliet cases the Romeo pleads guilty. The prosecutor has tremendous Juliet management issues, and even if the Juliet testifies consistently with what the prosecutor believes actually happened, the risk of jury nullification is high, even when the Romeo confesses, as in this case.

There shouldn't necessarily be any higher risk of jury nullification in cases like this. But many people are troubled by teenage sexuality, which is oftentimes expressed in jury verdicts.

Posted by: Fred | Jan 30, 2012 10:16:33 PM

Thank you rodsmith, Book38 and Mr. Feldman.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jan 30, 2012 10:17:28 PM

Virginia: You are such a persuasive advocate that you should debate Bill Otis. If you are poor, I want to help make it happen.

One of the most interesting aspects of your arguments is the format. It comes from Peter Abelard, Sic et Non. This format and the IRAC from Alexander of Hales reached its highest expression in St. Thomas Aquinas.

http://www.lonang.com/exlibris/aquinas/

The story of Abelard and Heloise is relevant to this subject. Abelard was the top debater and a monk. Disputation was a method of Scholasticism to answer important questions. That is the source of the adversarial system, which is garbage, as a method to attain accuracy of verdicts.

He was hired to tutor Heloise. She was 1) his precocious intellectual equal; 2) beautiful; 3) 16. It is inhuman to be able to resist that combination. She became pregnant, and was sent to a nunnery, where she rose to the highest positions of leadership possible, and continued her intellectual jousting with Peter via letters. Her family sent thugs to get revenge. They used rusty scissors to remove his testicles, without benefit of any urology knowledge or preparation. His students were outraged. They tracked these thugs down, and did the same to the thugs. Peter's questioning greatly disturbed ROme, and an intellectual uprising, including questions of atheism, arose. St. Thomas was sent to take over the helm of the Cathedral University of Paris, and to quell the rebellion. 13th Century Paris and its student were exactly as they are today.

Scholasticism sought to prove the existence of God with worldly evidence. Their investigations led to the Renaissance. William of Occam declared that attempt failed and God was a matter of faith only. He ran for his life. To German merchants and was a predecessor of Luther.

What does this mean? It means the deepest structures of the lawyer profession 1) come from a church; 2) have no validation and are anti-scientific garbage; 3) brazen violations of the Establishment Clause.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Jan 31, 2012 1:09:54 AM

If all these sex offenders are as dangerous as Virginia would have us believe, then why hasn't the government lined them all up for long prison sentences because of all the cold case hits on their DNA?

What is someone registered offered to run it through the database and paid for a cold case hit check on their DNA? Would that be a better predictor of potential dangerousness than Virgina's hang ups or any actuarial formulas like error prone risk assessments? Shouldn't it at least be a positive factor in risk assessments if there were no cold case hits on the individual's DNA?

Posted by: George | Jan 31, 2012 3:20:15 AM

Erika's true colors are showwn, and they reek of the stench of feminism!

Posted by: albeed | Jan 31, 2012 8:56:42 AM

I don't know if Erika is a feminist or not. But I do know that you can't effective prosecute or defend a case like this without a reasonable understanding of gender issues.

For instance, if you are the prosecutor and the case is to be tried to a jury, how do you want Juliet to dress?

Do you have this conversation with Juliet alone? Or with her parents? Or with her parents alone?

If you have this conversation with Juliet, either alone or with her parents, how carefully do you choose your words?

Or do you just not have this conversation?

Posted by: Fred | Jan 31, 2012 9:59:25 AM

Fred,

It's a combination of the same three reasons there are no jury trials for most other crimes - 1) most defendants are guilty and the State can prove it pretty overwhelmingly; 2) due to the combination of legislative sentence-inflation and charge stacking, most defendants face a staggeringly long prison sentence if convicted at trial; 3) most defendants are not represented by committed, effective counsel (and/or counsel's compensation structure results in them making less money the more work they put into any individual case).

Romeo has to have some big brass ones to bet on prosecutorial witness issues or jury nullification when the losing end of that bet is something like a 15 or 20 year prison term, versus a certainty of, say, 1-5 years if he pleads.

Posted by: Anon2 | Jan 31, 2012 4:19:41 PM

For a good read on this subject---see The Accidental Sex Offender---
@ http://www.marieclaire.com/world-reports/news/teen-sex-offender. The parents are trying to get "Romeo/Juliet" exceptions to the laws when there is less than a few years difference in ages, and both parties claim consenual relationship.

Posted by: folly | Jan 31, 2012 5:32:08 PM

Anon2:

Pleading guilty to a garden variety crime with the promise of a single digit sentence is not the same as pleading guilty to a Romeo and Juliet child sex offense. As to the former, the convict, if committed to obeying the law after his release, has a reasonable chance of living the remainder of his life anonymously. As to the latter, there is little chance of that. The case referenced in the post is a perfect example of this.

Now all cases are different. But what I am talking about is a Romeo and Juliet case in which the Romeo's age or the difference between the Romeo's age and the Juliet's age is just outside the safe harbor provided by state law, and the Juliet does not want her Romeo prosecuted.

In this context, why should a Romeo who either knows or has been fully informed about the life long significance of being a convicted felon and being a registered sex offender automatically plead guilty?

It goes without saying here that it is obligation of defense counsel to fully advise the Romeo of all the consequences of his decision concerning how to plead, which will certainly include the jury trial penalty. If the Romeo doesn't want to run the risk of the jury trial penalty, then fine. However, if the Romeo after having been fully advised decides to plead not guilty, then the defense attorney has to prepare a defense.

The linked article doesn't state whether this Romeo and his mother were pleased with the initial plea bargain. However, it is abundantly clear from the article that they are not pleased today with how things turned out. The situation they find themselves in today was completely foreseeable.


Posted by: Fred | Jan 31, 2012 11:24:09 PM

how true Fred either way he goes he's gonna get LIFE! with ever increasing rules and regulations he will be required on pain of LIFE IN PRISON for failing to follow. So why not make them PAY THAT 1,000,000 bucks to take him to trial!

Posted by: rodsmith | Jan 31, 2012 11:59:37 PM

Quoted: "[The Duke Case] became probably the most notorious case of prosecutorial misconduct in years."

Why is the Duke case "the most notorious case of prosecutorial misconduct in years" and not the Anthony Graves case or the Jerry Watkins case, just to name two. What distinguishes the Duke case from the others?

Posted by: C | Feb 1, 2012 8:37:41 AM

fred: "it is abundantly clear from the article that they are not pleased today with how things turned out"

me: you seem to be ignoring that the initial sentence was very short and he only got a relatively long sentence after he got caught having sex with the same girl who was still underaged. To me, that changes the dynamic considerably. I would have a law where if the perp was under the age of 20 and the girl (or boy) was less than 5 years younger than him (obviously, the age of consent here would be 16 - if 18, the "probation" zone would be increased accordingly), the offender would be placed probation for a set period. At the conclusion of the probation period, if there are no further sex offenders, the charges will be dismissed so there will be no felony record and no sex offender registration.

However, if the defendant violated probation by engaging in sex with the same girl (or boy) or a different underaged girl (or boy) and the sentence would be a prison term and life time sex offender registration because anyone who gets arrested and put on probation and then goes back and again commits the same offense has proven that they think that the law doesn't apply to them and therefore are a threat to society.

I do not believe that teens who make one mistake involving consensual sex with an underaged person should be branded a sex offender for life and jailed - however, the first offense is a warning and if there is a second offense, then the person should be jailed and branded a sex offender. The Michigan case is one where the defendant violated probation by again having sex with underaged girls while on probation - hence, prison and the sex offender registry after relesae is where he belongs. Its not that difficult of a notion to say that when someone has shown they are not capable of following the law even after being placed on probation, they do not deserve a break.

erika :)

Posted by: virginia | Feb 1, 2012 10:00:24 AM

Erika:

It is clear from the linked article that this Romeo violated his probation:

"On the advice of his attorney, he pleaded guilty to criminal sexual misconduct and was sentenced to a year in jail followed by three years’ probation, during which time he could not be around minors, including his girlfriend."

However, it is not clear from the linked article if the violation was based on a resumption of sexual activity.

See: "After that, when the two teens resumed their relationship—violating his probation—he got five to 15 years."

And: "Then, she contacted him, and he started secretly seeing her."

And: "One day, Lester’s father came home and found Thornsberry with his daughter. Back to jail he went."

It certainly can be inferred from the article that they had resumed sexual activity, and they probably had. But maybe not.

What I am curious about is whether a condition of Romeo's current supervision still specifically prohibits any contact with Juliet, even though she is now over 18.

Posted by: Fred | Feb 1, 2012 10:45:38 AM

In tens of thousands of instances - this is a situation between Juliet and her parents. How did we ever get here?

Posted by: beth | Feb 2, 2012 12:27:37 PM

Amen Beth!

But don't use the fascism word or imply that Law and Order types just can't help themselves, no matter how much the matter does not harm them.

Posted by: albeed | Feb 2, 2012 9:18:07 PM

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