« "Sentencing Disparities" | Main | Reviewing the realities of a new sheriff in charge at the US Department of Justice »

April 15, 2017

Utah judge under fire for calling former bishop "good man" in course of his rape sentencing

As reported in this local article, "complaints are mounting against a Utah County judge who earlier this week praised a former Mormon bishop before sending him to prison for sexually abusing two women." Here are the details:

Fourth District Judge Thomas Low on Wednesday became emotional as he handed down a prison sentence to Keith Robert Vallejo, whom a jury convicted of 10 counts of second-degree felony forcible sexual abuse and one of count of object rape, a first-degree felony.  "The court has no doubt that Mr. Vallejo is an extraordinary, good man. But great men," the judge said Wednesday before taking a long pause, "sometimes do bad things."

Two women testified at the trial that Vallejo had inappropriately touched them during separate stays at his Provo home in 2013 and 2014.

Julia Kirby — who was 19 when Vallejo, her brother-in-law, abused her — told The Tribune after the sentencing that she was shocked by the judge's words to her abuser. Now, she plans to file a judicial complaint against him. And she's not the only one.

Restore Our Humanity, a Utah civil rights group that has launched an initiative to help sexual assault victims, will also file a complaint against Low.  Director Mark Lawrence said Saturday that Low's comments showed "absolute disregard" for Kirby, who was sitting in the courtroom that day.  "He completely disregarded her," Lawrence said. "He did something that we see happening over and over from position in authority dealing with these kind of cases: Making the perpetrator into the victim, showing sympathy and praise for the perpetrator and trying to make him into the victim. It's completely inappropriate."

Lawrence said he expects to file the complaint after reviewing transcripts of Low's comments this next week. He said the goal of the complaint is not to disbar Low, but to have him sanctioned and perhaps go through training to better understand sexual assault victims.  "There are some people who would think that we're making a big issue out of this," Lawrence said. "But this isn't a simple misdemeanor or victimless crime.  Sexual assault cannot be taken lightly, and everyone must stand up for these victims and survivors."

Criticism of Low initially began in March, after The Tribune published a story about Low's decision to allow Vallejo to remain free on bail pending sentencing and return home to his wife and eight children — even after the jury handed down the guilty verdicts at the February trial.  Kirby said last month that she felt the decision indicated that Low did not believe that she and the other woman had been abused. Low reversed that decision during a March 30 hearing, and Vallejo had been at the Utah County jail until his Wednesday sentencing.

Jennifer Yim, the executive director of the Utah Judicial Performance Evaluation Commission, told the Associated Press that the commission has received roughly 40 emails, six voicemails and some Facebook messages about Low's handling of this case since late March.

Ryan McBride, the prosecutor on the case, said Low's comments were inappropriate and said it may have come in response to more than 50 character letters about Vallejo, most of them detailing the good things he has done.  The defendant's brother spoke at the hearing and compared Vallejo to Jesus in making the argument that he was wrongly convicted, McBride noted. "I don't think it's wrong to acknowledge the good things that someone has done in their lives," the prosecutor told The Associated Press. "But I think whenever you do that in a case like this, you've also got to say, 'But it doesn't excuse what you've done.' "

Low on Wednesday sentenced Vallejo to concurrent sentences of one-to-15 years in prison for each of the second-degree felonies, and a five-years-to-life term for the object rape charge.

April 15, 2017 at 06:39 PM | Permalink

Comments

He condemned the act and sentenced the man. Why does he have to say he is a bad person?

Posted by: Dan Jay | Apr 16, 2017 8:43:25 AM

Short of rape rape, the damage and the crime ain't worth shit. If you are older than 12, you can slap the face of the insolent pig, and clearly say, "I don't play that, you swine. Touch me again, I plunge this kitchen knife into your genitals, as you sleep." There is an affirmative moral, but not legal duty, to defend your virtue.

Next, you get the picture a little sooner, and leave the place, if the piggish behavior continues. Not only is self help far more effective, it is also much cheaper. But then, the above fiasco would not be employing 3 worthless, thievin's, government make work lawyer assholes for months.

None may gaze upon the Virgin Empress of China without getting beheaded. That is where the vile feminist lawyer and its vile male running dogs are taking sentencing law and policy. For the rent. Ancient Chinese feminism made today's false ideology look tame.

http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/exchange/critical-feminist-studies/melal/mulan-real-life-chinese-women-soldiers-and-feminism

Direct action committees, driving 1988 red Camaros, should visit the vile feminist lawyer and its male running dogs, at night. To deter.

Posted by: David Behar | Apr 16, 2017 9:02:21 AM

More incompetent Judges (glorified attorney's) - we need common sense and common Law. Every case is different and many give false statements and very few are investigated properly when a persons life and many families are involved. Not one innocent person should be in prison! The 9th Commandment is ignored for profit.

Two women don't know how to say NO! Are they seeking some sort of benefit?

In my opinion/experience: Women are being taught to use the system and the system uses the male population for their benefit.

Posted by: LC in Texas | Apr 16, 2017 9:46:24 AM

I hope the judge was and will be evenhandedly fair and emotional when sentencing other "good people" who do bad things.

Posted by: Joe | Apr 16, 2017 12:16:14 PM

I have no idea who LC is. He is obviously from earth, not from the lawyer profession, stating the obvious, and what I have been saying here, for years. My message is the thinking of all ordinary people. The dirtbag, male witch hunting, rent seeking, filthy traitor lawyers must be stopped.

Many have heard the saying, like taking candy from a baby. Anyone who has ever tried to do that knows, the saying refers to how hard it is in real life, not to an easy task. Now try taking $trillion from 1.5 million members of the largest and most powerful criminal cult enterprise in human history, which has infiltrated and totally controls the three branches of government. It will not be easy, and will never happen peacefully. The legal immunities they have dealt themselves fully justify violence in formal logic. Formal logic is more certain than the laws of physics, with no exceptions.

Here is another over-lawyered nation. It is even more over-lawyered than our nation, so the effect is worse than here. It represents our future if we do not stop the criminal cult enterprise besetting our nation. It recently solved its toilet paper shortage. It has a bread shortage.

http://www.latimes.com/world/mexico-americas/la-fg-venezuela-capriles-2017-story.html

Posted by: David Behar | Apr 16, 2017 12:19:18 PM

South America has more lawyers than we do for population. Revolts against government are spreading everywhere. It should spread to the United States. The judge in this case should have tossed the case as frivolous, or as containing implied consent to the crime. The defense stank. The defendant likely did no worse than the man we elected to the Presidency.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/the_americas/protests-sweeping-south-america-show-rising-antigovernment-anger/2017/04/15/c086c10c-1f92-11e7-bb59-a74ccaf1d02f_story.html?utm_term=.4f029a48945c

Posted by: David Behar | Apr 16, 2017 1:34:33 PM

Sounds like the judge was even-handed here-
He acknowledged that the accused was a "good man" while also acknowledging that "sometimes great men do bad things".

Posted by: kat | Apr 17, 2017 10:01:48 AM

We must all make every attempt to stroll carefully through the minefields that are people's feelings, lest we be censored for using our right to free speech.

Posted by: Oswaldo | Apr 17, 2017 10:23:22 AM

Post a comment

In the body of your email, please indicate if you are a professor, student, prosecutor, defense attorney, etc. so I can gain a sense of who is reading my blog. Thank you, DAB