Saturday, August 27, 2011

Six Years Of Child Rape = Two Years Of Probation?

The InfiLawyer says how law school works is that the A students become professors, the B students work for big firms, the C students become multimillionaires, and the D students become judges.

Maybe in some places, but not in Westmoreland County, which obviously has looser standards.

Infytune: Dazed And Confused, Led Zeppelin


Anonymous said...

one again Infi you expose yourself as being a paralegal at a local law firm. Your wannabe, but far from educated, opinion is off base. This was a plea bargain. You should be focusing on the DA's office, not the Judge. It is extremely difficult and unlikely for a Judge to reject a plea bargain, especially one the victim agrees to. Besides, are you saying that one the staunchest liberal leaning Judges, Judge Pezze, should be rejected in favor of tea party?

Infinonymous said...

The prosecutor failed, too. The judge, however, is responsible and accountable for the final call.

We do not understand the 'liberal-leaning' or 'Tea Party' angles you invoke. This episode involves the administration of justice, not politics. Law enforcement should be unrelated to politics.

The inappropriate capitalization of "judge" -- particularly when coupled with failure to capitalize "Tea Party" -- signals a low-grade legal education. Hunch: Fourth-tier law school?

Anonymous said...

Switching from going after politicians to going after commenters, Infy?

MH said...

Infi is absolutely right about the plea bargain being the responsibility of the judge. I wouldn't bet against the law school taunt either.

Anonymous said...

Wow, you make Nancy Grace look even handed.

Looks like the father was NOT convicted of Rape, rather the rather broad and all encompassing "Corruption of Minors", which is a misdemeanor.

That could include allowing a minor to drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes, which if you read between the lines, is likely all the prosecution felt they could prove. Sounds like they had a lousy victim who didn't want to be cross examined and made to look like a liar.

Infinonymous said...

The "lousy victim" was five when the underlying misconduct -- for which the defendant had been adjudged guilty, because he declined to answer the charges substantively -- began.

If the judge believed the "lousy victim" was lying, it would have been improper for the judge to accept the plea bargain. If the judge found the victim's testimony credible, the defendant should have been carted to prison. In either circumstance, the sentence of probation was inappropriate.

Giving the defendant's apologists the opportunity to assert that this case involved merely a few smokes and a beer or two constitutes one more reason this plea bargain should have been rejected.

What appears between the lines is that sympathy for the victim clouded law enforcement judgment. Inferences that the "lousy victim" feared being labeled a liar, and that the prosecution doubted the information it presented in the victim impact statement, seem nearly as bizarre as the thought process that inclines an elderly person to sexually abuse a five-year-old.

We share your disdain for Nancy Grave, however.

Anonymous said...

The only charge the defendant "answered" was Corruption of Minors.
Not Rape or any of the other initial charges, unless you consider the prosecutions withdrawal of those charges as the equivalent the answer being a resounding "no" from the Defendant.

You are confusing the plea agreement presented to the judge as being the equivalent of a trial on the substance of the initial indictment, 90% of which was withdrawn by the DA. You've reached the conclusion that the man is guilty of rape of a 5 year old - the judge was NOT presented with those facts. To reject that plea for your reasons would be to presume the defendant's guilt on those withdrawn charges - the judge (just like any potential juror, and the public at large) is required to presume innocence. The facts presented to the judge show an acknowlegement of guilt to one misdemeanor count of Corruption, and the sentencing guidelines call for probation.

[And if you think that DAs don't go forward with some charges even when they don't believe the victim, just to make sure they get "something" out of the Defendant, and to make sure they can add another "conviction" to their stats...well you don't spend too much time in criminal court around here.]

Infinonymous said...

The judge observed the ostensible victim's testimony. If the judge believed the testimony, the plea bargain should have been rejected because probation is not a proper response to the described offense. If the judge did not believe the testimony, the plea bargain should have been rejected because a judge should not sentence a defendant unless the judge is convinced the defendant committed a crime.

With which of these points do you disagree?

Anonymous said...

What the judge heard from the obstensible victim was a "victim impact statement" during which she was not subject to cross examination in the same manner as if she were testifying at trial. This statement followed the withdrawal of all charges except Corruption of Minor.

The decision to accept the plea is not based on veracity of a victim impact statement (which is used, if the judge desires, as an aide in sentencing); rather it is based on the agreed upon facts read into the record by the DA (sometimes with additions and corrections from Defense counsel, but often not when there is an plea agreement) which show the judge that if the case went to trial, the DA could prove the REMAINING counts in the indictment.

During a guilty plea, the Defendant allocutes - tells the judge he is guilty of the REMAINING charge. In a No Contest plea, which is what happened here, the Defendant says no such thing - he basically says he is not contesting the remaining charge, and that if he were to go to trial, and the evidence presented WERE BELIEVED he could be convicted ... of the remaining charge.

Why would the prosecution agree? No doubt they feared they would lose, and they wanted some sort of conviction...and they are now effectively insulated from any potential lawsuit filed by the defense.

Why would the Defense agree? To avoid the potential of people such as yourself slipping past voir dire and making it onto the jury, and perhaps ignoring the judge's instruction to only convict if the case is proved beyond a reasonable doubt. Perhaps this guy was a lousy guardian, and perhaps he would have been shown to be a creep - but not a rapist. The potential for jurors (such as yourself) to convict him anyway is great in this type of case. He avoids that risk with this plea, and he doesn't even have to say he did it under oath - like the West Memphis Three.

Why would the judge reject the plea bargain that even the obstensible victim wanted? To get headlines and curry favor with the likes of you - and Nancy Grace. Cudos to Judge Pezze for not stooping to that level.

Infinonymous said...

It is improper for a judge to accept a guilty plea without being convinced the defendant is guilty, is it not?

It is improper for a judge to accept a plea bargain if the proposed punishment does not fit the facts, is it not?

If the victim's statements before the judge were true -- unambiguous descriptions of abuse of a five-year-old-child -- the proposed punishment was grossly inadequate.

If the victim's statements before the judge were false -- and there is no reported mention of cigarettes of alcohol or anything else that would support a corruption charge, other than the sexual abuse of a young girl -- there was no basis for a conviction.

What supports the assertion there is "no doubt" the prosecutors "feared they would lose?" The report indicates the leniency was designed to spare the victim the horror of testifying.

We do not believe the judge should have convicted the defendant of all original charges. We believe the judge should have scheduled a trial instead of accepting an improper plea bargain that effected no justice and appears to have violated the rules. The defendant should be punished severely or should not be punished, as the evidence leads.