Category Archives: Sex

The Clown Prince of Islam

Reader Clown Prince (whose name I hope comes from a shared affinity for the villain of the DC Comics Universe) recommended an article from Times Online about women converting to Islam. I thought it was worth noting a few things I found prominent in the article. First:

“Our liberal, pluralistic 21st-century society means we can choose our careers, our politics – and we can pick and choose who we want to be spiritually,” explains Dr Mohammad S. Seddon, lecturer in Islamic Studies at the University of Chester. We’re in an era of the “religious supermarket”, he says.

I couldn’t agree more with Dr. Seddon. The beauty of our society is that people can choose where they want to live, who they want to associate with and what faith (or no faith) they want to subscribe to. The problem is that there is an extreme element in Islam, and Christianity to a less violent degree, that can’t handle many elements of this pluralism. Many Muslims think criticism of their religion should be outlawed because their faith doesn’t permit it, putting their own faith over the laws of the countries they’ve immigrated to. Many Christians, because they believe homosexuality is a crime, want their views of homosexuality enforced on the rest of society.

The rest of the article documents several women who lived lives of drunken chaos, nihilism and other youthful decadence. It pretty seems like the same story of those who convert to evangelical Christianity:

“At university, I lived the typical student existence, drinking and going clubbing, but I’d always wake up the next morning with a hangover and think, what’s the point?

“It wasn’t until my second year that I met Hussein. I knew he was a Muslim, but we were falling in love, so I brushed the whole issue of religion under the carpet. But six months into our relationship, he told me that being with me was ‘against his faith’.

“I was so confused. That night I sat up all night reading two books on Islam that Hussein had given me. I remember bursting into tears because I was so overwhelmed. I thought, ‘This could be the whole meaning of life.’ But I had a lot of questions: why should I cover my head? Why can’t I eat what I like?

Some people are apparently unable to live a stable, independent life on their own and need to have the constant validation of orthodoxy to keep them in line. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it would be good if religious people were to realize that not everyone has this problem. Many of us are moral and refrain from doing drugs and drinking every day simply because it’s self-evidently necessary.

“When people see a white girl wearing a niqab they assume I’ve stuck my fingers up at my own culture to ‘follow a bunch of Asians’. I’ve even had teenage boys shout at me in the street, ‘Get that s*** off your head, you white bastard.’ After the London bombings, I was scared to walk about in the streets for fear of retaliation.

That’s the sort of ignorance and stupidity that needs to be stomped out. A recent roommate of me remarked about the Jihad Jane story that it was surprising that she was white. Islam is and has always been a global religion since its inception.

“For the most part, I have a very happy life. I married Hussein and now we have a one-year-old son, Zakir. We try to follow the traditional Muslim roles: I’m foremost a housewife and mother, while he goes out to work. I used to dream of having a successful career as a psychologist, but now it’s not something I desire.

“Becoming a Muslim certainly wasn’t an easy way out. This life can sometimes feel like a prison, with so many rules and restrictions, but we believe that we will be rewarded in the afterlife.”

Here Aqeela Lindsay Wheeler validates the arguments of Ali and myself. Organized religion makes oppression based on stupid differences like race and gender sustainable because it leaves the believer in acceptance of their lowly status. I’m a little surprised Clown Prince sent me an article where a Muslim convert essentially validates the anti-feminist nature of the faith.

Islamic orthodoxy is antithetical to liberal enlightenment. Islam must remain one faith among many, separate from the state and policy, if we want to remain free and secular. This is a fine line to walk, because the skepticism of Hitchens, Ali, Dawkins or Harris could turn into the conservative racism and xenophobia of Mark Steyn (who actually used Arabs being elected to political positions as an argument for a European downfall in his screed America Alone).

Anyways, I recommend everyone read Clown Prince’s article and educate themselves about Islam. Westerners are far too ignorant about it.

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Government Reasonability Quiz

On Monday morning around 5:30 a.m. in Springfield, Virginia, Eric Williamson was making coffee (in the privacy of his own home) in the buff. Unbeknownst to Williamson, a woman and her 7 year old son could see him in all his glory as they took a shortcut through his front yard.

The woman, horrified that her and her son saw Williamson naked, called the police.

How does the police/District Attorney choose to deal with this situation? (Hint we are dealing with government officials here, throw common sense out the window)

A. Nothing. Police advise Williamson to make sure the windows are properly covered next time.
B. Nothing. The woman is advised not to take this shortcut again.
C. Both A and B.
D. The woman is charged with criminal trespass and violation of Williamson’s privacy. She could face up to 6 months in jail and a $1,000 fine if convicted.
E. Williamson is charged with indecent exposure and could face up to 1 year in jail and a $2,000 fine if convicted.
F. Both D and E. Both parties broke the law as both parties violated the rights of the other.
G. Neither D nor E. Both parties broke the law, therefore the penalties offset and no charges will be filed. (Replay 3rd down?)

(See the correct answer below the fold.)
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Hollywood’s Incomprehensible Defense of the Child Rapist, Roman Polanski

From The LA Times:

More than 100 industry leaders and prominent authors — including directors Martin Scorsese, David Lynch, Michael Mann, Mike Nichols, Woody Allen and Neil Jordan — have signed a petition asking that [Roman] Polanski be released from Swiss custody. “Filmmakers in France, in Europe, in the United States and around the world are dismayed by this decision,” the petition says.

On the television show “The View,” Goldberg said, “I think he’s sorry. I think he knows it was wrong. I don’t think he’s a danger to society.”

I am rarely shocked by the hypocrisy of the Hollywood elites but I never dreamed that even these self-important hypocrites would come the defense of a child rapist. Though accused of drugging and forcibly raping his 13 year old victim, Polanski plead guilty to a lesser charge of unlawful sex with a minor. Yet Hollywood idiots such as Whoopi Goldberg go on national television and say things like “I think he’s sorry…I don’t think he’s a danger to society” and “it wasn’t ‘rape’ rape.”

If anyone has spent any time at all watching Dr. Phil, Oprah, To Catch a Predator, or virtually any other television program on the subject, one point that is often made is that pedophilia is “incurable” and are therefore offenders are always and forever a “danger to society.”*

Speaking of Oprah, where is she on this case? She spends a great deal of time and energy advocating stricter penalties for sex offenders and increasing budgets of local, state, and federal sex crimes task forces yet I have found nothing on her website or elsewhere about her thoughts on Polanski or the response of her Hollywood friends. Is she too afraid to offend her friends or does she also seem to believe that exceptions should be made for rich and famous celebrities?

Oprah, your silence is deafening.

My first thought was that this was another case of Hollywood exceptionalism but upon further inspection, this may not necessarily be the case. Had Roman Polanski committed a particularly heinous crime like voting for Bush, making a Jesus movie, or questioning Obama’s healthcare plan, these same people wouldn’t be signing petitions of solidarity or be so forgiving of him being a child rapist.

While the elites continue to point out that this crime occurred over 30 years ago and say we should forgive and forget, many thousands of individuals are required by law to register as sex offenders for the rest of their lives. Some of these individuals’ crimes are actually quite tame** in comparison to what Polanski plead guilty to doing. In some extreme cases, registered offenders are forced to move if a school bus stop is moved closer to their home (yes, this means that even though the registered offender was already living there before the home was near a bus stop, s/he is required to move). Because no one wants to live near a sex offender, these individuals have great difficulty finding a place to live; some end up homeless living under bridges.

Just yesterday, Radley Balko reported at The Agitator that Georgia sex offenders were ordered to live in the woods…until the story broke and the public outcry forced them back out of the woods. Balko points out that they will have to once again notify the state of their new address even though they have nowhere to go (which is not an excuse; failure to notify the authorities could result in arrest).

If these sex offenders have to endure this sort of treatment, it only stands to reason that Polanski should endure the same. Sure, I suppose none of these other sex offenders directed Oscar winning movies but I’m sure that many of them made positive contributions to society as well, their sex offenses notwithstanding.

Whether its Roman Polanski, Roman Catholic priests, or any other individual who chooses to abuse children, justice demands that the criminal justice system treats them the same. Shame on the Hollywood hypocrites and Polanski sympathizers who demand anything less.

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Octomom: A Microcosm of Democrat and Republican Policies Realized

Much to my delight and surprise, the news of Nadya Suleman (a.k.a. Octomom) giving birth to 8 children in addition to her other 6 children she could ill afford to support has not been well received by a large portion of the American public. Octomom seemed to go into this undertaking with the idea that she wouldn’t actually have to support these children herself because giving birth to so many children would make her an instant celebrity complete with book deals, TV specials, movie offer and other such ways to cash in. With the popularity of the Duggar and Gosselin families with their fame and modest fortunes derived from reality shows and book deals, it’s not too difficult to see how Octomom might come to such a conclusion (and at the end of the day, with our celebrity worship culture, her calculation might pay off).

But something unique about Octomom didn’t quite have the same charm as the Duggars and the Goslins: the ability to support the children. For all of my personal objections (which I will not get into here) I have with a family such as the Duggars cranking out 18 babies in a span of 12 years, I certainly respect the dedication of the parents to support their family themselves. While Jon and Kate Gosselin had the help of fertility science which resulted in 8 children in 2 separate pregnancies, they went into each hoping for just one child and also support the family themselves. The Duggar and Gosselin children also benefit from a two parent household.

In contrast, Octomom, an unemployed single woman on welfare, intentionally impregnates herself with the help of in vitro fertilization resulting in 14 children without any concern of how she would support these children if her celebrity scheme wasn’t realized.

What’s not to like?

This Octomom attitude seems to be that she’s entitled to have as many children as she wants because it has always been “her dream” to have lots and lots of children. Where does she get this notion that because someone has “a dream” she is entitled to force others to help her realize this dream?

One doesn’t have to look far to realize that this entitlement mentality has been fostered by the Democratic Party at least since FDR’s New Deal. The Democrats constantly demand that the most productive members of society support the “less fortunate” less productive class to help realize their dreams. According to the 2008 Democratic Party Platform, everyone has a right to a job that pays a “living wage,” “affordable” healthcare, free daycare, free education, paid family leave, and an “affordable” home.

What the Left fails to realize is that there’s no such thing as a free lunch. There never has and there never will be. Every one of these policies to give “free” or “affordable” service to those who do not have the wherewithal to provide these “rights” for themselves have to come from someone because they are not without cost. Whether or not Octomom paid for the birth of her 8 children, there was still a significant cost to the medical staff that provided this service. But what does she care? If she doesn’t get the multi-million dollar TV show, she can always count on the taxpayer to bail her out. No longer a single mother, Octomom will be married to the State.

While I’m sure many on the Right would nod in agreement with much of what I have said so far, I would have to ask them: where have you been the last 8 years? The Republican President Bush with Republican majorities in the House and the Senate for the majority of that time presided over the greatest expansion of government since LBJ’s Great Society programs. Yes, it was the G.O.P. that gave us No Child Left Behind, Medicare Part D, and TARP just to name a few. This is the party of small government?

Yes, in the Chairmen’s Preamble of the 2008 Republican Party Platform there’s a very libertarian friendly line that the Republican Party has “Distrust of government’s interference in people’s lives” then the document proceeds to outline exactly how they plan to have the government interfere in people’s lives. As awful as the Democrat Platform is, at least I can say they are honest and consistent; more than what I can say about the Republicans.

When the going got tough, the Republicans abandoned free market principles and adopted the Democrat’s approach of bailing out businesses which were “too big to fail.” Now that the Democrats run the show, the Republicans hope we will forget* that they were the other party of big government.

With the Republicans failing to stand up for these principles, perhaps Octomom also believed she was “too big to fail” (both figuratively and literally).

Oh, wait…the Republicans have stayed true to one principle: the old “every sperm is sacred” (every sperm, egg, embryo) principle. When asked why she chose to implant every single one of the embryos Octomom explained that if she allowed them to expire, it would be like killing them. As she has learned from the Republicans, if ever a “life” is created existing even on a multi-cellular level, she has a duty to give these tiny clumps of cells a “chance to be born” or otherwise be accosted for “murdering the unborn.”

I can’t help but wonder whether or not the Octomom culture would exist at all if it were Libertarian policies in place over the last 70 or so years rather than Democrat and Republican policies. If such were the case, I am sure Suleman would have made certain she had the resources to take care of herself first and playing the odds of celebrity roulette would probably been too big of a risk. If the thought of the government bailing out financial institutions and the big three was considered politically unfeasible because government only stayed within its Constitutional limits, then there certainly wouldn’t be any political will to support “one woman’s dream.”

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Which is Freakier: A bong hit or “the application of pure carbolic acid to the clitoris [as] an excellent means of allaying the abnormal excitement?”

Here’s the Cliff’s Notes version: Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps took a bong hit; Kellogg’s has dropped their sponsorship of Phelps.

In my opinion, Kellogg’s has every right in the world to drop the sponsorship. And I have every right in the world to quit using Kelloggs’ products. If the Phelps issue wasn’t enough, let’s take a look (H/T to Huffpo) at some of the bizarre history of John Harvey Kellogg’s radical beliefs. Here are some cut-and-pastes from his Wikipedia entry:

Some of his work on diet was influenced by his belief that a plain and healthy diet, with only two meals a day, among other things, would reduce sexual feelings. Those experiencing temptation were to avoid stimulating food and drinks, and eat very little meat, if any. Kellogg also advocated hydrotherapy and stressed the importance of keeping the colon clean through yogurt enemas. [snip]

He appears to have gone beyond his own advice, since though he and his wife were married for over 40 years, they never had sexual intercourse and had separate bedrooms all their lives. It has been suggested he worked on Plain Facts on their honeymoon.

He was an especially zealous campaigner against masturbation; this was an orthodox view during his lifetime, especially the earlier part. Kellogg was able to draw upon many medical sources who made claims such as that “neither the plague, nor war, nor small-pox, nor similar diseases, have produced results so disastrous to humanity as the pernicious habit of onanism,” credited to one Dr. Adam Clarke. Kellogg strongly warned against the habit in his own words, claiming of masturbation-related deaths “such a victim literally dies by his own hand,” among other condemnations. He felt that masturbation destroyed not only physical and mental health, but the moral health of individuals as well. Kellogg also believed the practice of “solitary-vice” caused cancer of the womb, urinary diseases, nocturnal emissions, impotence, epilepsy, insanity, and mental and physical debility – “dimness of vision” was only briefly mentioned. Kellogg was the first to mention the psychological role in producing insanity. [snip]

Kellogg worked on the rehabilitation of masturbators, often employing extreme measures, even mutilation, on both sexes. In his Plain Facts for Old and Young, he wrote

“A remedy which is almost always successful in small boys is circumcision, especially when there is any degree of phimosis. The operation should be performed by a surgeon without administering an anesthetic, as the brief pain attending the operation will have a salutary effect upon the mind, especially if it be connected with the idea of punishment, as it may well be in some cases. The soreness which continues for several weeks interrupts the practice, and if it had not previously become too firmly fixed, it may be forgotten and not resumed.”

and

“In females, the author has found the application of pure carbolic acid [phenol] to the clitoris an excellent means of allaying the abnormal excitement.”

He also recommended, to prevent children from this “solitary vice”, bandaging or tying their hands, covering their genitals with patented cages, sewing the foreskin shut and electrical shock.

I’ll strongly defend Kellogg’s right to no longer support Michael Phelps. I’ll also strongly defend the rights of consumers who choose not to purchase products from Kellogg’s anymore.

Economic Enhancement

As reason (via Stephen Littau) informs us, all economies have “performance issues.”  Our national case of electile dysfunction has led to a stimulus package that Robert Stacy McCain says simply “won’t work.”

If we are going to continue with the sexual analogies, here’s a thought: Obama certainly isn’t going to stimulate me with a trillion-pound lady who has pork grease dripping off her chin.

If history can be used to predict the future, tomorrow’s Playboy Playmates will be even trimmer than today’s are. It’s my belief that people are more likely to pitch a political tent for a svelte fiscal policy than for an overweight and bloated one.

Sex Offender Insanity

I’ve written several times in the past about the manner in which America’s sex offender registry laws have led to insane, some might even say unjust, outcomes. There was the six-year old boy in Virginia who will go through the rest of his school career tagged as a sexual offender. The 15 year old Ohio teenager who was charged with distribution of child pornography for sending a nude picture of herself to her friends. Last week, I wrote about a 24 year old woman in Georgia who could lose her house because she was declared a sex offender for having oral sex with her boyfriend when she was a teenager. And, then, of course, there’s the case of Genarlow Wilson, who spent was sentenced to 10 years in prison for having oral sex with his girlfriend.

Well, the insanity continues.

Consider this story of a 16 year old who’s life is essentially ruined because he did something teenagers do every day:

When Ricky was 16, he went to a teen club and met a girl named Amanda, who said she was the same age. They hit it off and were eventually having sex. At the time Ricky thought it was a pretty normal high school romance.

Two years later, Ricky is a registered sex offender, and his life is destroyed.

Amanda turned out to be 13. Ricky was arrested, tried as an adult, and pleaded guilty to the charge of lascivious acts with a child, which is a class D felony in Iowa. It is not disputed that the sex was consensual, but intercourse with a 13-year-old is illegal in Iowa.

Ricky was sentenced to two years probation and 10 years on the Iowa online sex offender registry. Ricky and his family have since moved to Oklahoma, where he will remain on the state’s public registry for life.

Being labeled a sex offender has completely changed Ricky’s life, leading him to be kicked out of high school, thrown out of parks, taunted by neighbors, harassed by strangers, and unable to live within 2,000 feet of a school, day-care center or park. He is prohibited from going to the movies or mall with friends because it would require crossing state borders, which he cannot do without permission from his probation officer. One of Ricky’s neighbors called the cops on him, yelled and cursed at him, and videotaped him every time he stepped outside, Ricky said.

“It affects you in every way,” he said. “You’re scared to go out places. You’re on the Internet, so everybody sees your picture.”

His mother, Mary, said the entire family has felt the ramifications of Ricky being labeled a sex offender. His younger brother has been ridiculed at school and cannot have friends over to the house; his stepfather has been harassed; the parents’ marriage has been under tremendous pressure; and strangers used to show up at their door to badger the family. One neighbor came to the house and told Mary he wasn’t going to leave them alone until they took their “child rapist” away, so they moved, she said.

Ricky’s family should probably be thankful they don’t live in Florida, though, because they’d probably be living under a bridge:

MIAMI, Florida (CNN) — The sparkling blue waters off Miami’s Julia Tuttle Causeway look as if they were taken from a postcard. But the causeway’s only inhabitants see little paradise in their surroundings.

Five men — all registered sex offenders convicted of abusing children — live along the causeway because there is a housing shortage for Miami’s least welcome residents.

“I got nowhere I can go!” says sex offender Rene Matamoros, who lives with his dog on the shore where Biscayne Bay meets the causeway.

The Florida Department of Corrections says there are fewer and fewer places in Miami-Dade County where sex offenders can live because the county has some of the strongest restrictions against this kind of criminal in the country.

Florida’s solution: house the convicted felons under a bridge that forms one part of the causeway.

The Julia Tuttle Causeway, which links Miami to Miami Beach, offers no running water, no electricity and little protection from nasty weather. It’s not an ideal solution, Department of Corrections Officials told CNN, but at least the state knows where the sex offenders are.

Now, it’s likely the case that the men living under the causeway are dangerous offenders, but where’s the logic in a law that is so draconian in restricting where they live that it encourages them to drop out of the system so that nobody will know where they are ? And where’s the logic in extending the sex offender registry system to offenses that aren’t really offenses at all, but rather just teenagers being teenagers ?

Steve Verdon makes this point:

Making them register as sex offenders and destroying their lives is simply stupid. And even for actual sex offenders releasing them then passing laws that make it impossible to live anywhere in society is just mind boggling stupid. If they are still such a danger to society, then lock them the Hell up. Don’t release convicted criminals who are so highly likely to re-offend back into society and set up a monitoring system that is so harsh it actually encourages them to avoid registering as a sex offender.

While at the same time ruining the lives of essentially innocent people.

Gay Marriage, Religious Rights, and Freedom of Association

California’s Proposition 8, the ballot measure aiming to outlaw same sex marriage, passed on a very close vote. Prop 8’s supporters* pushed a campaign of fear, misinformation, and a complete distortion of the meaning of individual liberty. This campaign commercial is typical of the intolerance and hysteria being promoted from the “yes” campaign.

Argument #1: Churches could be forced to marry gay people.

Argument #2: Religious adoption agencies could be forced to allow gay couples to adopt children; some adoption agencies would close their doors as a result.

Argument #3: Those who speak out against gay marriage on religious grounds will be labeled “intolerant” and subjected to legal penalties or social ridicule. Careers could be threatened.

Argument #4: Schools will teach students that marriage is between “party a” and “party b” regardless of gender. Schools also teach health and sexuality and would now include discussions of homosexuality.

Argument #5: There will be “serious clashes” between public schools and parents who wish to teach their children their values concerning marriage.

Argument #6: Allowing gays to marry will restrict or eliminate liberties of “everyone.” (Example: Photographers who do not want to work at same sex weddings)

Argument #7: If Prop 8 fails, religious liberty and free speech rights will be adversely affected.

My response to these arguments is that we should be advocating for more freedom for everyone rather than restrict freedom of a group or class of people. The state should recognize the same contract rights** for a gay couple as it would between a man and a woman. To get around the whole definition of marriage issue, I would propose that as far as the state is concerned, any legally recognized intimate relationship between consenting adults should be called a “domestic partnership.” From there the churches or secular equivalent to churches should have the right to decide who they will marry and who they will not (just as they do now).

Rather than subject an individual’s rights to a vote or either party forcing their values on the other, we should instead advocate freedom of association and less government in our everyday lives. Somewhere along the way, we as a people decided that the government should involve itself more and more into the relationships of private actors. The government now has the ability to dictate to business owners quotas of who they must hire, family leave requirements, how much their employees must be paid, and how many hours they work (among other requirements). For the most part, businesses which serve the public cannot deny service to individuals for fear of a lawsuit.

A return to a freedom of association society would remedy arguments 1, 2, 6, and 7 from this ad. As to Argument #3, the anti-gay marriage folks are going to have to realize that in a free society, they are going to have to deal with “social ridicule”*** or being called intolerant. Anyone who takes a stand on any issue is going to be criticized and called names. In a freedom of association society, an employer would have every right to decide to layoff individuals who hold views or lifestyles they disagree with.

While we’re on the subject of intolerance, perhaps we should take a moment to consider if people who would deny equivalent rights which come with marriage are intolerant. This ad is exactly the same as the previous ad except that the words “same sex” and “gays” have been replaced with “interracial.”

Believe it or not, there was a time in this country when there were such laws against interracial marriage. Those who argued against interracial marriage made very similar arguments to what the anti-gay marriage people are making now. Today most of us would say those people were intolerant.

Intolerance aside, Arguments 4 and 5 can also be answered by reducing the role of government in our lives. What the “yes” people should be arguing for is a separation of school and state. While we as a nation are trending toward more government involvement in K-12 education, those who do not want the government schools to teach their children the birds and the bees or enter into discussions of homosexuality can put their children in private schools which share their values or home school. School Choice is the obvious answers to these concerns.

Prop 8’s supporters have turned the whole idea of individual liberty on its head. They claim that in order to preserve the rights of the greatest number of people a minority of people necessarily must sacrifice their rights. This is absurd and dangerous. Perhaps it is this complete misunderstanding of individual rights among Californians which contributed to Prop 8’s passage.

When explained properly, the rights of life, liberty, and property is the easiest concept to understand.

Hat Tip: The Friendly Atheist

Posted Elsewhere:

Dan Melson @ Searchlight Crusade has written a very thought provoking post on this issue. Some of his arguments I agree with, others I don’t but all of his points are well argued.

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Justice Department: Indicting Spitzer is Not in the “Public Interest”

Last March New York governor Eliot Spitzer resigned because of his involvement in a prostitution scandal. This is all well and good; I was among many others who called for Spitzer to resign. But should his resignation from office be enough? I think not.

Apparently federal prosecutors disagree.

Washington Post, November 7, 2008

Former New York governor Eliot L. Spitzer will not face criminal charges for his role in a prostitution scandal that drove him from office this year, prosecutors announced yesterday.

Investigators for the FBI and the Internal Revenue Service uncovered no evidence that Spitzer had misused public or campaign money to pay women employed by the Emperors Club VIP, a high-priced New York prostitution ring.

Justice Department guidelines disfavor indictments against clients of prostitution rings, even those who transport women across state lines to have sex in violation of the Mann Act. Spitzer acknowledged making payments to the service, which amounted to “acceptance of responsibility for his conduct,” said Michael J. Garcia, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York.

“We have concluded that the public interest would not be further advanced by filing criminal charges in this matter,” he said in a statement issued yesterday.

What “public interest” is ever served by prosecuting an individual who makes a peaceful business transaction with another consenting adult? But as long as there are vice squads throughout the country investigating and arresting individuals who happen not to be in positions of power who participate in activities such as prostitution, it seems to me that our public servants should be held to at least the same standard if not a higher standard.

And if the Justice Department “disfavors” indicting Johns who violate the Mann Act, this suggests to me that government officials can pick and choose the laws they wish to enforce and against whom they will enforce them (which does not surprise me).

So much for the rule of law!

I disagree with the Justice Department; there most certainly is a public interest being served when hypocrites in positions of power like Eliot Spitzer are treated like any other citizen of this country.

Help Reduce Child Abuse: Legalize Polygamy Now!

A great deal of attention is focused on the recent raids on the FLDS compound in Texas. The behavior of the state has rightly been condemned, most effectively by Les Jones who wrote:

Imagine that some parents in a school district were accused of child abuse. Now imagine that the authorities took every child from the elementary, junior high, and high school away from their parents and put them in foster care. That’s a rough analogy of what’s happening in Texas.

There is no question that that the people in charge of the FDLS abuse their members. The church leaders will evict dissidents, break up families, particualrly by ordering women to leave their husbands.

Why do church members allow the abuse to happen?

The interesting question in this matter is why do the members of the church tolerate the mistreatment? Why do fathers who presumably love their daughters permit them to be given to men as trophies? Why do mothers who love their sons permit them to be sent to slave away in coal mines at a young age? The members of the FLDS are human beings, with all the emotional attachment to their children that is inherent in humanity. Why are people making these horrible choices?

When people are stay in a hostile environment, it is generally for one of three reasons:

1) They are too lazy to leave/change.

2) They are afraid to leave, because leaving would be jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire.

3) They are afraid to leave, because they will be forced to abandon something so precious that leaving is more unbearable than staying.

The Sources of Fear:

It is readily apparent that people are afraid to leave for both sets of reasons:

1) Children who leave find themselves cut off from family. Poorly educated, they lack the ability to support themselves and live a mean, impoverished lifestyle. They are literally ‘foreigners in their own country’.

2) The church owns most of the property. Thus a person who wishes to leave usually owns only the clothes on their back and little more. People are not paid; rather their salaries are held in common in a bank owned by the church leaders. They are not permitted to bank elsewhere or to withdraw their money without permission. Church leaders have been known to arbitrarily reduce the balances credited to dissidents.

3) The members of the church are afraid of the outside world. They fear that they face persecution by outsiders. they are terrified of law enforcement.

Predator Pressure and Feudalism:

But why is the church so powerful? Why can it make such demands of its members? The sad fact is, the people who are members of the church have little choice; their fears of persecution are well justified – Mormons have faced persecution throughout their history. Joseph Smith was murdered by a mob who was outraged by his advocacy of polygamy. In the mid 19th century, there were anti-Mormon pogroms. The Federal Government insisted that the Mormon leaders repudiate polygamy before permitting Utah to become a state. The raids in the 1950’s solidified hatred and distrust of the outside world. The fear of persecution exists because polygamists are persecuted in the U.S.

Furthermore, because of the persecution, devout church members faced a difficulty in finding business partners and naturally banded together and did business largely with other church members. This lack of trade allowed church leaders to gradually take over the community’s wealth. In effect the fear of persecution recreated feudalism. The church leaders became the noblemen, and the common church members became the peasants.

As the church gained a totalitarian control of their members’ economic activities, the church was able to isolate their members from being able to function in outside society. The church could exert a totalitarian control of how the young are educated. It could make or ruin men.

Furthermore, the members of the church are denied access to the court system; after all if a man is vulnerable to prison-time for bigamy he is hardly likely to sue the church for ripping him off.

Ending the Dark Ages

By criminalizing their deepest religious beliefs, the state in effect empowers church leaders to abuse the members of the church at will. If the malignant power or the church elders were an arch, the laws banning polygamy would be its keystone. Legalizing polygamy would doom the feudal system.

Parents who felt that telling a church elder to go to hell would not leave them poor would be far less likely to permit their children to be sexually abused or kicked out of their community. Church elders who were aware that their flock could leave at any time would have a great deal of incentive to treat their followers kindly rather than abusively.

There is nothing inherently evil in polygamy itself. Most people would not choose to be part of a polygamous marriage. Some though, for a variety of reasons, do. Absent the violence and fear that is caused by prohibition, there is no reason why their experiences should not match that of Janet Averett who writes:

I was raised in a polygamous home. My dad had two wives, and each wife had her own house and kids. As kids we wore blue jeans, listened to rock ‘n’ roll music and watched TV. We went to public school and many attended college. We fell in love and married whoever we wanted, at or above the legal age.

We now work and live all over the country. I am no longer in a polygamous group, and neither are most of my brothers and sisters.

The laws against polygamy are holdovers from a dark ages where homosexuality and interracial marriages were similarly outlawed. The proponents of outlawing homosexuality and interracial marriage could point to many problems associated with those practice when they were outlawed. However, upon close inspection, all of the violence, degradation, social harms, and psychological problems associated with these former illegal activities were in fact caused by their prohibition. The same is true of polygamy.

Legalization would go a long way to ending the culture of subjugation and child abuse that is alleged to exist within the FDLS community.

I am an anarcho-capitalist living just west of Boston Massachussetts. I am married, have two children, and am trying to start my own computer consulting company.

Spitzer Resigns

The following is the full text of Eliot Spitzer’s resignation speech:

In the past few days, I have begun to atone for my private failings with my wife Silda, my children, and my entire family. The remorse I feel will always be with me. Words cannot describe how grateful I am for the love and compassion they have shown me.

From those to whom much is given, much is expected. I have been given much — the love of my family, the faith and trust of the people of New York, and the chance to lead this state. I am deeply sorry that I did not live up to what was expected of me. To every New Yorker — and to all those who believed in what I tried to stand for — I sincerely apologize.

I look at my time as governor with a sense of what might have been. But I also know that as a public servant, I and the remarkable people with whom I worked have accomplished a great deal. There is much more to be done, and I cannot allow my private failings to disrupt the people’s work.

Over the course of my public life, I have insisted — I believe correctly — that people, regardless of their position or power, take responsibility for their conduct. I can and will ask no less of myself.

For this reason, I am resigning from the office of governor. At Lt. Gov. Paterson’s request, the resignation will be effective Monday, March 17, a date that he believes will permit an orderly transition.

I go forward with the belief, as others have said, that as human beings, our greatest glory consists not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.

As I leave public life, I will first do what I need to do to help and heal myself and my family. Then I will try once again, outside of politics, to serve the common good and move toward the ideals and solutions which I believe can build a future of hope and opportunity for us and for our children.

I hope all New York will join my prayers for my friend David Paterson, as he embarks on his new mission. And I thank the public once again for the privilege of service.

My first reaction: good riddance to bad rubbish.

My second reaction: at least Eliot Spitzer had the decency to resign rather than put the state of New York through an expensive impeachment process.

Related Post: Hypocrisy Has a New Name: Eliot Spitzer

Hypocrisy Has a New Name: Eliot Spitzer

By now, most everyone has read or heard some of the sordid details involving New York Governor Eliot Spitzer and his alleged involvement with a prostitution ring called Emperors Club VIP. I think I can safely speak for all of the contributors at The Liberty Papers that we all believe that the actions between consenting adults should not be considered crimes provided that the actions do not violate the life, liberty, or property of another non-consenting party. Prostitution, drug abuse, and gambling are all examples of such activities the government has no business involving itself in.

Having said that, there is also something to be said about Governor Spitzer’s hypocrisy. As Attorney General, Spitzer actively went after individuals accused of the very crimes that he now seems to be involved. Now that the shoe is on the other foot, it’s interesting to see how suddenly the “crime” of prostitution becomes just “a private matter.”
Governor Spitzer’s so-called apology is ripe for a thorough fisking.

Good afternoon.

Yeah, well that’s not what she said!*

For the past nine years, eight years as attorney general, and one as governor, I have tried to uphold a vision of progressive politics that would rebuild New York and create opportunity for all. We sought to bring real change to New York and that will continue.

Today I want to briefly address a private matter. I have acted in a way that violates my obligations to my family and violates my, or any, sense of right and wrong. I apologize first and most importantly to my family. I apologize to the public, whom I promised better.

A private matter governor? How about the 18 individuals you prosecuted in 2004 for being involved in prostitution and related activities. Was this a private matter for them as well or does privacy only apply to “important” individuals such as yourself?

I do not believe that politics in the long run is about individuals. It is about ideas, the public good, and doing what is best for the state of New York. But I have disappointed and failed to live up to the standard I expected of myself. I must now dedicate some time to regain the trust of my family.

This is part of your problem governor; that you believe the “public good” is somehow superior to the rights of the individual, but I digress…

I suppose that the people of New York should not expect you to resign because only your ideas and your policies are “what is best for the state of New York.” Are you really so arrogant to assume that without your superior leadership, New York will fall off the cliff? Trust me governor, if you want to do what is best for New York, you should resign immediately. New York will survive and indeed will be better off without you.

Still, recognizing you have a problem is the first step. I do find it quite amazing that you along with the likes of Jimmy Swaggart, Bill Clinton, Jim McGreevy, Larry Craig, and David Vitter, don’t seem to recognize that you are hurting your family until you have been caught (but somehow it’s the media’s fault for exposing you for your indiscretions).

I will not be taking questions. Thank you very much. I will report back to you in short order. Thank you very much.

Of course you won’t be taking any questions. It’s not like you have to answer to the people of New York or anything! Oh, I forgot; this is a private matter.

» Read more

The Broader Implications of the Genarlow Wilson Verdict

Last week’s 5-4 Georgia Supreme Court ruling in the Genarlow Wilson case is not only great news for Genarlow Wilson but also great news for others who have found themselves in a similar situation. With the ruling being as close as it was it’s clear that the court could have easily ruled the other way.

How is it that 4 of the justices arrived at the conclusion that Genarlow Wilson’s punishment was not cruel and unusual punishment? The dissent written by Justice George Carley explains:

(dissent pages 14-16)

[T]oday’s decision is rare because of its unprecedented disregard for the General Assembly’s constitutional authority to make express provision against the giving of any retroactive effect to its legislative lessening of the punishment for criminal offenses. If, notwithstanding a provision such as § 30 (c), the judiciary is permitted to determine that a formerly authorized harsher sentence nevertheless constitutes cruel and unusual punishment, then it necessarily follows that there are no circumstances in which the General Assembly can insulate its subsequent reduction of a criminal sentence from possible retroactive application by courts.

It seems that the main complaint by the court’s minority is that the court usurped the state’s legislative authority; perhaps the minority has a point. Justice Carley cites language from the 2006 bill which plainly states that individuals charged prior to the bill’s effective date of July 1, 2006 would be punished according to the old law (this would include Genarlow Wilson).

Regardless of the legislative intent, this seems unjust. Why should an individual who was charged the day before the law’s effective date be subject to a 10 year sentence while another individual commits the same exact crime one day later be sentenced to perhaps a year? Cruel and unusual punishment is prohibited by both the Georgia State Constitution and the U.S. Constitution. At some point or another, these justices each undertook an oath to defend these constitutions. While the minority can make the case that they upheld their oath by recognizing the separation of powers, the majority could make the argument that they upheld their oaths by their interpretation of what constitutes cruel and unusual punishment despite the intentions of the Georgia Assembly.

As a lay person, I cannot say which side is technically correct; one side is likely in error. But in cases where there is a grey area in the law, judges should err on the side of common sense, liberty, and justice. This is the side the court’s majority came down on.

Wilson is certainly not the only defendant convicted of aggravated child molestation who benefits at the expense of today’s judicial reduction of the General Assembly’s power to legislate. At present, any and all defendants who were ever convicted of aggravated child molestation and sentenced for a felony under circumstances similar to Wilson are, as a matter of law, entitled to be completely discharged from lawful custody even though the General Assembly expressly provided that their status as convicted felons would not be affected by the very statute upon which the majority relies to free them. […] Moreover, nothing in today’s decision limits its application to cases involving minors who engage in voluntary sexual acts. Any defendant who was ever convicted in this state for the commission of any crime for which the sentence was subsequently reduced is now entitled to claim that his harsher sentence, though authorized under the statute in effect at the time it was imposed, has since become cruel and unusual and that, as a consequence, he is not only entitled to the benefit of the more lenient sentence, but should be released entirely from incarceration. […]Accordingly, as a result of this “rare case,” the superior courts should be prepared for a flood of habeas corpus petitions filed by prisoners who seek to be freed from imprisonment because of a subsequent reduction in the applicable sentences for the crimes for which they were convicted.

Others who have been convicted and punished in circumstances similar to that of Genarlow Wilson will seek to overturn their convictions as well? I should hope so! Maybe the minority should think about the overall intent of both the old and the new laws: to protect children from child molesters. How is imprisoning teenagers who engage in sexual acts with other teenagers protecting children? What would be the benefit of registering Genarlow Wilson as a sex offender? As a parent of three small children, I want only the real predators to be registered. I don’t want to look at a neighborhood sex offender map on the internet and wonder which predators are real and which ones made typical bad choices when they were teenagers.

The effect of registering sex offenders (legitimately or not) has other negative consequences as well. Registered sex offenders have difficulty finding employment, housing, and many other freedoms we take for granted. What happens to an individual who cannot find work or a home? The likelihood is s/he engages in other dangerous criminal activity for sustenance such as burglary, drug trafficking, and/or prostitution (the latter 2 should not be crimes and have similar consequences which lead to real crimes).

This isn’t to say that I want to make life easy for genuine sex offenders – far from it. The answer is not the one-size-fits-all mandatory minimum sentencing laws but to punish offenders of each case based on the facts of each case using common sense. If a judge or jury finds that an individual is one who will likely offend again, then there should be no discussions of registration but incarceration. It should be extremely difficult if not impossible for a child molester to ever re-enter society.

Hopefully, this case surrounding Genarlow Wilson will start a discussion around the country about mandatory minimum sentences and the way we have chosen to deal with sex offenders. Its time to take a step back and examine our emotional response to these issues and search for more reasonable policies.

Everything is Economics

I’ve said this many times before: economics isn’t the study of money; it’s the study of incentives, choices, and consequences.

In this video from the TED conference, economist Emily Oster performs an economic analysis of the spread of AIDS in Africa and shows once again, it’s about the economics (which means it’s about peoples choices and incentives):

What is abundantly clear here, is that government aid does little or nothing to combat AIDS; but choice, and incentives do a hell of a lot.

This is one of the fundamental principles of libertarianism in action. Rational actors, making rational, self interested choices.

Now, here’s another TED conference video, but this one you may have heard of before; it’s Andrew Mwendas speech about how foreign aid has actually HURT Africa.

Mwendas central point (though the language he uses may be a little to the left of the way I would put it) is that foreign aid has hurt Africa, because it has isolated the people from market driven incentives and consequences; and has in fact created perverse incentives towards greater poverty, and policies which HURT the people and economis of the continent. This is because more poverty means more aid, which means less attempts (and less success) at breaking out of poverty, ad infinitum (the perverse incentive).

Everything is economics, really.

I am a cynically romantic optimistic pessimist. I am neither liberal, nor conservative. I am a (somewhat disgruntled) muscular minarchist… something like a constructive anarchist.

Basically what that means, is that I believe, all things being equal, responsible adults should be able to do whatever the hell they want to do, so long as nobody’s getting hurt, who isn’t paying extra

Utah Supreme Court Resists Creating Another Genarlow Wilson

Via Eugene Volokh, comes news of a decision from the Utah Supreme Court regarding the state’s attempted prosecuted of a 12 year old boy and thirteen year old girl for committing sexual abuse on a child, with each other:

When she was thirteen years old, Z.C. engaged in consensual sex with a twelve-year-old boy and became pregnant. The state prosecutor chose to file delinquency petitions against both Z.C. and the boy for sexual abuse of a child under [State] Code section 76-5-404.1 [basically, in this context, any sexual touching of someone under 14 -EV], a crime that would constitute a second degree felony if committed by an adult….

Because we conclude that the legislature could not possibly have intended to punish both children under the child sex abuse statute for the same act of consensual heavy petting, we hold that applying the plain language of the statute in this case produces an absurd result. [Footnote, slightly moved: It is undisputed that Z.C. and the boy engaged in more than just sexual touching, but we must analyze the absurd result question in the context of the law actually applied and the act with which the State chose to charge Z.C., not the law that might have been applied or the act with which the State could have charged Z.C.]

Sexual abuse of a child is one of the most heinous crimes recognized by our penal code. The gravity of this crime is reflected by the fact that it is punished as a second degree felony if committed by an adult. Child sex abuse merits serious penalties because of the extreme psychological harm that the perpetrator causes the victim. Therefore, like all forms of sexual assault, child sex abuse presupposes that a single act of abuse involves a victim, whom the statute endeavors to protect, and a perpetrator, whom the statute punishes for harming the victim.

The State, however, applies [State] Code section 76-5-404.1 in an unprecedented manner. By filing delinquency petitions for child sex abuse against both participants for sexually touching one another, the State treats both children as perpetrators of the same act. In this situation, there is no discernible victim that the law seeks to protect, only culpable participants that the State seeks to punish. We know of no other instance in which the State has attempted to apply any sexual assault crime to produce such an effect.

[Footnote: The primary fail-safe against the absurd application of criminal law is the wise employment of prosecutorial discretion, a quality that is starkly absent in this case. While the State makes no attempt to defend the prosecution’s charging decision, it suggests that the particular offense selected by the prosecutor as the basis for the delinquency petition is not significant because a juvenile delinquency adjudication is not a criminal conviction, but merely a means to bring the juvenile within the guiding supervision of the juvenile court. If this is truly the case, it begs the question of why the prosecutor could not have accomplished the intended result by basing the delinquency petition on a victimless offense that more accurately fits the conduct at issue.]

We acknowledge that the legislature has demonstrated its intent to punish both participants in victimless, extramarital sexual activity under [State]’s adultery and fornication statutes. However, these statutes differ from sexual assault crimes, such as child sex abuse, in both the theory and degree of punishment. Rather than punishing an actor who has perpetrated a crime against a victim, these laws demonstrate the legislature’s disapproval of the acts of both participants for violating a moral standard. Because these crimes do not involve a victim, they involve a lesser degree of punishment. Both adultery and fornication are punishable as class B misdemeanors. Thus, while the legislature clearly could have intended some degree of simultaneous culpability for both Z.C. and the twelve-year-old boy under the fornication statute in order to discourage their admittedly reckless and age-inappropriate behavior, it is absurd to conclude that the legislature intended to simultaneously punish both children for child sex abuse, a crime that clearly envisions a perpetrator and a victim.

A review of the floor debates regarding the 1983 enactment of the [statute] reveals no evidence that the legislature contemplated application of the statute to situations where the same child was both victim and perpetrator. Although we generally do not consult legislative history where the meaning of the statute is clear, after finding that the plain meaning has been applied in an absurd manner, we seek to confirm that the absurd application was indeed unintended by the legislature….

We conclude that the legislature could not have intended the child sex abuse statute to be applied to punish Z.C. for the conduct at issue. And the fact that this is a juvenile court disposition, in which the judge enjoys considerable latitude in crafting punishments and assigning state services designed to help the child, does not change our conclusion. No amount of judicial lenity to compensate for the absurd application of the law changes the fact that the application of the law was absurd to begin with. Moreover, labeling Z.C. with the moniker of “child abuser,” even within the juvenile court system, can have serious consequences that were not intended by the legislature. A delinquency adjudication for sexual abuse of a child can lead to sentencing enhancements for any offenses Z.C. might commit while she is a juvenile or even as an adult if her juvenile record is not expunged. Such an adjudication also has the potential to affect any civil proceedings related to the custody of her child or any future attempts to seek child support from the father.

We therefore vacate Z.C.’s adjudication. We stress, however, that our holding is narrowly confined to the application of [State] Code section 76-5-404.1 in situations where no true victim or perpetrator can be identified. Even among children under the age of fourteen, there are unfortunately situations where an older or more physically mature child abuses a younger or smaller child. In cases where there is an identifiable distinction between the perpetrator and the victim, it is manifestly logical to conclude that the legislature intended to include such acts within the scope of [State] Code section 76-5-404.1. In Z.C.’s case, however, where both children were under the age of fourteen and were of similar age, where both children met the intent requirement of the statute, and where there was no evidence of any coercion or force, we conclude that application of the child sex abuse statute produces an absurd result….

Even though the plain language of section 76-5-404.1 allows Z.C. to be adjudicated delinquent for sexual abuse of a child, we conclude that the filing of delinquency petitions against both participants produces an absurd result not intended by the legislature because, like all sexual assault crimes, the statute presupposes a perpetrator and a victim. We therefore hold that the juvenile court erred in denying Z.C.’s motion to dismiss the delinquency petition. We remand this matter to the court of appeals with instructions to remand it to the juvenile court to vacate Z.C.’s delinquency adjudication.

In other words, no rational review of state laws against sex crimes against children should be held to apply to a case where both of the participants in the act are, in fact, children.

Approve of it, or disapprove of it, as you wish. But there’s no rational reason that something like this should be treated as a felony.

Genarlow Wilson Prosecutor Distributes Child Porn

ATLANTA (AP) — District Attorney David McDade has handed out some 35 copies of a video of teenagers having sex at a party.

McDade says Georgia’s open-records law leaves him no choice but to release the footage because it was evidence in one of the state’s most turbulent cases — that of Genarlow Wilson, a young man serving 10 years in prison for having oral sex with a girl when they were teenagers.
McDade’s actions have opened him up to accusations that he is vindictively misusing his authority to keep Wilson behind bars — and worse, distributing child pornography.

[…]

It shows Wilson, then 17, receiving oral sex from a 15-year-old girl and having intercourse with another 17-year-old girl. It was shot at a 2003 New Year’s Eve Party at a hotel room by another partygoer.
Earlier this week, Georgia’s chief federal prosecutor, U.S. Attorney David Nahmias, said the video “constitutes child pornography under federal law,” and he called on McDade’s office to stop releasing copies.

I hope McDade gets the book thrown at him on this one. Whatever crime Wilson committed is minor compared with the DA distributing the video to others who do not need to see it. He has probably put everyone who received the video in danger of facing child pornography possession charges. And what’s to stop one of these copies from somehow making its way to the general public via the internet or other means? It’s a little curious to me why the DA believes he needs to make his point in the court of public opinion instead of a court of law. He knows that the public is not on his side but he may win in the court of law (unfortunately).

But like Michael Nifong, David McDade will probably avoid criminal prosecution. Meanwhile, Genarlow Wilson serves a 10 year prison sentence for receiving consensual oral sex from a young lady less than 2 years younger than him. Isn’t our criminal justice system just wonderful!

Related Posts:
More Mandatory Minimums Madness: The “Sexual Predator” Edition (Part I and Part II)

Senator David Vitter’s Phone Number Found On DC Madam’s Records

This should be fun…

Sen. David Vitter, R-La., apologized Monday night for “a very serious sin in my past” after his telephone number appeared among those associated with an escort service operated by the so-called “D.C. Madam.”

Vitter’s spokesman, Joel Digrado, confirmed the statement in an e-mail sent to The Associated Press.

“This was a very serious sin in my past for which I am, of course, completely responsible,” Vitter said in the statement. “Several years ago, I asked for and received forgiveness from God and my wife in confession and marriage counseling. Out of respect for my family, I will keep my discussion of the matter there — with God and them. But I certainly offer my deep and sincere apologies to all I have disappointed and let down in any way.”

The statement containing Vitter’s apology said his telephone number was on old phone records of Pamela Martin and Associates before he ran for the Senate.

Wow… Now, obviously, I’m a libertarian; as far as I’m concerned, the only person that Vitter needs to consult about his naughtiness are his wife and his god. It sounds like he’s cleared it with the former, and the big man upstairs has apparently told him it’s all good.

But something tells me that won’t satisfy the political sharks. They smell blood in the water, and they go into a particular frenzy over a Republican involved in a sex scandal. Everyone’s going to be angling for a piece of this meal.

Personally, I don’t really care about his offense… After all, it’s less serious to me than stashing $90,000 in bribe money in your freezer. But I enjoy anything that discredits politicians; it seems that’s nearly the only way to get any of them out of office these days. So I’ll be kicking back in the recliner with a nice cold beer and enjoying the hell out of this.

Genarlow Wilson Is Still In Jail

By now, Genarlow Wilson’s story should be familiar to everyone. At 17 he was convicted of having consenual oral sex with his fifteen year old girlfriend and, because of the absurdity of Georgia’s sex offender laws, he was sentenced to ten years in prison.

Earlier this month, the judge in charge of his case reduced Wilson’s conviction to his misdemeanor and ordered his immediate release. Wilson had already spent two years in prison, and that would’ve seemed to have been the end of it, except the Georgia Attorney General filed an appeal.

Yesterday, Wilson learned that he would not be released while that appeal is pending:

Genarlow Wilson, whose 10-year prison sentence for having consensual oral sex with a 15-year-old when he was 17 was voided by a judge earlier this month, is not eligible to be released on bail while the state appeals his sentence, a judge ruled today.

The ruling, which came just days after investors announced they’d post a $1 million bond for Wilson, likely means Wilson will remain in jail for several more months. The Georgia Supreme Court is scheduled to hear his case in October.

The order, issued by Douglas County Superior Court Judge David Emerson, canceled the bond hearing that he originally set for July 5.

In his Wednesday ruling, Emerson cited a Georgia law that prevents trial courts from granting bail to people convicted of certain crimes, including aggravated child molestation, when the original sentence exceeds five years, as is the case with Wilson.

“As the court has no authority to grant an appeal bond in this case, there is no need for an evidentiary hearing on the defendant’s eligibility for a bond,” Emerson wrote in a three-page order.

It would appear that the Judge didn’t do anything wrong here. He simply doesn’t have the authority to release Wilson on appeal because of the type of the crime he was convicted of committing. The fault lies with the Georgia legislature for writing an absurd law, and with a prosecutor who continues to pursue a case that really ought to be dropped by now.

H/T: Brendan Loy

More Mandatory Minimums Madness: The “Sexual Predator” Edition, Part II

Back in January, I wrote a post about the injustice that befell seventeen year old Genarlow Wilson who was sentenced to ten years in prison for engaging in oral sex with a fifteen year old girl (just a few months shy of sixteen) at a New Year’s party. Wilson was charged with aggravated child molesting. Wilson is now twenty-one and has served his first two years of his ten year sentence.

Today, Judge Thomas H. Wilson (no relation to Genarlow Wilson) ordered the release of Genarlow Wilson stating in his ruling: “The fact that Genarlow Wilson has spent two years in prison for what is now classified as a misdemeanor, and without assistance from this Court, will spend eight more years in prison, is a grave miscarriage of justice.”

Even though the Georgia legislature failed to make the law retroactive, Judge Wilson downgraded the charge from a felony to a misdemeanor because the legislature’s intent was to clarify what the state determined to be child molesting. The reason the legislature passed the bill was in direct response to the Genarlow Wilson case.

Despite pleas from Wilson’s lawyer to the Georgia Attorney General to not file an appeal, the Attorney General made the decision less than two hours after Judge Wilson’s ruling to file an appeal, effectively placing the judge’s ruling on hold and keeping Wilson in prison until his case can be heard by a higher court.

This begs the question: what possible purpose is being served by Genarlow Wilson spending ten years in prison for what most people agree is minor offense? Is it really fair to characterize a seventeen year old having sexual contact with someone less than two years younger than him as a child molester? Is this young man truly a threat to children if he is released back into society? Judge Wilson had it right: two years for this offense is enough. Hopefully, the next judge who hears this case will also be as reasonable.

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