What a great piece (see below), unfortunately inspired by the
Mr. Balko was one of the many speakers at the Center for Prosecutorial Integrity’s Summit that I attended inIn 2009 the Virginia Crime Commission voted against legislation separating Teen Sexting from Child Pornography on the claim that our Commonwealth Attorney’s use proper discretion in these types of cases and uniformity.
last month. As did two Virginia
Commonwealth Attorney’s and a Virginia Attorney General contact that I chatted
with. Too bad C.A. Paul Ebert didn’t attend the Washington, D.C. . Summit
As the 2009 article (above link) reminds us. Delegate Albo said, taking the discretion away from the state's 120 elected prosecutors could result in a teen being punished for a stupid mistake while allowing a serious predator to receive a mere slap on the wrist. Mr. Albo called possible legislation a total minefield. We are dancing on very, very scary territory here if you're talking about changing the law, he said.
I beg to differ.
The current situation of a 17 year old male in Manassas who is being charged and facing a lifetime on the Virginia Registry for reciprocating with a sexual image when a 15 year old female initiated the sexting and she is not facing any charges, plus the despicable warrant (that will now be allowed to expire) that would have forced the 17 year to become sexually erected and then submit to photographs. THAT is “scary territory”.Unnecessary damage is already occurring in the Commonwealth because there are prosecutors who are over zealous and lack common sense in these cases.
It’s time for
"It is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer"
-William BlackstoneMary Devoy
We Must Destroy the Children in Order to Save Them
By Radley Balko July 11, 2014
My colleague Tom Jackman’s story about the efforts of officials in
Northern Virginia to forcibly
induce an erection in a teenage boy in order to pursue “sexting” charges
against him has deservedly provoked national outrage. As Jackman points out, police have
since backed down and now say that they won’t execute the warrant. Of
course, there remains the problem of why the warrant was issued in the first
place. No one in the Manassas Police Department, the office of
Commonwealth’s Attorney Paul Ebert or the judge who signed off on the warrant
was able to see what the rest of the country saw, here: an outrageous abuse of
power and an unfathomable violation of this kid’s privacy. The Manassas was prepared to create
child porn in order to prosecute a 17-year-old kid for sending videos of
himself to his then-girlfriend, who was 15 years old. Commonwealth of Virginia
There’s a lot going on in this case. We can start with Paul Ebert, a dinosaur of the
justice system. I wrote a bit about Ebert’s history in a
previous post here at The Watch about prosecutorial misconduct. The general
takeaway is that Ebert, who has been in office for more than 40 years, has
a long and sordid history of poor judgment yet has never been sanctioned or
disciplined for his conduct. In 2011, his office was the subject of a blistering opinion
by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit. As Andrew Cohen points
out in the linked article, it wasn’t the first time that has happened. Virginia