Perhaps the second most dangerous legal problem in the nation, after lawyers acting in their own self-interest when creating new laws, is a legislator's introduction of onerous legislation based on a few egregious cases.
According to Fox News...
"Virginia Law Takes Aim at Adults Who French Kiss Minors"
"Adults who French kiss a child younger than 13 would be required to register as a sex offender under legislation passed out of the General Assembly on Saturday."
"Those convicted of tongue-kissing a child would be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and a $2,500 fine. "
Here we have a "he said, she said" law that would be hard to prove and may lead to disastrous consequences for someone wrongly accused of a non-crime. Especially if that charge were wielded by a disgruntled spouse considering or engaging in a divorce action.
And unfortunately, the only person who can clear the accused of the offense may be too immature to testify, a young child who is either easily coerced by third-parties or whose memory is muddled by what others are saying.
The consequence of a wrongful conviction is a life-sentence of shame and degradation without the possibility of proving your case or exonerating your good name.
Based on a single case...
Virginia House of Delegates
Riley E. Ingram
"Del. Riley Ingram, R-Hopewell, introduced the legislation on behalf of a woman whose 10-year-old daughter was French-kissed by the 62-year-old husband of her babysitter. The only crime prosecutors could charge the man with was contributing to the delinquency of a minor, which did not require that he register as a sex offender."
Legislators wanted even tougher sanctions...
"Ingram and other members of the House fought to make the crime a felony, but in the final day of the 2008 General Assembly session gave in to senators who thought that punishment was too harsh."
"Del. Phillip Hamilton, R-Newport News, cast the lone opposing vote, refusing to back down from his belief that the crime should be a Class 6 felony."
"'I think that type of behavior is so egregious it warrants a felony,' Hamilton said."
Politicians seem afraid to vote against the bad bill...
"The House passed the legislation 96-1 and the Senate 39-0. It now heads to Gov. Timothy M. Kaine."
Afraid to vote against the bill -- perhaps they are more afraid of the opposition's media campaigns during the election cycle than they are of creating a law with disastrous consequences.
Should the district attorney have wanted to charge the alleged perpetrator, they could have used "assault and battery on a minor" or other charges. So legal remedies for this alleged egregious act did and do exist. So why is this legislator promoting legislation which has the potential to do more harm than good?
Perhaps motivated by politics? Religious beliefs? A righteous sense of indignation coupled with a total lack of understanding of the harm that he may be unleashing on the community?
Like a school teacher charged by a zealous, politically-motivated district attorney with the crime of "inappropriate touching," there is no clear standard of conduct covering the incident, the recollections of the minor or minors involved can be either sketchy, easily manipulated by law enforcement agencies, concocted by a disgruntled or angry student -- all leading to the destruction of an innocent person's life. Where are the safeguards to protect the innocent victim when wrongly accused?
The Mc Martin case...
According to Wikipedia...
'In 1983, Judy Johnson, mother of one of the Manhattan Beach, California preschool's young students, complained to the police that her son had been sodomized by her estranged husband and by McMartin teacher Ray Buckey, who was the grandson of school founder Virginia McMartin and son of administrator Peggy McMartin Buckey."
The accuser, Judy Johnson "was diagnosed as suffering acute paranoid schizophrenia." In 1986 she was found dead in her home, from complications of chronic alcoholism."
"Some of the accusations were bizarre. It was alleged that, in addition to having been sexually abused, they saw witches fly, traveled in a hot-air balloon, and were taken through underground tunnels. When shown a series of photographs by Danny Davis, the McMartin's lawyer, one child identified actor Chuck Norris as one of the abusers. There were claims of orgies at car washes and airports, and of children being flushed down toilets to secret rooms where they would be abused, then cleaned up and presented back to their unsuspecting parents. Some children said they were made to play a game called 'Naked Movie Star' in which they were photographed nude."
"After six years of criminal trials, no convictions were obtained, and all charges were dropped in 1990. It was the longest and most expensive criminal trial of its time."
"Ray Buckey had been jailed for 5 years without ever being convicted of any wrongdoing."
"The McMartin preschool itself was closed and leveled. Three of the accused have died since the trial concluded. In 2005, newspapers reported that a child had retracted his story and said he lied, believing he was protecting his younger siblings, and pleasing his parents."
Overzealous police and prosecutorial misconduct?
In an effort to make their case, a number of procedural errors and misstatements were apparently made. After the expenditure of so much time and money on the case, the police and the prosecutors would, it seemed, do or say anything to win the case and thus avoid charges of incompetence and wrongful prosecution. Impartial investigators and prosecutors parties turned against the accused.
The basic problem...
"Critics have alleged that the questioners asked the children leading questions, repetitively, which, it is said, always yields positive responses from young children, making it impossible to know what the child actually experienced. Some claim the questioning itself may have led to false-memory syndrome among the children who were questioned."
What can YOU do?
Use common sense when considering new legislation. If the legislation appears to be based on political considerations that play upon the emotions of the electorate, this may be a warning sign of "pandering politicians."
If current laws exist which cover the alleged crime, demand that the law be enforced as written. This is a sore point with idealistic gun control advocates who insist on promoting more and more legislation rather than enforcing the existing "use a gun, go to jail for a long time" laws currently on the books. They simply confuse "gun control" with "crime control" for their own emotional or political needs.
As we can see in the McMartin case, not everybody accused in guilty and that the jury system has been corrupted by those who inherently believe that "if an arrest is made by the police and a case brought by the prosecutor, the defendant must be guilty." This is a direct consequence of many schools corrupting their civics and history classes to promote their own political agendas which, in the final analysis, place dunderheads on juries. People who will vote along racial, ethnic or for those who are good looking and well-spoken. Our jury system is being corrupted by our educational system to the point where a fair trial almost demands expensive representation, only available to the wealthy, to defend against even simple charges.
But it all starts with inappropriate or unnecessary legislation. Should you see an egregious example of a politician pandering to the public interests, especially on an emotional issue, step back and re-evaluate the situation.
In the words of Ancient Roman Lawyer, Writer, Scholar, Orator and Statesman, Marcus Tullius Cicero (106BC) -- “The more laws, the less justice.”
A reminder from OneCitizenSpeaking.com: a large improvement can result from a small change…
The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane. -- Marcus Aurelius
“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!
“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw
“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”
“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS "The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius “A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell “Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar “Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS
“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS
"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius
“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell
“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar
“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS