Another tragedy of justice?

Can a child be convicted of child molestation? Should he? An appellate judge should be handing out that decision sometime today. In the meantime, a 17 year old honors student faces having his life utterly ruined because he received oral sex from a 15 year old girl. It was not rape, the act was consensual. Under Georgia law at the time, it was deemed “aggravated child molestation”, and carried a mandatory prison term, of which the boy has already lost over 2 years of his life to. A recent law makes an exception that would have applied in this case, but prosecutors do not want to apply this new law retroactively. I just want to know: how is society being served by keeping this bright young kid in prison? I mean, that’s what the legal system is supposed to do, right? Serve society? Seems more like it’s become just a bunch of people trying to justify their weekly paychecks.

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  • Jeff KE9V  On June 11, 2007 at 6:21 am

    It seems to me that these kinds of anomalies are generated because prosecutors are elected officials. If you want to get votes then in most parts of the country you work less on being fair and more on being a hard ass. Voters always respond to a politician who tells you that there is a problem (“crime in this country is at epic proportions”) and then offer to solve that problem (“if you elect me I’ll hang ’em high and make our streets safe again like they used to be”).

    So then they get themselves caught when something like this comes along — obviously a law was broken, even if it was a stupid law. If they don’t prosecute it then they break a campaign promise and their opponents will point out they are “soft” on crime. And if they do prosecute, they ruin someone’s life.

    I don’t think there is a solution to this problem but there is a moral to the story … teenagers should restrict their oral sex adventures to the backseat of their cars miles from civilization where they won’t get caught. Going to a big party (with LOTS of people) that turns into an underage orgy is just a bad idea that could well leave their lives in ruins…

  • wolfger  On June 11, 2007 at 4:38 pm

    Well, the judge ruled today. I’m happy with the outcome (he’s free to go* and no listing as a sex offender), but unhappy with the actual ruling (1 year sentence). I really believe any sentence at all in unjust, but that’s why we have a legal system and not a justice system. A ruling of 1 year is also a bit of a slap in the face, considering he’s served two+ years already.
    Oh, and the prosecuting attorney’s a complete ass. He’s appealing, and that * note above is because the boy (man, now, actually) is stuck in prison until the appeal goes through or is dropped.

    So, yeah… I agree with your assessment that the attorney is trying to take the “tough on crime” line to garner votes. Unfortunately for him, 90% of 7,000+ people taking a CNN poll say that the judge is right, meaning this stunt by the prosecutor is actually more likely to cost him the next election, if voters can be bothered to remember this.

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