Blue Byline

A cop's perspective of the news and South Sound matters

Defending the system ends at court’s ruling on child porn

Post by Brian O'Neill on July 14, 2011 at 7:29 pm with 11 Comments »
July 14, 2011 7:29 pm

I have spent a great deal of time, energy and words defending what I consider to be our excellent system of criminal justice. Then comes this headline from a News Tribune article, “Lake Tapps sex-crimes defendant gets OK to view child porn in jail.”

I am done defending this system, at least for the moment.

In 2007 our State Supreme Court ruled that access to child pornography should be provided to the attorney for the defense. These noble jurists, with their high LSAT scores and well-laundered robes undoubtedly thought this a fair ruling. But in their rush to judgment did they stop to consider the inevitable consequences?

If they had connected the dots, they would certainly have realized that a pro se defendant (acting as his/her own attorney) would then be in the position of being able to commit the felony crime of possession of child pornography over and over again. Legally-in jail.

Really? Is that where the scales of justice have landed?

This shocking result of bad case law bears some similarity to other courtroom scenes being played out with pro se defendants. In rape trials pro se defendants often are given an opportunity to directly question their victims. I imagine that this traumatic experience, which is just one more opportunity for the rapist to dominate his vulnerable prey, could be every bit as terrifying as the original assault. Many victims are unwilling to go through with it, and thus the case is lost.

But Gilbert’s case involves lifeless images, does it not? Maybe so, but these images represent young and trusting boys whose innocence was shattered in a most despicable way. And their perpetrator has the court’s blessing to view those images in his jail cell, over and over again.

This small piece of our system is very, very broken.

 

Leave a comment Comments → 11
  1. jimkingjr says:

    Get your facts straight- the claim that he gets to view these images in his jail cell is so incorrect as to utterly destroy your credibility.

    There are abuses of tuhe pro se right- confrontation of victims by the defendent being among the worst- and those pale before this situation. This porn is viewed as evidence, NOT in the jail cell and in the presence of others. Hardly a welcoming environment for the defgendent to get his kicks.

    Nor was there a rush to judgement- no appeals court ever rushes (unless it is the Ninth Circuit staying a death sentence).

    There are a lot worse abusesw out there- this was just titillating news, worthy of Rupert Murdoch.

  2. Brian O'Neill says:

    jimkingjr,

    I won’t ask you the the obvious question–are you a parent–because this heinous crime being committed at the court’s behest is a gutshot to every person that ever brought a child onto the planet. Also, I shouldn’t assume that you have never met a sex offender, though all the ones I have arrested would like nothing better than to smack their lips over some of their own homemade garbage while I was forced to stand idle. As to my credibility, it is true that I am basing this on the News Tribune article. However, I am going to trust that those facts were vetted much better than your poorly conceived attempt to diminish what is truly an abomination of justice.

    But thanks for your comments.

  3. PumainTacoma says:

    The whole city and county are sick! We just cleared a kiddy porn felon in Sheriff French, now we have another child kiddy porn abuser sex pervert watching his crimes. This is a bastard town and county. Where the hell is the outrage with French, Judge Chuschoff who gave him 30 days on his houseboat and slapped his porn strickdn hand? Parents don’t see a dman differnce in Sheriff French, Lee Giles or Gilbert sicko pervert. They all should be in prison with a guy named bubba and not able to walk free and be with children like your Sheriff French is able to do while getting your taxpayer pension!!

  4. jimkingjr says:

    Mr. O’Neil- from the TNT story which you supposedly read: “He is allowed to view the videos in a secure room in the jail. A private investigator he’s hired to assist his defense sits with him, and corrections officers monitor the room, jail spokesman Ed Troyer said Wednesday. ”

    Hardly a guy sitting in his cell looking at his kiddie porn. I guess your readsing comprehension is pretty low. You misrepresent the situation.

    Then you resort to the personal attack. I am not a parent- but I am an uncle, a great uncle, and have had many kids in my life. I do not like kiddie porn.

    But I also have had friends who have been raped and otherwise assaulted, and the assault has continued through the entire legal process. What I find so abhorent in your attitude is that this situation- where no one else is being additionally victimized- is where you draw a line. A more compassionate person would be more concerned about the victims who are revictimized by the legal system.

    Thisa situation is not being done at the court’s behest, either. You should really stop the inflammatory and deceiving charges, and learn to present the facts- unless, of course, you ARE auditioning for Robert Murdoch.

  5. Brian, I have to agree with Jim on this one. Clearly, this guy has seen this material before, and so I can’t see where more harm is being done.

    I think this just an attempt by the Tribune to sell newspapers.

    When this case goes to trial, he will be convected and sent to prison. Everyone just needs to calm down and let the system work.

  6. Brian O'Neill says:

    Fatuous and jkjr,

    I truly appreciate the pushback in your comments. My police experience has included many arrests of, and interviews with, individuals charged with sex crimes, so I would hope you understand why this particular issue has me riled up. I would like to clarify two points before I let the matter rest, and then perhaps we can agree to disagree.

    First, the emotional issue intertwined in this legal debacle involves a vile crime against children. Viewing child pornography is a felony typically committed by people separated from the crime being portrayed onscreen, but that is not so in this case. Gilbert, the alleged perpetrator, created many of those images himself. This scenario makes the court ruling a far more repulsive act. Herein lies our disconnect–why bother ridiculing my reading comprehension over the exact specifics of the seating arrangements in a room where an accused sex offender is legally allowed to view his own porn? Who cares?

    Second, and more importantly, is the court’s unintentional involvement in re-creating the crime itself. By bending over backwards to ensure that the defendant has absolutely unlimited access to everything, the court ends up in such a contortion that it truly is burying its symbolic head up the other end, anatomically speaking. This type of access is not a two-way street. I have testified at numerous 3.5 and 3.6 hearings, and watched relevant and crucial testimony and physical evidence suppressed from the trial.

    No court should allow a suspect to re-commit a felony crime in order to defend himself or herself against that felony crime. Until that error is rectified, the system is broken.

  7. Brian, you’re wright. As Mark Lindquist so eloquintely stated, “We do not give Pro Se defendents who are charged with felony cociane possesion the cocaine that was collected as evidence for trial to sample in jail while they get ready for their trial.”

    The question is: If this is the case, why should Gilbert be able to view child pornagraphy, which is another felony charge, that was collected as evidence as he gets ready for his trial?

  8. Objective says:

    “This small piece of our system is very, very broken”

    Take all the other pieces, I bet you will end up with quite a pile.

  9. crusader says:

    not to worry he’ll be out on McNeil with his own laptop and internet access soon enough.

    Liberal Washington judiciary form of punishment don’t you know……

  10. Brian-right on with this article. Fatuous and jkjr, allowing him to re-visit this material over and over(or even once) provides him the sick re-stimulation. This is disgusting, and needs to be changed.

    Regarding French, I cannot remember your position on him trying to get his conviction erased. Was it you, or was it someone else that thought since there was a legal basis for it being erased, he shoudl be entitled to erase the conviction that proves he is a sex offender? If it wasn’t you; please accept my apologies. A tribune search didn’t give me the old article regarding it.

  11. Brian O'Neill says:

    Thanks for the comment, TMell,

    I have not written anything about Mark French, the former sheriff. That particular situation, the removal of his felony conviction, was both legal and reprehensible at the same time. I felt less inclined to write about it because 1) the legislature has since closed the gap that he slithered throug, and 2) time constraints. Felonies are serious crimes, and those individuals convicted deserve the title of felon.

*
We welcome comments. Please keep them civil, short and to the point. ALL CAPS, spam, obscene, profane, abusive and off topic comments will be deleted. Repeat offenders will be blocked. Thanks for taking part and abiding by these simple rules.

JavaScript is required to post comments.

Follow the comments on this post with RSS 2.0