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Friday Roundup

Chat time.  By now, it's a well-established fact that approximately 30% of the people in the AOL teen chat rooms are dirty old men trying to hit on young girls.  The problem, at least for that 30%, is that the other 70% are FBI agents or cops posing as young girls.  My favorite was a case from a couple of years ago, where some rummy showed up in Cincinnati for his hot "date," who turned out to be a 36-year-old detective.  He told the cops that he was on his way to Lima for rendezvous with another Lolita, but it turns out that was a detective, too.

In addition to the Ohio statute on importuning, there's a Federal statute which prohibits much the same thing:  trying to entice minors into having sex.  Courtesy of SL&P, I came across a decision on the Federal statute, where the 7th Circuit reversed a conviction in which the defendant had engaged in numerous Internet chats with "Abigail" about sex, culminating in a discussion of him traveling to meet her in a few weeks.  No arrangements were ever made, at which point the defendant was arrested.  The appellate court threw it out, finding that the defendant hadn't taken any substantial steps to complete the crime, and thus wasn't guilty of an attempt.  Good discussion of some stuff on what constitutes an "attempt," which some of us remember from law school, and some of us not so much.

Most Ohio cases on the state statute indicate it's the normal policy to arrest the defendant when he shows up at the arranged meeting.  But not necessarily; this 2nd District decision holds that "the harm is in the asking," and it's not necessary to show that any meeting arrangements were ever made. 

The Medellin Execution.  Back in April, I wrote a post about Jose Medellin, a defendant on Texas' death row.  The case had gone to the US Supreme Court several times, most recently on the question of whether President Bush could order the State of Texas to grant a rehearing to Medellin, a Mexican national, on his contention that he'd been denied his rights to consular access under the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations.  The Supreme Court held that Bush couldn't, and on Tuesday night Medellin was executed. 

If you've been reading this blog regularly, you know I'm an opponent of the death penalty.  I don't think it's a deterrent, I don't think it's applied fairly, I think there's too much chance of a mistake, and I don't think the state should be in the business of killing people.  But you know what?  When I think about what Medellin did -- repeatedly raping 14- and 16-year-old girls, and then strangling them with their own shoelaces -- I have a hard time getting worked up about his execution.

Bullshit Drug Raid of the Week.  Courtesy of Drug War Rant, this story:

Police are investigating whether a package of marijuana addressed to the wife of a Prince George's County mayor was really intended to be intercepted by a deliveryman as part of a drug smuggling scheme.

A Prince George's Sheriff's Office SWAT team and county police narcotics officers burst into the house of Berwyn Heights Mayor Cheye Calvo on Tuesday evening after they saw Calvo take the package inside. In the course of the raid, they shot and killed his two black Labrador retrievers. . .

Calvo has said that sheriff's deputies shot his 7-year-old dog, Payton, near the front door and then his 4-year-old dog, Chase, as the dog ran into a back room. He has said that he and his mother-in-law were handcuffed and interrogated for hours while surrounded by the carcasses and blood of his pets.

The police now believe that Calvo wasn't the intended recipient of the package:

According to law enforcement sources, police believe it is possible that a deliveryman intended to collect the box from Calvo's porch, either before the package was signed for or after the mayor or his wife reported that it wasn't theirs.

Bullshit plea deal of the week.  Courtesy of one of my readers, this story:

A New York man who pleaded guilty to murder in Oregon in exchange for buckets of fried chicken will get calzones and pizza to go with his life sentence.

Durham agreed to plead guilty to murder -- but only if he could get a break from jail food. The judge agreed and granted Durham a feast of KFC chicken, Popeye's chicken, mashed potatoes, coleslaw, carrot cake and ice cream.

Having eaten there once, I think I could make a fairly convincing argument on appeal that a plea given in return for Popeyes chicken does not meet the "knowing, intelligent, and voluntary" requirement.  At least the "intelligent" part. 

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