According to this post by Radley Balko about the Genarlow Wilson case, it is sure starting to look that way.
It seems that DA McDade, with the help of Sen. Johnson, is attempting to use video footage of the act for which Wilson was acquitted of rape to tarnish Wilson’s image, and quell the mounting public outrage over his sentence for the consensual oral sex. Griftdrift points to the following passage from the Georgia Bar on prosecutoral responsibilities:
The prosecutor in a criminal case shall:
(g) except for statements that are necessary to inform the public of the nature and extent of the prosecutor’s action and that serve a legitimate law enforcement purpose, refrain from making extrajudicial comments that have a substantial likelihood of heightening public condemnation of the accused
I have to admit there is something particularly disturbing when a DA is handing out a video tape to potential supporters that depicts sex and where one of the individuals is only 17 years of age. If I did something like this, the Feds would likely be knocking on my door…oh sorry, busting down the door, killing my dogs and taking my entire family into custody. When the people who are appointed to protect us and enforce certain laws routinely break them in such a dubious way it undermines our entire system. Worst case example, Mike Nifong. Further, as these kinds of cases keep popping up it makes people even more doubtful of our legal system.
Balko also points to the Walsh Act on the dissemination of pornography to defense attorneys and wonders how a DA can then turn around and distribute what might very well be considered pornography to potential supporters.
The punchline to all of this is that under the new federal law the Walsh Act, defense attorneys in child pornography cases are given extremely limited access to the evidence (read: the pictures) against their clients, to the point where the defense bar says it hampers their ability to mount an adequate defense (thanks to De Novo for the tip). All the evidence remains in the state’s hands, making it difficult for defense experts to review it. Here are the congressional findings explaining the need for the access provisions in the Wash Act:
“every instance of viewing images of child pornography represents a renewed violation of the privacy of the victims and a repetition of their abuse,” and therefore, “it is imperative to prohibit the reproduction of child pornography in criminal cases.”
If that’s the justification for barring defense counsel access to evidence against their clients, I don’t see how McDade should possibly be allowed to get away with distributing child porn to condemn Genarlow Wilson for a crime for which he’s already been acquitted.
Note that Wilson has already been acquitted of the rape charge that is depicted on the video tape.
It sure does indeed look like we’ve seen this kind of thing before.
- None Found