Teenage Rape Victim Will Not Be Held In Contempt For Naming Her Attackers

Savannah Dietrich, the 17 year-old Kentucky teenager who was in danger of facing contempt charges for identifying her attackers, will not be facing those contempt charges after all: 

Defense attorneys for two boys who pleaded guilty to assaulting a 17-year-old Savannah Dietrich have withdrawn their motion that she be held in contempt for tweeting the names of her attackers in defiance of a court order.

David Mejia, an attorney for one of the teens, said now that the Louisville teen’s story has gone global because of a Courier-Journal article on Saturday there was no reason to continue the contempt motion.

“What could contempt do now?” Mejia said in an interview, adding that the boys names have already been circulated far beyond the original tweet. “Seems like a rather useless exercise doesn’t it?

Emily Farrar-Crockett, deputy division chief of the public defender’s juvenile division and one of Dietrich’s attorneys, said “Savannah greatly appreciates the overwhelming support from all over the world and we are pleased these defense lawyers withdrew their motion for contempt.”

Farrar-Crockett also said they are still looking to set aside the original gag order, as it was too broad and Savannah should still be able to talk about aspects of the case.

Dietrich had been frustrated by what she felt was a lenient plea bargain for the two teens who pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting her and circulating pictures of the incident, so she tweeted their names and criticized the justice system last month.

“There you go, lock me up,” Dietrich tweeted in June. “I’m not protecting anyone that made my life a living Hell.”

Good for you Savannah, for standing up for yourself.

H/T: Volokh Conspiracy

FILED UNDER: Crime, Law and the Courts, Quick Takes, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. legion says:

    The Judge had placed a gag order on “what happened in court”, but there was already a lot of discussion in legal circles as to whether including the identities of the attackers in that was overreach on the Judge’s part. Seems like a reasonable end to a bad situation, considering the leniency of the attackers’ punishments.




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  2. Jeff Sexton says:

    Juvenile Court proceedings are *routinely* closed, private affairs – and in general, there are good reasons for this. By and large, things that a Juvenile Court handles should not follow a person the rest of their lives. Let’s face it, we live in a police state and kids are idiots. Always have been, but until a few decades ago we didn’t live in a police state.

    This girl should absolutely be punished for violating these guys’ right to privacy. If she wanted their names public, she should have demanded the prosecutor bring charges in Superior, rather than Juvenile, Court.




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  3. John Burgess says:

    @Jeff Sexton: I’m trying to figure out which state it is where victims get to tell prosecutors how to charge. I can’t think of one, after a good hard think.

    Prosecutors prosecute on charges they can prove beyond a reasonable doubt. Unless, of course, they’d rather plea bargain to save time and taxpayer money. And lo, that was the case here: There is no trial because the defendants took a plea.

    And it appears that there’s not even a rape charge… it was plead down (at the prosecutor’s discretion) to ‘sexual assault’, a lesser crime.

    Unhappy with the prosecutor? Well, I’m sure there’ll be an election sometime in the future. So the young lady can get satisfaction by ginning up opposition to run against the DA. Never mind that her attackers are getting to skate; it’s what the system requires.




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  4. JKB says:

    @Jeff Sexton:

    Those boys pleaded guilty to sexual charges and should thank their lucky stars they aren’t on the sex offender’s list for life.

    They have no right to privacy, only a common practice of juvenile court. Not to mention, all those who they distributed the pictures to already know who they are.




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  5. Racehorse says:

    @Jeff Sexton: What we have today is too many of these soft on crime judges that show more concern for the criminals than their victims and who let far too many criminals out on some technicality to roam the streets once again in search of innocent victims. Most of the crime in our nearby city is committed by criminals with career records of violence. Why they are out on the streets is because of the revolving door courthouses that many of these judges run.




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  6. @Jeff Sexton:

    How is this young woman revealing something she new before this case was in Juvenile Court — the identity of the boys who violated her — a violation of that confidentiality?




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  7. Franklin says:

    OTB: 4 (and counting)
    Jeff Sexton: 0




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  8. george says:

    @Jeff Sexton:

    Maybe they shouldn’t have raped her if they didn’t want people to know about it?




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