Virginia Sucks

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Anti-sodomy laws may be taking their rightful place in the dustbin of stupid ideas, but that doesn't mean there aren't still outrageous, invasive perversions of justice on the books. Take the case of Trey Gregory—a man who can't vote and can't buy a gun, all (according to the Roanoke Times) because he admitted to engaging in consensual oral sex.

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  1. The URL already changed on you. here’s a link to the story on a different site. i think it’s the same one you were trying to link to, if not, it is darn similar.

    http://www.sodomylaws.org/usa/virginia/vanews110.htm

  2. http://www.roanoke.com/roatimes/news/story151935.html the URL is fucked but you can CNP this one, BTW it’s definitely NWS I got a hard-on reading it

    “I can’t vote for the office of president of the United States, but Bill Clinton could hold it, and he did the exact same thing that I did,” Gregory said.

    isn’t that ironic?

    Undercover officers posing as gay men were placed in the park, and more than a dozen men were charged with soliciting the officers to commit a felony after striking up conversations that turned to sex.

    wasn’t that in There’s Something About Mary?

  3. To the extent the implication of the article is that these people haven’t been helped by Lawrence, I think that might be wrong. They probably have a strong case, although there would be some expense involved in bringing it. (Mechanics: find a “felon” who’s been denied voter registration; bring a declaratory judgment action against the official who denied voter registration under Section 1983, the general federal civil rights statute, seeking a declaration that the “felon” must be granted the right to vote. Note that the fact that you would be suing a bureaucrat is just sort of a legal artifact, and as a practical matter you’d be suing the town, state or other relevant governmental entity.)

  4. i’m from charlottesville, VA (where T.J. founded UVa) and we hate them all. its so embarassing when people ask whereabouts you live:
    “well, its near dansville, mechanicsville, and waynesboro. also, the hardware river.”

  5. Some perfectly innocent slap & tickle, eh?

    According to the article:

    In 1997, Gregory was charged with raping and sodomizing his ex-girlfriend in his Botetourt County cabin. A jury acquitted him of forcible rape and sodomy, but – based on his admission that they engaged in oral sex – convicted him of consensual sodomy.

    Hmmmm, lemme see, the ex-girlfriend pressed rape charges, and he was convicted of sodomy?

    The “consensual” oral sex charge was obviously listed as a lesser included offense of forcible rape and sodomy. This wasn’t uncommon practice in states with consensual sodomy laws, much like the practice of charging murder, with the lesser included offense of manslaughter. The military still charges this way in rape cases, or at least did so until Lawrence v. Texas.

    A comparable story featuring lesser included offenses would be “Trey Gregory was convicted of common assault, yet he can’t vote. Roanoake resident Gregory was found with a smoking gun standing over the still-steaming corpse of his ex-wife. At trial, the jury decided not to convict Gregory of murder, but found him guilty of simple assault…”

    So, I wouldn’t exactly start crying for poor ol’ Trey, the champion of sodomy as a civil liberty. Not just yet anyhow.

  6. That does actually depend upon whether or not he did indeed rape her, doesn’t it?

    I fail to see how a verdict in a rape trial equitting a person of rape but finding them guilty of consenting sexual activity can in any way be considered “good”, or even the least bit “acceptable”.

    It is effectively saying, “Ok, we agree you didn’t actually rape her, but since you two did actually have consentual sex…well, that makes you guilty anyway.”

    Sort of reminds me of “all sex is rape”, for some reason. I fail to see how any of this is permissable. It’s like saying that if you can’t convict someone of a crime you think they did commit, then you can just invent crimes to charge them with instead so at least you get to punish them somehow…which rather obviously seems to miss the whole point about having to meet a burden of proof and the whole “presumption of innocence” thing.

  7. The state name itself belies that slogan…

  8. Not THAT kind of lover! “How dare you – we’re not that kind of state! *slap*”

  9. Plutarck,

    I suppose then, by definition, you are also opposed to a jury finding a defendant guilty of manslaughter, when the higher charge of murder was also included in the indictment?

  10. Not at all – because manslaughter is a perfectly reasonable kind of law to have in the first place, so far as I am aware. The defining difference is that the lesser included charge was consentual sex – something that shouldn’t even be a crime in the first place.

  11. but you need to consider that the existence of a lesser included can free up the jury to see larger reasonable doubt “he’s a bastard, just not sure how much of one, let’s give him partial punishment”

    with a binary decision, some significant proportion will say: “he’s a bastard and he’s not getting off”

    you see lots of prosecutors trying to not let people know that the accused may be onvicted on lesser charges… and the defence always trying to mention it (especially in really bad cases)

    so saying now that he wouldn’t have been convicted if there had been no sodomy law is imprecise…

    and hes still a bad example!!!!! can’t you find a real poster child? or was it that people with sodomy conictions were either gay, minorities, or scum (and thus the first two groups wouldn’t be as effective and would likely still be concerned about discrimination and negative reaction)

  12. I’m not saying consensual sodomy laws are a good thing.

    I’m saying that if you dig deeper behind our hero, Mr. Gregory, you are probably going to find a bunch of pictures of a beaten-up ex-girlfriend, and a bigger story about how he narrowly avoided a rape conviction thanks to the prosecutor putting in a lesser included charge of sodomy.

    But then, what the hell, if a jury doesn’t convict, it ain’t rape, right?

  13. This happens frequently in Virginia. The cops in Virginia are famous for going to gay bars and trying to get the gay men to agree to consensual sex and then charge them. I don’t think there is any more to this story.

  14. hey: “so saying now that he wouldn’t have been convicted if there had been no sodomy law is imprecise…”

    True, but I think far more precise than declaring he’s scum. Though while it seems you imply he is scum because he was accused – again, explicitly not convicted – of the charge of rape, I did not say (and I don’t think I implied) that he wouldn’t have been convicted if there was no sodomy law.

    Two different points from here:

    1) There are not likely any good poster children – that’s kind of the way of things. Prosecutors aren’t mad-dog stupid here, they generally are politicians themselves and know the pecking order of American society better than most; as such you don’t decide to make a “test case” out of the governer’s son or daughter, for instance, but instead pick someone at the bottom of the pecking order, like a poor black male drug dealer, or a homosexual, or someone accused of rape (which is often enough to qualify as scum and throw you to the bottom of the pecking order in America, no matter how unfounded or proven to be untrue), or a child molestor to use unjust laws against. They know very well how people react to those kind of things, as it is their stock and trade as politicians to know the American pecking order.

    Drug laws are the same way – they don’t much throw the book at the powerful or influential, nor do they perform raids on affluent neighborhoods, or stock exchanges, or on rock bands’ tour buses. They are either fully aware of what might happen if they do, or they simply stick to the cultural/professional convention (“what everyone else does”).

    And sliding to the second point:

    2) As such, one is always hard pressed to find a any such poster children for much of anything at all. Which is part of the whole objection to such things – the law exists only to permit people to get around burdens of proof and reasonable doubt on certain crimes. Rather than merely being a lesser included crime and leave it to the jury to decide which, if any, crimes the person is guilty of, the reality is just what you said in your post – it is there incase the jury thinks there is too much doubt as to the person being guilty, but wants to punish them anyway.

    This is very much a betrayel of the whole American system of criminal law – either a person is or isn’t guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of a given crime, and if the person isn’t proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt then the only valid option is to acquit them. But what instead is being done is to establish ways and means of punishing people for things when they cannot be so proven guilty.

    Indeed, what is done is to create a table of certainty of guilt and punishment – rather than someone being let go if they are probably, but not certainly, guilty, you just punish them less than you would if you were absolutely certain they were guilty. In other words, it takes the ironclad concept of “reasonable doubt” and protections against ANY punishment of the innocent and throws them right out the window.

  15. “I’m not saying consensual sodomy laws are a good thing.

    I’m saying that if you dig deeper behind our hero, Mr. Gregory, you are probably going to find a bunch of pictures of a beaten-up ex-girlfriend, and a bigger story about how he narrowly avoided a rape conviction thanks to the prosecutor putting in a lesser included charge of sodomy.

    But then, what the hell, if a jury doesn’t convict, it ain’t rape, right?”

    As far as I’m aware there are laws against domestic violence, assault, battery, and aggravated assault, among others including various forms of sexual assault. Were there pictures of a beaten-up ex-girlfriend who was ok with supporting a rape charge, I would personally think they’d have tried him for those crimes as well, not trying to let everything sink or swim on only a rape or sodomy charge.

    As to your last comment, here is the in-kind response: “But then, what the hell, if a jury doesn’t convict it MUST be rape, right?” Not a very reasonable line of argument, it would seem to me.

    I simply fail to see how society would be on the net improved by actually lowering the burden of proof required to convict someone of a crime – ANY crime.

  16. IT MAY INTREST YOU TO KNOW THAT I HAD TO FILE A RESTRAINING ORDER ON MY EX TWO WEEKS BEFORE SHE ACCUSSED ME OF RAPE. I NEVER BEAT HER UP AND SINCE THIS CONVICTION I HAVE MARRIED AND HAVE THREE GREAT KIDS. I HAVE A LETTER FROM ONE OF THE WOMEN ON MY JURY SAYING THEY WERE”FORCED” TO FIND ME GUILTY OF CONSENSUAL SODMY. I WORK HARD EVERY DAY AND DO NOT CONSIDER MYSELF SCUM. HOWEVER YOU ARE ENTILTED TO YOUR OPINION. DO SCUM AND LOW LIFES HAVE LESS RIGHTS THAN GREATER PEOPLE?

  17. I hope for your sake that you never beat up your girlfriend. That would make me very, very angry indeed -and highly unpleasant to be around…

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