Showing posts with label Sodomy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sodomy. Show all posts

May 23, 2014

Accused of Having Gay sex Denied Bail (sodomy bail refused)

Refused bail ... Sydney Chirombe
MDC-T Cllr held for ‘car sex’ with man

A HARARE Magistrate Wednesday denied bail to the MDC-T councillor charged with sodomy citing President Robert Mugabe anti-gay rants adding that the official and his alleged partner would likely “reunite and commit the abominable act” if freed.
MDC-T Ward 33 Budiriro councillor Sydney Chirombe, 49, is languishing in jail after allegedly being found in a compromising position with a male colleague last week. Chirombe is being charged with his suspected partner, Joseph Muchena, 23.
Magistrate Milton Serima said sodomy is a felony that “The Highest office in the land has denounced hence the accused could not be admitted to bail. The offense is very serious, and has even got condemnation from President Robert Mugabe.
“At one stage the President said that a person involved in such an act is worse than pigs and dogs. The first accused is a Councillor whose reputation and esteem is expected to be held without any contempt,” Serima said.
The magistrate also argued that Chirombe could abscond from court because the nature of his crime is embarrassing.
“The first accused is likely to skip trial if given bail considering his status in the community. The nature of crime might induce him to take flight and throw the State case into disarray,” the magistrate said.
On the councillor’s alleged partner Muchena, the magistrate accused him of giving conflicting addresses to court officials thereby raising suspicion on his credibility.
“The second accused person is of no fixed board, so he is most likely to flee the jurisdiction of the court. The propensity to commit similar offense upon release is highly likely. The pair will most likely reunite and commit the abominable act,” Serima said.
Prosecutor Sharon Mashavire argued against bail because “the duo was caught in the act hence the presumption of innocence falls away”.
“Accused persons were actually arrested whilst committing the offense, therefore their presumptions of innocence until proven guilty falls away at face value,” Mashavire said.
“There is a high likely hood of a stiff sentence if convicted, thus there is a high risk the two might abscond trial”.
Mashavire added that the public needed to be protected “from such perpetrators”.
Mugabe is a vocal critic of homosexuality and has come out openly to support anti-gay laws in Uganda and other countries.
In his independence speech last month, the veteran Zimbabwean leader said gay-rights are not human rights because they are based on immoral and unnatural activities.

October 31, 2013

Sandra Day O’Connor Officiated a Gay Ceremony She Also Is Responsible for Anti-Sodomy Law to Continue

Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, photographed in July 2012
Officiator of the first gay marriage at the Supreme Court, former Justice Sandra Day O'Connor
Photo by T.J. Kirkpatrick/Getty Images
On Tuesday, retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor officiated a same-sex marriage at the Supreme Court, the first gay wedding to take place in the court’s halls. (It wasn’t the first officiated by a justice, though; Ruth Bader Ginsburg beat O’Connor to that honor.) The event serves as a heartwarming confirmation that O’Connor’s shift to the left has continued through retirement—but it’s also a poignant reminder that the justice’s early retirement cut short what might have been an evolution from Reagan conservative to gay-rights luminary.
O’Connor’s jurisprudence wasn’t always so friendly to gays, of course. In 1986, O’Connor joined Justice Byron White’s five-member majority in Bowers v. Hardwick, the court’s first gay-rights case. Confronted with the constitutionality of Georgia’s anti-sodomy law, White infamously declared that a constitutional right to gay intimacy is “at best, facetious.” In dissent, Justice Harry Blackmun chastised the majority for its “almost obsessive focus on homosexual activity”—but with O’Connor on board, the court had its five votes, and sodomy laws survived.
Yet just 10 years later, O’Connor performed a somewhat unexpected about face inRomer v. EvansRomer dealt with a Colorado constitutional amendment forbidding local governments from enacting nondiscrimination statutes designed to protect gay people. Many gay-rights groups anticipated defeat after O’Connor, by then a frequent swing vote, remained alternately quiet and cagey during oral arguments. (Her most substantive questions pertained to the amendment’s breadth.) Court watchers were surprised, then, when O’Connor joined Justice Anthony Kennedy and four liberals to declare that the amendment was “a denial of equal protection of the laws in the most literal sense”—the first time the court had ever extended constitutional protections to gays.
This was not the O’Connor of the Bowers court. But even after RomerBowers remained on the books—until the blockbuster case of Lawrence v. TexasLawrence, like Bowers, dealt with an anti-sodomy statute. But unlike the law in Bowers, the Texas statute challenged in Lawrence specifically targeted “homosexual conduct,” while leaving heterosexual sodomy perfectly legal. Once again, Kennedy took the lead in Lawrence, penning an eloquent (if occasionally orotund) encomium to human intimacy that directly overruled Bowers. O’Connor, too, voted to overturn the Texas statute—but she refused to join Kennedy’s opinion overruling Bowers and thereby tacitly revoking herBowers vote. Instead, O’Connor held that an exclusively anti-gay sodomy ban violated the Equal Protection Clause by “mak[ing] homosexuals unequal in the eyes of the law.”
In one sense, the distinction represented an irksome refusal by the justice to concede her Bowers mistake. But ironically, O’Connor’s opinion also laid the groundwork for an alternate gay-rights jurisprudence—one conceivably stronger than that laid out by Justice Kennedy. Kennedy sees gay rights primarily as a Due Process issue: The Due Process Clause of the Fifth and 14th Amendments guarantees all people “life, liberty, and property,” and Kennedy has held, most recently in U.S. v. Windsor, that the “injury and indignity” inflicted by certain anti-gay statutes are “a deprivation of an essential part of ... liberty.”
Those are strong words, and thus far, they’ve provided satisfactory results. But “equal protection of the laws” is a firmer mandate—with sharper teeth. Had O’Connor remained on the court for long enough to confront the next round of gay-rights cases, she might have had time to hone her analysis, to develop her jurisprudence so that gays must be afforded the same constitutional protections as women or blacks. Instead, her retirement subtracted one pro-gay vote and added a rudely anti-gay one, ushering in an era of nail-baiting 5-4 gay-rights opinions. It’s impossible to know whether O’Connor’s gay-rights jurisprudence would have evolved so quickly had she remained on the bench. But it’s also difficult not to pine for a different version of the story, one that ends with O’Connor overcoming her Bowers error to emerge as the court’s true champion of equality.
Mark Joseph Stern is a Slate contributor. He writes about science, the law, and LGBT issu

October 24, 2013

Court in GA. Explains How To Solicit Legal Sodomy

A Georgia cop fired and jailed for offering gay blowies to a teenager in his grandmother's house had his conviction overturned on Monday by a state Supreme Court that also spelled out exactly how to legally solicit sodomy.
The Georgia Supreme Court reversed the convictions and 5-year prison sentence that James Edwin Watson (photo right) received in 2011 for sexting a 17-year-old high school athlete he met during a call while on duty as a police officer in Nashville, a town in southeast Georgia. The court announced the decision early Monday.
“We now reaffirm the constitutionality of the solicitation of sodomy statute, but find that the evidence was insufficient to convict Watson under that statute,” according to the court opinion. “In addition, because the counts in the indictment charging Watson with violating his oath of office were expressly premised on a finding that he had violated the solicitation of sodomy statute, we likewise must reverse the convictions on those counts.”
The court heard arguments in the case in May during a sometimes humorous session with the talk of gay sex seeming to ick out District Attorney Richard Perryman (top photo), the Alapaha Judicial Circuit prosecutor who pursued the charges against Watson.
The case dates to March 1, 2009 when Watson, a then 27-year-old officer with the Nashville Police Department in Berrien County, responded to call about a dog attack. The teen, 17-year-old C.B., was with a friend whose dog was attacked. After Watson addressed the situation, he offered to give C.B. a ride home. Less than two weeks later, Watson was ensnared in a GBI sting and arrested. In 2011, a jury convicted him of two felony counts of violating his oath of office and two misdemeanor counts of solicitation of sodomy.
After dealing with the dog situation, Watson gave C.B. a ride home. The next day, Watson added C.B. as a “friend” on Facebook and sent the boy a message saying they needed to discuss his “payment” for taking him home. On March 4, C.B. was waiting to play at a high school tennis match when he read Watson’s message on his Facebook page. C.B. then sent a text message to Watson and asked what he had meant by “payment.” Watson texted back: “What about me and u getting 2gether sometime 2 have a little fun if u know what I mean.” C.B. responded he was not “like that,” to which Watson replied, “ok well if u change ur mind just let me know u may like it i didn’t until I let someone talk me into it.” C.B. then told his high school tennis coach what had been happening and showed her the text messages. She told the principal who called law enforcement.
On March 13, C.B. met with a GBI Special Agent and made two recorded telephone calls to Watson in the agent’s presence. C.B. made the first call to Watson while he was on duty, suggesting he was considering Watson’s proposal and asking what to expect. During the second call, Watson explicitly discussed specific acts of sodomy. In both conversations, Watson said repeatedly that C.B. did not have to do anything he did not want to do. Based on these conversations, Watson was arrested and indicted for two felony counts of violating his oath of office and two misdemeanor counts of solicitation of sodomy.
Watson's attorneys argued that the law is an unconstitutional abridgment of his free speech and due process rights, and that it criminalizes even basic discussions of sodomy. Prosecutors successfully tied Watson's solicitation of sex to his public duties as a police officer, which falls under the portion of the state law that wasn't struck down in the 1998 decision in Powell v. State. That decision dumped the portion of the law that criminalized "private, unforced, non-commercial acts of sexual intimacy between persons legally able to consent," which is 16 in Georgia.
On Monday, the court spelled out how you can legally solicit sodomy. 
In its 1998 decision in Powell v. State, the Georgia Supreme Court ruled that to withstand a constitutional attack, the sodomy statute must be construed in a limited manner to avoid criminalizing “private, unforced, non-commercial acts of sexual intimacy between persons legally able to consent.” Subsequently, in 2000, it ruled in Howard v. State that “this Court can narrowly construe the solicitation of sodomy statute to only punish speech soliciting sodomy that is not protected by the Georgia Constitution’s right to privacy.”
In today’s opinion, the high court has defined the scope of conduct that is prohibited by the statute: “Under the applicable statutes, as construed in Powell and Howard, an individual violates the solicitation of sodomy statute if he (1) solicits another individual (2) to perform or submit to a sexual act involving the sex organs of one and the mouth or anus of the other and (3) such sexual act is to be performed (a) in public; (b) in exchange for money or anything of commercial value; (c) by force; or (d) by or with an individual who is incapable of giving legal consent to sexual activity.” In Georgia, the legal age of consent to sexual activity is 16.
And with that, the court ruled that the evidence against Watson was enough to prove the first two of three elements, but not the third.
Specifically, the Court held, the prosecution failed to prove that the proposed sexual acts were to be performed in public, in exchange for money or anything of commercial value, by force, or by one legally incapable of consenting to such acts.
“Accordingly, Watson’s convictions and sentences for solicitation of sodomy must be reversed.”
And because both counts in the indictment charging Watson with violating his oath of office are based specifically on the finding that Watson committed the offense of soliciting sodomy, “[w]e are therefore constrained to reverse Watson’s convictions for violation of oath of office,” the opinion says.
Keep those guidelines handy the next time you're sexting and soliciting.
By Matt Hennie

August 8, 2013

What Does It Say For a Politician to Have An Obsession With SODOMY?

 Ken Cuccinelli, Attorney General of Virginia, meets with local business leaders during a luncheon at the Fairfax county Chamber of Commerce on June, 24, 2010 in Vienna, VA. 
His critics, including the ladies of The View and Jay Leno, have responded to Cuccinelli’s quest to reinstate Virginia’s anti-sodomy or, “Crimes Against Nature” law, with snickers and winks. The law is plainly unconstitutional—according to both a 2003 U.S. Supreme Court decision and a federal appeals court—and giggling about the attorney general’s creepy preoccupation with Virginians’ consensual oral sex makes for an easy comic target. But that focus obscures the real—even original—sin undergirding Cucinelli’s latest legal push: It’s a call for judges to read statutes to mean what they don’t say; a call for outright judicial activism, for freewheeling judicial interpretation—qualities legal thinkers on the right usually deplore.
The media focus on the giggliness of the subject-matter in question has obscured the audacity of the legal notion being advanced: That judges should read statutes the way they might read an optometrist’s eye chart—with a squint, a hand over one eye, and a prayer.
It has long been the mantra of Republican politicians that judges—especially elitist federal judges—should never, ever legislate from the bench. Now consider Attorney General Cuccinelli’s approach to Virginia’s sodomy law. The anti-sodomy statute, 18.2-361, applies to “any person” that “carnally knows any male or female person by the anus or by or with the mouth.” Yes. It bans all oral and anal sex. And for those who partake, the legal consequence is a felony conviction, possible imprisonment, and lifelong status as a sex offender.
The sex offender in this case was William MacDonald, a 47-year-old man who solicited oral sex from a 17-year-old woman. (No sex was had). Because 15 is the legal age of consent in Virginia, authorities couldn’t charge MacDonald for statutory rape. Faced with other statutes to choose from, they opted to charge him with soliciting a minor by inducing her to commit sodomy, for which he served a year in prison and must now register as a sex offender.
In March, the federal court of appeals struck down the Virginia sodomy law and threw out MacDonald’s conviction for reasons clear to anyone who’s ever watched Ally McBealLawrence v. Texas, the 2003 Supreme Court decision about Texas’ anti-sodomy statute, held that states can’t regulate private consensual sexual activity amongst adults. The court of appeals’ position, that state anti-sodomy laws simply do not survive post-Lawrence, is the same position taken by attorneys general in other states, including the prior Virginia attorney general. That should end it, right?
But even with the tide of legal authority against him, Cuccinelli decided to appeal the case to the Supreme Court, arguing that Virginia’s anti-sodomy statute has no constitutional problem, if—as he concedes, and only if—the high court would just interpret the terrifyingly broad sodomy law to apply only to sex involving 16- and 17-year-olds. (Justice Kennedy left the thread of that argument hanging in his majority opinion in Lawrence.) In effect, Cuccinelli’s legal appeal asks the Supreme Court and the lower courts to ignore the clear meaning and intent of the law, to interpret it in a way that advances narrow goals he wants to advance. 
Of course, Cuccinelli’s problem at the Supreme Court is that Virginia’s sodomy statute doesn’t mention age, so reading an imaginary age requirement into it is not “interpreting” the statute so much as rewriting it—a freewheeling position normally anathema to Tea Party conservatives like Cuccinelli. Moreover, the Virginia legislature actually tried to rewrite the law to salvage it for narrower purposes after the Lawrence decision, but Cuccinelli helped kill that bill. You can’t really stagger around swinging a huge, unwieldy legal mallet and claiming it’s the only tool you have against pedophilia. Not when you opted to turn down the offer of a scalpel.
The legal position Cuccinelli pushes creates truly bizarre results, which is normally a sign for reviewing courts that something smells funky. Asking a federal court to turn a state anti-sodomy law into an anti-statutory rape law means that if MacDonald had engaged in ordinary intercourse with a 17-year-old girl every day for a month, he would not face a felony conviction or be a sex offender. He’d just be that guy. But his decision to solicit oral sex, even his decision to just phone her and ask for it, under the imaginarily rewritten law, requires both.
Cuccinelli’s proposed revision to Virginia’s sodomy law would also mean that those older than 15 can legally consent to sex, yet, have no right of sexual privacy in actually having sex. Or, to put it differently, Virginia could charge any 16- and 17-year-old with felony sodomy simply because they happened to choose oral or anal sex over vaginal sex. That’s a scary prospect for all parents in Virginia, but especially for those parents raising gay teens. Leaving a statute of that sort on the books doesn’t protect children over the age of consent. It criminalizes their choice of conduct and leaves the state to decide when it’s benign. 
According to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 44 percent of males and 42 percent of females between the ages of 15 and 17 have engaged in oral sex in the United States. Unless you think that teens in Virginia have a higher incidence of chastity than the national norm, this means the law could be used to prosecute children and harass gay children. That the attorney general is not currently doing so, and that he super pinky swears that he has no plans to do so, should provide zero comfort to parents of gay teenagers in Virginia, especially in light of his previous comments, including his explicit platform statements in his 2009 campaign for attorney general. At that time, he openly opposed all “homosexual acts” because “they’re intrinsically wrong.”
For what possible reason should we give Cuccinelli, or the federal courts, open-ended discretion to go after some acts of consensual sodomy, but not others—when he’s made plain that he thinks one particular class of sodomy is “intrinsically wrong?” And in light of that fact that exactly such back-from-the-dead “crimes against nature” statutes are being used right now in states like Louisiana by overzealous and vindictive police officers to openly harass gay couples, what possible reason could there be to reinstate them?
Fortunately, laws that can be applied arbitrarily and unfairly practically implore the federal courts to strike them down. That is what happened in Lawrence and that is what happened when the federal appeals court looked at Virginia’s anti-sodomy law. The very arbitrariness of Virginia’s sodomy law means Cuccinelli faces an uphill battle at the Supreme Court. It is hard to see Justice Kennedy—and the majority that struck down DOMA in June—handing the kind of crazy discretion over intimate sexual conduct that sweeps in virtually everyone in the state, to anyone, let alone the Cooch, aka the Breast Trembler.
  Nobody should have been surprised when, having been turned away at the federal appeals court, Cuccinelli turned his failed legal challenge into a political campaign, launching this website, promoting his effort to enforce the state’s sodomy law. The website’s slogan is that Cuccinelli will “Keep Virginia Children Safe!” It also claims that what Cuccinelli is really defending is an “anti-child predators law” and that his opponent—who opposes the anti-sodomy law—must necessarily support pedophiles.
What is also not a surprise is that Cuccinelli would employ the federal courts to advance a personal moral agenda—and spend a boatload of taxpayer dollars in the process. He did that with his unsuccessful climate-change crusade against UVA. Nor is it surprising that Cuccinelli would use a fruitless and unwinnable lawsuit as a personal campaign ploy. After all, it was Cuccinelli who, during the Affordable Care Act litigation, called a press conference and made the ill-advised decision to bypass the federal court of appeals and file it directly in the Supreme Court; a decision met by the court with a polite “Erm. No.”
It’s hard to tell whether Cuccinelli is now begging federal courts to legislate from the bench because he needs a campaign boost, or because he really does want them to police—on an ongoing, “trust me”—basis, the private sex lives of all Virginians and the sexual conduct of all its teenagers. The first scenario is an example of the sad state of Virginia politics. The second is just plain scary. Either way, begging out-of-touch, elitist, liberal federal courts to make ad hoc decisions about which private sex acts are “unnatural” could not be a less conservative goal.

December 3, 2012

Montana Revisits The State Sodomy Law [Why Sodomy Laws?]

Montana Sen. Tom Facey is pushing to delete a language about an unenforceable, 40-year-old sodomy ban from from the state code. Although the ban was deemed unconstitutional in 1997 by the state’s Supreme Court, Facey is reintroducing legislation to make sure certain words are taken out of Montana’s Constitution. “It is about dignity. We are saying, ‘We will respect you,’” Facey told The, referring to the gay community. “It is respect and saying, ‘We won't poke a finger in your eye.’”

The Montana Supreme Court struck down the State's sodomy law and ruled that the law violates the State constitutional right to privacy. Until this ruling, all homosexual relations were labeled deviate sexual conduct, punishable by a $50,000 fine and 10 years in prison. No one had been prosecuted under the law since it was enacted in 1973, but its existence placed gay men and lesbians at risk of prosecution. The high court was not persuaded by the State's argument that the sodomy law was permissible because it prevented HIV infection and preserved public morality, largely because the law was enacted a decade before the first case of AIDS was reported in Montana. 

[From Wikipedia] 
U.S. sodomy laws by the year when they were repealed or struck down.
  Laws repealed or struck down before 1970.
  Laws repealed or struck down from 1970-1989.
  Laws repealed or struck down from 1989-2002.
  Laws struck down by the Supreme Court of the United States in 2003.
Sodomy laws in the United States, which outlawed a variety of sexual acts, were historically universal. While they often targeted sexual acts between persons of the same sex[citation needed], many statutes employed definitions broad enough to outlaw certain sexual acts between persons of different sexes as well, sometimes even acts betweenmarried persons.
Through the 20th century, the gradual liberalization of American sexual mores led to the elimination of sodomy laws in most states. During this time, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of sodomy laws in Bowers v. Hardwick in 1986. However, in 2003 the Supreme Court reversed the decision with Lawrence v. Texas, invalidating sodomy laws in the remaining fourteen states (AlabamaFloridaIdaho,KansasLouisianaMichiganMissouriMississippiNorth CarolinaOklahomaSouth CarolinaTexasUtah, andVirginia).
 In 1778, Thomas Jefferson wrote a law in Virginia which contained a punishment of castration for men who engage in sodomy,however, what was intended by Jefferson as a liberalization of the sodomy laws in Virginia at that time was rejected by the Virginia Legislature, which continued to prescribe death as the maximum penalty for the crime of sodomy in that state.

Prior to 1962, sodomy was a felony in every state, punished by a lengthy term of imprisonment and/or hard labor. In that year, theModel Penal Code (MPC) — developed by the American Law Institute to promote uniformity among the states as they modernized their statutes — struck a compromise that removed consensual sodomy from its criminal code while making it a crime to solicit for sodomy. In 1962 Illinois adopted the recommendations of the Model Penal Code and thus became the first state to remove criminal penalties for consensual sodomy from its criminal code, almost a decade before any other state.  Over the years, many of the states that did not repeal their sodomy laws had enacted legislation reducing the penalty. At the time of the Lawrence decision in 2003, the penalty for violating a sodomy law varied very widely from jurisdiction to jurisdiction among those states retaining their sodomy laws. The harshest penalties were in Idaho, where a person convicted of sodomy could earn a life sentence. Michigan followed, with a maximum penalty of 15 years imprisonment while repeat offenders got life. This was later invalidated in the case of Michigan Organization for Human Rights v. Kelly (1987) 
By 2002, 36 states had repealed their sodomy laws or their courts had overturned them. By the time of the 2003 Supreme Court decision, the laws in most states were no longer enforced or were enforced very selectively. The continued existence of these rarely enforced laws on the statute books, however, was often cited as justification for discrimination against gay men and lesbians.
On June 26, 2003, the U.S. Supreme Court in a 6-3 decision in Lawrence v. Texas struck down the Texas same-sex sodomy law, ruling that this private sexual conduct is protected by the liberty rights implicit in the due process clause of the United States Constitution. This decision invalidated all state sodomy laws insofar as they applied to noncommercial conduct in private between consenting civilians and reversed the Court's 1986 ruling in Bowers v. Hardwick that upheld Georgia's sodomy law.
Before that 2003 ruling, 27 states, the District of Columbia, and 4 territories had repealed their sodomy laws by legislative action, 9 states had had them overturned or invalidated by state court action, 4 states still had same-sex sodomy laws, and 10 states, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. military had laws applying to all regardless of gender. In 2005 Puerto Rico repealed its sodomy law, and in 2006Missouri repealed its law against "homosexual conduct." Three states have yet to repeal such laws: OklahomaKansas[4][5] andTexas.

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