Tuesday, May 14, 2019

With evidence like that, why bother with the trial?


I'm normally a strong believer in the rule of law, particularly the Sixth Amendment to the US constitution, guaranteeing a fair trial to those accused of a crime.  Without that, who can ever be assured of real justice, rather than partisanship, bias and bribed judges and juries?

Nevertheless, in a few particularly egregious cases, the issue is so clear-cut that a trial hardly seems necessary.  This appears to be one of them.  (Bold, underlined text is my emphasis.)

Investigators have arrested a man after his wife found video on his phone of him sexually abusing her 5-year-old son, his stepson.

On May 5, the victim's mother contacted police saying she found video from March 22 around 7:42 a.m. that showed Calvillo engaged in sex acts with the young boy. The details of the affidavit are too explicit to publish.

There's more at the link.

A scumbag who's so depraved, evil and vicious that he not only abused a young boy like that, his own stepson, but filmed himself doing so?  He's already provided all the evidence any right-thinking person would need to establish guilt.

Am I the only one who thinks that "jailhouse justice" would not be inappropriate in this case?  Given my experience as a prison chaplain, I think I can say with some confidence that if the suspect's guilty man's cellmates find out about this, he may not survive long enough to see trial . . . and his demise may be painful and long-drawn-out.




Peter

10 comments:

Dov Sar said...

Agreed. Yet I have read blogs that suggest one should 'take a pedophile priest out to lunch' in an act of forgiveness, and they still draw readers. I have experience with the victims of such crimes, and I lean toward quick justice under the law for such as those.

Arthur Sido said...

In any reasonably sane society, an act like this with evidence this ironclad would result in a brief trial within a week and a public execution with the hour after the verdict. What is more likely is this guy out on bail and getting a plea deal.

Brad said...

Why a trial? Because it is absolutely essential. I'm sure you know this, of course, but it bears repeating. Evidence can be planted. Witnesses can be manipulated. If there are strong enough motives or enough money in play, people can do all sorts of things.

Consider the "satanic child-care" nonsense of a couple of decades ago. Or, more recently, the Duke university athletes. Or the police who walk around with an untraceable weapon and a baggy of drugs, to drop on suspects as needed.

Is this guy a scumbag? Probably. But maybe his wife also just really hates him, and arranged for someone else to abuse the kid, film it, and plant the video. You just don't know - and that's what a trial is for.

Eric Wilner said...

Brad: What's more, video evidence is getting to be unreliable, and soon will be no evidence at all if deep-fake techniques improve as expected.
So, yeah. Got to have an investigation, disclosure of evidence, a trial, and appeals. Because evidence can be faked, testimony can be false, and biased judges can exclude exculpatory evidence and pretty much instruct the jury to convict.
That said, if the story is true, the guy's both too evil to tolerate and too stupid to live.

Mark said...

Besides what others have said above about the need for a trial: Where do you draw the line? At what level of evidence do we say "No trial required, already proven guilty?" Multiple witnesses? DNA? Fingerprints?

So despite our inclinations, the trial is still necessary, he STILL gets a defense, he STILL gets a chance to confront his accusers, he STILL gets a chance to respond to the evidence against him.

Now catching someone in the act is different, that comes under the heading of "defense of self or a third party", it's not intended to be justice but stopping the criminal from doing what he's doing or preventing him from doing MORE. One of the things that annoyed me no end about the Penn State thing a few years ago is that one of the coaches SAW Sandusky (I think that was his name) with a kid in the shower and went to call the head coach to ask what he should do, rather than wading in a twisting off parts until he stopped (preferably stopped moving). That wasn't a couple students in there getting their freak on (the proper response to which is "get a room"), it was a grown man with a child.

John Ray said...

Eric & Brad nailed it. Furthermore, making any exception to affording a trial and the mounting of defenses is a slippery slope. Where would we stop building upon such a precedent?

If he's guilty, then hang him gently from the old oak tree -- none of the uncruel and usual crap, he deserves torture on the way to Hell.

Tirno said...

Trial. Every time.

If the story is as alleged, I have no doubt that the minimum appropriate penalty would be to put the accuser in, no, under prison.

But before we get there, we need the trial for everyone else. All the evidence laid out. All challenged, and such that survive challenge remaining. And finally, the jury votes, unanimously to convict, and select the best remedy available under the law (and regretfully so, since hung until half-dead, slow four-way amputation by blow-torch, drawing and quartering are apparently 'cruel and unusual'.)

Everyone else needs to see that even for an allegation of an infamous crime, they will still get a full chance for vigorous defense. Everyone will see that this guy received that full opportunity. They will see (quite probably, if evidence and prosecution holds up) that the best this guy's lawyers could do could not persuade one juror to have a shadow of a doubt. And so this guy can go to his just earthly reward without anyone seriously suspecting a grand conspiracy to suppress this guy's portable cold fusion design or the cheap cure for cancer or the only exculpatory evidence that Hillary is innocent.

When the case is a matter of slam-dunk guilty, we need to see that the justice system can deliver at least a lay-up. We've been seeing plenty of evidence that it does not deliver justice to the actually and fully guilty. Without that confidence, the public will stop delegating their righteous (but quite possibly erroneous) wrath to an incompetent state system.

B said...

As others have said: Dude still gets the presumption of innocence and the right to challenge the evidence and/or testimony and the veracity of the witnesses....and then, if convicted, he gets a fair hanging or whatever the penalty for such behavior is prescribed in the laws.


Failure to have a trial is called a lynching.

Either we are a nation of laws or we aren't.

Beans said...

What everyone said. Now, as to punishment, well, Forced Sex with Child (not 18yoa sex with 16yoa with consent because in school together) should be a Capital Crime, Death Sentence all the way. No 'Life without Parole' or 'Life with Parole' or anything short of Death.

And with ample evidence such as this video and if he admits it is him (because, yes, video evidence is becoming easy to fake) then I have no problem marching him from courthouse to 1 appeal to the Gallows. No drugs, no electricity, the Gallows. On TV. Death Penalty enacted swiftly and properly is a deterrent. It is also just taking out the trash.

That child is ruined in ways we normal people will never understand, unless we normal people have had to sit up all night with child or an adult who has night terrors, dissassociative episodes, self-harming episodes and all that.

Sex with Children is EVIL!

JNorth said...

Eh, while technically I agree we need to have a trial I won't pretend I'd feel sad for him if someone eviscerated him in the next day or so and I might find reasonable doubt that whoever did was guilty enough to go to prison.

As far as being a nation of laws, we are less so now then we were in the late 1770s when Colonel Charles Lynch served in the Virginia militia. Don't think anything involved with this will move us any closer to collapse.