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View Full Version : Massachusetts Lawmaker's Pledge to 'Rip Apart' Child Rape Victims at Trial Draws Fury



voivod
06.25.08, 09:15 AM
Is this guy for real!? WOW... :wtf:

A Massachusetts politician and defense attorney has touched off a firestorm with his shocking public vow to torment and "rip apart" child rape victims who take the witness stand if the state legislature passed stiff mandatory sentences for child sex offenders.

Rep. James Fagan, a Democrat, made the comments during debate last month on the state House floor. http://www.mass.gov/legis/member/jhf1.htm
http://www.mass.gov/legis/member/jhf1.jpg

"I'm gonna rip them apart," Fagan said of young victims during his testimony on the bill. "I'm going to make sure that the rest of their life is ruined, that when they’re 8 years old, they throw up; when they’re 12 years old, they won’t sleep; when they’re 19 years old, they’ll have nightmares and they’ll never have a relationship with anybody.”

Fagan said as a defense attorney it would be his duty to do that in order to keep his clients free from a "mandatory sentence of those draconian proportions." Those comments drew the ire of local activists as well as colleagues.

“I thought his comments were over the top and unnecessary,” Massachusetts House Minority Leader Bradley Jones told FOXNews.com on Wednesday.

“I appreciate that he’s a defense attorney, and felt he had a point to make, but I think it was unnecessary,” said Jones, who supported an original version of the bill. “It was excessive.”

The father of the Florida girl for whom Jessica's Law is named also blasted Fagan after hearing the comments.

Mark Lunsford, whose 9-year-old daughter was abducted and buried alive in a trash bag by a sex offender in 2005, told the Boston Herald on Tuesday that Fagan should take the rights of victimized children seriously.

“Why doesn’t he figure out a way to defend that child and put these kind of people away instead of trying to figure ways for defense attorneys to get around Jessica’s Law?” Lunsford told the paper. “These are very serious crimes that nobody wants to take serious. What about the rights of these children?”

The bill that he opposed eventually passed the House and set mandatory minimum sentences of between 10 and 15 years for a set of different offenses against children ranging from assault to sexual crimes. A version is still pending in the state Senate.

From a legal perspective, law professor Phyllis Goldfarb said Fagan was probably expressing a basic courtroom truth – that it is a defense attorney’s job to test the prosecution’s case, especially when mandatory penalties are on the line.

“It is fundamentally true … if the proof is coming almost exclusively through a child witness you may have to find a way to test it. That’s the attorney-client obligation there,” Goldfarb told FOXNews.com.

Goldfarb, who used to direct the Criminal Justice Clinic at Boston College Law School, said Fagan used some over-the-top language, but that he probably didn't relish the idea of cross-examining a child. She said it's just his job.

“You do have to challenge a witness,” she said. “Some people find ways of doing that that are loyal to their role as defense attorneys -- testing the proof (in ways) that aren’t abusive to a witness, but it's very hard.

“And I think being put in that hard position is what he seems to be railing against here, using language that’s probably a little bit hyperbolic.”

Lunsford will be in Massachusetts on Wednesday to push the state Senate to include mandatory prison time in the state's final version of Jessica's Law, according to the Herald.

Reader Information: State Rep. James Fagan is a Democrat representing the Third Bristol District, which includes the city of Taunton. Fagan, a 1973 graduate of Suffolk Law School, has been representing the district since 1993, and serves as chair of the House ethics committee. He can be reached by e-mailing or calling:

State House: 617-722-2040
District office: 508-824-7000
E-mail: Rep.JamesFagan@hou.state.ma.us

Wickett
06.25.08, 09:20 AM
hmm. this might not help him come election time.. what an ass :rolleyes:

Wickett
06.25.08, 10:06 AM
here's the full comment, at least as much as I can find. Looks like he was trying to make a point about defense attorneys in regards to Jessica's Law.

“Let me tell you why it’s so wrong, It’s so wrong because in these situations . . . that 6-year-old is going to sit in front of me, or somebody far worse than me and I’m going to rip them apart. I’m going to make sure that the rest of their life is ruined. That when they’re 8 years old they throw up; when they’re 12 years old, they won’t sleep. When they’re 19 years old they’ll have nightmares and they’ll never have a relationship with anybody. And that’s not because I’m a nice guy. That’s because when you’re in court, and you’re defending somebody’s liberty, and you’re facing a mandatory sentence of those draconian proportions, you have to do every single thing you can do on behalf of your client. That is your obligation as a trial lawyer.”


He's still an ass, but shouldn't the newspaper report the entire quote? It always seems anymore that anytime you see something in a headline, you have to dig a bit more to get past the sensationalist side of it. Sad thing is, most people won't take the time to dig just a little bit.

EVHgirl in Va
06.25.08, 10:26 AM
they should report the full quote, that's our lovely leftist media at work. I do however find this guy repulsive. Why would any reasonable person take on a client and defend these actions...I guess what I'm saying is that I could never defend anyone like this. Ever!

csm5150
06.25.08, 10:28 AM
To quote South Park: What a douche!

Wickett
06.25.08, 10:58 AM
they should report the full quote, that's our lovely leftist media at work. I do however find this guy repulsive. Why would any reasonable person take on a client and defend these actions...I guess what I'm saying is that I could never defend anyone like this. Ever!

Yeah, it's not just leftist media, though. Fox News does the same thing.

Daisy Hill
06.25.08, 11:04 AM
Couldn't he have said "These lengthy terms for punishment of child sex offenders will have an unanticpated effect of causing undue pain to the victims as defense lawyers go to extreme lengths to defend their clients liberty" ?

Wouldn't have been as much fun for him tho .... jerk.... can you imagine a parent hearing this? It would really make you wonder about the wisdom of putting your child through the prosecution of their abuser. If this is the kind of rhetoric that this guy finds acceptable, I'll bet he was a do-anything-to-win ass in the courtroom

I'm pretty sure there are plenty of abuse victims who are already throwing up, losing sleep and are unable to sustain relationships.

EVHgirl in Va
06.25.08, 11:04 AM
Yeah, it's not just leftist media, though. Fox News does the same thing.

very true... I just hate the media/news outlets, ect...... the saying -"trust no one" goes along way with them:brickwall

RRMB
06.25.08, 11:12 AM
they should report the full quote, that's our lovely leftist media at work.

Leftist media?? FOXNews does this on an hourly basis. Hell, they started the trend of "out-of-context" reporting.

It has nothing to do with left or right; it has to do with a reporter wanting to make a name for themselves with a controversial story. It's all agenda driven.

EVHgirl in Va
06.25.08, 11:16 AM
Leftist media?? FOXNews does this on an hourly basis. Hell, they started the trend of "out-of-context" reporting.

It has nothing to do with left or right; it has to do with a reporter wanting to make a name for themselves with a controversial story. It's all agenda driven.

easy RRMB, I get ya...I'm in a really pissy mood today, I am on a leftist bash, please take me with a grain of salt and let me enjoy my anger :D

...and I agree with you entirely.

pal1800
06.25.08, 07:06 PM
Leftist media?? FOXNews does this on an hourly basis. Hell, they started the trend of "out-of-context" reporting.

It has nothing to do with left or right; it has to do with a reporter wanting to make a name for themselves with a controversial story. It's all agenda driven.I respectfully disagree. If CNN, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, and ABC were fair and objective in their news reporting over the years Fox news would not exist and be doing so well. In a way, liberals are responsible for the existence and success of Fox news.

pal1800
06.25.08, 07:15 PM
Fagan is a sick fuck. There were many more sane ways of expressing his sentiments on the subject. He may not BE, but he sure SOUNDS like a radical person. I'd be willing to bet a lot that he gets re-elected next time and really suffers no consequences for his sadistic remarks.

Tropical Storm Tracey
06.25.08, 07:20 PM
Fagan is a sick fuck. There were many more sane ways of expressing his sentiments on the subject. He may not BE, but he sure SOUNDS like a radical person. I'd be willing to bet a lot that he gets re-elected next time and really suffers no consequences for his sadistic remarks.

What he said...DITTO! I cannot believe someone can say something like that about a child who has endured the most horrendous experience of their lives. Why should I give a crap about how the offender spends the rest of theirs. I'm just sickened that they would have a "rest of your life" at all.

TST<-----------uggggghhhhh!:brickwall -------------

Icecream-man
06.26.08, 04:28 AM
Timely post considering the Supreme Court just released their opinion in Kennedy v. Louisiana...banning the death penalty for child rapists....

http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20080625/ts_afp/usjusticeexecutionrapechildren;_ylt=Ai9zRQIcGX2E6j pUv8BkZDVMEP0E

Interesting that they had Justice Anthony Kennedy writing the opinion in this case (not because his name matches the petitioners...no relation by the way) but because he has become the courts go to guy/expert on Death Penalty cases lately staking out a niche for himself...he has recently wrote death penalty opinions rejecting the execution of mentally retarded people (in which he oooooo scary...cited foreign law) and rejecting the execution of juveniles for capital offenses

Menlow
06.26.08, 04:50 AM
Couldn't he have said "These lengthy terms for punishment of child sex offenders will have an unanticpated effect of causing undue pain to the victims as defense lawyers go to extreme lengths to defend their clients liberty" ?

Wouldn't have been as much fun for him tho .... jerk.... can you imagine a parent hearing this? It would really make you wonder about the wisdom of putting your child through the prosecution of their abuser. If this is the kind of rhetoric that this guy finds acceptable, I'll bet he was a do-anything-to-win ass in the courtroom

I'm pretty sure there are plenty of abuse victims who are already throwing up, losing sleep and are unable to sustain relationships.



Exactly.

He actually makes a good point but it certainly could have been stated in a much more tactful way.

If there is a mandatory 20 year minimum, very few people are likely to accept a plea deal and more children will have to testify in court. Still, I don't know if any defense attorney would go to the extremes described because they would alienate the jury and possibly make them want to punish the defendant even more.

jrk5150
06.26.08, 06:37 AM
First, not defending this idiot actually going out there and DOING this. That would be pretty heinous of him.

But will you guys stop reacting like he actually has done this, is doing this, or will do this? He was spouting rhetoric to make a point, and points tend to be more impactful when you make them sharp. Like anyone would have thought twice about this if he'd have said "These lengthy terms for punishment of child sex offenders will have an unanticpated effect of causing undue pain to the victims as defense lawyers go to extreme lengths to defend their clients liberty". These ARE politicians he was talking to, remember? Not the brightest bulbs on the tree. He wanted attention brought to this topic, he wanted it discussed, and this was a way to get that done. There really isn't a victim of rape he's talking about here, he's referring to some hypothetical future.

He overstated his point to the extreme, but he has a point. This law may cause overzealous defense attorneys to go after the victims hard(er), to the detriment of the victim. Now, that might not sound all that bad, until he puts it in a real context, then it's pretty horrifying. That's what could happen.

Now, I happen to think he's full of shit, because any defense attorney that plays that low would already go after the victim, this law isn't going to change that. I also happen to think that he's got it wrong, that is NOT the job of the defense attorney, but that's not going to sink in. Defense attorneys have shitty jobs, they tend to be pretty arrogant about what's "necessary" so they can sleep at night. :)

Darkstar
06.30.08, 12:39 AM
Hmmmm......so how long ya think it's gonna be before someone holds this guy down and forcibly puts a dick in his ass?