Friday, February 1, 2013

Jury duty always eye opening

I was tapped to serve on a jury here very recently. The case was a result of the task force ICAC ( Internet Crimes Against Children ). This task force operated very close to my home in October of 2011. This was a multi agency cooperation to snare pedophiles and other deviants who prey on minor children through the internet.

The set up was done through chat rooms. The perp would engage a supposed minor via a chat room and then drive to their home to engage in sexual activity with them. Meeting them at the door was a big, burly cop. They would be arrested and charges brought against them on two or three counts. One was using a computer to solicit sex from an underage minor child. Two was traveling to meet a minor for the purpose of sexual activity. Three was conveying images via a computer to a minor child.

That is absolutely unbelievable that someone would be mentally challenged enough to not sniff out a sting like this. Yet almost 40 people in our home town were snared and arrested. I think that speaks to the extent that these kinds of people are strung out in their prurious addiction. It is like asking the junkie why he sticks that needle into his arm. They are just hopelessly lost in this world of sickness and evil.

The fellow who was the subject of my particular case was a teaching assistant, grad student at one of the universities here in our town. He is in his mid thirties, unmarried but into a continuous relationship with a very pretty woman. She sat in the back and cried along with his Mother when the verdict was read that he was guilty on all three counts that the state of Florida was bringing against him. He even cried when the verdict was read.

His life is forevermore changed. He will go to prison for 4-5 years. He will remain on probation for that same period of time and he will be listed in the FDLE database that maintains a location of and a qualification as habitual, sexual offenders for the rest of his life.

Some of my peers on the jury felt compassion for him and wanted to soften our verdict. Unfortunately for him there was just no way to discount the weight of evidence brought against him.

You question me as to whether I felt that we were too hard on this fellow my clear and concise response is absolutely not. I use as my barometer to that effect the 18th Chapter of Matthew, verse six, “ But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.”

 Great work ICAC. Go haul in some more of them. Bad choices beget bad outcomes.

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