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AZ Sup. Ct. rules unanimously against enhancements where no child is involved

By Howard Fischer . . . Judges cannot impose enhanced sentences on those convicted of soliciting sex with a minor when it turns out there was no child to begin with, the Arizona Supreme Court ruled Wednesday.

In their unanimous decision, the justices upheld a lower court ruling that said Dale A. Wright can be found guilty even though the person he contacted actually was a postal inspector. In that ruling, the Court of Appeals said the crime of solicitation does not require that a victim actually engage in the conduct — or that there is an actual victim.

The justices said the offenses can be designated as a “dangerous crime against children,” allowing a judge to place Wright on lifetime probation.

But Chief Justice Scott Bales said it’s quite something else to impose longer prison terms based on the supposed age of the non-existent child who, by definition, was never molested in the first place.

Bales said that’s not how the law is worded, and was not the intent of lawmakers who enacted it more than three decades ago.

Wright was convicted in 1992 after pleading guilty to two counts of soliciting to have sex with a minor. That was based on his soliciting a postal inspector, posing as a mother of two children younger than 13, to have sex with her children.

After being sentenced to 10 years in prison, he was placed on lifetime probation as the offenses he was trying to commit are designated by law as “dangerous crimes against children.”

When the state sought to have his probation revoked — the ruling does not explain why — Wright asked the court to look at the question of whether the offenses to which he pleaded guilty fall into the “dangerous crimes against children” category.

The appellate court concluded they do, saying it’s irrelevant that there never was a child victim. That paved the way for him to be sent back to prison.

But that still left the question of how much more time Wright would have to serve. And that goes to the question of whether the presumptive 10-year term for a dangerous crime against children was proper.

Bales said it was not.

He pointed out that the sentencing scheme prescribes the harshest penalties when the victims are youngest and most vulnerable, and when the touching is most invasive.

“The severity of punishment decreases where the victim is old or the touching not completed,” the chief justice continued. “These graduated sanctions suggest that the Legislature similarly intended less severe punishment when there is no actual child victim.”

Bales said that is backed up by legislative history.

“The concept behind these increased sentences is that the young people are scarred for life,” Bales quoted then-Sen. Peter Kay, sponsor of the 1985 legislation, saying at that time.

“Thus the purpose of the statute was to provide enhanced punishment for offenders who harmed actual — not fictitious — children,” Bales said.

If lawmakers wanted increased penalties in these circumstances they could have written the measure to say they apply even in cases where there is “a person posing as a minor under the age of 15,” the chief justice wrote.

Wednesday’s ruling requires that Wright be resentenced. The presumptive term available under the new court ruling is 3 1/2 years.

Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery, whose office prosecuted Wright, said he agrees with the ruling.

Source: Tucson.com

This topic contains 13 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  Lois 1 week, 4 days ago.

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  • #23617 Reply

    Saddles

    Now Jeremy brought up a good question, A lot of people can call it entrapment but its a snare. Yea we can all say ” Playing the harlot” but just what does that mean, I leave that up to you all but here is a refresher on it and I’m sure a lot will appreciate it, Here’s a biblical view of it http://kingsenglish.info/2011/06/16/play-the-harlot/ and I believe everybody will be better off to understand this principal.
    We are all in this crisis in some means and measure and sound advice from the bible is always good. Hey guys I’m still learning too.

  • #23564 Reply

    Saddles

    Maestro, you are right and I’m glad someone pointed that out to me. Sure I could chalk it up to watching to many Cheech and Chong movies back in my hay days but their is no excuse. Its just like some of these sting operations, theirs no excuse for them. Whether its being caught up in a whole lot of porno or being duped by law enforcment or even doing some physical encounter it seems its all balled up into one mold.
    Maestro you bring up some really good points on here, some may not agree with your points and some might. Now if you would like to think about this enhancement thing its just like the farmer priming the pump. Law enforcement want to instill, or pump one in a lot of these encounters. I’m sure that their are many in the USA that have those gals wanting to hook up with one on their computer saying, Hi I’m good’n’ fun want to have a good time or lets get together or something like that. Someone should investigate a lot of this out that are not involved with this sex offender ordeal as I would have to say that is something rotten in denmark with these type of things. Causing one to stumble or lose their freedom or liberty is very sad indeed

  • #23481 Reply

    Saddles

    Brian you guys have got something right their. I have at least 60 on my computer and I never open them. I just save them put them all together in a file and I’m sure if I forward them to someone that could take a look at all this deviant deception that someone could figure that this is a cottage industry to induce one into all this sexual folly. We’ve all heard it before about those things and Brian spoke up on that one. Man at times will do anything to hold others accountable for. Its all about money in the end.

    • #23565 Reply

      Brian

      @Saddles
      That makes a lot of sense o even get stuff on my face time app which I have only ever used 1 time and that was with my wife when she was away. Yea I think you hit the nail on the head there that’s for sure.

    • #23508 Reply

      Maestro

      Saddles,

      Hahaha….I couldn’t help it man, I just have to tell you that for the longest time I’ve read your posts where you misused the spelling of “there” (should have been “their”) when referring to people and this time when you said “you’ve got something right their” you used the spelling for meaning people rather than “there” for a term of expression.

      Just thought you should know since I’ve seen you talk about how you do a lot of writing 😉

      • #23563 Reply

        Brian

        Lol @ Maestro
        Yea I have always had problems with proper grammar and usage, maybe I should go back to school if it’s legal anyhow.

  • #23397 Reply

    Brian

    I remember before I had to register I had a messenger account I also closed before I had to register as well, I remembered chatting with some girl for about a month or so, I remember asking how old she was and she said that she was 21 , for some reason I had asked her how old she was this was at the 1 month mark and she said she was 15 I said wait a second here you told me you were 21 then this person started to backtrack, I just ended the conversation right there and even closed my account, yea there out there and they try crap like that to lure people in. I wasn’t looking for a date of anything like that they had just appeared on my messenger somehow.
    But if you know they are that age to begin with and you are well over 18 years old and you go to meet them for sex then sorry to say you get what you get no pun intended. And no I am no better then anyone else on the registers my so called victim was my girlfriend who my brother and his girlfriend set me up with, she lied about her age to them that’s why they set us up and she even lied to me about her age, she got pregnant and went to the healt department to get a pregnancy test and they aske how old her boyfriend was and then from there they called to police who pressed charges, her mother knew we were dating and I at 19 looked liked I was 16 so her mother never questioned our relationship, all the people she ran with were over 18 and she had been seeing other men who were older as well but they were never charged because they denied having sex with her or maybe they never did, they attempted to charge her mother as well but she denied knowledge of the whole situation so I guess I was invisible when I walked into there home. do I ask people for there ID no but I also don’t date anymore as I am married.

    • #23529 Reply

      Maestro

      I’ve come to the conclusion that many times when people are talking with a “pretend” underage person, and the conversation goes on a few different days, what happens is the cops take shifts and one cop doesn’t know what the other cop said to their target ‘suspect’ when they clock in to assume the role of the underage person.
      That’s why it seems like the underage person you’re talking to tends to mess up on what you spoke about in previous conversations.
      Just a thought.

      • #23585 Reply

        Brian

        @Maestro
        Yea I think your right about that, one cop clocks in for the day then clocks out, the other cop starts the next day then goes home, then the next cop clocks in and says oh I’m 15 years old and then there busted slipping up like you said. It happened very similarly to that as I can remember it.

  • #23374 Reply

    T

    This is exactly what Chris Hansen’s show “to catch a predator ” does which is a sting operation but on national tv with a vigilante group “perverted justice” to play the role of minor victims that are not real to lure their target to a house they were invited to which is a setup for police sting operation.

  • #23269 Reply

    Lois

    I think the concept of Stings is reprehensible, especially when initiated by Law Enforcement or police officers posing as adolescent or underage children. Ironic that the officer/law enforcement agency puts forth the same immoral and predatory ideas as those they wish to incriminate. There are no angels here. ———Laws around intent aside, when there is no real victim, there is no real crime. If we were all imprisoned for an immoral thought, no one would be free.

  • #23251 Reply

    Saddles

    Jeremy its called “Playing the harlot”. Me and one of my friends discussed that about a year or so ago and I sit down one night and wrote a paper on it. Sure I still have that paper and as one lawyer I talked to he agrees with me as a matter of fact there playing the sin squad in some of these cases. Repentance, I don’t even think a lot of them know what that is so its an education for both side’s.

  • #23238 Reply

    Jeremy from Indiana

    How is it that if you cannot see a cop on the side of the highway, it’s entrapment, but situations like the internet stings are not? If an undercover posing as a prostitute coerces a person to solicit sex, it’s entrapment. Isn’t that the same thing these stings are doing online?

  • #23239 Reply

    Jo mine

    So…does this mean that the “thought” police in AZ who entrap men and women with these so called “sting” internet operations are working in contrary to the LAW now? Entrapment and conviction due to “thought” is more than dangerous to a society of people than everyone tap-dancing on a rickety bridge.

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