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Crime Your Rights Online

Judge Frees "Cannibal Cop" Who Shared His Fantasies Online 185

Posted by timothy
from the not-my-first-choice-for-babysitter dept.
AthanasiusKircher (1333179) writes The story is classic: Boy meets Girl. Boy likes Girl. Boy goes on the internet and writes about his fantasies that involve killing and eating Girl. Boy goes to jail. In this case, the man in question, NYC police officer Gilberto Valle, didn't act on his fantasies — he just shared them in a like-minded internet forum. Yesterday, Valle was released from jail after a judge overturned his conviction on appeal. U.S. District Judge Paul Gardephe wrote that Valle was "guilty of nothing more than very unconventional thoughts... We don't put people in jail for their thoughts. We are not the thought police and the court system is not the deputy of the thought police." The judge concluded that there was insufficient evidence, since "this is a conspiracy that existed solely in cyberspace" and "no reasonable juror could have found that Valle actually intended to kidnap a woman... the point of the chats was mutual fantasizing about committing acts of sexual violence on certain women." (A New York magazine article covered the details of the case and the implications of the original conviction earlier this year.)
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Judge Frees "Cannibal Cop" Who Shared His Fantasies Online

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  • Could have been ... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Thursday July 03, 2014 @11:44AM (#47376867) Journal
    ... a novelist or script writer or something. Imagine Hitchcock or Stephen King before they made it big. They must have such dark thoughts, some of them committed to paper. Easy to imagine the "script" as a thinly veiled attempt by a depraved individual to distance himself from his perverted fantasies. Well, they did not have internet then, and they had the sensibility to pitch it as novel or script.
  • by AvitarX (172628) <me.brandywinehundred@org> on Thursday July 03, 2014 @11:59AM (#47377055) Journal

    Because a lot of us are freedom nerds, and this ruling is interesting in that it was allowed to go to trial, but the judge issued a judgment notwithstanding the verdict that preserves free thought.

    As to GP post, yes, they should have tried him for any crimes he committed using the police database, and I obviously assume he's no longer Popo, but this was not an actual conspiracy to commit a crime, locking people up because they are gross under the guise of conspiracy is not the solution to anything.

  • Re:I take it (Score:4, Interesting)

    by u38cg (607297) <calum@callingthetune.co.uk> on Thursday July 03, 2014 @12:00PM (#47377075) Homepage
    It appears he had a very strongly developed paraphilia; but the long and short of it is there was no evidence that he ever intended to take practical steps and there was no psychological evidence of risk. This is one that really shouldn't have gone to trial to start with; however, it's easy to understand why the jury convicted.

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