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Tuesday, April 25th 2006

Off Topic Court = Justice?

If you remember one of the Duke lacrosse players alleged of rape had previously entered a plea and been given community service on an unrelated assault charge. Well now that plea has been set aside by the judge in Washington D.C.

Collin Finnerty, 19, appeared in D.C. Superior Court for a hearing in which a judge determined he had violated the conditions of a diversion program he entered after being charged in a November assault in Georgetown.

Finnerty and two friends had been accused of punching a man after he told them to “stop calling him gay and other derogatory names,” according to court documents.

The charges would have been dismissed under the terms of the diversion program once Finnerty completed 25 hours of community service, but the terms also required he stay out of trouble and not commit any criminal offenses.

Finnerty remains free pending a July 10 trial date in the Georgetown case. He could face up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000 if convicted of simple assault. Judge John Bayly also set a 9 p.m. curfew, ordered him to report by phone to court officials every Friday, and required that he stay away from places that sell alcohol.

Are you kidding me? Because he didn’t “stay out of trouble” and became embroiled in this rape allegation his other sentence is set aside? Absolutely ridiculous, the court system should at least pretend to value the ideals of justice, namely innocent until proven guilty.

Under the definition of “trouble” defined by this judge, anyone who didn’t like the kid could ruin his life.

Don’t like the kid? Accuse him of slapping you or say you saw him driving without a seatbelt. It doesn’t matter if he’ll never be convicted on your specific claim because it turns out “trouble” is a violation of a previous plea agreement. Bam, straight to trial and a possible 6 month jail sentence.