Did Tony Spencer fail Criminal Law 101 at law school?

I’m basing this post on the assumption that the information printed by the Emporia Independent Messenger is accurate. I’m also assuming that Benjamin Boyd’s defense attorney Morgan Griffith is telling the truth. No offense intended to Delegate Griffith, but he is a defense attorney after all. And you know what they say about assuming…

From the Emporia Independent Messenger:

Boyd has a heavy hitter representing him in defense, attorney Morgan Griffith, who is also the number two Republican in the Virginia House of Delegates, as the District 8 Representative. “The misdemeanor conviction brought on a small fine and 18 months’ probation,” said Griffith. “This all happened before he ever became a teacher. He put down on his application that he had misdemeanors on his record, but wasn’t specific. Boyd was hired at Caroline. The Superintendent of Caroline County Schools, Gregory Killough, knew the specifics of the conviction and said he forgot to mention them to the school board. A second meeting was held and the board learned of the facts surrounding the 1991 case and decided to hire the coach. It was later that the recent charges were filed. “I don’t believe there was a forgery,” said Griffith. He didn’t sign a false name. “Uttering would be the passing of the application and I don’t believe there was any intent to deceive.” Griffith said that Boyd still plans to coach the Cavaliers this year.

Based on what I can find on the application for employees of the Caroline County School Board, the question involved is this: “Have you ever been convicted (as guilty or not innocent) of a violation of law other than a minor traffic violation? (If yes, attach explanation.)” If Griffith is accurate, then Boyd checked “Yes” on that question but failed to elaborate on a separate sheet.

(As a sidenote there’s a question stating: “Have you been convicted (as guilty or not innocent, or a determination of abuse or neglect founded against you) of any offense involving moral turpitude, the sexual molestation, physical or sexual abuse or rape of a child, or any like offense against an adult? (If yes, attach explanation.)” That question is a requirement of Va. Code § 22.1-296.1, but that’s a null point because the crimes that Boyd pled guilty were not crimes “involving moral turpitude” as I previously pointed out.)

And as Griffith pointed out in the story, where’s the intent to defraud that’s a requirement of a charge of forgery? Better yet, where’s the act that Boyd is being charged for? An omission in attaching a sheet to an application results in a charge of forgery and uttering? So much for requiring either an actus reus (guilty act) or a mens rea (guilty mind) to be charged with a crime.

And here’s a simple way to sort all this out without the legal mumbo jumbo: If the Virginia General Assembly ever thought that an omission or untruthful statement on an application was punishable by forgery and uttering of a public document (two Class 4 felonies), then why did they enact § 22.1-296.1 which provides for punishment for omitting or lying about convictions for sexual abuse or a “crime of moral turpitude”, which is only punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor (up to a year in jail and/or $2,500 fine)? Why be able to charge someone with a Class 1 misdemeanor when you can throw a guy in prison for 20 years for forgery and uttering? It’s going to be some funny stuff when Morgan Griffith — who has been a Delegate for over 15 years — gets up during the trial and starts talking about the intent of  the General Assembly in enacting certain laws.

Boyd is neither guilty of forgery nor uttering of a public document, nor is he guilty of violating § 22.1-296.1; he’s simply guilty of applying for the same job as the son-in-law of Sheriff. He’s also guilty of applying for a job in a county where the Commonwealth’s Attorney has abandoned what’s supposed to be his neutral and detached role.

It looks like Spencer apparently failed Criminal Law 101 at law school too…

H/t: Portsia Smith’s “Caroline Crossroads” blog.

Time for a variation of Godwin’s Law and other logical fallacies from people supporting Lippa’s railroading of Benjamin Boyd.

For those not familiar with Godwin’s Law, it states: “As a Usenet [a message board-style system] discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1.” It was also used in the ye olde days (back when you had to carry the electrons on your back!) to determine when a Usenet discussion had reached it’s peak and needed to be ended due to someone deciding to compare someone else they were arguing with to a Nazi or Hitler. Anyone that make a comparison to Nazism or Hitler was determined to have lost the argument as well.

Well, here’s a new wider variation coined by me: As any argument continues, online or offline, the probability of a comparison to a mass murderer, including a serial killer, approaches 1.

And, ladies and gentlemen, we have reached that point in the back and forth regarding Sheriff Tony Lippa’s vendetta against Caroline County High School football coach Benjamin Boyd. In a letter to the editor in the July 23, 2009, edition of The Caroline Progress, Roger Cavendish stated the following as part of a tirade against former Principal Jeff Wick, the Caroline County School Board, et al.:

I can certainly understand why Jeff Wick is an ex-principal with his moral values. For him to even suggest that the drug crime was nineteen years ago is disgusting. I am sure that if Mr. Wick has anything to say about it the next time Charles Manson comes up for parole, he will want to hire him as a music teacher — after all, it has been forty years since he killed Sharon Tate and he is quite a musician.

Yep folks, he just compared someone that was convicted of two misdemeanors for the possession of steroids nineteen years ago to someone that was convicted and sentenced to death for the murder of seven people. Do I really have to point the absurdity of that argument? To compare someone to Manson, who was involved in the brutal murder of seven people, including the murder of Sharon Tate who was eight-months pregnant at the time of her death, is beyond absurd; it’s reprehensible.

In the same letter Cavendish also stated that former School Board member and Coach George Spaulding had also come out in support of Boyd’s hiring and condemned Spaulding for supporting Boyd. Now that’s pretty interesting since Lippa is such good friends with George Spaulding through his wife Elisabeth Spaulding. Elisabeth Spaulding is the widow of Stan Benson who was a very good of friend of Lippa before his passing several years ago. In fact, Lippa was a big supporter of Spaulding’s failed bid for the Bowling Green Board of Supervisors seat back in 2007. Does all that support and friendship go out the door when someone ends up on the wrong side of one of Lippa’s vendetta, or, in this particular case, is it just the ravings of a lunatic like Roger Cavendish? It’s hard to decide at this point.

And then we have a portion of a the letter that appeared in the same edition from former Virginia State Trooper Robert Gordon:

As for the cheap shot by Mr. Wick regarding Sheriff Lippa’s son-in-law being interested in the coach’s position, it now has become a situation where members of the School Board and former principal Mr. Wick are now attempting to portray Sheriff Lippa as the bad in this entire matter.

First, note that nowhere did Gordon deny the truthfulness of Wick’s allegation. And, uh, excuse me, that’s a cheap shot? Is it a cheap shot for the Sheriff, the chief law-enforcement officer in the county, to publicly and falsely accuse someone of committing a crime? Is it a cheap shot for the Sheriff to invade another government employee’s privacy and to go around stating as a fact what was included on the employee’s application? Is it a cheap shot to get someone indicted for two felonies as part of a larger vendetta against someone and then run to a friend at WTVR Channel 6 News (Jon Burkett) to have him do a story about the charges?

No, of course not. It’s only a cheap shot to reveal to the public why a elected public official is pursuing a vendetta against someone. This is part of a wider revelation I’ve had: To Lippa and the people that are supporting him in this travesty of justice, they think there are two sets of rules: One set just for them and another set that everyone else has to follow. The problem is their set of rules is blank. They can do whatever they want: falsely accuse someone of a crime, try to publicly ruin a man’s reputation using the media, or try to get a man fired from a job that he was properly hired for, and it goes on and on. But when someone dares to point why they’re taking this course of action it’s a ‘cheap shot’, ‘an invasion of privacy’, ‘uncalled for’, or whatever else they want to say about it.