Defending Grady Judd’s Honor

by Kemp Brinson

In this installment, we’re going to hear from someone who thinks it’s OK to chat up children online and arrange to have sex with them.

It’s been pretty quiet around here lately. One of the disadvantages of doing this as a hobby is that when things get busy, it is tough to keep up. I have a few posts cooking, but I still need to cogitate about them some more.

In the meantime, however, I received a horribly wrong-headed comment on a post from January entitled “Sheriff Judd’s False Legal Statements Mislead the Public” in which I analyzed two legal mistakes made by Sheriff Judd that, I believe, were contributing to public confusion about the legality of the prosecution of Phillip Greaves, the Colorado man who wrote a book about pedophilia and sold it to undercover Polk deputies.

On this site, I attempt to shed light on fairly complicated, nuanced topics. If the use of my logical building blocks to come to conclusions like this individual’s is commonplace, it would bother me greatly. Let’s see what this person had to say:

I am sorry that this comment is late but I think it is very important that it gets posted anyway. I would like to comment on the post entitled “Sheriff Judd’s False Legal Statements Mislead the Public”.

This first thing I would like to say is that Sheriff Judd’s false statements not only mislead the public but also violate the Due Process Rights of the people that he arrests, particularly those arrested in internet stings for “child solicitation” as well as Phillip Greaves.

No. We can argue about whether Judd’s public grandstanding about these arrests is appropriate (We probably both think it isn’t). We can argue about whether so much money and time should be devoted to importing pedophiles into Polk County and arresting them here, instead of going after the ones we already have (we probably both think it shouldn’t). But you can’t argue about this: If you show up at a home in Polk County intending to have sex with a minor there, you are a crook. Your pedophilia is a danger to those around you, and you deserve to be punished for the crime you have committed.

He violates the Due Process Rights of the people like Greaves that he arrests because he is targeting the public’s emotional feelings rather than rational thoughts because he needs to in order to get convictions.

It may be inappropriate to target the public’s emotions, but that has little to do with whether the underlying arrest is legal. I have concerns about whether Greaves was lawfully arrested (one cannot say without seeing the book, which has been effectively censored).  I have no such concerns about the legality of the sting arrests that you are referring to. Based on what I know of them, they seem like legitimate arrests.

If Judd makes the people believe that something being “morally wrong” is equivocal to being illegal he can scare arrestees into taking plea agreements because of the stigma that is placed on them before they even make it to first appearance.

Since when is attempting to have sex with children legal? Since when is it not morally wrong? I agree with respect to his obscenity arrests, but not with respect to the child sex stings. Traveling somewhere to have sex with a child is clearly both morally wrong and illegal.

It is hard to get a fair and impartial jury (and even harder to find effective council) when the jury is selected from a society that has been lied to about what the law actually is.

I disagree. I think juries do a pretty decent job about listening to judges explain to them what the law is, regardless of what is in the papers or on TV, and I think there are plenty of attorneys who can do a good job of defending against sex crime charges in Polk County.

Sheriff Grady Judd is doing nothing more than interpreting the law to suit himself and making the people go along with his opinion, which is all it is, by giving misleading statements or even outright lying to them.

If you are going to call Sheriff Judd a liar, you need to back it up, like I did. Show me the actual quoted statement and the corresponding law so we can see what’s different about them. I stopped short of calling him a liar, because I do not know whether he was intentionally misleading or merely ignorant of what the law actually says. But I backed up my accusations with careful, thoughtful analysis. If you are going to call him a liar, I challenge you to do the same.

Phillip Greaves was well within his Constitutional Rights to sell that book which is why Colorado did not arrest him for it.

How do you know the book is not obscene? Have you read it? I think you are probably correct about this, but, again, we can’t know without seeing the book.

Well, since Sheriff Judd did not agree with this he took it upon himself to make National headlines by purchasing a copy of the book (well over the retail value of it I might add) just to be able to arrest him for something that the Sheriff had asked him to do.

I agree that publicity, rather than more legitimate public safety concerns, was the motive here. However, you seem to be headed in the direction of arguing that this was entrapment, which is utter nonsense.

After the arrest, Phillip Greaves’ Constitutional Rights were abridged even more by lying to the public saying that the intent of the book was to be obscene and just because of the title, it was easy to do.

I think it’s reprehensible to mislead the public, but I don’t see how misleading the public could have abridged Greave’s due process rights in this case. Getting arrested for something that is not a crime is an abridgment of one’s rights, not what’s in the press release afterwards.

As for the internet stings, the Sheriff is making the public believe that the people he arrests are actually hunting for children on the internet to groom, seduce, and solicit which is the actual intent of the statute. However, I know this to be an outright lie.

This is where I go from merely annoyed at your logical flaws to burning anger. The people he arrests are, in fact, hunting children on the internet to groom, seduce, and solicit minors for sex. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be driving to Polk County with condoms and teddy bears in their cars. 

He is conducting the internet stings in adult oriented websites riddled with sexual conversations and pornographic material. Therefore, it’s not hard to get someone to speak sexually to an undercover agent posing as a minor especially when that undercover agent is inducing/encouraging the person to do so.

Wait a minute, what???? Here’s a little tidbit of free legal advice for all you pedophiles out there who like to hang out on “adult oriented websites riddled with sexual conversations and pornographic material.” In the course of a sexually explicit conversation, if someone tells you that he or she is under 18, exit the conversation immediately. You are either about to get arrested or about to do something that will hurt someone. If you continue in that conversation, you are not only stupid, but a crook, and a very dangerous one at that. 

Having said that, the people that he arrests in these internet stings are actually innocent but there is no way for them to get a fair trial. These people are within their First Amendment Rights to talk about sexual acts because:

1. It was not their intent to seduce a minor or even interact with one which is why they were on the adult website in the first place.

This is insane. I agree with this up to the point where the person they are talking to says they are under 18 (or puts age in a profile). After that, it clearly is their intent to seduce or interact with a minor! Someone who didn’t want to seduce or interact with a minor wouldn’t continue a sexually explicit conversation with one.  Someone who didn’t want to seduce a minor wouldn’t drive across the state or country to have sex with one!

2. The sexual conversations are accepted as the “norm” in that type of environment.

NOT WITH CHILDREN!!!!!!!

3. It is not a violation of the child solicitation statute when the “child” is actually wanting and encouraging the communication and the “illegal act” because now the “child” is guilty of a felony themselves for encouraging it.

I am entirely OK with a legal system that holds adults accountable to say “no” if a child “wants and encourages” sexual activity. You are saying that if 10 year old asks a 50 year old to have sex, that makes it OK, or makes the child or undercover officer the felon. I don’t normally go for ad hominem attacks, but I think I am on solid logical ground at this point by declaring that YOU ARE AN IDIOT. If your point is that the “victim” is not actually a child (it’s a cop) you ignore the logic which has been, as far as I know, universally accepted in American courts: from the point of view of the perpetrator, the victim was a child, and the perpetrator should be punished as such.

I looked at your web site, and you cite to one legal case to make your argument: Cashatt v. State, 873 So. 2d 430 (Fla. 1st DCA, 2004). It is clear that you have not actually read it, because it makes this exact point: “A person is guilty of an attempted child solicitation if the evidence demonstrates that he had a specific intent to commit the substantive offense and under the circumstances as he believed them to be took actions to consummate the substantive offense, even though circumstances unknown to him made completion of the substantive offense impossible, and the fact that the receiver of the ‘luring’ communications was an adult undercover agent posing as a child is irrelevant to the culpability of the sender of the communications for attempting to lure a child to commit an illegal sexual act.” Id. at 436-7, emphasis added.

The fact of the matter is, these internet stings were started as a television show and were performed by people that know nothing about the Constitution or the law.

I am opposed to making serious legal proceedings into newsertainment programs, but that does not mean that the underlying arrests are illegal.

Everyone is just as opinionated as Grady Judd himself and care nothing about the Constitution anymore or the well being of their fellow man. I know this to be true because there have been plenty of people, attorneys included, that questioned the legality and methods of these stings but have never lifted a finger to help any of the suspects. This is why Phillip Greaves is on probation right now.

Greaves was entitled to and received counsel at no cost, as is every other person in our system who cannot afford one. He is on probation because he accepted a plea deal that included probation. Had he chosen to take his case to trial, he might have avoided all punishment, except that inflicted upon him pretrial by the sheriff. I have problems with the way that particular case was handled, but I don’t see what the argument is about the child sex stings.

Since human nature is inherently evil we seem to enjoy seeing people’s lives being ruined and have their name slandered and libeled all over the place over a scenario that was created by the police officers themselves. The only “criminal enterprise” that exists is the one that was created by the police officers because of the multiple felonies that they commit during a sting. Furthermore, because of the subject matter all the Sheriff has to do is lie and nobody cares to check to see if his statements are true.

Again, if you think he has lied about the legality of the stings, I challenge you to back that up. You assertion that the cops are committing the crimes when they do these stings is nonsense. If you think a crime is being committed, please cite to the statue that establishes that crime and explain how the officers’ conduct establishes each element thereof.

Well I do have the fortitude to not let my emotions get in the way of something (that if it were real) would be very disturbing, but it is not real. I am exasperated at the lack of malcontent for the law enforcement officials arresting average, law abiding citizens by committing felonies just to “enforce the law”. The United States Supreme Court decided a long time ago that the reason of the law should prevail over its letter but everyone seems to be ignoring this fact with internet stings. Finally, nowhere in the Constitution of the United States does it say that people’s lives can be used for entertainment purposes or just to get Federal kickbacks from obtaining the convictions of sex offenders. Not only does it not say it, but it forbids it. Visit http://floridascandal.blogspot.com for more information.

I’m happy to be a vocal critic of Sheriff Judd. I’ll go on record as saying that I think these stings inappropriately use resources that could be better utilized stopping, preventing, and punishing sexual abuse that is already happening within the county. But the fact is that these activities are illegal and harmful to children. Responsible, law-abiding adults engaging in responsible sexually explicit communications do not engage in those communications with children, or people they think are children. It’s as simple as that. Money poorly spend? Maybe. More political theater than effective law enforcement? Maybe. But legal? Yes. I’m not losing any sleep over these people being behind bars.

AnarchyIsBetter: Always promoting the impeachment and downfall of typical citizens in positions of power.

I find it ironic that, as an anarchist, the rights guaranteed by the Constitution seem important to you. Rights mean nothing without people in positions of power to protect them. A good example is the right of a child not to be raped. On this point, Sheriff Judd and I are in complete agreement.

The larger point I want to make here is that, despite being a vocal critic of Judd from time to time, I am fairly pleased, overall, with his performance as a law enforcement officer. It’s just that he has a lot of people around here that swoon over every move that he makes, and not a lot of articulate, thoughtful people willing to publicly criticize him. I’m happy to play that role, which means that in this space, I criticize him more often than I praise him, but that does not mean that I have any predisposition to agree with you about your own personal spat with him, or to disagree with you if you think he walks on water.