Court won't hear Va. appeal over sodomy law - New York News

Court won't hear Va. appeal over sodomy law

Posted: Updated:

By LARRY O'DELL

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — The U.S. Supreme Court refused Monday to hear an appeal of a lower court ruling that struck down Virginia's anti-sodomy law.

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's office appealed a March ruling by the a three-judge panel of the Richmond-based 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which declared Virginia's law unconstitutional.

The appeals court's ruling came in the case of 47-year-old William Scott MacDonald, who was convicted of criminal solicitation for allegedly demanding oral sex from a 17-year-old girl. His conviction came two years after the landmark Lawrence v. Texas decision effectively struck down anti-sodomy laws in that state and several others. The appeals court cited that 2003 ruling in its 2-1 decision.

The attorney general argued that the Texas ruling did not apply to sex acts between adults and minors. The appeals court rejected that interpretation, saying the justices implied in Lawrence that a state could criminalize sodomy between an adult and a minor but that such decisions rest with legislatures, not the judiciary. Virginia does have such a law, but it applies to minors under the age of 15.

"As we've said from the beginning, this case was never about sexual orientation or private acts between consenting adults," Cuccinelli spokesman Brian Gottstein said in an email Monday. "Virginia's law couldn't be used against consenting adults acting in private. It only applied to offenses committed against minors, against non-consenting or incapacitated adults, or in public."

Cuccinelli, the Republican candidate for governor, has said Virginia prosecutors have used to law to prosecute child molesters. He said nearly 90 people convicted of sex crimes involving minors may be eligible to have their names removed from Virginia's sex offender registry because of the appeals court's ruling.

"The Supreme Court made it perfectly clear in 2003 that laws that broadly prohibit certain kinds of sexual acts are unconstitutional," said Rebecca Glenberg, legal director of the ACLU of Virginia, which filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the MacDonald case. "Clearly sexual acts with children are not constitutionally protected and should be punished, but the General Assembly should enact laws specifically targeted to that behavior and not rely on an out-of-date, overly broad, unconstitutional law to prosecute those very serious crimes."

MacDonald's attorney, Benjamin E. Rosenberg, did not immediately return a telephone message.

___

Associated Press writer Jesse Holland in Washington, D.C., contributed to this report.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Driver-less cars highlights at NY Auto Show

    Driver-less cars highlights at NY Auto Show

    Friday, April 18 2014 1:46 PM EDT2014-04-18 17:46:00 GMT
    The future is here when it comes to vehicles. The auto industry has packed nearly 1,000 automobiles into the Jacob Javits Center on Manhattan's West Side for the 2014 NY Auto Show.   Among the 'must-sees' is a hydrogen-powered vehicle and a prototype with cameras that allow you to see the ground underneath as you drive over it.
    The future is here when it comes to vehicles. The auto industry has packed nearly 1,000 automobiles into the Jacob Javits Center on Manhattan's West Side for the 2014 NY Auto Show.   Among the 'must-sees' is a hydrogen-powered vehicle and a prototype with cameras that allow you to see the ground underneath as you drive over it.
  • Christians around world mark Good Friday

    Christians around world mark Good Friday

    Friday, April 18 2014 1:34 PM EDT2014-04-18 17:34:50 GMT
    From the Holy Land to the streets of New York City, Christians have commemorated the crucifixion of Jesus Christ in Good Friday prayers and processions. Thousands of Christian pilgrims filled the cobblestone alleyways of the Old City on Friday along the Via Dolorosa, Latin for the "Way of Suffering." In NYC, Timothy Cardinal Dolan and Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio lead followers across the Brooklyn Bridge.
    From the Holy Land to the streets of New York City, Christians have commemorated the crucifixion of Jesus Christ in Good Friday prayers and processions. Thousands of Christian pilgrims filled the cobblestone alleyways of the Old City on Friday along the Via Dolorosa, Latin for the "Way of Suffering." In NYC, Timothy Cardinal Dolan and Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio lead followers across the Brooklyn Bridge.
  • NJ woman sues over "8theist" plate

    NJ woman sues over "8theist" plate

    Friday, April 18 2014 12:08 PM EDT2014-04-18 16:08:10 GMT
    New Jersey NewsNew Jersey News
    A New Jersey woman has filed a lawsuit against the state's Motor Vehicle Commission, claiming the agency rejected her application for a license plate proclaiming she's an Atheist. Shannon Morgan filed the suit in federal court, saying the rejection of a plate reading "8THEIST" is a violation of her First Amendment rights. The Maurice River Township woman claims plates reading "BAPTIST" have been approved.
    A New Jersey woman has filed a lawsuit against the state's Motor Vehicle Commission, claiming the agency rejected her application for a license plate proclaiming she's an Atheist. Shannon Morgan filed the suit in federal court, saying the rejection of a plate reading "8THEIST" is a violation of her First Amendment rights. The Maurice River Township woman claims plates reading "BAPTIST" have been approved.

Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices