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be punished, but the General Assembly should enact laws specifically targeted to that behavior and not rely on an out-of-date, overly broad, unconstitutional law to prosecute those very serious crimes."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>>

  • NYPD Twitter hashtag backfires

    NYPD Twitter hashtag backfires

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 6:23 AM EDT2014-04-23 10:23:11 GMT
    A NYPD plan intended to better connect with the community seems to have backfired a bit. The police department asked its twitter followers to share pictures of themselves with New York City police officers using the hashtag "myNYPD." Some did share nice pictures, but others not so much.Some of the first pictures posted showed regular citizens standing with very friendly looking police officers.
    A NYPD plan intended to better connect with the community seems to have backfired a bit. The police department asked its twitter followers to share pictures of themselves with New York City police officers using the hashtag "myNYPD." Some did share nice pictures, but others not so much.Some of the first pictures posted showed regular citizens standing with very friendly looking police officers.
  • Caesars enters New York casino competition

    Caesars enters New York casino competition

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 10:52 PM EDT2014-04-23 02:52:22 GMT
    Caesars Entertainment entered the competition to open a casino in upstate New York on Tuesday with a proposal to build a $750 million complex 50 miles north of New York City. The complex would include a casino, a hotel and a meeting space and would be located in Woodbury, in Orange County. The Las Vegas-based Caesars, which operates 52 casinos around the world, has submitted a $1 million casino license application fee to state gambling regulators.
    Caesars Entertainment entered the competition to open a casino in upstate New York on Tuesday with a proposal to build a $750 million complex 50 miles north of New York City. The complex would include a casino, a hotel and a meeting space and would be located in Woodbury, in Orange County. The Las Vegas-based Caesars, which operates 52 casinos around the world, has submitted a $1 million casino license application fee to state gambling regulators.
  • Hoax 'swatting' call sends dozens of cops to LI home

    Hoax 'swatting' call sends dozens of cops to LI home

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 10:43 PM EDT2014-04-23 02:43:53 GMT
    Heavily armed police officers descended on a home in Long Beach, Long Island, Tuesday afternoon thinking they might find a grisly murder scene. Instead they found a terrified woman who had no clue what they were talking about and her teenaged son playing video games. "We received a phone call from a gentleman who stated he had just shot his mother and his brother," Long Beach Police Commissioner Michael Tangney said. "Unfortunately, this is a terrible national problem for law enforcement."
    Heavily armed police officers descended on a home in Long Beach, Long Island, Tuesday afternoon thinking they might find a grisly murder scene. Instead they found a terrified woman who had no clue what they were talking about and her teenaged son playing video games. "We received a phone call from a gentleman who stated he had just shot his mother and his brother," Long Beach Police Commissioner Michael Tangney said. "Unfortunately, this is a terrible national problem for law enforcement."
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