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rodbarnett Donating Member (577 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-23-04 08:48 AM
Original message
A Southern Legal Lynching Is Almost Lethal
Edited on Fri Jan-23-04 08:52 AM by rodbarnett
January 23, 2004


There is a young man in Georgia who almost beat the odds. An African-American born to a 15-year-old, drug-addicted mother and an absent father, Marcus Dixon nonetheless went on to become an honor student and all-state football star. His football skills, 3.96 grade-point average and 1,200 score on his SAT won him a full scholarship to Vanderbilt University.

Dixon, 19, was supposed to enter Vanderbilt last fall. Instead, he is serving a 10-year prison sentence with no chance of parole for having consensual sex when he was 18 years old with a white girl who was three months shy of 16. He is the only person in Georgia history this close in age to his victim to be convicted of "aggravated child molestation," a charge that was intended to protect children from predatory adults, not imprison teenagers for having sex with other teenagers.

http://www.newsday.com/news/opinion/ny-vpede233638311ja...
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gWbush is Mabus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-23-04 08:56 AM
Response to Original message
1. that's why we need
$5 billion in abstinence education (sarcasm)
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SheepyMcSheepster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-23-04 09:04 AM
Response to Original message
2. isn't it nice how janklow gets 100 days for killing someone
and this guy gets 10 years.
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SoCalDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-23-04 09:14 AM
Response to Original message
3. I saw this on some news magazine show..
I don't understand why people think that teens are "abstinate".. Teens have always and always will have sex together..

The people who raised this young man did not impress upon him enough, to be CAREFUL..

He apparently had two other "incidents" during the two previous years, and these worked against him..bigtime.. One was indecent exposure, and the other was groping a girl on the track..

Young athletes cannot seem (sometimes) to grasp the fact that they WILL get themselves into trouble if they are not careful..

He was 18 and she was 15.. That's the problem.. and she was white.. Even if she did come on to him, he should have known better..

He did not deserve the punishment that he received, but he is not blameless here.. I hope that something can be done to minimize his sentence.. It's a shame to have his life ruined like that, but I have seen this kind of thing over and over with athletes.. They have the idea that they can do no wrong, and someone will always "fix" things for them..
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gbwarming Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-23-04 09:56 AM
Response to Reply #3
4. He was aquitted of rape. The harsh sentance is for 'loss of virginity' in
You're right that athletes _should_ be held to the same standards as everyone else. This case is grossly unfair and seems to hinge on defining loss of virginity itself as an injury. The other charge, statutory rape is a misdemeanor.

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/01/19/eveningnews/m...
But the prosecution had added another charge: aggravated child molestation. Meant to address sexual predators, it applies when a child is injured during "an immoral or indecent act." The jury was told they could consider the girl's loss of virginity an injury.

http://www.childrensdefense.org/release040120.php
Dixon was 18 years old when a jury took only 20 minutes to acquit him of forcible rape, aggravated assault, false imprisonment, and sexual battery charges. The girl, who is White, was just three months shy of her 16th birthday. Dixon was convicted of statutory rape, a misdemeanor that turns solely on the fact that the girl was not yet 16, and aggravated child molestation. The latter charge is a felony that carries a mandatory minimum 10-year sentence.

Georgia State Representative, Tyrone Brooks, the author of the aggravated child molestation statute, says the law was intended to protect children from adult sexual predators, not to punish teenagers engaging in sexual activity. Consistent with Representative Brooks's view, Georgia's statutory rape provision
was reduced in 1996 to a misdemeanor, which carries a maximum sentence of no more than one year.

In its amicus brief, CDF argues that the decision of the trial court to allow Dixon's conviction and sentence for aggravated child molestation is erroneous and not in keeping with the growing national trend away from harsh penalties for teenage sexual activity. A majority of states have passed so-called "Romeo and Juliet" laws that decriminalize consensual sex between teens in just such situations. It is Georgia's statutory rape provision that applied to the facts of the case. CDF argues that the felony aggravated child molestation statute is grossly misapplied.



Amici:

Child Welfare League of America
Christian Methodist Episcopal Church
Justice Policy Institute
Juvenile Law Center
National Association of Counsel for Children
National Center for Youth Law
National Council of Churches
Northwestern University Children and Family Justice Law Center
Progressive National Baptist Convention, Inc.
Southern Center for Human Rights
Southern Juvenile Defender Center
United Church of Christ
Womens Missionary Society of the African Methodist Episcopal Church
Youth Law Center
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salin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-23-04 10:11 AM
Response to Reply #4
5. Thanks for the additional information
this story is simply appalling.
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The Backlash Cometh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-23-04 10:14 AM
Response to Reply #4
6. Life lessons for minorities
My children have high school courses called Life lessons that range from proper hygiene to learning how to interview to get a job. Added to that should be a module for minorities. It should be a frank discussion and a guest speaker should say something like this:

"Look, statistically, you have a greater chance of being pulled over for a traffic stop than a white driver. Once they do that, the police will easily come up with a legal reason to search your entire car. Always assume they're after you, because you never know what kind of recruits they're taking at the police department and if you'll bump into that particular cop one night. And prosecutors and judges are always on the police's side. They can drag your comatose body out of lock-up and if there isn't a camera around to document it, no one will notice and no one will care. And that's just the legal authorities. If it were up to the white community of common citizens, things would be far worse. In sum, live like a monk among white people and celebrate life with your own."

In my neighborhood we have the families of white children who have committed pranks. But I tell my children not to let their hair down in this neighborhood, because what is seen as childhood pranks for white children is considered vandalism if minorities do the same thing.
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Tansy_Gold Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-23-04 10:38 AM
Response to Reply #6
7. non-minority, aka "white," kids should have this class, too
Some of the most appalling comments about women I've ever actually heard in person were made in a "women and law" class I took -- by apparently and otherwise normal white males. Because they are usually the "dominant" social group but were in a distinct minority in this class, they went on the defensive and tried to justify the most disgusting behavior. When the absurdity of their statements was thrown back in their faces and they HAD to see the situation from the other side, they got a real strong dose of reality.

Now, mind you, these were guys who, for the most part, were either police or parole officers who had at least some motivation for changing their ways, if you will, toward women. But the mere fact that they continued to hold such beliefs -- one guy actually said that if he took a woman out to dinner and a show and spent $100 bucks on her, he felt he had a "right" to have sex with her -- shows that the "majority" really needs an education.
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The Backlash Cometh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-23-04 01:06 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. Angry white man in training
Thank you for your comments. Scary, indeed. But it's true. White males somehow think that their entitlements are God-given.

Here's a little story about the last one I had a run-in with:

I took a higher level class which discussed topics like Affirmative Action and the ratio of whites to minorities in the classroom was something like 4 to 1. When the topic of AA came up the whites just blasted the usual "why do they get preferential treatment" and "why do we make exceptions for them," blah, blah, blah. One more enlightened white girl commented, "I understand why it started, but when is it going to stop?" To which I replied that the inequities in our society are due to cronyism and preferential treatment in the private sector. In plain English, you all keep giving the business to your white Rotary Club buddies and your Country Club friends. The inequities become even more entrenched when you control the government sector in high numbers in local, state and federal levels. Whites not only have access to juicy contracts, but also the ability to make the laws in this country. So in answer to your question, AA will end when minorities establish their own networks with equal power as yours and can have some say in the way the laws are made." She was an intelligent girl and seemed to understand.

To make a long story short, (too late!) the white male that was the most vocally against AA was the first one to ask for preferential treatment because he received a "C" on the second test. The first test was heavily curved and he was expecting the same treatment for the second. He didn't get it. All throughout the class, I noticed that it was the white students who were asking for the classtime to be shortened and whining about extra-credit to get their grades up. I learned quite a bit in that class.
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