By Scott Tibbs, June 27, 2008
Representative James Fagan, a Democrat in the Massachusetts House of Representatives and a criminal defense attorney, made a speech on the House floor where he promised to psychologically abuse children who have been raped. He claims this would be necessary to defend his clients in the event Jessica's Law is passed.
His depraved comments are below:
|I'm gonna rip them apart. I'm going to make sure that the rest of their life is ruined, that when they're 8 years old, they throw up; when they're 12 years old, they won't sleep; when they're 19 years old, they'll have nightmares and they'll never have a relationship with anybody.|
I sent him an e-mail about his comments, which is quoted below. I doubt he will respond to or even read the e-mail I sent him. As much as I wanted to rip into him, I am sure a large number of people have already done that. There is no rant I could write that he has not already seen a dozen times. Instead, I decided to appeal to him as a human being and address him with respect (which he does not deserve) and give him the chance to repent:
-------- Original Message --------
Subject: "I'm gonna rip them apart..."
Date: Thu, 26 Jun 2008 23:07:55 -0400
From: Scott Tibbs <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I am sure you have been inundated with hate mail by now about your comments on Jessica's Law. With that in mind, I will keep this e-mail reasonable and civil.
I understand that, as a defense attorney, you are obligated to do what you can to protect your clients. This is reasonable. Our adversarial system of justice demands that from defense attorneys, and our criminal justice system is founded on the principle of "innocent until proven guilty." Frankly, I have been concerned for years now that our criminal justice system has become too focused on "getting" the bad guys and not concerned enough with due process and whether justice is truly done.
Defense attorneys are often looked down on, especially those who defend those accused of the worst crimes. But defense attorneys are necessary, because the person accused might not even be guilty. Convicting an innocent person is a double injustice, because one person goes to prison for a crime he didn't commit while the guilty party is free to victimize more people.
But while your obligations as a defense attorney to represent your client to the best of your ability are clear, I am disappointed and angered by your comments on the floor of the House. You do not have to psychologically and verbally abuse children who have been raped in order to prove your case. You do not have to inflict permanent emotional and psychological damage on a child in order to gain a "not guilty" verdict. Even suggesting that you would do that is sick and depraved.
A child who has been raped has already suffered permanent damage. That child may suffer physically for the rest of his or her life. That child may never be able to live a normal life because of the demonic actions of perverts like John Couey. The last thing that child needs is to be verbally abused by a defense attorney. You can question the victim without seeking to inflict permanent psychological damage.
What you have done with your ill-tempered rant on the floor of the House, sir, is endanger the ability of all criminal defense attorneys to do their job and you have made it easier to put innocent people at risk of losing their liberty. Your comments serve only to create an angry backlash that could find its way into legislation restricting what defense attorneys may do to protect their clients. And the pendulum may swing too far in the other direction as the anger-fueled backlash prompts elected officials to be tough on crime.
I strongly encourage you to reconsider your unfortunate comments and issue a retraction and an apology. I urge you to apologize to Mark Lunsford in person and away from television cameras - not in a media spectacle but in a man-to-man conversation where you recognize your sin and repent of it.