Thread: Courts and Politics of Convience
03-22-2004, 05:39 PM #1
Courts and Politics of Convience
Found it interesting, this coming from the court that decided to re-define the term "marriage" from what it acknowledged was the common and everyday use to a new definition (based on, of all things, Canadian court precedence), so that it could approve gay marriage
High court: incest law doesn't apply to stepparents
By Martin Finucane, Associated Press, 3/22/2004 15:18
BOSTON (AP) The state's highest court ruled Monday that the state's law against incest doesn't apply to stepparents and said it was up to the Legislature to enact a ban.
Ruling in the case of a 60-year-old man accused of having sex with his teenage stepdaughter, the Supreme Judicial Court said under the current law the incest prohibition applies only to natural or adoptive parents.
''While the idea that this form of 'incest' may not be criminal may be repugnant to many, 'the words of [a ] statute cannot be stretched beyond their fair meaning in order to relieve against what may appear to be a hard case,''' the court said, citing a phrase from an earlier ruling.
''We leave it to the Legislature to expand the incest prohibition if it so chooses,'' the court said in its opinion, written by Justice Robert Cordy.
In a dissenting opinion, Justice John Greaney said the majority had reached a ''startling result'' based on ''faulty analysis.''
''As a result of the court's decision, we are left with an unfortunate state of affairs that frustrates legislative intent and undermines the value and stability of the family as the core unit of society,'' Greaney wrote.
Defendant Dawud Rahim faces a number of other charges in addition to incest, including rape and illegal wiretapping. He has been in jail for more than two years awaiting trial in Suffolk County, said his lawyer, Robert Zanello.
''If the Legislature intended for this type of relationship to be prohibited and punishable under the incest statute, then it's got to be specifically stated,'' Zanello said.
Nancy Hathaway, the Suffolk County prosecutor who worked on the case, did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
Twenty other states only punish incest by blood relatives, the court noted.
Wendy Murphy, a professor at the New England School of Law, said she appreciated the court's ruling ''in a technical sense,'' but she questioned why the justices didn't recognize the role of stepparents in modern families when they have recognized the changing nature of families in other cases.
For instance, the SJC noted the ''changing realities of the American family'' in its landmark decision in November that found it was unconstitutional to ban gay marriage in the state.
''To the child being exploited, the biology question is irrelevant,'' Murphy said.
IACOJ Canine Officer
03-23-2004, 09:47 AM #2
And people wonder why I can't wait to leave the freakin' COmmonwealth of Massachusetts.............
three more months, only three mroe months man."Too many people spend money they haven't earned, to buy things they don't want, to impress people they don't like." Will Rogers
The borrower is slave to the lender. Proverbs 22:7 - Debt free since 10/5/2009.
"No man's life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session." - New York Judge Gideon Tucker
"As Americans we must always remember that we all have a common enemy, an enemy that is dangerous, powerful and relentless. I refer, of course, to the federal government." - Dave Barry
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