Sitting in judgment of another human being is difficult. This case in particular has not been an easy one … [with] material that degrades the human spirit.
(More about this grisly case, after the jump.)
Not unlike the Casey Anthony case, this is one that non-lawyers have been following quite closely. So let’s get you up to speed, in case you as the resident lawyer or law student get questioned about it at the next family reunion. What could be more appetizing at a Passover Seder or Easter brunch than talk about cannibalism?
In fairness to Gilberto Valle, there’s no evidence that he successfully kidnapped, killed, or ate anyone. But as you’ll all recall from Criminal Law, that’s not required for a conspiracy conviction (even though some overt act is required, at least under the federal statute). That is the heart (hehe) of the disagreement between the prosecution and the defense:
A New York City police officer was convicted on Tuesday of plotting to kidnap, cook and eat women following a trial that shed light on an underworld of people who derive pleasure from fantasizing online about cannibalism….
Prosecutors said Valle, 28, who was dubbed the “cannibal cop” by the tabloid media, crossed the line from fantasy to reality by taking specific action in conspiring to kidnap women. Valle’s attorney, Julia Gatto, argued that her client was merely engaged in online fantasy role playing….
“This is a dangerous prosecution when we start opening up our minds and prosecuting what’s inside our brains and not in the real world,” Gatto said. “We totally believe the government did not prove their case and the jury couldn’t get past the thoughts.”
Valle’s lawyers say they will appeal. Sentencing is set for June 19; Valle could receive up to life in prison.
If Valle winds up behind bars, I’d keep him off kitchen duty. He might whip up something that would make nutriloaf sound appealing.
New York’s ‘cannibal cop’ convicted of plot to kidnap women [Thomson Reuters News & Insight]
Statement Of Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara On The Conviction Of New York City Police Officer Gilberto Valle [U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York]