Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Naked People

This is Eric Williamson.  He is a 29 year old commercial diver who lives in Springfield, Virginia in a house he and several of his diver buddies rent from Williamsons boss.  He is also a father of a young girl, who for my knowledge lives with her mom.  Apparently he was arrested in 2009 for indecent exposure after being accused by an unidentified women, who is later identified as the wife of a Fairfax County police officer, for purposely exposing himself to her and her 7 year old son.
                The police reports state that there were two complaints filed at the same address for a man who was exposing himself to passer bys.  The first call came in at 6:40 am.  However when the cops arrived at the scene the “victim” was nowhere to be found.  The house in question was dark and quiet with no signs of movement at the residence.  The second call came in two hours later.  The women or “victim” alleged that Williamson exposed himself (twice) knowingly (the woman in question says he posed at both places of exposure) while her son and she were walking on a path in between the houses.  Once at the carport storm door and the next at the front window of the house.  However, when people began to ask about this supposed path in between the houses it came up that the path was not in fact between the houses but on the private property that Williamson and his buddies were renting.
*So in all legal and technical definition this woman and her son were trespassing on private property.  They cannot be charged to my knowledge because there were no “No Trespassing” signs posted on the property and thus it is not considered trespassing.
                Williamson claims that he never knowingly exposed himself to anyone, more specifically that he never posed in any doorway or window.  He says he was naked getting his coffee at 8:30 am with no knowledge that anyone could see him.  However Judge Ian M. O’Flaherty ruled that “the extending nudity “indicates an obscene display””, and found Williamson guilty.  Williamsons lawyers tried to get his arrest and statements to the police suppressed, but both motions were denied by Fairfax Circuit Court Judge Marum Roush.  Good news is new information concerning the case has come up so it will be used in his April 7th trial date.
                The officers who responded to the second call at about 9:16 am said that the house was dark and quiet with no movement within the residence or signs of forced entry and no one was around to speak to.  However the cops after making their way towards to carport door found a panel on the interior door (the door behind the storm door) had been broken.  So with no warrant or probably cause that there was a robbery in progress or anyone inside was in imment danger, the cops entered the household because the door was unlocked.  They claim to have called loudly “Fairfax County police, is anyone here?” several times before entering the resident with guns drawn.
*Now I will not fault the cops for entering the house with guns drawn.  Many times officers in Fairfax encounter suspects with weapons.  Many cops have been killed for not taking such precautions that could mean a second of life that would have allowed them to survive.  Nor do I find fault with any cops who shoot first IF a suspect has given them enough probable cause to be believed to be carrying a loaded weapon with the intent to kill or harm.
                After clearing the main floor the cops proceeded upstairs where they found Williamson laying face down on his bed clothed in pajama bottoms with his hands under stomach.  Asked to show his hand and provide some form of identification Williamson was then asked who was walking around naked downstairs at the times of the calls.  Williamson first said that it could have been one of his roommates and then changed his story to he was up making coffee and he might have been in the buff.  The cop then left the residence and stood out by their cars when Williamson exited the house with an open alcoholic beverage.  Informed that this is illegal (which according to I believe Virginia State Laws (don’t quote me on that) it is illegal to have or open any alcoholic beverage on the front lawn of your property.  Then the Officers said that they requested a photo of Williamson, after having taken to photo the officers then drove over to the second “victims” (or “peeping tom/trespassers”) house and showed the picture by which Williamson was identified.  The officers then traveled back to Williamson residence and arrested him, wanting to charge him with felony indecent exposure simply because a child was involved.  However the charge was reduced to a misdemeanor.
                When walking home from the jail after he was processed Williamson was called by his boss asking why he’d been arrested for exposing himself to children and then told to pack his things and get gone as soon as possible.
*I would think this was illegal, but I’m not sure on that.  However I think the cops had no right to call his boss and tell his boss he’d been arrested for exposing himself to a child when it was just an arrest with no real hard facts or a for sure guilty or not guilty verdict on the books.
                Williamson lawyer is currently trying to get the arrest thrown out on the grounds that it was illegal.  The cops are saying that the arrest was in fact legit and that they didn’t have a warrant because they didn’t know the offenders name and had to enter the premise to find out who was the offender.
*I would argue that in order to obtain a warrant the cops a) had no factual proof of anything and thus would have been denied a warrant and b) they would have only had to place the property owners name on the warrant to be able to enter into the premise and thus arrest whomever they see fit as fitting these charges.
                Young, Williamson lawyers, argues that they could have gotten a warrant without having to find out who he was.  Young is also arguing that the photo that was taken was not shown to the “victim” in a photo lineup which is basic police procedure and was thus “fruit of the poisonous tree”.  However Judge Roush said that the cops were within their legal right to enter the house if there was evidence of criminal activity citing the broken window pane on the interior of the interior door.
*Now dear readers, I’m assuming a few of you are laughing at why this was even taken to court.  I am too.  Firstly the man was starker’s in his own kitchen where he thought he was alone.  I’d bet money that if this woman had obeyed the laws of privacy and wasn’t trespassing she wouldn’t have become a peeping tom.  Is it really this guys fault that this women decided to cut through his property in order to get her son to school (late I might since schools up there start at like between 7:30-8:30 am) and she ended up with an eyeful?  If it bothered you that much you could have just said something to the man after you dropped your son off lady.  What you have started ma’am is a battle against the civil liberties of Americans, when it was you in fact who was in the wrong.  But what’s it to this lady?  She’s not going to be tried for trespassing or being a peeping tom, because her husband is a Fairfax County police officer and she’s an upstanding member of the community (insert disgusted face here).  If being an upstanding member of society means walking across peoples property like you own it and peering into peoples windows as you go by their houses UNEXPECTEDLY, might I point out, then man our upstanding communities will be gone in 5 years.
You know I’m sorry you got an eyeful so early in the morning.  However you are punishing this man because you decided to trespass on private property without consent from the owner.  If you happened to look up and see his junk oh well.  He wasn’t aware you were on his property that early in the morning, that close to his house.  If it bothered you because you thought ‘Oh poor Timmy, he’s going to see a future preview of what his anatomy will look like’ then you should have put your son on the other side of you and kept walking distracting him til you were at a far enough away distance.  Speaking of which, your son, well, it’s not like he’s never seen a penis or is going to see a penis.  It’s called P.E. and locker rooms.  It’ll come in time.  I’m just amazed at the prudery that some people display today.  This guy is facing a $2,000 fine and up to a year in jail and depending on the counties/state that he lives in, could be looking at being forced to register as a sex offender.  You are ruining a man’s life here!!!
Not to mention the cops here tainted practically everything.  I’m surprised this even managed to make it as far as it did.  It should have been thrown out because the police blundered their way through it breaking so many of Williamson civil liberties and rights it’s not even funny.  If this man had purposely stood at these windows and flashed everyone as they went by I’d be more inclined to believe it.  However as it stands, he was found sleeping in his bed with his pajama pants on.  Ma’am he didn’t stand there and flash you repeatedly or follow you or your child anywhere trying to show his goods.  Stop acting like you are the patron saint of the neighborhood and get over yourself.
I think a poster on one of the articles links I listed above said it best.  “People should spend 24 hours minding their own business and 24 hours keeping their own noses in their own business”.  Just think, if she had only decided to walk on the public property (i.e sidewalk), and not barge through this man’s yard she wouldn’t be in the position she is now.
It’s a sad day when idiotic complaints such as these with such botched police work make it to court.  Now I’m not saying the police are forever wrong, because they aren’t.  However in this situation it could have been handled better and the county of Fairfax might have been able to walk away with their dignity.  As it stands now, well, let’s get real here.  No one can prove this man intentionally exposed himself to a child and his mother.
And that’s my rant for today.

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