Skip to comments.Repeat sex offender freed after Spokane jury fails to commit him
Posted on 11/10/2005 12:41:04 PM PST by Former Military Chick
SPOKANE, Wash. -- A repeat sex offender has been freed because a Spokane County Superior Court jury found that he met only three of the four requirements for being committed indefinitely as a violent sexual predator.
The decision Wednesday in the case of James M. White, 54, was believed to be only the second jury verdict of its kind in more than 150 such proceedings since the sexual predator commitment law took effect in 1990.
Assistant Attorney General Krista K. Bush asked for 48 hours to warn White's victims and to consider filing an appeal that might keep him behind bars, but Superior Court Judge Gregory D. Sypolt said that under state law White had was entitled to immediate release.
One of White's former girlfriends has offered to let him live with her, lawyers in the case said. He still must register as a sex offender.
News reports indicate the first jury verdict of a similar kind was in 2003 in Seattle, when a King County Superior Court jury decided not to have Curtis Shane Thompson locked up. About a year later Thompson was charged with breaking into a woman's apartment and raping her and with attacking two women in an elevator.
The jury in White's civil commitment case determined that he had been convicted of sexual violence, has a mental abnormality that results in serious difficulty in controlling is sexual behavior and is likely to commit more violent sex crimes if he is not confined, but the panel ruled that prosecutors failed to prove he committed a "recent overt act."
That element would not have come into play if state officials had filed for commitment before White was released from prison in May 2000. Instead, they acted only after he was returned to prison for parole violation on a rape complaint by a woman who lived with him for 5 1/2 months at the Otis Hotel.
Because of a state Supreme Court ruling, prosecutors had to prove she was raped to win a commitment order. The woman said White struck her and forced her to have sex against her will, but jurors also were told she did not accuse him of rape right away and continued to live with him afterward.
White convicted of sexually assaulting a woman at knifepoint on Valentine's Day 1974 in front of the victim's two young children, whom he slapped when they screamed. Evidence showed he White and a woman accomplice abducted the victim and her children before the assault.
Less than a year after his release from prison in December 1977, records show, White molested a 5-year-old girl in Snohomish County, received a 10-year suspended sentence and was sent to Eastern State Hospital for outpatient treatment as a sexual psychopath.
His probation was revoked when he exposed himself to three girls in downtown Spokane in 1982.
White was released from prison in January 1988 but, nearly six years later, was convicted of trying to kidnap a 17-year-old Spokane girl at knifepoint as she waited for a bus. Investigators found that he fondled the struggling teenager and dragged her toward his car, then fled when a motorist approached.
Eastern State Hospital officials subsequently reported that White acknowledged two rapes for which he was never charged, and testimony indicated he also has frequently exposed himself to girls in public places - including the mental institution, where he reportedly flashed a 12-year-old girl who had come to visit her father.
So the state will say oops when he molests again?
A modern day Star Chamber for repeat sexual offenders? You bet! His choice: stay in jail, intact, or walk free without. It's moot for now as he's out among the unsuspecting. Care to place a bet as to when he'll repeat?
What, did they pick a jury full of rapists to sit in judgment of this guy? Seems like he's the kind of person who ought be be locked away from society forever, or until certain of his private parts fall off or are removed. The girlfriend sounds like a menace to society, too.
"Assistant Attorney General Krista K. Bush"
It IS Bush's fault!
Remind me to retain you as an expert on testifying on future events.
My guess is that the jury was heavily instructed as to what they had to find, and didn't want to buck the judge.
This guy met three of four requirements. However, the fourth, A RECENT OVERT ACT, had not been proven.
But then, there are some crimes that should just receive the judgment of death. England did that for all felonies once.
Of course, England tried to deport all their criminals too! The result? Georgia, Australia, and a criminal element still present in England.
It sort of lays the foundation for vigilantes.
"prosecutors failed to prove he committed a "recent overt act."
I am sure they will get another chance soon to prove this.
But then, maybe it was lost.
It is past time to make the judges and officials who are resposible for this guy being on the street responsible in a court of law.
"Evidence showed he White and a woman accomplice abducted the victim and her children before the assault. "
"One of White's former girlfriends has offered to let him live with her, lawyers in the case said. "
So, this dumb broad is his next accomplice?
But hey, the renound Mr. Kinsey said that the problem is SOCIAL MORALS!!
(Just watched the movie Kinsey last and after I got through barfing I decided this man must have been a monster if this was the white washed version of him. Jeez!)
Sounds like the prosecution screwed up by not petitioning to have him committed prior to his release from prison. Bet they won't make that mistake again any time soon.
I agree the prosecutor screwed up, but the real problem lies with the legislators who wrote this law. It requires that the offender be convicted of sexual violence, has a mental abnormality that results in difficulty controlling his sexual behavior, and be likely to commit more violent sex crimes if not confined. They then add on the requirement of a recent overt act. Why? Shouldn't it be enough that he's likely to commit more violent sex acts. It's kind of like one dog bite for free.
"Care to place a bet as to when he'll repeat?"
Looks like he's running about 5 to 6 years between, but that could be due to the whole prison thing. I guess the question is not when he'll repeat, but when he'll next get caught!
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