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Jury Rules Against Gay Convict in Rape Case

A jury has ruled against Roderick Johnson in his lawsuit against 6 Texas Department of Criminal Justice officials for not intervening to protect him after repeated rapes in a Texas prison. Background on the case is here.

A gay, black man, Johnson reportedly was raped by more than one hundred men--nearly every day for 18 months.

It was a legal struggle for Johnson to even get his case to Court. Ultimately, the ACLU was able to persuade the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals that he had a right to bring it. The court ruled:

"We conclude that Johnson's grievances were sufficient to give prison officials fair notice that there might have been a sexual orientation-related aspect to Johnson's problem," the judges wrote in the ruling. Judges, citing a 1994 Supreme Court decision that officials have a duty to protect inmates from violent prisoners, also ruled that the case can proceed under the Eighth Amendment's protection against cruel and unusual punishment.

So what was the jury thinking? Here's a clue from today's AP article:

The defendants and other prison employees testified that they could not substantiate Johnson's half a dozen or so rape claims because he changed his stories or there was no medical evidence. They said Johnson usually seemed upbeat in prison, wearing tight pants and flirting with a corrections officer.

So he asked to be a sex slave?

Five current prisoners testified, including one who said inmates had sex with Johnson and paid the prison gang that owned him with commissary items worth $3 to $7.

Unfortunately, this verdict will result in fewer inmates being willing to bring rape lawsuits. Aside from being a shame for Johnson, it's a slap in the face to all violated inmates.

Update: The jurors explain their verdict.

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  • Re: Jury Rules Against Gay Convict in Rape Case (none / 0) (#1)
    by Nowonmai on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:08 PM EST
    So what was the jury thinking? Here's a clue from today's AP article: The defendants and other prison employees testified that they could not substantiate Johnson's half a dozen or so rape claims because he changed his stories or there was no medical evidence. They said Johnson usually seemed upbeat in prison, wearing tight pants and flirting with a corrections officer.
    Of course there was no medical evidence, as making complaints would have no good whatsoever, and if he had gone higher up the official prison foodchain, he w/could have been mauled even worse. How naive can those jurors be??? How many times in rape cases are they going to pick on what the rape victim was wearing as an excuse? He would have been raped even if he had been wearing baggy overalls,fergossakes. As for changing his story, I would like to see any of those jurors repeatedly raped by different persons over a period of 18 months, and see if they can remeber all details perfectly.

    Re: Jury Rules Against Gay Convict in Rape Case (none / 0) (#2)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:08 PM EST
    Whatever happened to the Rape Prevention Act that Bush was claiming would address this issue? Judging by Gitmo, I suppose he is not a fan of the opponents to cruel and unusual punishment.

    Re: Jury Rules Against Gay Convict in Rape Case (none / 0) (#3)
    by cpinva on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:08 PM EST
    let's be blunt here: for the most part, prisoners are "out of sight, out of mind" to the average person. whatever happens to them in prison, they deserve it, for breaking whatever law got them there in the first place. that this guy is gay and a minority just put him further down the food chain, as far as the average juror is concerned. we have yet, as a society, decided what it is we want our prisons to do: rehabilitate or simply punish. absent video tape, it is rare that a police officer is convicted for using undue force. hell, even with tape, most jurors will vote to acquit, fearing the potential "consequences" if they don't. the same goes for prison personnel. to be even blunter, most convicts aren't angels, and we don't want them near us. so, whatever happens inside the walls is fine by us, as long as we're left alone. frankly, i'm surprised florida or the feds haven't re-opened the facility on the dry tortugas.

    Re: Jury Rules Against Gay Convict in Rape Case (none / 0) (#4)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:08 PM EST
    It will be interesting to see how quickly Glenn Reynolds picks up on this. As you know, he is a strong advocate against prison rape.

    Re: Jury Rules Against Gay Convict in Rape Case (none / 0) (#5)
    by scarshapedstar on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:08 PM EST
    Somebody please explain to me how looking the other way at things like this is somehow morally superior to Saddam Hussein's rape rooms.

    Re: Jury Rules Against Gay Convict in Rape Case (none / 0) (#6)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:08 PM EST
    What are they thinking in Texas? For cryin' out loud! Install video cameras immediately.

    Re: Jury Rules Against Gay Convict in Rape Case (none / 0) (#7)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:08 PM EST
    Somebody please explain to me how looking the other way at things like this is somehow morally superior to Saddam Hussein's rape rooms.
    SSS-Well, under SH it was ordered and carried out by the prison officials. In Texas, it's done by the inmates, while the prison officials look the other way with a wink and a nod. Not nearly enough difference IMNSHO. Fed-upinOH- It was likely dropped because it would help undermine the "War On Terra". At least, it would in wingnut land.

    Re: Jury Rules Against Gay Convict in Rape Case (none / 0) (#8)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:05:09 PM EST
    my fiance is in the joint for a cop that broke three of his ribs on the front quarter panel of our car, then wrote him up for attempt to disarm and battery to an officer (no vid, no prints, no bruises, no pics) so even all the ways up here in WI *loves prisons!* I can attest to the brotheren mentality and the way things really are for 'offenders' with cops and guards. it turns my stomach. cops and guards can lie under oath, change the laws and the laws of physics, but they are the good guys... inmates or former inmates don't have any crediblilty. it's sickens me cos I know some cops and guards much worse than even the most hardened murderer. when you work in these places, I think that the guards are more conditioned than the inmates.