Chris - The Legal Issues - A Prosecutor's Perspective

Alexander Hamilton

kiwifarms.net
Standard Lawyer Disclaimer: I'm a lawyer, but I'm not your lawyer. Nothing I post is legal advice. Nothing I post creates an attorney-client relationship.

So I've seen speculation (and some actual legal information from other lawyers) scattered throughout various threads, and I thought it might be useful/interesting to have a thread for legal issues.

I'm a prosecutor. Not in Virginia. That's about all I'm going to say on that, and you'll just have to take my word for it unless the admins care so much about me claiming that they demand to verify me somehow. And then I'll talk to them. This is my perspective on the legal side of this whole mess. If that's not something that's interesting to you, don't bother reading further.

POSSIBLE CHARGES

So, it looks like we've got multiple counts of some sort of rape and probably multiple counts of some sort of abuse/exploitation of an elderly person, and one count (so far) of violating an EPO.

What do I mean by some sort of rape? Well, as you're probably aware, the law doesn't actually treat rape as a single monolithic crime. And often the law has special rape laws for when someone appears to consent but is legally unable to, such as in the case of minors. You'll often see this referred to as statutory rape. Again, I'm not in Virginia and state laws are gonna vary.

Abuse/exploitation of an elderly person. At a bare minimum, it looks like financial abuse. Chris apparently has control of Barb's accounts and is liberal with them. It could be other kinds of abuse too, depending on what they can prove has been going on.

Violation of the EPO. The EPO forbids crimes against the protected person (Barb). A lot of the analysis I've seen has focused on theft, in terms of the $750.00. I don't love that charge for a few reasons. One is that the required elements may not be present if Chris had control of the accounts. The bigger reason is that theft of that sort of amount is typically a misdemeanor. Financial abuse/exploitation of the elderly is typically a felony.

The rapes, of whatever kind, are all going to be felonies also. In most jurisdictions that I am aware of, violating an EPO for the first time is a misdemeanor.

BUT ALEXANDER, IF THEY DON'T GET DNA CHRIS IS JUST GOING TO GET AWAY WITH IT AGAIN, RIGHT?

Well, actually, no. I've seen a lot of variations on this commentary. Assuming they can be authenticated, the various confessions are actually far and away the best evidence if this went to trial even if they got DNA. Why? Well . . .

The defense has many lines of attack on DNA evidence, none of which require Chris to testify and expose himself to cross-examination. You can attack the DNA expert the State will call. Attach the machinery. Attack the method. Argue for (admittedly really flimsy and stupid) alternative explanations for why that DNA got there.

The confessions, though? Your only line of attack is really that they were lies. So you have to get evidence out about that (the lawyers arguments/statements aren't evidence) and establish some sort of a motive for the lie. This is only really possible if Chris testifies, and that opens him up to cross-examination. Chris will definitely not hold up well under even a gentle polite cross.

OK, BUT WASN'T THIS ENTRAPMENT?

I've seen this one a lot too, and the answer is also no. Entrapment is only a defense when the government does it to you. Random trolls convincing you to do it doesn't meet the legal standard. Also, part of entrapment as a defense is that it's not something you would have done on your own. And based on some of Chris' past statements, that might be a reach.

FINE, BUT CHRIS IS CRAZY. THEY'LL JUST GET HIM OFF WITH AN INSANITY DEFENSE.

Not exactly. You see, legal insanity actually has a specific meaning. Again, it's gonna maybe vary a bit in Virginia but essentially the standard is that you were so insane at the time of the crime that you couldn't appreciate what you were doing and that what you were doing was wrong.

It's perfectly possible to be screamingly clinically insane and yet legally sane. I've seen it. A lot. This can mean you're not competent to stand trial and assist in your own defense, but all that means is the action is halted while we send you to an institution for treatment and once you're stabilized we get you back and finish it up.

Also, not guilty by reason of insanity wouldn't really be getting him off because despite being found not guilty he would then be committed to a mental institution indefinitely until he was no longer criminally insane and a threat to society. That can and often does mean the rest of a person's natural life.

Now, I'm told there's a Virginia law that allows someone to use their autism as a mitigating factor to avoid a custodial sentence. But that isn't the same thing as getting out of it entirely. Just means you're more likely to get probation, which brings us nicely to . . .

OK ALEXANDER, YOU'VE CONVINCED ME. SO THIS MEANS THE START OF THE PRISON SAGA, RIGHT?

Not. Yet.

You see, a prosecutor's job isn't just to slam everyone into prison as fast as possible. As the U.S. Supreme Court put it, a prosecutor "is the representative not of an ordinary party to a controversy, but of a sovereignty whose obligation to govern impartially is as compelling as its obligation to govern at all; and whose interest, therefore, in a criminal prosecution is not that it shall win a case, but that justice shall be done."

What this looks like to every prosecutor is a little different, but there's a lot of considerations that go into what 'justice' looks like on a given case. A big one here is the victim - I suspect that it will eventually come out this $750.00 is a drop in the bucket in terms of how much of Barb's money Chris has spent. There's also the fact that Chris does have mental issues, and remember Virginia prosecutors may have to contend with autism mitigation. And this was a very unique set of circumstances that allowed this to happen - Chris isn't a high risk to reoffend in this manner as long as he's supervised, treated, and not allowed around Barb. And Chris' criminal history is negligible, although certainly proves he doesn't deserve any kind of probation that allows him to avoid conviction - not that I would offer it on these sort of offenses anyway.

So if this were my case, the proposed plea deal probably looks a little like this: A plea of guilty to a single count of rape, a single count of financial abuse of the elderly, and one count violating a misdemeanour. In exchange, what many jurisdictions call a suspended sentence - this is a form of probation, but it counts as a conviction. The incentive isn't to avoid being convicted, it's to avoid prison. So Chris would now be a convicted felon, and a registered sex offender. Also, there would of course be conditions to the probation. Meeting with a probation officer, sex offender therapy, regular therapy, no contact with Barb, and restitution (making the victim whole - so every month he's gonna give us a set amount to put back in her pocket until all the money he took is paid back) would be some of the conditions.

The other thing you have to understand about a suspended sentence is as part of the deal you agree to a sentence within the range from the crimes you pled guilty to. If you violate your probation and it's proven (and the burden at such a hearing is lower than the beyond a reasonable doubt needed to prove you guilty, and there's no jury right at such a hearing) the court will impose that agreed upon amount of prison time. I'd be asking for an agreement to something at the upper end of the range.

And, let's be honest, we all know Chris would spectacularly fail probation and get revoked within the first six months. And then the prison saga would finally begin.

BUT IF THIS DOES GO TO TRIAL, THEY'LL ALL HAVE TO WATCH THE DOCUMENTARY AND KIWIFARMS WILL BE PUT INTO EVIDENCE AND GENO AND NULL WILL BE EXPERT WITNESSES, RIGHT?

I'm sorry to disappoint you, hypothetical reader, but no.

For one thing, there's a rule called the hearsay rule. We can't just introduce whatever statements made out of court we want into evidence and essentially this is a rule about fairness and reliability of evidence.

There's an exception for statements of a party opponent, which in this case would be Chris, which would allow for the videos Chris made, without extra commentary, to be introduced. But they still likely won't be because . . .

Evidence has to be relevant. And also more useful for proving something than it is harmful to your opponent (we call this prejudicial versus probative). In a case where the charges are Chris raping barb, and Chris abusing Barb financially, 99% of all of this nonsense is not only irrelevant and doesn't prove anything, but it is also insanely prejudicial to Chris.

But there is a chance Null, for example, might be called in. If they want to show the jury the messages where Chris admits to taking the money, they would need Null to help authenticate that piece of evidence. But it's easier just to subpoena the bank records and so forth and show that Chris did it that way. And that's the reality for most of the evidence. The admissions by text? Subpoena the text messages from Chris' cellphone company and show they were sent by Chris.

And remember, by the time we're going to trial there's been at least one, maybe more, interrogation/interview. And there's no way Chris doesn't spill his guts, especially when faced with the texts and the call and everything the police tell him they have - he'll do what criminals have always done, and attempt to explain his way out of it.

And in reality, those are the tapes that will be played at trial. Not the calls, or the texts. All of that may very well be reduced to a byline in the direct exam of the police detective where he or she explains how the case came to their attention.

TL;DR

If this is real as it seems to be, Chris is pretty fucked. It's unlikely to go to trial, nor will Chris go to prison right away. More likely a plea-bargain for heavy probation, leading to eventually spectacular failure and revocation to prison. If this does somehow go to trial, rules designed to ensure the fairness of the process will prevent the jury learning 99% of the story that is Chris.

EDIT - HAVING BEEN SHOWN THE RELEVANT LAWS, THERE IS ZERO CHANCE CHRIS' GENDER PLAYS A ROLE IN ANY CRIMINAL CHARGES AVAILABLE.
 
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robobobo

kiwifarms.net
I've gotten the impression over the years that Barb is leaning heavily on Chris's tugboat, the money he "stole" from her account has a decent likelihood of being income generated by his tugboat or patreon. I'm suspecting that theft or financial abuse of Barb will be an uphill fight if someone tries to put that charge on him.

Also extremely relevant is Barb's brain or lack thereof. If she's a mumbling potato, it's a clear-cut rainbow of sexual assault charges against a demented woman who can't consent. But if she's lucid and tells any investigators that he never touched her, things change in a hurry. Or if she's lucid and tells investigators that she did consent, they're both on the hook for incest charges.
 

Alexander Hamilton

kiwifarms.net
I've gotten the impression over the years that Barb is leaning heavily on Chris's tugboat, the money he "stole" from her account has a decent likelihood of being income generated by his tugboat or patreon. I'm suspecting that theft or financial abuse of Barb will be an uphill fight if someone tries to put that charge on him.

Also extremely relevant is Barb's brain or lack thereof. If she's a mumbling potato, it's a clear-cut rainbow of sexual assault charges against a demented woman who can't consent. But if she's lucid and tells any investigators that he never touched her, things change in a hurry. Or if she's lucid and tells investigators that she did consent, they're both on the hook for incest charges.
You're certainly not wrong about any of this. It's entirely possible there is mixing of funds going on. The issue is that Chris seems to acknowledge it's not his money - he told Null he intended to pay it back, not 'Oh that's mine' and acknowledged having control of Barb's account. Also from what I've seen he has his own. A big thing this turns on will be whether both their names are on the account or just hers.

In terms of Barb's lucidity . . . yeah, it's possible. I just don't see it. And Chris' purported statements that she was reluctant and confused and came around don't help him at all. If she is actually mentally competent to consent and tells investigators she did AND Chris holds up under an interview or refuses to do one, it's possible this becomes a mutual incest case with no rape. The chances of both of those things seem slim, but we only have what's been revealed to us and on the balance of that I'm leaning toward some sort of rape charge.
 

Alexander Hamilton

kiwifarms.net
thanks @Alexander Hamilton , you kind of answered my question but do you think the other people on the phone call are in legal trouble? Some people have said they were leading chris on or something, could they be subject to subpoenas or some sort of legal trouble of their own?

Supoena? Sure. It's a tool to make someone to show up and bring you stuff, or testify. It's not legal trouble, just extremely annoying. And subject to various jurisdictional limitations. Would I want my investigators to try and locate and interview them to potentially authenticate the calls? Definitely.

Actual legal trouble? Probably not. It's impossible to say because we don't even know where they were when they made the calls. So there are all sorts of jurisdictional issues to consider in terms of their state/country law, whether it's an interstate issue and therefore Federal...and that's before you even get to the point of them having committed an actual crime.

And they probably didn't commit an actual crime, for various reasons related to how we think about crime and elements and so on. And I'd certainly want something a lot more firm on their end (like the girl who told her boyfriend over the phone to get back in the car and finish the job when he chickened out of killing himself, leading to his death) before I felt comfortable charging them, because if somehow I was able to convict that would mean that potentially people chatting each other about rape fantasies or what have you could end up getting in criminal trouble if it turns out someone wasn't just telling a dirty story...and regardless of how I feel about rape fantasies, that sounds like a bad law to me.

It's like the quote about how can people get cyberbullied, because they can just turn off the computer. At the end of the day, Chris made a choice. It was a really, really bad choice. And maybe he has some diminished responsibility for that choice because he's not all there. But nobody held a gun to his head. Nobody put him under the kind of duress where a reasonable person would have felt forced to do this. He seems to have done it, repeatedly, before ever bragging to people about it. He could have just hung up the phone. Instead he seemed almost eager to share. Which of course he was, because it's Chris. He even told Null (paraphrased) "I've given several people clues and I really hope you all get together and figure it out." He's BTK writing letters to the police.

Was it reprehensible that nobody who knew acted sooner? Certainly. But moral reprehensibility doesn't always equate to criminal culpability and nor should it.

Maybe, just maybe, if their jurisdiction had a mandatory reporting statute for elder abuse that they fell under AND you could prove they had the requisite level of knowledge/certainty for that statute to kick in? Then maybe they get charged in their jurisdiction for failure to report. But that's one hell of a reach.
 

Ken_Penders69

kiwifarms.net
I don't really understand probation? or rather probation in regards to what chris would face following his arrest. Its my understanding (which is probably incorrect) would be akin to house arrest (but he doesnt have a house so hed probably be homeless) I also might be confusing probation with parole but I think part of it is hed have to get a job and be a productive member of society (which he is incapable of doing)
 

Alexander Hamilton

kiwifarms.net
Allegedly there’s a video of the assaults happening? Still unclear on who’s seen it but is something like this enough to trump whatever Chris or Barb have to say in defense of their living arrangement?

If it's clear from those videos that it's an actual rape, then sure. That could be strong evidence that it wasn't consensual even if Barb is saying otherwise, assuming she's found to be capable of consent.

If all the videos show is two people banging, and they can be ID'd as Chris and Barb Chandler, then it certainly makes the consensual incest prove-up an open and shut case if that's the direction this ends up going in.

But the only reference I've seen to the video is some person on twitter saying they've seen them and acting like everyone else has, and a lot of stuff based on that. And a screenshot that only has one person in it, that people are saying reverse image searches to a really long time ago and an unrelated video.
 

Ken_Penders69

kiwifarms.net
what would the probation chris chan would likely face for his crimes if your intial predictions come true? what would he be required to do that he would be so incable of doing? would he be allowed to keep living at his current house? would he have to get a job, would he be forced off the internet?
 

Alexander Hamilton

kiwifarms.net
I don't really understand probation? or rather probation in regards to what chris would face following his arrest. Its my understanding (which is probably incorrect) would be akin to house arrest (but he doesnt have a house so hed probably be homeless) I also might be confusing probation with parole but I think part of it is hed have to get a job and be a productive member of society (which he is incapable of doing)

So parole is something that happens after prison. It's a way to get out of prison early, often with conditions. Not all jurisdictions have parole. For example, there hasn't been parole in the Federal system in a very long time.

In terms of following an arrest, we're not talking about probation yet. We're talking about bond/bail conditions. That's where stuff like house arrest, ankle monitors, etc often come in.

Probation is at the end of a case, and comes in two types.

There's deferred adjudication probation. This is the non-conviction variety, where you plead guilty, the Judge puts off sentencing you, you start your probation and do your job, therapy, fines etc. If you successfully complete, the charges are dismissed. You avoid a conviction.

If you mess it up, the Judge then adjudicates you based on your prior plea of guilty and can impose any original punishment on the table for the crime from suspended probation to maximum incarcerated time. You are now convicted.

There's suspended probation. You plead guilty, and a set amount of prison time is suspended. You are now convicted, with whatever consequences come with it (i.e. loss of gun rights, voting rights, sex offender status). You start your probation and do your therapy, job, fines etc. If you successfully complete it, you will go off active probation and stop seeing your probation officer and as long as you don't break the law and get revoked for the remainder of your probation time the prison time over your head will go away. The conviction won't.

If you mess it up, the Judge revokes your probation and that prior agreed upon prison term is imposed.

Sometimes, house arrest or ankle monitor can also be a condition of probation for a time.

Getting a job often is, but if someone is retired, disabled, etc gainful employment may not be required as part of probation.
 

Mariposa Electrique

October 4-18, Chris Will Be Happy!
True & Honest Fan
kiwifarms.net
You're certainly not wrong about any of this. It's entirely possible there is mixing of funds going on. The issue is that Chris seems to acknowledge it's not his money - he told Null he intended to pay it back, not 'Oh that's mine' and acknowledged having control of Barb's account. Also from what I've seen he has his own. A big thing this turns on will be whether both their names are on the account or just hers.

In terms of Barb's lucidity . . . yeah, it's possible. I just don't see it. And Chris' purported statements that she was reluctant and confused and came around don't help him at all. If she is actually mentally competent to consent and tells investigators she did AND Chris holds up under an interview or refuses to do one, it's possible this becomes a mutual incest case with no rape. The chances of both of those things seem slim, but we only have what's been revealed to us and on the balance of that I'm leaning toward some sort of rape charge.
Do you think Chris will be removed from the home permanently?
 

The Emperor Skeksis

Jim Henson's OC with three dicks
kiwifarms.net
Is there any possibility that Chris will be deemed incompetent, and either institutionalised or placed under supervision for the rest of his life? It seems to me that he is a good case for those measures at this point, as he really cannot take care of himself and he apparently does awful shit when he's not supervised.
 

Alexander Hamilton

kiwifarms.net
You write like a lawyer lol. But very great posts and I lean to take your word on this stuff.

Chris walked off tard probation before will he get a different kind? Is there different levels? He got movie tickets and shit last time and that's for macing someone!

Either way thank you much for your time into this.

You're quite welcome. So hopefully my post above helped. But essentially, yes, think of probation as a big area with lots of variables.

Conviction or No Conviction?

How long?

What happens if you mess up?

For how long, if at all, do you have to report to a probation officer?

What conditions attach to your probation?

And so forth.

In terms of Chris' 'tard probation' it's my understanding he was actually in a mental health court or similar program. I've prosecuted in those courts before, and they're usually level based and very structured. So yes, there are often incentives given out for completing stages of the program or other achievements. That's a common model for treatment courts, most notably drug and mental health courts. There are also veterans courts etc.

This probation is likely to a lot more severe - sex crimes are often ineligible for any sort of treatment court, but I don't know how Virginia's set up is on those.

what would the probation chris chan would likely face for his crimes if your intial predictions come true? what would he be required to do that he would be so incable of doing? would he be allowed to keep living at his current house? would he have to get a job, would he be forced off the internet?

In general, see my previous posts as to the type of probation.

I think in terms of conditions, everything. Chris doesn't do required structure well. Chris certainly would balk at paying fines or restitution and/or would just spend the money then not have it give. Chis wouldn't succeed in therapy, particularly sex offender therapy, due to unwillingness to accept responsibility and desire to change etc.

Chris may or may not have to get a job, due to disability. Internet is often left to the probation officer - most POs that I know are very restrictive with internet use by sex offenders, so it may be cut off or heavily curtailed during the period of active provation.

Probably not allowed to keep living there, unless Barb no longer was.
 

Alexander Hamilton

kiwifarms.net
Do you think Chris will be removed from the home permanently?
This is heavily dependent on where Barb ends up living.

But even if she doesn't go back there, there's a good chance she gets some sort of guardian appointed - probably the State itself. The house could very well have to be sold to help pay for her care. Or repossessed since I understand it has mortgages.

I just don't see Chris being able to remain in the home long term, whether that's a result of criminal issues or simply the home needing to be sold or being repossessed.
 

Mariposa Electrique

October 4-18, Chris Will Be Happy!
True & Honest Fan
kiwifarms.net
But even if she doesn't go back there, there's a good chance she gets some sort of guardian appointed - probably the State itself. The house could very well have to be sold to help pay for her care. Or repossessed since I understand it has mortgages.
That's exactly what I was thinking. I'd like to be a fly on the wall when Barb's assets are dug up when it's time to stick her in a home.
 

robobobo

kiwifarms.net
If the facts pan out to be that Chris finger-banged a sick old woman with dementia, I don't see any judge letting him walk. I think the best-case scenario for him in that case is to be institutionalized, as it's obvious that he can't care for himself and is a danger to people, but don't know if that's within a judge's purview to order.

If it turns out that things got weird and Barb was into it and we're talking incest charges instead of rape, I'd see probation being on the table.
 
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