Chris - The Legal Issues - A Prosecutor's Perspective

DeadMansHand

The reincarnation of Antonio Stradiuarius
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So, while looking up how Virginia treats insanity, I found an interesting update on Virginia's mental illness laws:


So at least as of earlier this year, the rule was if you didn't plead Not Guilty By Reason Of Insanity you couldn't introduce any evidence of mental illness whatsoever.

If this is till true, and it appears to be, it's an all or nothing deal. Assuming it goes to trial, which it probably won't.
They passed the law, I'm just not sure when it goes into effect. Or how it applies to crimes committed before it goes into effect i.e. If it goes into effect on Oct. 1 and Chris goes to trial on Oct. 2, does it apply?
 

FriendshipBunny

Please dont be mean to me.
kiwifarms.net
All this speculation is based on the idea he has a competent attorney like our own Mr. Hamilton. He'll have a public defender with hundreds of other incest cases (this is in virginia). Is there any idea what kind of plea deal he will work out, since that's the most likely outcome?
 

Bitch Cakes

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So, what are the odds that the presiding judge will get fed up by Chris being disruptive in the courtroom and sends him directly to the psych ward?

Almost zero. Judges deal with way more insane and disruptive people than Chris every day. And if Chris was disruptive in the courtroom, he would be help in contempt by the judge, and would either be sanctioned monetarily, or be forced to spend even more time in jail.

I remember in law school learning about cases where judge's have physically gagged defendants (by literally taping their mouths shut) who couldn’t behave appropriately. A cursory Google search shows that judges still do that, albeit with more public backlash when it happens.

Short or being found legally insane or a very good suicide attempt, nothing is going to get Chris sent to a psych-ward for more than a few hours. And if he tries to off himself, they'll release him as soon as they consider the risk that he will immanently take his own life to be low enough.
 

Bitch Cakes

kiwifarms.net
All this speculation is based on the idea he has a competent attorney like our own Mr. Hamilton. He'll have a public defender with hundreds of other incest cases (this is in virginia). Is there any idea what kind of plea deal he will work out, since that's the most likely outcome?
Totally depends on what they are charging him with and how much they can prove. And if Barb is cooperating with them or not.

I don’t know the statutes in Virginia and I don’t practice criminal law, but my guess would be that his best bet is to plead down to a felony sexual assault or sexual battery charge. Then, the idea would be he would get a sentence, probably suspended in some part (limiting how much time he'd be in prison), along with a requirement to register as a sex offender (and I don’t know VA law to know what level he'd likely have to register as), complete court-ordered classes on not raping people, and maybe a small fine. Oh, and there may or may not be a protective order preventing him from contacting the victim for a certain period of time.

That seems the most likely result to me — felony conviction with little to no jail time, sex offender registration, and an order to stay away from the victim (which might include moving out of his house, depending on whether she comes back or not ).

But it all comes down to what Barb says and what Chris has said or will say. If Chris doesn’t talk to the cops and Barb is unhelpful or unwilling to talk to them, barring significant physical evidence, the state might not have much to go on. Just a bunch of hearsay by way of creepy texts. In that case, I could see them offering a plea to a misdemeanor, if not dropping the case entirely. I think them dropping it entirely is very unlikely, given how quickly they moved to make an arrest, but if Barb didn’t talk and Chris didn’t talk, maybe it would be settled for some misdemeanor elder neglect charge.

As you say, the PD has a thousand other cases to deal with — it is in their interest to settle. But the same is also true of the prosecutor's office. I can't see some ADA really relishing taking this case on either. Quash it and go to the next one. Time is money.

We'll have a better idea once he has his arraignment.
 

Konstantin Romanov

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From my experience with the forensic mental health system I would like to correct some misconceptions. As a preface, I concede Chris will almost certainly will never see the inside of such a facility due to the evidence against him including a competent if warped rationality regarding his crimes, his inability to retain a lawyer willing to pursue the time consuming and difficult process of institutionalization, and the fact that institutionalization is in neither his nor the state's interest. With that said...

Chris is a comparatively mild headcase. Chris would not benefit from being hospitalized. Forensic hospitals are understaffed and have limited facilities to accept patients, so must take only the very most severe. All these factors, while abstractly true, are unrelated to the actual operation of forensic facilities. In my experience, far from the careful and guarded admissions process other users have alluded to here, most of the people in the forensic system are just really stupid. So stupid they don't understand a) that they committed their crime or b) that it was wrong to do so. They're largely interchangeable with the population of any given prison and they're just in hospital because of how a jury was feeling that day.

There are people with legitimate delusions who, for example, murdered a man thinking he was a shark, or people with compulsions which caused them to commit their crimes uncontrollably, like taking a shotgun to their grandkids for no discernible reason. These I would say make up a third or less of admissions. Mostly it's idiots. Aside from those two categories there's also a few who are clearly competent but got NGRI'd anyway or appealed their way into the loony bin from prison after their conviction. Which leads me to the question of why someone would intentionally get institutionalized, in light of the assertion that forensic hospitals are the blackest pits of hell disgorged onto the earth. Answer: they're not that bad.

Most of the patients, since they're either just the aforementioned idiots or are heavily medicated, are capable of interacting normally through the length of a workday in common areas. They get books, tv, private rooms. The staff-patient ratio is a lot better than the staff-prisoner ratio and while I'm not so experienced with prisons I'm betting the nurses are more compassionate and friendly than guards. People who appeal their way into the system "falsely" (in my opinion) typically do it because they're not doing well in genpop.

TL;DR forensic hospitals (asylums by any other name) are pretty okay and there's really no rhyme or reason to who gets sent there as opposed to prisons.
 

TheBigZee

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So, a prosecutor can raise competency in a criminal case. I've done it.

But in that case, you're talking about competency to stand trial and assist in their own defense. And all that means is pausing the proceedings and shipping them off for competency restoration and then when they're back in reality continuing.

What you're asking about in terms of a guardianship is a civil law deal that would be handled in civil court. I'm not sure how it would be handled in Va. but it's important to realize that legally insane to the point of negating guilt and clinically insane are very different standards.

Plenty of people are screamingly insane but perfectly legally sane.
Oh, I mean ask the state to (civilly) start evaluating Chris's need for guardianship and hold off on the criminal charges until it's been resolved. I assume a state appointed guardian would look at the criminal case and actually do what was in Chris's best interest.

Also, if people reading this know parents with kids who are never going to function independently - tell them to seek guardianship. I know too many very autistic people who were left to their own devices when their parents reached dotage. It almost always ends in homelessness, sometimes prison.
 

Thomas Talus

Εκ λόγου άλλος εκβαίνει λόγος
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Is there a chance one of Chris's lawyer fans from this forum would do some pro bono work for him?
I would expect that any would-be Christorians-at-Law who actually passed the bar exam and character and fitness boards would, before they rush off to try and pro hac their way in, remember that attorney/client confidentiality exists, and that even though they'd have the personal knowledge of their interactions with Chris, they would be barred from ever telling anyone about it (unless they wanted to get disbarred), which would be its own little hell.

Plus, while not specifically a violation of the RPC that I can recall offhand, I'd argue that it's more generally unethical to represent someone when your motivations spring from sources other than zealously representing your client's interests (for reasonable compensation). If you're tempted, even a little, to steer the case in a way that makes for better drama, you should not be representing that client.

If I were presented with someone in a similar situation (legal & personal) to Chris as a potential client, I would probably propose a fee agreement with an hourly substantially higher than my normal one (let's say it's due to the "novelty" and especially difficulty of the questions involved, i.e., dealing with him is going to be an enormous pain) and make it clear that if he wants to go to trial then the retainer amount will need to be much, much larger. Either he goes away and I don't have to deal with him, or I get properly compensated for my troubles. At least I don't have to represent him for ~$300 total.
 

Lorne Armstrong

Do you like my penis more, or my balls more? LOL
kiwifarms.net
Totally depends on what they are charging him with and how much they can prove. And if Barb is cooperating with them or not.

I don’t know the statutes in Virginia and I don’t practice criminal law, but my guess would be that his best bet is to plead down to a felony sexual assault or sexual battery charge. Then, the idea would be he would get a sentence, probably suspended in some part (limiting how much time he'd be in prison), along with a requirement to register as a sex offender (and I don’t know VA law to know what level he'd likely have to register as), complete court-ordered classes on not raping people, and maybe a small fine. Oh, and there may or may not be a protective order preventing him from contacting the victim for a certain period of time.

That seems the most likely result to me — felony conviction with little to no jail time, sex offender registration, and an order to stay away from the victim (which might include moving out of his house, depending on whether she comes back or not ).

But it all comes down to what Barb says and what Chris has said or will say. If Chris doesn’t talk to the cops and Barb is unhelpful or unwilling to talk to them, barring significant physical evidence, the state might not have much to go on. Just a bunch of hearsay by way of creepy texts. In that case, I could see them offering a plea to a misdemeanor, if not dropping the case entirely. I think them dropping it entirely is very unlikely, given how quickly they moved to make an arrest, but if Barb didn’t talk and Chris didn’t talk, maybe it would be settled for some misdemeanor elder neglect charge.

As you say, the PD has a thousand other cases to deal with — it is in their interest to settle. But the same is also true of the prosecutor's office. I can't see some ADA really relishing taking this case on either. Quash it and go to the next one. Time is money.

We'll have a better idea once he has his arraignment.
Doesn’t look like that arraignment will be today. Greene County Circuit Court doesn’t have any case against Chris on the docket yet, from what I can tell

 

Learned Hand

kiwifarms.net

Outwith Quiddany

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Kimchi4breakfast

Hard on for Hardin
kiwifarms.net
Given the social media spurging on his gender identity, what happens if a TRA lawyer gets crowdfunded to fight specifically the TRA issues?

My concern is that men's prison (or plea deal restrictions that he deems too manly) might be a sticking point for him, and that could substantially foul up any plea negotiations, putting the likelihood of trial at a higher level.

It seems unlikely that a lawyer would seek out this case to defend him, unless and until it becomes a massive media circus with trial imminent. Some lawyers are their own brand of attention whore lolcows, and would love to be live streamed while defending such a spectacle.

But the concern in the back of my mind is that after trial, some TRA lawyer might swoop in and make it all about how the Commonwealth of Virginia is damaging his human right to swing his penis around in a women's prison instead of one filled with other penises.

There's at least 3 groups I can think of that could possibly get organized and crowdfund. The militant TRAs that believe magical thinking means he should spend his sentence in a women's prison, the Chris Chan superfans (both for and against), and those that just want to watch the world burn.

No matter what happens, this will get interesting.
 

Alexander Hamilton

kiwifarms.net
CHRIS: A CIVIL ACTION

So something that's been coming up a lot is people asking why I say Chris' mental health is mostly something that would addressed in civil court. And I keep putting out little piecemeal replies that aren't really clearing it up. And the jury trial I was supposed to be doing this week went away because the defendant pled, so let's explore civil law.

As per usual I'm not your lawyer, this isn't legal advice, we're not entering into a lawyer-client relationship, and I'm not a Virginia lawyer. Some of that stuff is going to be very jurisdiction specific. Additionally, I don't practice a lot of this law day to day. I may or may not have checked my memory of a few things with a buddy in my office's civil prosecution division.

Two Types of Law


As you probably know there are two types of law, criminal and civil. One is about crimes, the other is everything that's not a crime. Civil law is then subdivided into lots of other types of law.

So when I talk about a civil court I'm talking about a court that has jurisdiction over civil actions. It would be more technically correct me to say a civil action because nowadays the distinctions between most courts have gone away and in a lot of jurisdictions the same judges will hear both civil and criminal cases in the same courtroom - it just depends what hat they're wearing that day.

Why does this matter?

When we set up this Nation, one of the things that really worried us was what was called the Star Chamber. Essentially a secret court were the rules changed all the time and the punishments were extremely harsh.

We also knew the potential for abuse of the law was huge. We remembered that when the King's word was law, the law could be used to punish people the King didn't like or take their stuff if he wanted it.

And so we set up a system that, despite how often it fails (and boy does it fail), is pretty good at reigning in the power of the executive when it comes to criminal law.

What all this means is that when I prosecute a criminal case, I'm limited to addressing the crime and consequences thereof. That can take me to some pretty interesting places if mental health is a factor, such as mental health court or mandatory therapy and treatment. It can even lead to a stay in an institution as part of restoring your competency to stand trial. And yes, in the very very rare situation of a not guilty by reason of insanity verdict it can lead to indefinite commitment.

But what I can't do is say "Hey, while I have you here, I can see you're crazy so let's work on that."

The reason things like the sex offender registry have been found to be constitutional is because they're considered a civil regulatory scheme and a collateral consequence of conviction. That stuff definitely wouldn't fly if the court's viewed it as a criminal punishment.

Ok Alexander, I get it now. But surely now that the State knows just how crazy Chris is the prosecutors in the civil prosecution division will start one of those civil actions and lock Chris up right?

Well, probably not. You remember how I keep talking about the things that concerned us when we founded the Nation, and wrote the Constitution? As you probably know, we were super big on freedom and the government not just doing whatever they wanted to the individual.

So it's actually surprisingly difficult to force someone into involuntary mental treatment. In one jurisdiction I'm aware of, for example, the civil prosecutor would need medical certificates from two separate doctors just to get a court to order to temporary treatment for no longer than 90 days. Anything longer requires more court hearings, more medical testimony, and is still limited in time. Oh, and by the way, these are only available if the individual is an immediate threat to themselves, an immediate threat to others, or so screamingly insane that they can't make rational decisions about their treatment AND the lack of treatment is causing severe harm to their ability to independently take care of themselves.

In other words, you have a surprising amount of freedom to be crazy if you want to.

Prison: The New Asylum

This is the title of a movie I watched years ago in undergrad, and it's pretty accurate.

I don't want to get all political, but the reality is our social safety networks have failed. As we moved away from the time when the Church and benevolent organizations took care of our elderly, infirm, and mentally unsound we never really stepped up and took over. And even when we have we've done a crap job of it.

The asylum as most of you understand it just doesn't exist anymore..the big state run homes to take care of the insane just aren't there. They've been shut down, in many cases over funding. And so these people wander around being crazy until they commit a big enough crime that they go to prison.

Wow Alexander, that's super depressing. But surely the State can save Chris from himself somehow? What about a Guardianship?

Well, remember that whole freedom thing I talked about? Guardianships are possible but they're difficult to get. They also try and limit them as much as possible to the needs of the individual - so someone who can take care of themselves but has lost their ability to handle their finances might get a guardian just for their finances, for example.

Another issue is who is going to be the guardian? Generally it needs to be a family member or the like. In severe cases where no family members are available the Department that runs adult protective services may step in and request the guardianship. It's not something the prosecutor's office does.

But as can probably guess, adult protective services are vastly underfunded and understaffed. I once dealt with a homeless offender who was constantly getting picked up on public intox, public nusience...petty stuff...then released and picked up again. Sometimes in less than 24 hours. Through the course of my dealings with him I learned he was qualified for social security benefits but required a payee and had lost his payee. The Judge and I called adult protective services to request they send a worker to meet with him, take over as his payee, and hopefully get him into housing with the money and end the cycle of him being a public nuisance and checking in and out of my small rural jail that didn't have many beds to begin with. We were told they simply didn't have anybody to send, because the workers they did have were too busy investigating abused adults and this guy wasn't actively being abused or exploited.

Which leads me to my last point.

You can lead a horse to water . . .

but you can't make them drink. You've probably all heard that.

In the resource limited world of social services, if you're not actively a threat to others or an immediate threat to yourself, you aren't getting help against your will. Nobody has time or money to fight that fight. And that window for intervention is so narrow - typically, as with Chris, by the time it's clear enough that someone is in those categories they've already acted and it's time for criminal consequences.

To get help, Chris would have to want help. And the goal of that help would be to make Chris as self-sufficient as possible. And Chris would have to want that and cooperate with that. If this sounds super familiar, it's because it is. Regardless of how you feel about Null and the methods used, that's what Null was trying to do. And we saw how that ended - Chris would rather steal from Barb with vague ideas of repaying it than spend a night in the car.

Hopefully this also answers the question I've seen a lot as to why the government/social services didn't do anything when they became aware of the awful conditions at the house, Bob's insect investigation, etc.

Ultimately you have the freedom to live in some pretty shitty conditions. And we don't have the resources to intervene in every home full of junk with bedbugs and roaches and so on - and that's not even getting into the moral/political debate as to whether we should or have the right to.

And even if someone had considered intervening, when you have people in that situation who don't want your help, don't want you in the house, and want to be left alone and then you also have a case where someone's grandpa has necrotic wounds because they just leave them laying in bed for weeks in their own shit and piss - well, I know where I would spend my time and effort if I was an adult protective services worker.

Doesn't the constitution say "Assistance of Counsel"?

Yes but that's a different thing.

What we're talking about when it comes to legal competency to stand trial isn't the same thing as the standards for indigency. And one of the things we worry about is someone able to assist in their own defense - for example can they tell their lawyer about alibis and favorable witnesses they may have and make decisions about whether they want to plea or go to trial, or are they too busy ranting about how they shouldn't even be here because they're an undercover federal agent and this is some sort of conspiracy and the prosecutor is in the KKK.
 

ANobody

Troon biologist, tinfoil haberdasher.
kiwifarms.net
I hope after what happened to Null anyone else would be smart enough not to touch the poo. And if they did they would not tell us they were fans.
Considering the requirement for the defense to be zealous advocates of the defendant i dont think being a kiwi could be grounds for dismissal
 

Mason Verger

was she a great big healthy at any size person?
True & Honest Fan
kiwifarms.net
I've gotten the impression over the years that Barb is leaning heavily on Chris's tugboat,

I never bought that, not when Chris seems to be the one always acquiring new, expensive things and spending far more than he seems to earn. Just folks making vague comments about barbs QVC addiction and ripping off “poor Chris” to find it.. yet Barb wears like two items of clothing, eats very little and it’s Chris that’s CONSTANTLY flaunting his new toys and clothes. When Barb gets on Chris about money, it seems like it’s legit household bill paying.

Also.. Chris is a fucking adult. He has income and a roof over his head. He should be giving Barb money.
 
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