Thursday, April 16, 2009

Sierra Lillie, Donald Cates, Sanity, and American Courts - The Lemming Gets Serious

The Lemming's "apathetic" in the old-fashioned sense that I don't have the correct attitudes about certain subjects.

How America's legal system deals with the even more old-fashioned notion of protecting people who don't hurt others from people who do is something the Lemming does care about.

The judiciary's understanding, kind, and compassionate treatment of rapists is almost in national news. Again.

"Here is the latest Montana news from The Associated Press..."
KX (April 15, 2009)

"...The FBI is looking for a Pennsylvania girl who's believed to be with a Montana man she met on the Internet.

"FBI Special Agent Gerald Clark says 14-year-old Sierra Lillie of Erie, Pa., had been corresponding online with 21-year-old Donald Ray Cates of Billings for about two years. A prosecutor in Erie says the girl left home sometime Sunday...."

"Missing Erie Girl"
KULR-8 Television (April 15, 2009)

"BILLINGS - Billings Police assist the FBI in the search for a missing Pennsylvania teenager believed to be traveling with a Billings man.

"Court documents show 21-year-old Donald Cates was charged with raping 5 teenage girls in Lewistown in 2005. Cates was 17 at the time. Court papers show a mistrial was declared because a police officer interrogated him without notifying his parents. A recent Montana Supreme Court decision said it would not constitute double jeopardy to re-try Cates on the rape charges...."

"Search for PA teen, Billings man continues"
Montana's News Station .com (April 15, 2009)

"The FBI office in Billings has joined the search for a missing Pennsylvania teenager who's believed to be with a Billings man."

"Sierra Lillie, 14, of Erie, Pennsylvania was last seen on Sunday at her home. Authorities say she had been corresponding online with Donald Ray Cates, 21, of Billings for about two years...."

First: If Your Beliefs Permit - Consider Praying for Sierra Lillie

And, while you're at it, everybody involved. You don't have to, of course: but as a practicing Catholic, I think it's a good idea.

Checks and Balances: Another Good Idea

Donald Cates might have been free by now, even if he had been convicted and sentenced for rape in 2005. He was a minor at the time, and my guess is that he might have been a model prisoner: provided that Montana does not have co-ed prison facilities for sex offenders; and, that Mr. Cates preferred to target members of the opposite sex.
American Courts: Quite Ready to Protect Citizenry Against the Police
I think it's commendable that the American court system is willing to protect citizens against police brutality, failure of police to do and say exactly the right things at the right time, and (as in this case) letting parents know when their child (of 17) is being questioned in connection with a rape.

My guess is that a capable lawyer could make a case for notifying parents in a case like that as being a violation of privacy - but that's a rather different topic.

I think that it would have been a good idea for police to let Donald Cates' parents, parent, guardian, or whatever, know before he was interrogated: whatever the law dictates. Since it seems that correct police procedure in this case required such a notification, I think that the police apparently acted improperly, and should be appropriately sanctioned.

But, providing that Donald Cate's statements were significant, I don't see why the testimony should be thrown out, or why there should be a mistrial. I'm no legal expert, and I will admit to a bias toward regarding rape as a regrettable lifestyle choice.

Assuming that the American judicial system is intended in part of protect people who don't hurt other people from people who have, and not the other way around: rewarding a probable rapist because of a police mistake seems crazy.

Beware Crazy Reactions to Crazy Situations

Sierra Lillie apparently met Donald Cates online: but this doesn't mean that the Internet is bad, and should be banned.

Donald Cates is from Montana: but that doesn't mean that Montanans tend to be rapists, and should be carefully watched.

Sierra Lillie is 14, five feet tall and weighs about 150 pounds: but short teenagers who don't have a supermodel's body mass index aren't to blame when a rapist targets them. Not in my opinion, anyway.

America's Judiciary: Get a Grip!

It's past time, I think, for whoever is running America's judicial system to get a grip.

Although there are very well-publicized examples of 'police brutality' here and there, "the fuzz" isn't, by and large, out to get innocent citizens. Or, if that's happening, it's being kept very, very quiet.

On the other hand, there are people who, for whatever reason, choose to hurt other people. Sometimes the people get hurt quite badly. I don't think this is right, and people who hurt other people should be sanctioned for their behavior.

Just as people in law enforcement should be sanctioned for behavior which is improper.

But letting a rapist go because the police didn't call his parents? That, with respect to professional colleagues of the judge who Joseph Edward Duncan III go, is crazy.

And may have cost a young teen her life.
Update/correction April 17, 2009
That prolific correspondent, Anonymous, pointed out that Mr. Cates is from Montana, not Pennsylvania. Thanks for the comment, and I've made the correction in my text.


Anonymous said...

Donald "Max" Cates is from Montana, not PA. Sierra is from PA>

Brian, aka Nanoc, aka Norski said...


Thanks. I'll check that out.

Not to self - do not blog while asleep.

Anonymous said...

By the way... (It's me again--- "Anonymous") Loved what you wrote. Completely agree. Wish those "friends of donald's" who posted on the kulr website would read your blog. Thank you for an un-biased opinion of behaviors of the many people who had a hand in this. They were found in Arkansas yesterday. Hopefully he will do some real jail time for these actions.

Brian, aka Nanoc, aka Norski said...


Thanks for the good words - and the update. As you say - I hope he'll be restrained this time.

Anonymous said...

i knew him we use to be friends.he lied for years and raped my 5 year old cuzin.... i hope he rots!

Brian, aka Nanoc, aka Norski said...

Anonymous of August 5, 2009,

I'm at a considerable emotional distance, so it's easier for me to be less extreme in my views.

As for 'rotting' - I wouldn't go that far, but I with there was more attention given to restraining people with such antisocial habits.

Anonymous said...

just wondering dose anyone know anything more i mean is this creep in jail for his crimes??

Brian, aka Aluwir, aka Norski said...

Anonymous of December 11, 2010,

After a quick look around, the most recent reliable information about the Donald Cates discussed here is "Missing Teen Found, Cates Arrested," (April 16, 2009).

Given the nature of this case, my guess is that the court is discouraging publicity of the legal proceedings. I'm not sympathetic with Mr. Cates: but I think folks make better decisions when their passions are not engaged.

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