The Verdict Is In! Melchert-Dinkel Is Guilty . . . For Now.
However, the law is not based solely on society’s moral sensibilities (although it should reflect them). Nor for that matter, has Melchert-Dinkel lawyer Watkin’s claimed that his client’s actions were morally honorable. The issue at hand is whether or not his client had the right to write what he did in the chat rooms, regardless of the consequences. It is upon this point of law that the Appellate Court will hear the case and ultimately decide Melchert-Dinkel’s future.
from the February 16th, 2011 PI Window on Business post Melchert-Dinkel Defense Attorney is Earning His Pay with Lothenbach Plea
From the moment I had first heard about this case, and throughout our extensive coverage (which has included exclusive stories and interviews), it has been a journey of contradictory extremes where moral sensibilities collided with legal technicalities in the uncharted realms of the virtual world.
Suffice to say, and while you strive hard to maintain a detached objectivity, you cannot help but be drawn into the maelstrom of emotions and moral debates that have for many, made a life-altering impact.
For the families of Melchert-Dinkel’s victims, whose heartache began long before this “thrill of the chase” predator stalked their loved ones, yesterday’s verdict must feel somewhat like a Pyrrhic victory of sorts. With suicide rates climbing – according to one U.S. report, suicide is the third leading cause of death in teenagers and the fourth leading cause of death in pre-teens, the challenges of loving and caring for someone in pain only to see them take their lives at the prompting of another will likely compound the angst and confusion as to why this had to happen.
When you also consider the fact that Melchert-Dinkel had previously intimated the existence of a predator network when he had made references to finding a way to commit “legal murder,” the possibility that other families may face a similar fate in the future is very disconcerting.
While we should have no illusions regarding yesterday’s verdict, even if it is upheld in the Appellate Courts, that this will necessarily deter those who share Melchert-Dinkel’s compulsions, it is nonetheless an important outcome as it reflects a moral value that transcends the legal wranglings relating to First Amendment Rights and the purported vagueness of the law upon which the criminal charges were based. At least for the moment, the verdict connects us with our humanity that has far too often been lost in the contentiousness of a world that seems to be at odds with itself.
Over the next few days we will be providing the reactions to this verdict from leading criminal justice, law enforcement and legislator experts. In the meantime, I would encourage you to visit our Quest for Justice Page which provides the most comprehensive coverage of this seminal case through the links to more than 30 articles, radio and TV interviews.