Virginia

Thanks to Judge Timothy J. Hauler, the chief justice of Virginia’s 12th Judicial Circuit, a man convicted of kidnapping and sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl will never see the inside of a jail cell.

According to local media, Judge Hauler suspended the ten-year sentence 19-year-old Logan Osborn was given for tying up a 14-year-old girl and sexually assaulting her in April of 2017. Osborn pleaded guilty to the crime last September, on the charge of having carnal knowledge of a minor. The actual incident stemmed from Osborn taking his victim to a school play, then walking her to a remote area of the campus afterward, binding her hands, and tying a belt around her neck before assaulting her. The age of consent in Virginia is 17.

With a suspended sentence, Osborn will be free from a jail cell, provided he doesn’t commit any future crimes.

“The family is disappointed that the defendant will not serve any active incarceration for the brutal attack on the victim,” Chesterfield County prosecutor Erin Barr told local media. “They do not believe justice has been served and shared concern for community safety and future potential victims.”

As it turns out, Judge Hauler is consistently one of the most overturned judges in the Commonwealth of Virginia, having a disproportionate number of his decisions overruled in the appeals process. And one of Hauler’s decisions handed down from the bench resulted in the death of a Chesterfield County couple in 2013.

A 2016 investigation by WTVR-TV in Richmond, Virginia dug up some of Hauler’s more controversial decisions: Namely, the release of a man named Dana William, who was sentenced to just two years after raping his ex-girlfriend due to a plea deal negotiated with the county. Shortly before he was due for release, the Virginia Attorney General’s office attempted to have William civilly committed as a sexually violent predator. Judge Hauler instead ruled in William’s favor.

Three years later, William killed both of his former in-laws, Woodell Brooks and Olene Brooks. While Woodell was shot to death, Olene was kidnapped and later killed, and her body was found at the bottom of a pond by a local man who was fishing.

Despite his record of bad decisions, Judge Hauler is not accountable to voters. In Virginia, the general assembly (a combined vote of both the House of Delegates and the Senate) elects judges to serve at the Circuit, Appeals, and Supreme Courts. Former Republican senator Steven Martin tried unsuccessfully in 2009 to convince his fellow lawmakers to not re-appoint Hauler to another term, but the subcommittee overseeing his appointment voted unanimously to keep him in his position.

 

Nick Jewell is a freelance political writer, and a proud resident of Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn. Email him at nickjewell@yahoo.com. 

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