Two Charged With Sodomy In Raleigh

Here's an interesting story coming to us from the Raleigh News & Observer tonight regarding two men recently arrested for committing homosexual acts.

Raleigh police are charging two adults for sodomy in private, although the U.S. Supreme Court appears to have outlawed such charges five years ago.Police on Saturday charged two West Raleigh men with a "crime against nature" for having sex early that morning. Each faces up to two years in prison if convicted of the Class I felony.

But that charge is unconstitutional, a state lawmaker says.

And the circumstances of the encounter are murky.

Raleigh police first charged Nelson Keith Sloan, 40, of Grand Manor Court, who called them to his apartment about dawn, saying he had been attacked.

Police later filed the same charge against Ryan Christopher Flynn, 25, of Glen Currin Drive.

The article further discusses the constitutionality of the matter:

North Carolina's "crime against nature" law doesn't apply only to same-sex partners. But a landmark 2003 U.S. Supreme Court ruling appears to forbid states from treating private, consensual, adult sex as crimes.

"The petitioners are entitled to respect for their private lives," the high court ruled in the case Lawrence v. Texas. "The State cannot demean their existence or control their destiny by making their private sexual conduct a crime. Their right to liberty under the Due Process Clause gives them the full right to engage in their conduct without intervention of the government."

As many of you probably know, anti-sodomy laws have been address and declared unconstitutional by the United States Supreme Court. The controlling case is that of Lawrence v. Texas (2003). The court rendered a 6-3 decision in favor of Lawrence. Justice Kennedy wrote the opinion:

Held: The Texas statute making it a crime for two persons of the same sex to engage in certain intimate sexual conduct violates the Due Process Clause. Pp. 3—18.

(a) Resolution of this case depends on whether petitioners were free as adults to engage in private conduct in the exercise of their liberty under the Due Process Clause. For this inquiry the Court deems it necessary to reconsider its Bowers holding. The Bowers Court’s initial substantive statement–“The issue presented is whether the Federal Constitution confers a fundamental right upon homosexuals to engage in sodomy … ,” 478 U.S., at 190–discloses the Court’s failure to appreciate the extent of the liberty at stake. To say that the issue in Bowers was simply the right to engage in certain sexual conduct demeans the claim the individual put forward, just as it would demean a married couple were it said that marriage is just about the right to have sexual intercourse. Although the laws involved in Bowers and here purport to do not more than prohibit a particular sexual act, their penalties and purposes have more far-reaching consequences, touching upon the most private human conduct, sexual behavior, and in the most private of places, the home. They seek to control a personal relationship that, whether or not entitled to formal recognition in the law, is within the liberty of persons to choose without being punished as criminals. The liberty protected by the Constitution allows homosexual persons the right to choose to enter upon relationships in the confines of their homes and their own private lives and still retain their dignity as free persons.

In what appears on the surface to be a domestic assault issue, the police took it upon themselves to arrest both men under North Carolina's archaic anti-sodomy law. G. S. 18B-1005.1 states:

18B‑1005.1. Sexually explicit conduct on licensed premises.

(a) It shall be unlawful for a permittee or his agent or employee to knowingly allow or engage in any of the following kinds of conduct on his licensed premises:

(1) Any conduct or entertainment by any person whose genitals are exposed or who is wearing transparent clothing that reveals the genitals;

(2) Any conduct or entertainment that includes or simulates sexual intercourse, masturbation, sodomy, bestiality, oral copulation, flagellation, or any act that includes or simulates the penetration, however slight, by any object into the genital or anal opening of a person's body; or

(3) Any conduct or entertainment that includes the fondling of the breasts, buttocks, anus, vulva, or genitals.

(b) Supervision. – It shall be unlawful for a permittee to fail to superintend in person or through a manager the business for which a permit is issued.

(c) Exception. – This section does not apply to persons operating theaters, concert halls, art centers, museums, or similar establishments that are primarily devoted to the arts or theatrical performances, when the performances that are presented are expressing matters of serious literary, artistic, scientific, or political value. (2003‑382, s. 2.)

G. S. 14-177 states:

If any person shall commit the crime against nature, with mankind or beast, he shall be punished as a Class I felon.

Also, in an unrelated manner, which only proves further the archaic nature of our sex laws, I found this as well:

G. S. 14‑186. Opposite sexes occupying same bedroom at hotel for immoral purposes; falsely registering as husband and wife.

Any man and woman found occupying the same bedroom in any hotel, public inn or boardinghouse for any immoral purpose, or any man and woman falsely registering as, or otherwise representing themselves to be, husband and wife in any hotel, public inn or boardinghouse, shall be deemed guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor.

These arrest would seem to be a significant deviation from the constitutional issues decided in the Lawrence case. The arrests of these men is a disturbing deviation from what has seemed to be settle law. The fact that North Carolina's statutes still maintain anti-sodomy provisions, even after the Supreme Court's decision, is troubling enough in itself. However, it is the enforcement of the law that is an even more serious affront to Constitution.

It has been suggested that North Carolina's anti-sodomy statute has remained on the books in an effort to appease the Christian Right. I'm not sure if this is true, although I do know that many on the Christian Right take issue with the decision in Lawrence v. Texas. Let's hope that the charges issued in Raleigh are dropped, and no attempt is made to take this issue up again to the higher courts.

Comments

The President has has tried to invalidate our US Constitution

President Bush has spent much of his time invalidateing our Constitution.....

Wouldn't ya just know that its now North Carolina who may validate the President.

If NC is foolish enough to try this "sodomy" case, they will fail, but the damage to our reputation as a State will have already been done.

Marshall Adame
2014 U.S. Congress Candidate NC-03

The crimes against nature law lends itself to this kind of mess

Wow, this is shocking (no irony intended). Either the person who called the police was assaulted, and should not have been charged with anything, or there was private consentual sex, and no one should have been charged. Hard to see any scenario where this was not a complete debacle.

Likewise, the N&O usually does not include in their articles the name of someone who claims to have been sexually assaulted. This is a deviation from that & it makes you wonder if they automatically discredited the alleged victim's allegation. Imagine making such a call to the police and ending up with your name in the paper charged with "crimes against nature." Jeez.

My biggest concern...

My biggest concern is that there was some kind of sexual assault. I posted this on another site, and that seems to be a worry among others as well. If this was a date rape situation, and the one raped was charged with a crime against nature, it would look like something that might happen in Iran.

Good, better, best

Why else would the police have been called?

Maybe there was some other drama involved, but I have a hard time seeing why a man calls & reports an assault. His quote in the paper made it sound like a sexual assault:

I didn't allow anything. They knew it and turned it around and arrested me. I have never been so humiliated in all my life. It's just awful.

I'm not sure...

Either the article isn't as clear on what happened as I would like, or I'm missing something. It could be as simple as a domestic assault, based on what I've read. If someone was raped, I expect this case to blow up even more than it is going to now.

Good, better, best

nicweb

There's an open tag in your signature.

Which I just fixed

:)

the Crimes Against Nature arrests

I posted about this early this AM.

The ultimate outrage is that the police did not charge Flynn with sexual assault. As you read, the police captain 1) doesn't believe a sexual crime occurred; and 2) doesn't have a problem with arresting the men under this law, when everyone knows a heterosexual couple would never be charged with CAN.

These cases almost never make it to trial, but the point is time and money are wasted as a result of these charges, and in this case, lets an actual crime -- sexual assault -- go unpunished. The North Carolina Gay Advocacy Legal Alliance (NCGALA) further states

In order to convict someone of CAN, prosecutors must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that an act of penetration occurred (that is, the state must prove that a penis was inserted into someone's mouth or anus, or that a tongue was inserted into someone's vagina or anus).

So, while we celebrate the achievement of California's Supreme Court ruling that gay couples may marry, here in our state, where that possibility is nowhere on the horizon, we're at the mercy of biased law enforcement officials too lazy to actually correctly assess and charge criminal activity by using an unconstitutional law to persecute a sexual minority.

Way to go.

--
Pam Spaulding
Durham, NC USA

Pam's House Blend
www.pamshouseblend.com

--
Pam Spaulding
Durham, NC USA

Pam's House Blend
www.pamshouseblend.com

Too lazy?

Looks to me like the cops went out of their way to create this mess. Your tax dollars at work.

Pam

I check your site quite often, so I am honored that you would take the time to comment in this thread. I will be watching this case closely over the next few days to see how it develops, in hopes that more details will surface regarding the specifics of the charges and alleged sexual assault.

This story plays to two great shames. The first great shame is the oppression of GLBT individuals, often condified by the state. The second is the great shame of sexual assault, and the courage of those who painfully speak out, only to be met with a deafening silence.

Let's hope that there is more information that will come available later that will clarify the situation. Let's hope that justice is the endgame.

Esse quam videri