Virginia’s Naked Coffee Guy Convicted

Sunday, December 20th, 2009

Erick Williamson, the Springfield, Virginia man arrested earlier this year for being naked in his own home was convicted of indecent exposure on Friday. The judge sentenced him to 180 days in jail, but suspended the sentence.

I’m still not sure how the conviction holds up, given that the two alleged witnesses had to actually look into Williamson’s house to see Little Erick and the Williamson Twins. So you now have to make sure no one can see into your home in order to be naked in it? How vigilant must you be?

Also . . . WTF?

Williamson denied standing naked in his doorway or front window and said he had no intent to expose himself to anyone. But [Judge] O’Flaherty wasn’t buying it and likened Williamson to bank robber John Dillinger, who also “thought he was doing nothing wrong when he walked into banks and shot them up.”

First, who the hell still invokes John Dillinger to make a point? Everyone knows that when you want a ridiculously inappropriate “they didn’t think they were doing anything wrong, either” analogy, you turn to the death camp guards in Nazi Germany.  Methinks Judge O’Flaherty needs to get the latest Gilbert Outline for Bad Legal Metaphors addendum so as not to date himself in future rulings.

Second . . . seriously, what is wrong with this judge? Not seeing the harm in walking around your own house in the nude is akin to not seeing the harm in armed friggin’ robbery?

Digg it |  reddit |  del.icio.us |  Fark

46 Responses to “Virginia’s Naked Coffee Guy Convicted”

  1. #1 |  Sterlace | 

    I need some geography lessons from this judge… some guidelines. So far we have Naked in kitchen: Bad. Naked in shower presumably okay. But how about the hallway? Where is the line? Is it Dillingeresque to be nude at the computer in your home office?

    This is too ridiculous.

  2. #2 |  Dave Krueger | 

    I think we should have a little compassion for those two innocent pedestrians who have been severely traumatized. They may have lived their entire lives without seeing anyone naked and now that purity is lost forever. The damage is irreversible. All they can do is pick up the pieces of their shattered existence and pursue what time they have left on earth hoping that eventually the psychological wounds will heal. Of course, in heaven they will finally be made whole again.

  3. #3 |  Stephen | 

    Maybe it had something to do with that story about John Dillinger’s penis.

    http://www.snopes.com/risque/penile/dillinger.asp

  4. #4 |  Ahcuah | 

    This whole story makes no sense to me. Virginia’s indecent exposure statute requires “an obscene display or exposure of his person, or the private parts thereof, in any public place, or in any place where others are present,” and obscene is defined as “that which, considered as a whole, has as its dominant theme or purpose an appeal to the prurient interest in sex, that is, a shameful or morbid interest in nudity, sexual conduct, sexual excitement, excretory functions or products thereof or sadomasochistic abuse, and which goes substantially beyond customary limits of candor in description or representation of such matters and which, taken as a whole, does not have serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value.”

    In addition, there was no jury for his trial, but he gets an appeal with a 7-member jury? This just seems ass-backwards from the usual way (trials have juries, and appeals have panels of judges).

    Is “indecent exposure” considered such a minor offense that you don’t even get a jury trial (here in Ohio “minor misdemeanors” have been ruled to not require jury trials, even though the Ohio constitution says that “[t]he right of trial by jury shall be inviolate”)?

  5. #5 |  TC | 

    Why did the guy not call 911 and report peeping tom’s?

  6. #6 |  Wade | 

    In order to be convicted under the Virginia statute, the defendant must be proven to have made an obscene or indecent display. Nudity alone, without some proof of the defendant’s intent to expose himself for some sort of prurient gratification does not seem to be enough. All that said, the ruling is not that surprising. Many General District Court Judges in Virginia got their jobs mostly as a result of political contributions or having run for a state-level office and lost. In my experience, some of them rode the short bus to law school.

  7. #7 |  SJE | 

    Since the police feel that they can barge into your home at any time, for any reason, being naked in the kitchen is “public nudity.” Next, SWAT raids………

  8. #8 |  Thomas Paine's Goiter | 

    Radley – penises are extremely scary. Much scarier than armed criminals.

  9. #9 |  Judas Peckerwood | 

    “Not seeing the harm in walking around your own house in the nude is akin to not seeing the harm in armed friggin’ robbery?”

    Actually, given the ever-expanding definition of “sexual offender” and the trend toward lifetime stigmatization of those so labeled, walking around naked in your house could now be WORSE than armed robbery in the eyes of the law. At least when you’re finished serving your sentence for armed robbery you’re not forever branded a menace to society and hounded for the rest of your life by law enforcement.

  10. #10 |  Woog | 

    There is no justice in the system.

  11. #11 |  InMD | 

    I’m assuming this will be appealed. The statutory interpretation doesn’t make any sense to me. Frankly I wouldn’t be surprised if this gets reversed on appeal.

  12. #12 |  bobzbob | 

    Funny how Radley entirely dismisses the testimony of the women in this case, and takes the statement of the alleged perpetrator at face value. I wonder on what basis he justifies this particular bias. After all the guy has every incentive to lie, while the women in question don’t. It sounds to me likely that this guy did deliberatly expose himself to the passers-by, thus violating the statute. If this guy had been a cop Radley would be sure to complain because the sentence wasn’t severe enough. This is just another example of radley’s biases overcoming his sense.

  13. #13 |  SJE | 

    bobzbob: while there is an issue of he said/she said (literally), there is also an important issue of the extent to which the state may intrude into a person’s house and the private behavior in the house.

  14. #14 |  GT | 

    Oh bobzbob, bobzbob, bobzbob… you’re as transparent as the hasbarat.

    Why does “the guy have every incentive to lie”? Is that what they taught you at drone school – that an allegation immediately means that the person is an offender who lies?

    Okely dokelie then… I accuse you of child molestation. Just for kicks.

    Now you have an incentive to lie. Good luck defending yourself from people like yourself, you dill.

    Cheerio

    GT

  15. #15 |  Mister DNA | 

    First, who the hell still invokes John Dillinger to make a point?

    I’ll confess to being guilty of that charge.

    A few years ago there was a letter to the editor of our local paper from a Young Earth Creationist. The writer referred to Dr. Henry Morris as a “renowned scientist”. I responded to the letter, saying that referring to Morris as a renowned scientist was like referring to John Dillinger as a renowned banker.

    You know who else invoked John Dillinger? That’s right, the Nazis…

  16. #16 |  Erik | 

    I guess Erin Andrews of ESPN should be the one doing time.

  17. #17 |  Rollie Fingers | 

    I have friends on the inside.
    Guy’s gonna get indicted for being nude in the prison
    shower (Capone-style).
    He’ll be put on the Sex Offender list as a result. The damn perv.

    Chalk up another one for Victorian police work.

  18. #18 |  Mattocracy | 

    Bob,

    Seriously, the evidence to convict this man is so weak and circumstantial. A mere accusation shouldn’t be enough to convict someone. Had several people complained over the course of several days, then I think the charge would have more credence. But I think it’s pretty silly to think that a guy with no record is suddenly going to start flashing people. Even if he did, why not just tell him to knock it off or next time charges are coming. If he kept doing it then a pattern is established. But no, can’t have common sense. He has to immediately go to jail based on one witness and a kid. And lets not forget that kids can be easily coerced. And you apparently aren’t biased for believing the accuser despite the lack of credible evidence. Get over yourself.

  19. #19 |  Frank | 

    #3
    John Dillinger had a big dick

    Judge O’Flaherty IS a big dick.

  20. #20 |  buzz | 

    “Naked in shower presumably okay.” Not so sure. I have a window in my bathroom. No telling how many kids might hop the fence, get a ladder and climb up to the window where I am exposing myself in the shower. I shall wear boxers from now on.

  21. #21 |  perlhaqr | 

    Damnit, Judas Peckerwood just made me cry about my society. :(

  22. #22 |  SusanK | 

    The judge found that the guy was “intentionally naked in the house”. What a weird quote. I get intentionally naked in my house all the time. Now I’m not sure where I should get intentionally naked. I guess the next time I take a shower I’ll just wait for my clothes to “oops” fall off…
    Intentionally naked in the house isn’t actually a problem. Intentionally exposing yourself to someone outside your house is, but I don’t see that the judge really addressed that, or even included it in his findings (of course, all I have is the newspaper report).

  23. #23 |  David Chesler | 

    So Tom-peeping is legal in Virginia?

  24. #24 |  Warren | 

    Did John Dillinger rob banks while nude?

  25. #25 |  Ahcuah | 

    I’m reminded that, in any story about nudists, they are incapable of walking like normal people. In those stories, they are always “prancing”.

    You know, “prancing” in the nude.

    Riiiiight.

  26. #26 |  Yanqui Bon | 

    Williamson, a commercial diver who has since moved out of Fairfax County, said he was shocked by the verdict. He suggested after the hearing that he was the victim of a double standard.

    “If I was looking in her window, I think we’d be having a whole different conversation,” he said.

  27. #27 |  Andrew Williams | 

    Would’ve done better w/ Judge Joe Flaherty

  28. #28 |  Andrew Williams | 

    According to Andrea Dworkin, the penis is violence. Sex involves the penis. Therefore, sex is violence. Q.E.D.

    See Ionesco, Eugene

  29. #29 |  Dave Krueger | 

    Personally, I don’t care if the guy was standing right in his front window jerking off. Sex and nudity aren’t something you send someone to prison for. Yes, it would be in poor taste, offensive to most people, confusing for children, and would probably make him an anathema to the entire neighborhood, but these are not reasons to send someone to jail.

    I don’t think it’s legitimate to take someone from their home and family and send them to prison for merely offending someone. Prison should be reserved for those who have inflicted an identifiable injury on someone else. Of course, these days, when enforcing cultural conformity is a primary function of democracy, painting your house the wrong color or not cutting your grass constitutes an injury to most people.

  30. #30 |  Pablo | 

    Just more proof of our twisted attitudes toward sex. Anytime anyone is naked it is automatically “obscene” or “indecent” even if they are pissing on the sidewalk or just walking around the house naked.

  31. #31 |  JWeidner | 

    SusanK: So true – that is an odd thing to say. “Intentionally naked”. Makes me wonder if one could be “unintentionally naked in the house”.

  32. #32 |  Cynical in CA | 

    Something about this story smells, and it ain’t the coffee.

    There’s a vendetta going on here.

    Some neighbor didn’t like this guy and concocted this scheme for getting back at him.

    I mean, don’t we all know that if there’s someone in the neighborhood we don’t like and can’t seem to do anything about, all we have to do to ruin their life is call CPS if they have kids? This is the same flavor.

    I am mentally running down a list of my neighbors and I can’t believe I’ve done anything to any of them where they’d call the police if they spotted me naked.

    Moral of the story: be nice to your neighbors — not because they hold the power of life and death over you, but just because it’s the right thing to do.

  33. #33 |  bobzbob | 

    “Seriously, the evidence to convict this man is so weak and circumstantial.”
    –You don’t seem to know what “circumstantial” means. This man was convicted on the eyewitness testimony of two people, (and there was no case of mistaken identity). Further, unless you were IN THE COURTROOM you have no basis for your bold assertion that the evidence was weak.

    “there is also an important issue of the extent to which the state may intrude into a person’s house and the private behavior in the house.”

    Assuming the testimony is true (and do we have any reason to doubt it?) then this fellow deliberatly exposed himself at the front door to a child. That’s not private.

    “Personally, I don’t care if the guy was standing right in his front window jerking off. Sex and nudity aren’t something you send someone to prison for” True perhaps, but then your beef is with the law, not the conviction.

    Lastly, we all KNOW that if this guy had been a cop you all would, like RadleY, presume him guilty, not innocent.

  34. #34 |  bobzbob | 

    “Why does “the guy have every incentive to lie”? ”

    That is obvious.

  35. #35 |  Radley Balko | 

    Lastly, we all KNOW that if this guy had been a cop you all would, like RadleY, presume him guilty, not innocent.

    Uh, what Fluffy said.

    If a cop were arrested and charged for walking around naked in his own home, I’d be the first one to call BS on the charges.

  36. #36 |  Alas, a blog » Blog Archive » Open Thread: Man Convicted Nudity In Own Home | 

    [...] Radley Balko says, WTF? Williamson denied standing naked in his doorway or front window and said he had no intent to [...]

  37. #37 |  sucker | 

    i suddenly remember a tv commercial involving one guy naked inside his home and someone outside saw him. i wonder if that guy will be charged with indecent exposure in VA. clearly, he is “intentionally naked”, since it is commercial, and millions of kids and women in front of tv saw him.

  38. #38 |  Curt R Esident | 

    Well, you know what they say about people who live in glass houses…

  39. #39 |  NEVER WHAT? | 

    Well im a “Never Nude” i wear denium shorts under my joxs and in the shower, when i skinny dip… etc so i wont have this problem

  40. #40 |  sam | 

    This reminded me of the old joke (not that this situation is a joke):

    Woman calls police: “My neighbors are fornicating in plain view!”
    Cop arrives. “Well, ma’am, can you show me what’s going on?”
    They go into the backyard. “Right over there,” she says, “just look.”
    Right over there is an 8-foot tall brick wall.

    “Ma’am, there’s a wall there.”

    “Sure there is, but you can see them plain as day if you use that ladder.”

  41. #41 |  Rudiger Birkenfeldt | 

    Didn’t they walk over his lawn or something? How can he have exposed himhelf when they actually had to be on his property to be close enough to see anything?
    But that’s irrelevant. The world must be protected from nude coffeedrinkers.
    Verily, the penis is evil. Praise be to Zardoz.

  42. #42 |  The stupidity epidemic: it’s catching | a public defender | 

    [...] the “honey I found a shotgun in the yard” crime in Britain, Virginia has now gone and convicted the coffee guy who was walking around his house naked and was spied by some peeping [...]

  43. #43 |  straightarrow | 

    Not surprising in Va. When I lived there for a short time I recall a case of a man drinking a beer at his kitchen table. He was arrested and convicted for public drunkeness (not sure that is the name of the charge) because anyone looking in his window could plainly see him drinking alcohol if they were very close to the window. No lie. It happened.

  44. #44 |  Michael Leap | 

    There are times when I think the American public, the masses, are actually as Thomas Jefferson and colleagues thought so many years ago. That they were/are not capable of making governance level decisions. I am so ashamed at times at the conduct of allegedly ‘educated’ people. Example: the FDR Democrats and descendants, ill-educated union protected sloths, etc.

    Can we all get a life, for crying out loud? There are roses to be smelled, if one isn’t attracted to a scene or site, LOOK AWAY, babe! Take your child to a park and stop peeping into people’s houses!

  45. #45 |  Blagnet.net » Fish in a barrel 7 | 

    [...] There are people whose lives are ruined because they had oral sex as teenagers or because they walk around naked in their kitchens and their wannabe-tyrant neighbors have some twisted appetite fo…. This ruling will soon extend to terrorism and all other crimes that some lawyer or judge can [...]

  46. #46 |  Warning! Being Naked In Your Own Home Could Land You In Jail | Drink Your Kool Aid | 

    [...] a new phenomenon you would be incorrect. Turns out the guy was convicted of indecent exposure and sentenced to 180 days in jail this most heinous crime. However, the judge did suspend the sentence for this most heinous crime. [...]

Leave a Reply