Reader’s outraged by Hartley’s words

Project: Reader Reaction

A recent Project: Reader Reaction question asked about comments made by District Judge Teddy Hartley during a recent sentencing in a rape case. Hartley sentenced John Jacobs, 21, of Clovis to 18 months probation after Jacobs entered an Alford plea, which means he maintained innocence while admitting sufficient evidence exists to convict. During sentencing, Hartley told the courtroom:
“There’s no right or wrong person here; they’re both in the wrong. Mr. Jacobs, certainly you are opportunistic, maybe even a predator. There’s no pride in the victim’s position here today, either; this whole thing could have been avoided if either of you had any sense.”
Hartley said the circumstances surrounding the 2002 incident were crucial to his decision, including a graphic lap dance and extensive use of alcohol by a group of minors in a house with no adult supervision.
“I think the problem is Mr. Jacobs perceived he had done no wrong in his alcohol-impaired state,” Hartley said. “I think the victim perceived she could go almost all the way and then Mr. Jacobs would support her wishes and her character as a friend when she said ‘no.’”
Some responses to the judge’s comments:

“I think the judge’s comments are disgraceful. Since when is it the victim’s fault that she was raped when she said no? I certainly am glad all of our judges aren’t this heartless.”
— Ardyth Elms, Clovis
“Judge Hartley should at the least apologize to the victim’s family for a very poor statement very unbecoming of a professional in an open court.”
— Steve Gershon, Clovis

“Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but in my book no means no.”
— Mearl Thomas, Clovis

“I believe Judge Hartley is a just man. His comments are his to make since it is his court. If his words don’t make you happy, there are procedures to file a complaint. I believe the public should listen and unless they have all the information he had they should learn not to judge. Maybe his comments teach a lesson to all teens: Be responsible for their actions and act in an appropriate manner at all times not just when they suit you. No means no and should always be followed by both sexes. Don’t send mixed signals. Act like responsible adults, not raging hormones.”
— Jim Sitterly, Clovis

“After reading the article in the Journal, I certainly have questions about the judgment of both parties involved in this case. This type of comment by judges is what makes some women reluctant to report rape.”
— John Frey, Clovis

“The judge said, ‘I think the problem is Mr. Jacobs perceived he had done no wrong in his alcohol-impaired state.’ If this works for the defendant, why doesn’t it work for DWI (suspects)? A drunk person drives because he usually perceives that he is OK to drive and he does not intend to cause an accident or a death. It just happens.”
— Bob Baker, Clovis

“I have known judges who have spoken wise words when passing sentence. I have known judges who very obviously let their personal prejudices influence their sentences. I have known a judge who publicly stated he wanted to get a proceeding over with quickly so he could go fishing. Judges are human. Humans are known to do stupid things. Judges, therefore, can do stupid things. I read the comment attributed to Hartley in the sentencing. In this case, he probably should not have spoken his opinion on the matter.”
— Brent McBee, Clovis
“To blame the victim is to rape her again. I sure hope his position is an elected one.”
— Jeff Greene, Clovis

“Judge Hartley’s words reveal a common attitude that hurting others in order to gain your own victory is OK if it’s in sports and you are an athlete. This attitude must be prevalent in Clovis, or the judge would not have so openly espoused it. It’s easy to see how young people could transfer this attitude to dating. But dating is not a victor’s sports playing field, it’s about relationships. Perhaps the schools could do a little sensitivity training in the athletic departments to help young men understand the relationship aspect of dating instead of the dominant victor aspect of sports being applied to dating.”
— Carolyn Spence, Clovis

“I was the private investigator for Mr. Jacobs in this matter. I am bound by a confidentiality agreement not to discuss the details of this case; however, suffice it to say that with the extensive knowledge that I possess of this matter, I not only support Judge Hartley’s comments, I applaud his decision. He was right on. For what it is worth, Judge Hartley gets my ‘attaboy.’”
— Chet Spear, Clovis

“I think it is sad that Judge Hartley chose to make the comment that he did. He should make a public apology to all women. In his capacity to uphold justice for all people, to make a remark like he did is typical male-chauvinist thinking, that women were put on Earth to give pleasure to men.”
— Bill Lee, Clovis