Student Acquited of Sex Assault - Defense: Sleepwalking.
July 8, 2002 4:39 AM   Subscribe

Student Acquited of Sex Assault - Defense: Sleepwalking. Let the games begin.
posted by yhbc (27 comments total)
This is screwed up. Whats going to happen next year when he's in a dorm? The same thing? Since he got away with this they should have cut his one of his legs off or something. After all, its not his fault he's sleepwalking, but somethings got to be done to protect the people he's assaulting.

And I do hate to blame the victims but... this guy was able to get into 10 dorm rooms. These people are college studuents... shouldn't they be smart enough to lock their doors? So maybe no need to cut one of his legs off, just teach these people how to lock a door.
posted by Keen at 5:02 AM on July 8, 2002

He started cutting of one woman's shirt

One of these little night-shirts would really suit this guy, whether or not he's convicted.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 5:10 AM on July 8, 2002

Isn't there a limit to how many complicated actions you can perform while sleepwalking? Last time I did, I felt cold, and kept grabbing more covers to pull over me. I awoke after five minutes as I was on the balcony, shoveling snow on top of myself thinking it was the covers.
posted by dabitch at 5:13 AM on July 8, 2002

shoveling snow on top of myself thinking it was the covers

no offence, but that's a great story.
posted by Frasermoo at 5:21 AM on July 8, 2002

A highschool buddy of mine once got up in his sleep, wandered into his parent's room, opened their closet and peed all over their clothes. His dad wanted to kick his ass, but his mom was afraid of giving him a heart attack -- you know, the kind caused by waking a sleepwalker. Sleepwalking is cool!
posted by luser at 5:34 AM on July 8, 2002

OK, except when you rape somebody.
posted by luser at 5:35 AM on July 8, 2002

As us Umies used to say on a REGULAR basis - "Welcome to UMass" *shakes head*
posted by bkdelong at 5:49 AM on July 8, 2002

I think it's more telling that the jurors also had issues with "inconsistencies" in the victims' stories. None of us discussing the incident here were in the jury and heard all the evidence - and to be convicted, the state must still prove the accused's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. I stongly doubt that there will now be a plethora of sleepwalking defenses coming forward - here, it was just one piece of evidence that led to an acquital.

On preview, what skallas said.
posted by yhbc at 5:51 AM on July 8, 2002

I walked into my sister's room and peed on a chair.

I wasn't sleepwalking.
posted by Frasermoo at 6:20 AM on July 8, 2002

Tell me about your childhood...
posted by pracowity at 6:28 AM on July 8, 2002

My uncle was a somnambulist, back in the '30s and '40s, and once walked into and over the railing on my grandparents' second floor (overlooking the living room), breaking his leg when he landed.
He couldn't hold a job for long, because he was prone to waking up in the next city, county or state from his episodes, and frequently came home broke to regroup.
During a later visit to his parents', he disappeared into the night while the rest of the family slept, which was not uncommon...but that time he never returned. They assume he may have walked into a river and drowned, since whenever he had wandered off before he had always come back. No body was ever found, though.
posted by Corky at 7:23 AM on July 8, 2002

Corky, I am...your uncle.

*hugs, tears, boffo ratings*
posted by luser at 7:43 AM on July 8, 2002

I once sleepwalked. I was around seven, and my dad was typing on his TRS-80 color computer (4k RAM!). I was never good at programming or typing, but apparently he thought I was just unable to sleep, so he asked if I wanted to sit down... and apparently I typed a three line program in BASIC. Go figure.
posted by norm at 7:50 AM on July 8, 2002

Further info, now that I get into my office and read a little bit more about the reported case. The earlier stories (link will likely expire within a day or two) indicate that at least two jurors did not take the sleepwalking issue into account at all. Perhaps I was stirring up trouble unncecessarily.
posted by yhbc at 8:02 AM on July 8, 2002

10 print "I'm asleep."
20 print "But I'm typing a damned program, Dad!"
30 goto 10
posted by pracowity at 8:13 AM on July 8, 2002

A friend of mine went to bed following a drunken evening & woke up in his car surrounded by the wreckage of a bridge he ploughed into.

His blood/alcohol was over the limit & so he was banned for 12 months despite a sleepwalking defence...
posted by i_cola at 8:17 AM on July 8, 2002

*Isn't there a limit to how many complicated actions you can perform while sleepwalking? *

I saw a news item on "sleep eating" last night, which implies we can do very complex things while sleeping. Such as trying to cook, opening freezers and eating.
posted by Mondo at 8:24 AM on July 8, 2002

(Frasermoo - it was funny to me too, despite being cold and wet with a frosty nightgown.)

Anyway, that's why I thought too many complicated actions whilst sleepwalking might be hard to do, I always wake myself up when I do really strange things.
Hearing about Corky's uncle now I'm just glad I don't sleepwalk too often.

and Mondo, eating? wow, I'm a total amateur in the sleepwalk crowd.
posted by dabitch at 8:36 AM on July 8, 2002

Frosty nightgown?

hmmm...that old chestnut.
posted by Frasermoo at 8:43 AM on July 8, 2002

"at least two jurors did not take the sleepwalking issue into account at all"...last time I was on jury duty we were instructed that the jury had not only to agree on innocence or guilt but especially on the theory of the crime, in other words the finding had to be based on the same system of reasoning rather than different jurors finding different reasons for conviction or aquittal. Isn't that universal?
posted by Mack Twain at 10:24 AM on July 8, 2002

Only for conviction, Mack - that's what we mean when we say that the prosecution must prove every element of the crime that is charged for there to be a conviction. For acquittal, though, the jury is free to believe or disbelieve any evidence put forth by the defense, or to disregard all the evidence (if any) put forth by the defense. An accused does not have to mount a defense at all, remember - they may simply "rest" after the prosecution's case, on the grounds that the prosecution did not meet its burden of proving its case "beyond a reasonable doubt".
posted by yhbc at 10:39 AM on July 8, 2002

buddy of mine used to to sleep research stuff...they would set up little cameras all over someones house and watch what they do...had one woman who would go to the fridge and eat handfuls of butter & mayo. That was the clue to why her diet wasn't working. crazy stuff.

regardless of Why the guy did what he did...i think i would still consider him to be a hazard to other students.
posted by th3ph17 at 10:53 AM on July 8, 2002

After 27 years of seeing my mother do everything from eat, cook, clean, shower, etc in her sleep, I can believe almost anything.

She'll carry on complete conversations with you and the next day have no recall of it at all.

My little sister is also a sleepwalker. When she was younger, Dad used a twist tie on the door chains, so, she would make noise if she were to open the door. He did this after finding her walking 5 blocks from home at 3 AM sound asleep. She was about 5 at the time.

In this case, it just sounds like the prosecution completely dropped the ball. And, like someone said earlier, why were all those doors unlocked?

We live in a rural, relatively crime free area, we do not leave our doors unlocked. I would never in a million years leave a dorm room door unlocked.
posted by SuzySmith at 11:00 AM on July 8, 2002

I strongly doubt that there will now be a plethora of sleepwalking defenses coming forward

Sleepwalking has been used as a defense for murder any number of times (1, 2, 3) - enough so that papers have been written on the subject. The Scott Falater case is probably the most famous recent one in the US (he was convicted). In a case more closely related to this one, a man named Richard Overton used a sleepwalking defense when accused of the sexual assault of a seven year old girl, and was basically acquitted. There is also the very odd case of Abbas Dadgarnejad, where the victim and the accused both claimed to be asleep - she got into his bed and then he raped with her.
posted by anastasiav at 11:31 AM on July 8, 2002

I've been sleeping since 1985.
posted by Ty Webb at 1:12 PM on July 8, 2002

Not too long ago, I woke up to find my neice's boyfriend sprawled on the floor in the hallway outside her bedroom door. Naked as the day he was born. I thought he had passed out drunk on his way to or from the bathroom, and was prepared to give him bloody hell for it after I woke him up. A gentle prod to the shoulder produced no reaction. He was really asleep. (Well, most of him was asleep. One part was wide awake.) I decided I needed coffee before I could deal with this situation, so I went down to the kitchen. Crap. Forgot my cigarettes, and had to go back upstairs. His altogether nakedness was beginning to be a bit embarrassing for me, so I threw a towel over the awake part, and retreated to the kitchen for that cup of java. He was still there an hour later. I (very carefully) stepped over him, and went into neice's room to wake her. When I told her that her boyfriend was taking a siesta on the carpet in his birthday suit, she jumped up, smacked him on the head, and dragged him into the bedroom. Turns out he wasn't drunk at all. Nope. He sleepwalks.
Later, after the redness in his face went away, and she convinced him that he really could be in the same room with me without dying of shame, I asked him if this happened often. "Not much", he said. Once though, when he was in Marine boot camp, he crawled into his Sergeant's bunk. That must have been really interesting!
(BTW, my pet name for him now is Naked Boy.)
posted by Corky at 3:05 PM on July 8, 2002

*finishes tally of Amusing-Story Points*

Corky, your story beats out dabitch's.
posted by allaboutgeorge at 4:03 PM on July 8, 2002

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