NYPD ex-cop Gilberto Valle has been found guilty this morning of conspiring to kidnap women and illegally using Federal databases to help him do so. Dubbed “the Cannibal Cop” Valle has tried to put forth a defense that he was just fantasizing and exploring the netherworld of the dark side of the Internet.
But it was certain concrete steps he took towards the act of kidnapping (and then according to his emails, cooking and eating the victims) that were the nails in his coffin. He went onto National Crime Information Center databases that he had access to as cop get addresses and information on the homes of his intended victims. Federal prosecutors love conspiracy theory because it’s the closest thing to prosecuting thought crimes since the publication of George Orwell’s 1984 As a matter of fact in Federal drug conspiracy cases you don’t even need the one overt act in furtherance of the crime to be charged.
I think Valle went a little beyond mere thought, however, and it was just to much for the jury to swallow. I also wonder if the case had gone to State Court whether the same result would have been reached as jury selection is so limited in Federal cases as compared to state trials that I doubt defense counsel was allowed to fully explore potential jurors feelings about the difficult issues this case presented.