Skip to comments.Twenty Years In Prison For Having Sex With His Wife
Posted on 02/09/2006 5:31:44 AM PST by freepatriot32
William J. Hetherington has been incarcerated in Michigan prisons for more than 20 years for having sex with his wife Linda. In 1986, he became the first man in Genesee County convicted of the new Michigan crime called spousal rape. Linda was not a battered wife; she testified at the trial that he had never beaten her in their 16 years of marriage. Hetherington was honorably discharged from the U.S. Air Force, received a National Defense Service Medal, and had no police record of any sort.
The sentencing guideline for this new offense was 12 months to 10 years but, without showing cause, the judge sentenced him to 15 to 30 years (twice the time served by the average convicted rapist in Michigan). Twenty years later, despite an exemplary prison record, the parole board routinely refuses to parole him, giving as its sole reason "prisoner denies the offense."
Hetherington has, indeed, always maintained his innocence. It was a he-said-she-said case during a custody battle; he said it was consensual sex, she said it was rape. The judge used Michigan's new Rape Shield Law to prohibit cross-examination of Linda.
No physical evidence of rape was produced at the trial. A pelvic examination of Linda at the hospital three hours after the alleged offense showed no evidence of injury or forced penetration. Apparently what persuaded the jury to convict was the testimony of two police officers that they had observed tape marks on Linda's face.
The court-designated psychologist who examined Hetherington, Dr. Harold S. Sommerschield, Ph.D., concluded: "This is not a man who would force himself sexually or hostilely on another individual, as this would be foreign to his personality dynamics. ... his histrionic personality ... would substantiate his explanation of what has occurred in regards to the relationship with his ex-wife."
The rape charge was prosecuted simultaneously with the custody case, and the divorce court had frozen all Hetherington's assets so he had no money to hire a lawyer or make bond. Nevertheless, the criminal court ruled that he was not indigent and refused to provide him with a lawyer.
For 12 years, the court refused to provide Hetherington with a transcript of the trial. Without funds, he was unable to buy one, so he was effectively denied his right of appeal, and no appeal has ever been heard on the substance of this case.
At the sentencing, prosecutor Robert Weiss called Hetherington's alleged offense equivalent to "first degree murder" and falsely accused him of beating Linda. Weiss was running for a judgeship, and observers sized up his prejudicial statements as grandstanding for support from the feminists.
Linda walked away with custody of their three daughters, the marital home, and all marital assets.
Ten years after Hetherington's conviction, a volunteer attorney, Jeff Feldman, using the Freedom of Information Act, obtained copies of five photographs taken of Linda by police at the alleged crime scene immediately after the alleged offense. The photographs were in a locker in a police garage, and the prosecution had never disclosed them to the defense.
The photographs were then examined by a forensic photographer in Miami, John Valor, using all modern techniques. Valor's four-page notarized report detailed his impressive expertise, including service as the lead forensic photographer in the trial of serial-killer Ted Bundy.
Valor's sworn statement dated January 8, 1998 stated that the pictures of Linda showed absolutely no scratches, tape marks or abnormalities of any kind, and that marks would have been clearly visible if there had been any. If a government witness gives false testimony, a convicted prisoner should be entitled to a new trial, but Hetherington didn't get it.
Years later, a completely unsolicited letter was sent to the parole board by Melissa Anne Suchy, who had been employed by Linda as a babysitter. Suchy's letter is hearsay, but it has the ring of authenticity.
Suchy wrote that Linda told her she made up the story about rape because she was then pregnant with the baby of her boyfriend, and he pushed her to press rape charges, saying that she would have to "get rid of Hetherington or he wouldn't take care of the baby."
Over the years, several pro bono lawyers and concerned citizens have tried to secure a pardon or a parole for Hetherington, but Michigan appears determined to make him serve 30 years because he won't admit guilt and because the bureaucracy won't admit it made a mistake.
Almost everyone who reads the record of what happened to William Hetherington concludes that he was unjustly accused, unjustly convicted, unjustly sentenced, unjustly denied his due process and appeal rights, unjustly denied a new trial based on physical evidence of inaccurate testimony by government witnesses, and unjustly denied parole.
A good man's life has been sacrificed, and three children have been denied their father, by the malicious feminists who have lobbied for laws that punish spousal rape just like stranger rape and deny a man the right to cross-examine his accuser. They have created a judicial system where the woman must always be believed even though she has no evidence, and the man is always guilty
I agree entirely. Sometimes I wish hell would open up and suck all the lawyers and judges in especially the ones involved in this case.
Another reason to make one skeptical about the state of MI and her liberal people
some times the good guys win though. I just was involved in a case where the mom accused the dad of abusing her for years and then abusing the child. She now has one hour of supervised visitation per week with the child.
bttt. V's wife.
This sounds like something that would have given Franz Kafka a case of the cold sweats.
Boy, just when you think YOUR ex is a b!tch....
"sheol has opened its mouth without limit..."
Geez...this makes Kafka look tame. What a tragic story. We need DNA evidence on the kid for paternity.
I've long advocated that if a public offical, like a cop or prosecutor, ever uses evidence to convict someone knowing it was bad, fabricates evidence, or hides evidence from the defense, needs to serve what ever prison term the wrongly convicted gets. And that parole boards need to be held responsible for people they let out.
If what we've got here is true, then this guy needs to be supported by the state for the rest of his life, but not in prison. I wish that some hot-shot, high visibility lawyer would take the case and see what happens then.
This is an unbelievable story. Did this guy ever get representation at trial? Story says he was denied indigent and couldn't pay for his own.
The case hasn't been appealed yet the prosecution withheld evidence?
I couldn't imagine losing 20 years of my life like this. The wife needs to be strung up by her toe nails. Followed by the prosecutor. Followed by the parole board.
If this story went as Schlafly said it did, it causes me significantly more concerns than wiretapping or Jose Padilla.
This is the crux of the matter. Working for the government means then you NEVER have to admit you're wrong. Government bureaucrats screw up things all the time. They NEVER have to face ANY consequences for their actions.
Paging Monsieur Dumas, Monsieur Alexander Dumas.
If this is substantially true, it's even worse than the Dreyfus affair.
We should also be outraged, however, if the charges are being misrepresented here. She might have gotten a "keep away" court order on him before this happened, and then become an emotional basket case before the court to gain sympathy. Are transcripts that costly, that he couldn't get enough friends to pitch in for it? Something still seems hinky here.
Any man who would consent to marriage under present laws, needs to be locked up.
Seems like this fella was the victim of rape. Rape of the judicial system in both custody/divorce court and criminal court. This is ridiculous and I'm saddened at what this man has lost.
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