Tags: gilberto valle | cannibal | cop | acquittal | upheld

Gilberto Valle, NY's 'Cannibal Cop,' in the Clear After Acquittal Upheld

Image: Gilberto Valle, NY's 'Cannibal Cop,' in the Clear After Acquittal Upheld
Former New York City police officer Gilberto Valle, dubbed by local media as the "Cannibal Cop," exits the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in Lower Manhattan July 1, 2014. (Brendan McDermid/Reuters)

By    |   Friday, 04 Dec 2015 09:31 AM

Gilberto Valle, the tabloid-dubbed "cannibal cop," will remain free after the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals upheld his overturned conviction this week for allegedly plotting to kidnap and eat women.

Valle was a six-year veteran of the New York Police Department before he was convicted of conspiring to abduct and kill women in March 2013, the New York Daily News reported. The guilty verdict was determined in large part by Valle's Internet chats in which he discussed in detail plans to abduct, kill, and eat women he was friends with. He even reportedly accessed a police database to research potential victims, according to Reuters.

Valle's attorneys maintained, though, that the chat room discussions were nothing more than fantasy role play as part of some cannibalism fetish, and they insisted he never took steps to through actually follow through with his plans.

A federal judge agreed and overturned his conviction in July 2014, a decision that was upheld on Thursday in a 2-1 decision.

"This is a case about the line between fantasy and criminal intent," Circuit Judge Barrington Parker wrote in the majority opinion. "Fantasizing about committing a crime, even a crime of violence against a real person whom you know, is not a crime."

"We are loathe to give the government power to punish us for our thoughts and not our actions," Parker continued. "That includes the power to criminalize an individual's expression of sexual fantasies, no matter how perverse or disturbing."

Prosecutors had argued that Valle had indeed took steps to fulfill his plans by conducting surveillance of potential victims and doing Google searches with phrases like "how to abduct a girl," even though there was no evidence that he harmed any women, the New York Times reported.

"The case against Mr. Valle touched on a fundamental question of the digital era: When does a plot discussed in Internet chat rooms cross the line into actual criminality?" The Times' Benjamin Weiser wrote.

"Evidence presented at Mr. Valle's trial in federal district court in Manhattan showed he had used screen names like Girlmeat Hunter to communicate with others in gruesome exchanges on fetish websites," he continued.

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Gilberto Valle, the tabloid-dubbed "cannibal cop," will remain free after the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals upheld his overturned conviction this week for allegedly plotting to kidnap and eat women.
gilberto valle, cannibal, cop, acquittal, upheld
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2015-31-04
Friday, 04 Dec 2015 09:31 AM
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