Government Scores In Wildlife Refuge Case

Back in December I blogged about the results of the first trial arising from the Wheeler Wildlife Refuge sting operation. The case pitted the word of an undercover agent – Savannah, Ga. based Refuge Officer Greg Blanks – against that of the defendant, with the agent saying the defendant walked up to him and grabbed the agent’s crotch. The jury rejected the agent’s testimony and acquitted the defendant in about twenty minutes.

Well, they just finished another trial with the same undercover agent and the same allegations of unsolicited crotch-grabbing, and this time the defendant – prominent attorney Gary C. Huckaby – is guilty. The difference between the two? What do you know, another witness turned up:

Huckaby was charged with grabbing the crotch of refuge officer Greg Blanks, exposing and fondling himself. According to the testimony, Huckaby approached Blanks on the Beaver Dam Swamp Boardwalk Trail within the refuge.

An Alabama Department of Conservation & Natural Resources officer, Jerome Lowery of Decatur, testified that he watched the event from a hidden location through binoculars.

Gosh, why didn’t Ofc. Lowery testify in the first trial, I wonder?

Of course this doesn’t mean anything crooked occurred. It may well be that Lowery was not present when the first guy allegedly grabbed Blanks’ crotch, or if he was, he did not see it. Or maybe he did see it but the government was confident that Blanks’ testimony would be sufficient. But the defense sure seems to think something funny was going on:

Huckaby testified that he never touched Blanks and that Blanks fabricated the charges. Huckaby said he knew about the reputation of the refuge as a haven for people cruising for illicit sex and had read about law enforcement activities there. He said he wanted to scout the park to determine if it was suitable for a visit with his two preschool-age granddaughters.

The defense also tried to show that Lowery was mistaken or confused and indicated two separate locations where he watched Blanks and Huckaby on July 20.

It’s possible to convince a jury that one cop is lying – the first defendant managed to do it – but to convince them that two cops are lying? Not gonna happen. Especially not with a story like they offered in this case. They’d have done much better to just admit he was there looking for love, like the first guy did. Then you can argue that any contact was just an innocent mistake, without having to impugn the cops.

I’m guessing plenty of the remaining defendants will plead after hearing about this case.

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6 Comments on “Government Scores In Wildlife Refuge Case”

  1. Kathy Says:

    Great! My tax dollars at work — using wildlife agents to entrap gay men. Because we all know illicit sex between two consenting adults is a major threat to public safety. Can I have a refund?

  2. Mary Says:

    Get a room people!!!! it is despicable that he even suggests using his grandaughters as an “alibi” in his defense. He should have made a plea bargain and ended up with a misdemenanor instead of a felony conviction. Well Bradley, Arant, Rose and White, the law firm where Mr. Huckaby has been a managing partner – sure did seem silent on the issue. One would think they would come out publickly in his support.

  3. Jef Says:

    I had the dubious privilege of attending both trials. Lowery was there only the first and fourth days and was assigned to watch only one bench. He said the Huckaby incident was the only one he saw. He seemed credible in an Opie Taylor/Keystone Kops sort of way. Those that are not pleading guilty are ones that can’t stomach having to register as a sex offender the rest of their lives. U.S. Attorney Alice Martin has been unyielding on plea bargains in these cases.
    The ethical issue is a major one. Even if you discount the consistent (albeit predictable) testimony by defendants that undercover Officer Blanks was hitting on them, one of the crimes charged requires that the victim be “affronted and alarmed” by the conduct. How, one might ask, could can an officer seeking the contact be affronted by it?

  4. wheeler Says:

    “He should have made a plea bargain and ended up with a misdemenanor instead of a felony conviction.”

    that only works if the government is willing to let them plead to a misdemeanor, which does not appear to be the case here. and even the government was willing to bargain, some misdemeanor’s will still get the defendant on alabama’s sex offender list.

  5. brad masters Says:

    Well isnt it ironic that all along the prosecutors have said that their annual gay roundups at Wheeler have nothing to do with homosexuals, but i now find out that the charges were dropped against the only female Angela K.Lyle and the guy she was with Jeffrey Mauk.They didnt even have to go before a judge.It has been said that Ms.Lyle told that one of the officers reached under her dress to see if she was a man.Hummm.Abusive sexual contact by one of the officers?Or were they falsely accused.Why were their charges dropped is the question noone wants to answer ,not even the news media.I bet Alice Martin would if ask! yea right.

  6. brad masters Says:

    According to The Decatur daily Officer Greg Blanks testified that he had been a Officer for 10 years and that he HAD DEVELOPED SKILLS TO CATCH HOMOSEXUALS.I dont understand,if Officer Blanks testified that he did nothing or said nothing to encourage advances,then what kind of skills was he using to catch homosexuals.Was he just sitting on a bench reading a bible.I am not surprised at dethroned prosecutor Alice Martin but a Federal Judge that would buy this nonsense.Sounds like to me they all have a common goal.That would be my opinion.Anybody remember the Scottsboro Boys???


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