Is David Mejia the Dumbest Defense Attorney in the US? Savannah Dietrich’s Attacker’s Lawyer Says Victim Ruined His Client’s Life

Yea, that’s a long title for this post. Let’s unpack it.

  • First we have Savannah Dietrich, the brave and angry young [a juvenile] woman who was assaulted by two jerks [also juveniles] who then posted their antics on line. When they got a slap-on-the-wrist (nod, nod, wink wink, boys will be boys), she tweeted their thugly names.
  • And there it would have ended had it not been for David Mejia, the lawyer for one of the criminals [I haven’t been able to establish whether he is the lawyer for Austin Zehnder or Will Frey III]. Defense Attorney Mejia filed a contempt motion against Dietrich, which had she been convicted could have landed her in jail for 180 days, so she and her family went to the Louisville [KY} Courier-Journal, and then the story went viral. Mejia retreated from the contempt order, later telling ABC’s “Nightline” August 20 that his intent wasn’t

to punish Dietrich, but to have a judge force her to delete her online posts about the boys. “I was hoping she would even have some remorse or an apology to give. That didn’t happen.”

  • Then the Courier-Journal filed a motion for release of court documents:

The original motion filed by the newspaper argued that “serious questions have been raised in this case about how the system has been used to protect, perhaps inappropriately, the two defendants who have admitted to abusing Ms. Dietrich, while at the same time unconstitutionally depriving Ms. Dietrich of her First Amendment rights to free speech.”

A ruling about this should be issued on Tuesday, August 28. In the mean time, Mejia has been a very busy guy. Continue reading “Is David Mejia the Dumbest Defense Attorney in the US? Savannah Dietrich’s Attacker’s Lawyer Says Victim Ruined His Client’s Life”

Instant Karma and Savannah Dietrich

All too infrequent are the instances of instant karma, but oh my how satisfying they  can be.

My last post was about the young lady in Kentucky, Savannah Dietrich, who was facing contempt charges with penalties including fines and jail time for naming the two juvenile thugs who sexually assaulted her, posted photos of their crimes on the net, and were allowed to plea bargain their cases down to sweet deals.

After she was charged for Tweeting their names, Savannah, also a juvenile, and her folks went to the Louisville, KY newspaper, and all hell broke loose as people worldwide came to her defense, and, what do you know: the scum’s names — Austin Zehnder and Will Frey III — are now all over the place.

Were it not for the contempt charges, only those who follow Savannah’s Twitter and whoever they told would know these guys’ names.

By trying to hurt her further, Zehnder and Frey ensured that googling their names — or Savannah’s –will forever take you to their crimes.

They wanted attention on the net? They’ve got it now. Google “zehnder frey” and Google reports “7,960,000 results.”

Instant Karma.

The Louisville Courier-Journal reported that

“David Mejia, an attorney for one of the teens, said given that the story has gone global because of a piece Saturday in The Courier-Journal, there was no reason to continue the contempt motion.

‘What could contempt do now?’  Mejia said in an interview, adding that the boys’ names have already been circulated far beyond the original tweet. ‘Seems like a rather useless exercise doesn’t it?’

Got that one right, guys.

And there is more to come: seems these two pieces of trash come from money (tuition and fees at their private school tops $12,000 a year), and there is — surprise! — some interesting good ole boy networking going on among the guilty and those who work for the “justice” system. Stay tuned.



Thank you, Savannah Dietrich

In August 2011 Savannah Dietrich, now 17, of Kentucky was sexually assaulted by two juvenile boys who then posted photos of their attack online; when they entered a plea bargain to receive what Savannah felt (and I’m sure she’s right) to be a lenient deal, Savannah twittered her disgust and named these thugs in her post. She then found herself facing a contempt of court charge with penalties of up to 180 days in jail and a fine of $500.

What part don’t you get?

You didn’t know that in many US states juvenile court proceedings are not only closed to the public but even the victim is warned not to speak of what happens in these proceedings or else face criminal charges?

It’s not the kind of thing you would know, usually, and it defies common sense. That is why I am grateful to Savannah for having the guts to do it anyway — to make public the names of her attackers — at least briefly.

Yes, the boys’ defense attorney who entered the motion for the contempt charge against Savannah has now withdrawn it (62,000 people in one day signed a petition on to get the charges dropped). This does not mean, however, that the District Attorney can’t proceed with the charges (nothing would surprise me).

The media at large is still not naming the assailants, and Savannah’s legal position is too tenuous, I imagine, for her to re-post.  But she has brought a legal absurdity to the attention of some, at least.

Here’s the thing: court orders and court proceedings involving juvenile defendants are closed to the public and cannot be broadcast or published or released in any form unless specifically provisioned. The idea, I guess, is that juveniles don’t have the decision-making capacity of adults and so their mistakes should not follow them through life. Certainly I could go along with this in the case of a 10-year-old who stole a pack of gum.

But not for those who commit violent assaults. Not for teens who beat their girlfriends senseless or assault them sexually and post their doings on the net.

It’s bad enough that when they are adults, they can have the records of their actions expunged. It can all be for them as if it never happened. But that they can be shielded from the righteous anger of their victims, and that the system is set up so that the community cannot be warned that these foul pukes have committed such crimes — that is intolerable.

Now imagine if your daughter were invited to a party where these guys would be and became their next victim. You would never know that, were it not for the law itself,  she could have been warned that these kids were predators (why not use social media to alert the public of danger?). But as it stands, the justice system itself forbids this.

When these thugs’ probation is over and later when their records are expunged, they can pretend nothing ever happened. It’s all over.

For their victims, it isn’t over so easily or so quickly — if it is ever over for them at all.

Then there is the irony that it is only by seeking justice within the system that Savannah found herself facing criminal charges. If the matter hadn’t gone before a judge, she could have Twittered whatever she wanted about the scum. True, they could have sued her, but their identities wouldn’t be protected in civil proceedings, at least.

There is also a queerness to the law. Savannah’s knowledge of events is not derived from court records, but from personal experience. Is the intent of the confidentiality provisions to keep officers of the court from judges to clerks from gossiping in small communities or is it to shut up the victim?

Savannah’s life, her story, is just that — her story: no judge should have the right to limit her freedom to tell her story.

She has no status whatsoever, legally. She is not a party to the court proceedings. As a juvenile herself, her parent would have had to file the petition/press charges against the boys.

In a plea bargain, there is no trial. She was not even then a witness. She never had the chance to tell her story to the judge. She never had the chance to force her assailants and their parents to listen to what their spawn had done to her.

(Note: “Dietrich and her family told the newspaper they were unaware of the plea bargain and recommended sentence until just before it was announced in court.” If  they can prove this, it shows that the District Attorney’s office is staffed by incompetents or couldn’t be bothered to prepare for trial. I’d like to know who was subpoenaed — if anyone. But I never will. Since juvenile proceedings are shrouded in secrecy, who knows if the DA generally is lenient toward juveniles who commit sexual or physical assaults — if that is, they are wealthy enough to have attorneys in the good ole boy network? I’d Romney-bet you $10,000 the thugs weren’t minorities.)

From doing the right thing, going through all the proper legal channels, Savannah ended up with nothing but more suffering.

And she can’t even tell us about it.

This must change.