Justice Denied! (When Rape Isn’t Rape)

I have nothing but wonderful memories of Idaho. When I was thirteen I attended a Boy Scout National Jamboree at Lake Pend Oreille along with thousands of Scouts and leaders from around the world. I saw no prejudice, watched Neil Armstrong land on the moon on an amphitheater big screen. Joined hands and sang songs with other youth and was hopeful about the future of mankind.

Randy J. Stoker, now a Fifth District Court Judge in Twin Falls Idaho was nineteen at the time and could have attended the Jamboree as an Explorer Scout as he was of age. If he were there we might have crossed paths, been in the same crowd watching the moon landing, traded patches, even prayed together. He might have been hopeful for the future as well. Unfortunately, in his position as Judge, whatever of the Boy Scout ideals I learned are displayed quite selectively in his case. He’s TRUSTWORTHY, but only the rich can depend on him. LOYAL, to those who support him. REVERENT, he no doubt does God’s will as he sees it. Through a clouded lens.

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Judge Stoker recently heard what was seemingly a heinous but straightforward case. In tiny, Dietrich, Idaho, a community of about 330 people. Tim and Shelly McDaniel filed a charge against three football players; alleging they engaged in the racist bullying of their mentally disabled adopted teenage son. He was also a member of the football team… and he was black! The final act of bullying began with one of his teammates beckoning him for “a hug.” Believing his teammates to be his “friends,” he came to the individual who held him while the others pulled down his pants and inserted a clothes hanger in his anus. John K Howard, the one student who was not a minor, kicked the hanger, pushing it further into his rectum. In his testimony, the victim described it as, “Pain that I have never felt took over my body. I screamed… but afterwards I kept it to myself.”

During the months of bullying. His mother went to school administrators and was, “just shunned.” John K Howard was a football star and had ties to a prominent Dietrich family. The victim reported that his teammates taught him a KKK glorifying song calling for the lynching of black people. They called him, “watermelon,” “Kool-Aid,” and “Grape Soda.” During the attack they called him “nigger.”

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Several days after his teammates were named in a civil lawsuit. Football coaches taped the victim, urged on by other teammates saying, “we love you,” and “tell the truth.” The mentally challenged victim made statements later admitted into evidence in court saying his parents pressured him into testifying to support their lawsuit. He later recanted those remarks saying he told the coaches what they wanted to hear because he wanted his friends back.

The two minors involved in the attack were criminally charged and tried in Juvenile Court where their records are sealed. John K Howard, tried by Judge Randy Stoker. Received probation and community service after taking an “Alford Plea” under which he admits no guilt but concedes he likely would have been found guilty in a court of law. When giving Howard a slap on the wrist. The Honorable Randy Stoker declared both “the act didn’t constitute a sex crime” and “the assault was not racially motivated.”

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In remarks announcing sentencing he expanded on his thoughts. “Whatever happened in that locker room was not sexual. In my view this is not a case about racial bias. People from the East Coast have no idea what this case is about. But I’m not going to impose a sentence not supported by the law.” In an unrelated case he gave probation to a man who raped a 14-year-old girl, blaming the whole thing on “Social Media.”

Randy J Stoker is unfit to be a Judge. Whatever his allegiances he had demonstrated little concern for victims and no sense of justice. A petition is circulating advocating his removal. Otherwise he is up for re-election next year. While I may be jaded by my “East Coast” values. I know that justice will indeed be blind to allow him to continue to preside. Please sign the petition and share this post so that others may do the same.