Texas congressman calls for the removal of Del Norte County judge
WASHINGTON, D.C. - In Washington D.C. Thursday, May 25, Texas Congressman Ted Poe called for the removal of Del Norte County Judge William Follett.
Judge Follett was the judge in the case against Nolan Bruder, a 20-year-old Crescent City man who pleaded guilty to raping his 16-year-old sister after getting her high on marijuana dabs. Del Norte District Attorney Dale Trigg told North Coast News Follett ordered Bruder to 240 days in county jail, having to serve half that time before being eligible for release.
"If Bruder violates his probation the judge can rule, which he indicated, that he serve a minimum of three years in the state prison," Trigg said.
Congressman Poe took concerns regarding Bruder's case and low-term punishment to the floor of the House of Representatives.
"Mr. Speaker," Poe said. "Sexual assault is never the fault of the victim, contrary to what Judge Follett thinks. Judge Follett got it wrong. He got it wrong in this case, and it's time for him to pack his toothbrush and leave the bench. And that's just the way it is."
Congressman Poe is also the Founder and Co-Chair of the Congressional Victims' Rights Caucus. He said he has met a lot of rape victims, learning that their lives were forever devastated by rapists. Poe called Bruder's crime unacceptable.
"On May 17th, Nolan was sentenced to a mere 240 days in prison and then probation," Poe said. "Why? Because the judge decided prison would severely impact Bruder! Well, Mr. Speaker, isn't that the point? Even evidence showed that the defendant had no remorse at the trial."
Del Norte District Attorney Dale Trigg said Follett believed the stigma of Bruder's conviction along with mandatory sex offender registration requirements would be enough to keep Bruder and others from making another similar mistake in the community. Trigg said he couldn't disagree more with the decision.
"The message that this sends to our community is that sexual predators who get their juvenile siblings stoned enough can have sex with them without any meaningful consequence," Trigg said. "That is not the message I want to send to our community,"