I could write articles about sex toys and such every day, but that is probably is not what my colleagues in the firm would call the best use of my time (keep an eye out for my personal blog – coming soon).
However, I have been holding onto this story for a few days because I could not resist the opportunity to write back to back articles about crimes involving rubber love dolls. Stay tuned, this one actually involves some lovin’ (attempted at least). And unlike its predecessor, this article involves some real crime. Though, much like the previous article (and countless other criminal “justice” tales), this story too involves an over-zealous prosecutor .
Insidenova.com reported last week that police caught Justin Dale Little Jim inside MVC Late Night adult store after he allegedly broke through the front glass door to get in. Officers followed a police dog and discovered the alleged burglar in a closet where prosecutors say he was “attempting sexual relations” with a blow-up doll.
Little Jim is charged with burglary, grand larceny and felony destruction of property. (Object sexual penetration sounds most accurate, but that’s actually something different and way more awful.) Presumably the destruction of property charge is for the door and not the doll. Surely an inflatable date is not worth more than the $1000 required to make it a felony. I am aware there are more expensive special-order type love dolls out there, but a quick google search turned up several of these inflatable types for well under $50, including this one that goes for only $30.99 with free shipping (in case you were interested.) Also, the felony destruction of property would require intentional destruction, and that does not at all sound like what he was intending with the doll.
Giving the prosecutor the benefit of the doubt (despite my natural inclination against it) and assuming the door glass was worth over a grand (even though a street-view glance at the door revealed nothing special about said glass), it is possible the prosecutor can actually support the property destruction charge. I guess one for three is close enough for government work.
As for the grand larceny charge, there is nothing in the story that indicates Little Jim was trying to steal anything, other than the doll’s virtue (and who can place a value on that?). In Virginia, grand larceny is the theft of something with a value over $200 (when it is not theft directly from a person.) I already discussed the likely low value of Little Jim’s companion, and I will not attempt to argue as to the value of its virtue – it’s not real or personal property. Regardless of value, every first or second-year law student learns that larceny requires the intent to permanently deprive the owner of the property. It does not appear that Little Jim had any such intent for the doll. He specifically chose a closet in the store for his attempted encounter, which pretty strongly implies that this was not the kind of date he had any intention of taking home (hit it and quit it, as the kids would say). So larceny is out, and that basically precludes the burglary charge (which was probably the reason for charging the larceny).
Without intent to commit larceny, burglary also presents a prosecutorial dead end. Common law burglary is a breaking and entering of a dwelling house with intent to commit a larceny or felony therein. I cannot find any case law defining dwelling home so broadly as to include a place where sex toys live without human housemates, so only statutory burglary remains a possibility.
Statutory burglary falls under two sections in the Virginia Code, and it allows for prosecution of burglary-type crimes involving a building that is not a dwelling home (such as an adult novelty store). One code section requires intent to commit murder, rape, robbery or arson. As for murder, we do not know what Little Jim’s post-coital plan for the love doll was, but as it did not involve a human (no offense to the doll), it could not have been murder. Rape and robbery similarly require a human victim, and flames of passion do not an arsonist make.
The other statutory burglary section requires intent to commit larceny, assault and battery, or any felony not listed in the previous paragraph. As discussed above, the only apparent felony here is the destruction of property. But even if Little Jim did commit felony destruction of property with the door, he did not break and enter with the intent to do that inside. Once inside, his intention was not to commit felony or larceny but rather acts of forbidden (but not felonious) love with a person-shaped balloon. Assault and battery requires a human victim, so that will not work either. Based on what we know, Little Jim was trying to accomplish, and thus exposed, his intent when the officers found him. Unfortunately for the prosecutor, the burglary statutes do not mention blow-up doll sex, even with someone else’s doll.
So what do we have? Maybe destruction of property (but possibly a misdemeanor). No larceny. No burglary. So this prosecutor, true to prosecutorial form, has charged serious felonies that he cannot prove most likely to increase bargaining power when it comes to negotiating a plea. Not shocking.
More surprising is that I actually found a point to make in an article that I started writing mainly to make rubber-love-doll jokes.
(Thanks to Patrick Woolley for helping expedite my research and answer what would be a fantastic and hilarious law school or bar exam question.)