This is INFURIATING!
Michael Thomassie was sentenced to life in prison in August of 2015 for raping a 7-year-old girl back in 2002… but he’s about to get off nearly scot-free.
That’s because after only serving a little over a year for the deplorable crime, the 42-year-old former New Orleans police officer just got his conviction overturned by an appeals court on Wednesday for an incredibly enraging technicality.
Even though the victim gave graphic evidence that Michael — who lived with her and her mom at the time — had raped her, a different aspect of the trial altogether is getting the verdict tossed.
Assistant District Attorney Laura Cannizzaro Rodrigue argued to the jury at the time that a text message he sent to his girlfriend telling her he preferred women with shaved pubic hair was indicative of him being “inclined to rape a child.”
Thomassie sent the following text to his then-girlfriend regarding her pubic hair situation during the 2015 trial:
“No hair is best but as long as you’re clean, I’m good.”
While the message is pretty bad considering he was being accused of pedophilia, it in no way proves he’s child rapist.
After all, plenty of people prefer their partners shave; it’s really a terrible argument.
Still, Rodrigue, who found the text message after a warrant was issued for the defendant’s phone, managed to successfully use the text against him after convincing Judge Tracey Flemings-Davillier of its relevancy to the jury.
She even referenced it in her closing statements, arguing:
“If this were a murder, I’d say it’s not relevant but this is a man charged with raping a prepubescent girl, a 7-year-old girl, and he’s taking selfies, telling his girlfriend he prefers women with no pubic hair. That should be very alarming to any person sitting on this jury. That should be one of the most important things to give you an idea of just what kind of real good guy he is.”
Unfortunately, the ADA’s argument no longer holds up in court.
Basically, the Louisiana 4th Circuit Court of Appeal ruled that Rodrigue had offered no expert testimony linking an adult man’s attraction to an adult woman with no pubic hair to pedophilia… so Michael’s ill-timed text should have never been permitted to make it to the jury!
Judge Rosemary Ledet wrote that the text message talk constituted “irrelevant, prejudicial appeals to emotion and inflammatory arguments going before the facts of the case.”
Sadly, even though the text message arguement definitely wasn’t the deciding factor here — the victim testified after all — the entire trial has been thrown out.We hope th
No new trial date has been set, but hopefully reports of this injustice will lead to something.
[Image via Orleans Parrish Sheriff’s Office.]