Feb. 8, 2012

The indignities endured by Little Rascals defendants were unending and sometimes bizarre. A University of Georgia professor enlisted by the defense to conduct a penile plethysmograph reported that Bob Kelly was aroused by videotapes and slides of only normal heterosexual activity. But the prosecution’s expert countered that not every sex offender would be caught by the test.

Fearful of a clear-thinking jury, prosecutors never missed an opportunity for gratuitous vilification. Nancy Lamb histrionically held up gold-framed portraits of 12 children as she denounced Kelly as “an evil, evil man.” H.P. Williams Jr. saw “no reason he should be restored to the community at any time.”

And how’s this for a melodramatic climax, as reported by the Associated Press:

“Some of Mr. Kelly’s victims, clutching dolls and teddy bears, sat in the front row of the spectators’ section as Judge D. Marsh McLelland… passed sentence (of 12 consecutive life terms). Later, as guards escorted Mr. Kelly out of the courtroom to a police car for the trip to a state prison in Raleigh, some of the children yelled at him, ‘I hate you!’… ‘See you in a million years!’ ”