Camblos: If The Birthday Fits, You Must Convict

I listened to Commonwealth’s Attorney Jim Camblos on WINA this morning. It was, in a word, lame. Hosts Jane Foy and Jay James — both of whom are friends and whose work I enjoy — handed one softball after another to Camblos, never following up on his often-bizarre responses. No calls were permitted. I had fully intended to restrain myself from writing anything about the interview, figuring enough is enough, but there was one moment that has earned me more e-mails and phone calls today than anything else about this case.

Camblos said that the oldest kid in the case (“the ringleader”) was born on the 100th anniversary of Hitler’s birthday and the anniversary of Columbine. I held my breath during the sentence, thinking where can he possibly be going with this?. And then he did it — Camblos concluded the sentence with: “we took that very, very seriously.”

Whaaa? I’m not quoting anything out of context here: Camblos made a single statement in which he asserted that this kid was a suspect because of the date on which he was born. The Hook picked up on the same bit, pointing out that Jessica Lange was born on the same day. Presumably Mr. Camblos will be having her arrested shortly.

There were lots of forehead-slapping moments in this interview (like Camblos’ repeated insistence that “they were all convicted,” and his claim that investigating suspects before arresting them is “not the real world”), but I just couldn’t let this one go without remark.

A clap on the back and a hearty handshake to the first cvillenewser who can discover Mr. Camblos’ birthdate. I’m hoping that Molly Cliborne will indulge us by explaining what crimes Mr. Camblos may be guilty of by virtue of his birthdate.

9:39pm Update: Thanks to everybody for their help — we’ve got it. Suffice it to say, it appears to have been a very dark day in world history on many, many occasions. More on that tomorrow.

08/26 Update: WINA, God love ’em, has two audio extracts of the interview on their site: talking about the case on the whole, responding to criticism. And, finally, the Hitler clip. Bonus points to the first person to remix that into a dance tune.

08/28 Update: Charlottesville Podcasting Network now offers the audio of the entire interview.

13 Responses to “Camblos: If The Birthday Fits, You Must Convict”

  • I was fortunate enough to miss the first 20 minutes of the “interview”. However, not fortunate enough to miss the entire thing. When I heard the comment of which you speak, my jaw dropped to the floor. What an incredible idiot he really is.

  • None of this really matters if there isn’t a viable Democrat running against him next time. None of it.

  • No — but it might help to generate a viable candidate.

  • Does Bill Clinton have his law license back?

  • I listened to the whole thing. I think the police and then the prosecutor put this entire incident into a “Columbine” framework and then became totally vested in making the facts fit their framework. If you do this, you can apparently make a disturbed teenager’s birthdate, bedroom wall, and even other kids he has never met, part of a Conspiracy to Commit Murder. When this mindset is firmly in place, you can take the evidence of an 8th grader who admits to extreme dislike for another child seriously, as happened in the case of the child who was recently acquitted. It can become damning that a family takes 3 days to voluntarily hand over a computer to some “police expert” who does not know that people regularly change computer components- anyone catch Hawes Spencer’s account (yesterday chatting with Barefoot on WINA) of how the grandmother in that family had spilled apple juice on her computer so they gave her the original harddrive and later replaced the one in the suspect computer?
    After listening to Camblos, I think everyone who had an 8th grade boy at Jouett last year in the classes of the suspects, is incredibly lucky not to have been caught up in this “conspiracy”. Camblos may not have realized it, but his little interview could fit very well into a classic study of a witchhunt.

  • Please forgive me (really), but I think there is some context missing from Camblos’s seemingly bizarre remark. April 20th was Hitler’s birthday. The 2 kids who perpetrated the Columbine massacre were well aware of this and dated there plot accordingly for 4/20. (I think they were Hitler groupies or something).

    It does not, I believe, strain credulity to imagine that a troubled kid born on 4/20, IMing about a bomb plot, and knowledgeable about Hitler and Columbine would want to perform his copycat crime on that date.

    I bet there’s something in the evidence against 4/20 boy that lends creedence to Camblos’s remark – something to tie them altogether. I sure hope there is.

  • Judge Smails,

    There was a trial. In fact, there were 2 trials. Trials in which Camblos’ office presented their ‘evidence.’ If there was anything that even remotely led credence to Camblos’ remark then that is where it would have been presented. It was not, therefore it either does not exist or was so meaningly and shoddy that he knew the judge would never allow it.

    I think that we have to face the facts: Jim Camblos is just a weirdo who uses superstition and paranoia as substitutes for rational judgement and has innocent 13 year old kids thrown in prison for months on end because of it.

    I take back everything I ever said about Jim Camblos being a competant attorney who simply has different values from Albemarle. Camblos’ comments on the radio reveal a man unable to exercise the most rudimentary kind of common sense. He doesn’t belong in any position of public responsibility. Eventually this guy will be throwing witches in the Rivanna to see whether they float or sink. He has to go.

  • It does not, I believe, strain credulity to imagine that a troubled kid born on 4/20, IMing about a bomb plot, and knowledgeable about Hitler and Columbine would want to perform his copycat crime on that date.

    That’s assuming that he was going to commit a crime and there was a date for it. If it had been established that he had the means and the intent to attack local schools and if it had been established that it was going to happen and if the only piece of information lacking was the date, then it would have been smart for police to expect something on the 20th and act accordingly. But that’s not grounds for prosecution. That’s just grounds for clever police work.

  • My reluctance to believe that Camblos could be so sandpoundingly stupid is being worn down.

  • I say stupid things really routinely — my wife knows that she has to listen to what I mean, not what I say, because bizarre and nonsensical words routinely pass my lips without my knowledge.

    If I went on the radio and said something so mind-blowingly dumb, I’d issue a press release within the hour apologizing profusely. And I’m going to be on Coy’s show at 5pm today, so I declare that with a certain amount of hesitation. If I left the studio only to receive a call from my mother alerting me to the fact that I’d, say, called for the impeachment of the whole of City Council, I expect I’d try to fix that real quick.

    It’s been three days since Camblos announced that he pressed charges against a kid on the basis of his birth date. Why in the world hasn’t he issued a mea culpa? Given the frequency with which I accidentally say crazy shit, I’d be forced to give the guy the benefit of the doubt, if only in hopes that others might treat me similarly down the line. I figure either he meant to say it, or he’s not willing to admit he made a mistake. I suspect it’s the latter, which explains his continued prosecution of these kids long after it must have been clear to him that they’d done nothing wrong.

  • He’s too arrogant for that. He “knows” he’s right and he’s sticking to his story. Afterall, in Camblos-World, there’s nothing wrong with a little birthday-profiling. Driving While Aries. Whatever. Scary jackass.

  • As Waldo noted, the questions given to Camblos were “softball” and he had no unexpected or challenging questions from listeners. I had the impression that he was not speaking off the cuff but had planned what he wished to say. I quite appreciated the amount of rope given him by the show hosts- ample opportunity to showcase the quality his thinking in the “bomb plot” case, and hopefully inspire some sane opposition in the next election.

  • I’m with you, Gail — I’m starting to suspect that the show’s hosts gave him just enough rope to hang himself. The more I look back on that interview, the more helpful I think it was to just let him talk.

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