My Photo

« Still More Poetry | Main | Block the Vote »

April 12, 2007

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d834515c2369e200d83430801a53ef

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Sometimes, Justice Prevails:

Comments

What's disturbing is that, by and large, the folks who have been loudly championing the cause of the Duke lacrosse players in the blogosphere for these last several months are the same people who accuse the Gitmo lawyers of aiding our enemies, the same people who preach hatred of the ACLU. Somehow, they've written about this case over and over and over without ever realizing there's a larger issue.

There are indeed useful comparisons to be made between the two situations, but one difference stands out, at least to me.

Don Imus had a long history as a "shock jock," expressing outrageous (racist, misogynist, &c.) opinions and insulting people left and right. He was a debacle not waiting to happen, but racing to the spot.

Mike Nifong, in contrast, appears to me(*) to have been a very conventional, conscientious prosecuting attorney prior to this case, which is one reason why his supporters stuck with him so long. They (and I include myself, so I should say "We") kept saying, until recently, "Yes, the case for the prosecution looks bad, but surely Nifong must have his reasons for proceeding, which will come out at the trial."

Yet in the event he did not. Whether it was because he was involved in a political campaign when the case first broke, or because he somehow became emotionally committed to this cause, his actions (unlike those of Imus) were quite out of character with his previous career. And were wrong, for reasons Hilzoy describes.

I feel like one of those neighbors of a serial killer who says on camera: "But he always seemed like such a nice boy!" It may be true - but I'm not sure what it proves, except that there was little reason to anticipate what went wrong.

(*) I live in Durham, and thus am exposed to much more local coverage of the case and context than most people are. If there were skeletons in Nifong's closet, they'd have been up tapdancing in the spotlight here long ago.

Similarly, though much more damagingly, I don't suppose that Mike Nifong said to himself: I wonder how I can do something truly awful to some Duke lacrosse players?

Isn't it odd how the media framing of this case has magically turned it around to make the men who were at a party where a woman was raped, all of whom are under suspicion of having committed that rape until cleared, the victims - people to whom "something truly awful" was done?

"I plan on killing the bitches as soon as the(y) walk in and proceeding to cut their skin off." said a Duke lacrosse player...

Dr Ngo: Mike Nifong, in contrast, appears to me(*) to have been a very conventional, conscientious prosecuting attorney prior to this case

And yet, when he tries to bring to trial the sons of rich and powerful families for raping a black stripper, it suddenly appears - a magical transformation - that actually, he wasn't being either conventional or conscientious.

A woman was raped at a party. To argue that the men who were present at the party who all now come under suspicion of rape until actually cleared are the victims to whom "something awful was done" requires a really extraordinary turn-around. Yet it happened.

Oh yes, the full text of the Duke lacrosse player's e-mail:

tommrow night, after tonights show, ive decided to have some strippers over to edens 2c. all are welcome.. however there will be no nudity. i plan on killing the bitches as soon as the walk in and proceding to cut their skin off while cumming in my duke issue spandex.. all besides arch and tack please respond

Nice boys, all of them, evidently...

Jes -- I'm not sure it's fair to make categorical statements like "A woman was raped at [that] party." That doesn't seem to be demonstrated by the evidence at all.

Jes, you'd have a great point if Nifong were being criticized simply for suspecting the three boys in the first place. Quite clearly, the problem is that he didn't drop the charges when the evidence showed they didn't do it, and he made any number of improper public statements about them that simply weren't justified by the evidence.

Some truly remarkable things have occurred here. The state ethics commission filed charges against the prosecutor with respect to a case that was still ongoing. I've never heard of that before. And the state Attorney General stepped in, conducted his own investigation, and declared the players innocent -- not just "not guilty," but innocent. You simply don't see this sort of thing when a case is prosecuted normally. To act like it's only the "media framing" which has made the three defendants into victims is to ignore all these other legal actors who came to the same conclusion.

You say: "A woman was raped at a party." The Attorney General of North Carolina says: "We have no credible evidence that an attack occurred." What evidence do you have that the Attorney General doesn't, and why didn't you give it to him?

The straw, it burns!

Nobody claimed that these were "nice boys" -- if someone did, I'm sure you have cites forthcoming, right? I'd did a quick Ctrl-F here, and the only person using the phrase "nice boys" is, well, you.

What has been said is that they are innocent of these rape charges. Is that matter still in dispute, and if it is, what evidence do you offer that it is incorrect?

Speaking of framing: "A terrorist incident was committed on US soil. To argue that the men who were known compatriots of the terrorists who all now come under suspicion of terrorism until actually cleared are the victims to whom 'something awful was done' requires a really extraordinary turn-around. Yet it happened."

You OK with that statement?

contrast the right wing response to this news (ex, Dan Riehl) with their non-stop years-long cheerleading for waterboarding, presumption of guilt, complete trust in the govt's ability to arrest and detain the right people, etc..

them Duke Boys are lucky they weren't Pakistani citizens, i s'pose.

Jes -- I'm not sure it's fair to make categorical statements like "A woman was raped at [that] party." That doesn't seem to be demonstrated by the evidence at all.

Aside from the testimony of the rape victim herself and the medical testimony that she had been raped?

On the Imus issue for a minute.

"Numerous advertisers said yesterday that they would refuse to sponsor the show in the future. Among the advertisers were General Motors, American Express, Sprint Nextel, GlaxoSmithKline, TD Ameritrade and Ditech.com."

One wonders what NBC would have done if not faced with the loss of so much advertising revenue.

BTW, Jes, do you believe that every single woman who has claimed to be raped, sexually harrassed or molested is telling the truth?

This is a legitimate question, because I have known people that do believe that, even when faced with the evidence to the contrary.

BTW, Jes, do you believe that every single woman who has claimed to be raped, sexually harrassed or molested is telling the truth?

According to all reliable statistics I've seen (and this comes from multiple sources - summaries of police blotter stats, nationwide estimates), false accusations of rape (I don't recall independent figures for sexual harassment/molestation) are about as common as false accusations of any other serious criminal offense - about 4%.

The acquittal rate in rape cases is extremely high: charges are frequently not brought, and if brought, the man accused of rape is more often than not acquitted anyway. I believe that many of the sweeping claims I've seen about false accusation rates of rape being 40, 50, or 80% are based on acquittal rates, rather than on the woman who says she's been raped having been shown to be lying.

I have not seen any evidence that suggests to me that the woman in the Duke rape case lied about having been raped, and no reason to suppose that she was lying about having been raped at that party.

Jes: I have not been following the case all that closely. (I did for the first few days, but not thereafter.) However, as noted, the AG says there is no evidence that an attack occurred at the party, and I'm not aware of what evidence you think he's disregarding.

I wonder how many of the folks who were complaining about Nifong trying to railroad the Duke players were also complaining that Biskupic was railroading Georgia Thompson. The Seventh Circuit certainly did every bit as good of a job exonerating her as NC's AG did for the students.

Sadly, the real losers in false accusation cases, tend to be justice in general and the next victims of similar crimes.

However, as noted, the AG says there is no evidence that an attack occurred at the party, and I'm not aware of what evidence you think he's disregarding.

The woman's testimony, and the medical evidence that she was raped, and the fact that her false fingernails were found in the bathroom.

(People who wear false fingernails tell me that the claim that they just "popped off" is as likely as the claim that a real fingernail would just "pop off"...)

I can well believe that the Attorney General decided that there was insufficient evidence to prosecute. My difficulty is with your notion that the three men who were charged with rape - and the other thirty-odd men who were at the party - were the victims in this case.

I'm trying to imagine what it must be like to be falsely accused of rape in a high-profile, politically charged case, and to have both that accusation and the threat of 30 years in prison hanging over you for a year, but frankly, I can't.

Did you try to imagine what it must be like to have been racially abused and raped, to have your identity broadcast across the Internet, to have your family and friends discover by this means that you were working as a stripper, that you've had to wait for a year wondering if your attackers will be convicted, only to realize that in fact the story has now been framed so that the men who were at the party are the victims, and the very best that you can hope for when the story of your rape is retold is that you will be invisible and disregarded, since the reframing has now taken place that you lied?

Frankly, we are fast becoming the epitome of a Jerry Springer society. It seems to have become more important to have an audience and notoriety when confronting conflict than it is to attain resolve and mutual respect. That model seems to serve the needs of the exploited and those who seek to exploit; reinforcing all that relegates objectivity to the outhouse while making the frailty and imperfection of the human condition a spectacle that harkens back to the Coliseum.

These situations shouldn’t be about whether liberals or conservatives, this race or that race, hip hop or honky-tonk, one group or another, are more offensive and therefore more responsible for all that is wrong with America. I am not capable of judging the whole of Don Imus nor am I capable of crafting a recipe to fix all of America…and neither are the countless pundits and partisans who have sought to frame it so.

I’m not a religious person…but I often find kinship with the imagery surrounding the portrayal of one called Jesus and his teachings of understanding and forgiveness. For all the banter I hear about the Bible and Christian values, it certainly seems to me that we are fast abandoning what many view as the sacred “tablets” in favor of the sacrosanct tabloids. If I’m right, all I can say is heaven help us.

Read more about the dynamics that lead a situation to become larger than the sum of its parts…here:

www.thoughttheater.com

I've just finished reading six full pages on the case in today's local [Raleigh] paper, and the coverage, which struck me as judicious, confirms the conclusion that I have reluctantly reached after a year of following the case fairly closely, and believing initially in the prosecution.

No rape took place at that party. (I'm sorry, Jes, but that's what the evidence shows.) The accuser - now named in the press - gave at least six different versions of what happened, not just different in the minor discrepancies that often occur under such circumstances, but in fundamentally incompatible ways. There was no corroborating evidence for her account. There was no DNA evidence supporting it. The other witness (the second stripper) denies it. The timeline is wrong. Photographic evidence refutes several aspects of her story. The medical evidence is inconclusive at best (i.e., she sustained some injuries compatible with her original story, but certainly not proving it).

The only reason she is not being prosecuted for bringing false charges, according to the NC Attorney General - who came across as credible - is the possibility that she genuinely believed these statements at the time she was making them. (She has a history of mental illness, apparently.)

I'm glad, therefore, that the accused players were released (and declared "innocent," which is quite remarkable, as Hilzoy notes). In that sense, justice is served.

I'm NOT glad in several other senses:
(1) because Nifong turned out to be a "rogue prosecutor," which is never good for a system of justice, or for the public perception of it;
(2) because, as one of the accused rightly acknowledged, the system worked this time in part because they had the resources to combat a rogue prosecutor, whereas most accused do not;
(3) because this false accusation will count against countless other true accusations that might be made - or now, might not be made! - and thus hurts future victims of actual rape, especially among minorities;
(4) because underlying issues of racism and sexism in and around the Duke campus will thus be dismissed, as if the (non-)verdict proves them, rather than the specifics of this case, to be mere fantasies;
(5) because the verdict will give aid and comfort to the numerous racist and sexist and classist defenders of the accused, who are rejoicing today in what they regard as the triumph of their belief that nice boys don't do this kind of thing, and nappy-headed hos are not to be believed if they claim rape.

And Phil, maybe no one here on ObWi has claimed that these were "nice boys," but that in its essence - if not the exact words - is very very much part of the defense of the accused around here (here being the Research Triangle of NC and the Duke community, including alumni). I realize that there are others, presumably including yourself, who carefully distinguished "these are Good Guys, so they didn't do it" from "these may or may not be Good Guys, but there's no evidence they committed this particular crime," but Jes is not out of line in referring to the "nice boy" defense, IMHO.

My difficulty is with your notion that the three men who were charged with rape - and the other thirty-odd men who were at the party - were the victims in this case.

Need there be only one?

Jes -- What Hilzoy said. I followed the case intermittently as it became clear that the prosecutor was misbehaving. (It was the photo line-up that really got my attention.) TalkLeft was my source of information on this case; I believe they maintain an archive on the case that you may find of interest.

My understanding is that the established timeline of events at the party is contradictory to the woman's accusations in general, and against those 3 men in particular. I also recall that the medical evidence showed intercourse (DNA evidence), but was improperly reported as showing rape. I don't think they were able to make that determination through physical signs.

This is not to say that foul misogynistic and racist remarks/threats were not uttered; no one at that party has anything to be proud of. However, there's a lot of territory between being an a**h*** and a rapist.

Jes: yes, I did try to imagine this. -- I am not, and do not regard myself as, a court of law, so I sometimes declare that I think people are guilty before they have been tried. Yesterday while driving, for instance, I heard part of the arraignment of a guy who had shot several of his ex-co-workers, and had been identified by the survivors, found in possession of the gun that did the shooting, etc. I'm fine with saying that I think he's guilty.

With that as preface: when I first read about this story, it was in some context -- I forget where -- in which it was assumed that the accused were guilty of rape. The reason I followed it closely at first was that I was thinking of writing about it, because her story, if true, was just horrible. And, as I said, wherever I read about it first, it left me with the impression that it was true.

I was the victim of a couple of sexual assaults, one of which was a pretty clear attempted rape, as in, I was lying on the sidewalk fighting this guy off me. I reported it to the police, and had to deal with all the delights of reporting an attempted rape to sexist police officers, one of whom actually said " look, just go down to the beach tomorrow in a bikini and wait for him to try again." (I am not making this up.)

This left me with both a pretty vivid appreciation of what it's like to be the victim of sexual assault, and what it's like to have it trivialized. The thing is, it also left me with an appreciation of exactly how serious a charge rape is, and so how important it is that it be directed at actual rapists. This is the flip side of my genuine fury at actual rapists: if I didn't take it so seriously, I might be a lot less interested in the accuracy of charges.

In any case: I read a lot about this, because (after the first story) I was planning to post on it, but I wanted to make sure that I had the facts straight, because rape is very serious business. The reason I didn't post on it was because I decided that it wasn't at all clear what had actually happened, and so I couldn't. But it wasn't for lack of seeing the accuser's point of view, or taking it seriously.

Jesurgislac:

The woman's testimony, and the medical evidence that she was raped, and the fact that her false fingernails were found in the bathroom.

The woman gave 15 different accounts of what happened, most of them mutually exclusive,

There also wasn't any evidence that she was raped, all she had was a light swelling of the vaginal tubes, something that can be caused by consensual intercourse. And as it happens, she did have the semen several males in and on her; none of these males had been at the party, and sleeping with them obviously caused this light swelling of the vaginal tubes (unless it was from the night before, when she put on a perormance with a vibrator). The semen of at least two men had been found in her rectum, and if there had been an violent anal rape, there would have been extensive damage to her rectum, but there was none at all.

As to the fake fingernail: If it wasn't attached properly, it can easily come off.

basically, what dr. ngo said better.

ack! my last comment was directed at myself, but due to the activity on the thread it appears to refer to Ralf's comment.

Ralf, your comment is also better stated than my own.

I will continue to think that this is an excellent example of how stories can be successfully framed against the victim, especially when the victim is poor, black, and female, but will refrain from arguing the point further.

hilzoy,

I'm sorry to hear what you had to go through.

On the other hand, the whole Duke affair is unsavory, but I don't think it will be used against actual victims or to trivialize rape (or at least not that often), excactly because it is so extreme.

farmgirl,

no preoblem :)


Jesurgislac,

suit yourself, but it isn't the case that the story was framed against the victim, rather that a white DA tried to use a false accuser with mental problems for his personal gain. Your anger should be aimed at Nifong, for his breathtaking zynism made the whole case such a circus in the first place.

Sorry for the typos: 'problem' and 'cynism', of course

Since Jes has indicated she's dropping out, I'm reluctant to pile on further, but I would like to point out that her own conclusion about the rate of false accusations of rape (which I had not seen before my last comment) -

According to all reliable statistics I've seen (and this comes from multiple sources - summaries of police blotter stats, nationwide estimates), false accusations of rape (I don't recall independent figures for sexual harassment/molestation) are about as common as false accusations of any other serious criminal offense - about 4%.

- is certainly compatible with this case being an example of the four percent.

Unfortunately, as I(and others) have suggested above, this case will be used by some to inflate the "alleged" incidence of false rape accusations to some ridiculously high figure. But that, I fear, cannot be prevented by denying the possibility here.

Ralf: I'm guessing you don't live in the USA, because your assumption that this case will NOT be used (much) against future rape victims displays a lack of "cynicism" [sic] that few of us Americans can sustain nowadays.

dr ngo,

I live in Germany (and I do get cynicism wrong pretty often - zynism,cynism... ;)

Seriously though, I do hope that smart prosecutors can convince juries that the Duke debacle has nothing to do with the case at hand.

hilzoy: I am not, and do not regard myself as, a court of law,

Hmmm...

Law & Order: Hilzoy

or

Hilzoy: Court of Law

Law & Order: Hilzoy

Must...resist...casting call....

"I will continue to think that this is an excellent example of how stories can be successfully framed against the victim, especially when the victim is poor, black, and female"

See, the mistake you make, Jesurgislac(and it's a mistake made about this case by a number of people in the blogosphere for whom I otherwise have the greatest respect) is to attempt to reason from accurate generalities about the state of American society (rape victims are often treated unfairly; rich white kids often get favorable treatment) to a conclusion about this particular case.

You can't draw such a conclusion logically, and as this case shows, trying to draw such a conclusion will sometimes lead you to the wrong result.

Law & Order: The Wrath of Hilzoy

I remember that old show, Law & Order: The Search For Moe.

Some wonder if his katra didn't come fully back when he was reincarnated by the monks at Mt. Selayaredstate, though.

Law & Order: Edward's Criminal Intent made up for it, though, with those dynamite chase scenes.

Funny how Von was promoted to a judge in later episodes, after he didn't have time to be a full-time character on the show any more.

But my favorite is when Katherine shows up as a defense attorney guest star.

Obviously, no one else is resisting....

Me, I preferred the gritty realism of Law & Order: Special Kitties Unit.

Men rape, women lie. They either did it or didn't do it. The law says they didn't do it. Men are freed via dna evidence after serving 20 years for a rape they didn't commit. Woman are raped every day and it's never reported. This appears to be a case were three accused, privilaged white men were not guilty of the crime and yet will never be forgiven for something they didn't do.

yet will never be forgiven for something they didn't do.

I've come around to thinking that there's no good evidence the complainant was raped or that the team members did anything worse than hire a stripper or (one of them) send a grotesquely hateful email. But what you said above is hyperbolic -- while the prosecution was way, way out of line, and the team members shouldn't have had to go through what they did over the past year, saying that they'll 'never be forgiven' just isn't true. I'm certain that they're going to encounter a hell of a lot more people who are sympathetic about the awful thing that happened to them (I'm predisposed against frat boys who hire strippers, and I'd still be sympathetic in this case) than people who treat them as wrongdoers.

Nobody covered themselves with glory in this case. (I don't suppose I should use the term "clusterf*ck" :-)


  1. Since when is a stripper "suitable entertainment" for a team function?

  2. The woman showed up too drunk to dance. Anything she says has to take this into consideration.

  3. The lacrosse players worked very hard to act out the stereotype of rich kids caught doing something very wrong.

  4. The prosecutor went 'way out of line on this, especially after the woman's story started falling apart.


Bad situation all around.

And Phil, maybe no one here on ObWi has claimed that these were "nice boys,"

Strike "maybe" and that's correct.

but that in its essence - if not the exact words - is very very much part of the defense of the accused around here (here being the Research Triangle of NC and the Duke community, including alumni).

Perhaps Jes should go find out where they post and argue with them, no?

I realize that there are others, presumably including yourself, who carefully distinguished "these are Good Guys, so they didn't do it" from "these may or may not be Good Guys, but there's no evidence they committed this particular crime," but Jes is not out of line in referring to the "nice boy" defense, IMHO.

Well, she's out of line doing so here where nobody has raised that argument. In any case, you presume correctly: I suspect these kids are exactly the kinds of privileged a-holes who would benefit from a robust blanket party. But facts, as they say, is facts, and the fact is that these guys didn't rape this woman, and there appears to be a great deal of doubt that she was raped by anyone at all on the night in question.

I don't think that we have to portray her as having mental problems in order for us to sympathize with her as someone who was victimized by the prosecution.

Here's my take on what happened- someone who was really drunk and really pissed off made an angry, false accusation to some cops she met largely by happenstance. Now, newsflash to the blogosphere at large- THIS HAPPENS. A lot. Pissed off drunk people say all kinds of crazy shit to cops, and make all kinds of crazy accusations. Talk to a cop sometimes and ask.

Once the accusation was made, things were essentially out of her hands. Events took on a life of their own, as the police and prosecution did their jobs, and ushered her through the system.

Which is exactly what SHOULD happen, don't get me wrong.

The place where things fell apart is this- when the case became a national news story. The only way she could have stopped the criminal process from grinding forwards would have been to admit, after she sobered up, that she wasn't actually raped. She very well might have wanted to do that. But by that point the glaring collective eye of, you know, THREE HUNDRED MILLION AMERICANS was staring at her.

And it would take a lot of courage to do that. I don't think most people would have it in them. When was the last time you saw a public figure do this? I can't think of any. Certainly its a challenge that few of us will ever face, and thank god. It would be so much easier to just go passive, and let events take their course, rather than to let down all those people. I'm pretty certain that a lot of people do exactly this- they make allegations that aren't completely true, or which are true but are not the whole truth of the situation, then once their blood cools they just stop showing up for hearings and court proceedings until the case is dismissed. It happens in municipal court, the only court in which I have direct experience, constantly.

If the case had been handled with a little more discretion, things might have been different. If she had had time to think over her situation, and if the only people she had to answer to were an understanding victim's advocate (unsung heroes of the criminal justice system), things might have been different. But instead she was turned into a pivotal character in some stupid culture war.

This isn't some situation that can only happen to people with mental problems. We don't have to explain her away with that.

It's true that we don't have to "explain away" Crystal Mangum by assuming she has had mental problems.

It also appears to be true that she has, in fact, had mental problems. Thus the http://www.newsobserver.com/1185/story/563697.html>News and Observer this morning, in a story they'd clearly been researching for a year, but held off publishing until the case was disposed of.

It appears Ms. Mangum is entitled to our sympathy for much of what has happened to her - and what she has done to herself - for many years, not just one evening last spring.

It also makes all the more remarkable (and horrific) Nifong's decision to go ahead and prosecute based on the largely uncorroborated testimony of this witness.

Sad, is what it is.

The previous (unsigned) comment was by me. Apologies for the glitch.

Once decades ago I visited my girlfriend in a strange city, where she'd been taken in by a rich old lady. The old lady told us stories. In one of them one of her friends had a gay son who'd been arrested for raping a 12-year-old. So she and two other friends told the court that he'd spent all evening playing bridge with them that night. The case got thrown out. "And would you believe it, even after that he didn't get married!" I was young and innocent and I said, "Maybe he couldn't find anybody.". and my girlfriend said, "Any man can find somebody to marry if he wants to."

Anyway, I realised that when someone is rich enough or well-connected enough, they won't be convicted of plebian crimes. There are too many ways to turn the evidence unreliable. Lab workers can be bribed. Clerical workers can be bribed. Etc.

So was this particular woman drunk, or was she drugged while she was at the party? Can we trust the lab test?

Did she present 15 different stories about the rape or did she present one story that got retold 15 times by people who claimed to have interrogated her? How badly was her memory scrambled by the drugs?

Was it true that the DNA tests didn't match anybody at the party, or were they misreported?

Being declared innocent of all charges by the court does not particularly indicate that a rich defendant was innocent of any charges. Though it's legally correct to say it does.

Having rectal sperm without obvious rectal damage is not evidence that a woman was not raped. It's evidence that by that point she wasn't struggling. If you believe the medical report.

Guilty or not, it's a shame this prosecutor lost his reputation trying to prosecute those boys. He'd have done himself a lot more good to take the money.

J Thomas- You may be right the possibility crossed my mind as well.

He'd have done himself a lot more good to take the money.

Was he offered money? Was the bank with the ATM camera bribed as well? The cell phone company? The DNA lab too? Do you have even a whiff of evidence for any of this JT?

Otherwise, it looks as if you have a preferred conclusion in mind, and facts be damned. When they line up against you, claim massive, widespread conspiracy.

Incidentally, if and when Nifong is brought before the ethics board, I assume he might want to let us all know about the attempted bribe and other malfeasance. It would certainly tend to exonerate him, and he very well could lose his law license and livelihood over this. So we should expect more details on this conspiracy soon?

Or not.

Eric, I have no evidence at all. All I have is limited knowledge of other cases, that lead me to believe that a rich person with connections can't get a fair trial in this country.

If the woman had sex at the party, then probably the DNA lab needed to be bribed to keep that evidence from showing. If tests on the woman falsely showed she was drunk but not drugged, that would have taken money to cover. Etc.

It's been 20+ years since I've lived in north carolina, but back then it was hard for a middle-class white person to get a fair trial versus a poor black person. I suppose that may have changed a lot.

No I don't have a preferred conclusion. I say that under the circumstances we aren't going to get any reliable conclusion. There are basicly no reliable facts available to us. The woman could have been given drugs that would make her memory of the events unreliable. Everyone else involved would (if they had behaved untowardly) have an incentive to lie. Given the severity of the case and the wealth of the families, it might make sense for them to arrange to falsify data even if the boys are completely innocent. "The outcome of a bona fide fair trial is always something of a toss up."

I find it plausible that this prosecutor thought he had a very good case, and then it evaporated out from under him. Or we can assume he behaved very stupidly. I dunno. It doesn't make sense for him to proceed with such a weak case, but then people do stupid things sometimes. When I assume that people who've seemed smart before won't do something real real dumb every now and then they surprise me.

The facts are unreliable. The people are unreliable. Logic is unreliable given what's available to work with. I don't see any way to figure it. Luckily, it mostly doesn't matter what I think about that legal case.

Gotcha JT. I didn't mean to sound so harsh, I just thought you were putting a heck of a lot into speculation. Also, this:

I find it plausible that this prosecutor thought he had a very good case, and then it evaporated out from under him. Or we can assume he behaved very stupidly. I dunno. It doesn't make sense for him to proceed with such a weak case, but then people do stupid things sometimes. When I assume that people who've seemed smart before won't do something real real dumb every now and then they surprise me.

See, there is a history of prosecutors pushing cases in order to "win" regardless of the innocence or guilt of the accused. Many probably are so stuck in the adversarial mindset that they don't even consider exculpatory evidence as valid. Just tools for the defense to spring the accused - whose just got to be guilty. You and I might consider it "stupid" but it's also human nature.

I've only known a couple of prosecutors, and they both had such a workload they had to decide which cases to bother with, and try to plea bargain the rest that they thought were worth going after.

Taking a weak case against people who can get high-powered lawyers plus who-knows-what possibly illegal support is not what I'd think of as usual.

However, I can't depend on that reasoning. What I'd expect rational prosecutors to do, and what I've seen them do in a strictly limited number of cases I had peripheral experience with, doesn't say what to expect in a case that's definitely unusual.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Whatnot


  • visitors since 3/2/2004

October 2014

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
      1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30 31  
Blog powered by Typepad

QuantCast