Granted, because the charges against Tonya Craft are fiction, perhaps Chris Arnt and Len Gregor have a bit of Hollywood in them. Whether or not that is the case or if they simply are dishonest, they pulled a stunt these last two days that not only violated everything about discovery, but told us something about their own integrity, as well as the integrity of Judge Brian House, who is encouraging this farce.
It began Tuesday with the testimony of Suzi Thorne, who added the line that after she had asked one of the children all kinds of questions (and got nothing on video that pointed to criminal behavior by Ms. Craft), suddenly the child came to her desk and claimed that Ms. Craft had "put her hand" somewhere she should not have put it.
Now, as noted before, this was not put on video, nor did anyone write any notes. What is a prosecutor to do? What is a judge to do?
Not surprisingly, Arnt and Gregor found someone to corroborate the story, and "Judge" House put his stamp of approval on it. So, on Wednesday, it was "Detective" Tim Deal to the rescue. Yes, the deus ex machina that would save the day. It was Deal who heard and saw the entire exchange!
Well, there turns out to be a huge problem with this story. Here is what the Chattanoogan reported:
Referring to the memo recounting the incident where the alleged victim had made a disclosure of Ms. Craft touching her and ‘sticking her finger in her privates’ after leaving the camera room, Mr. Gregor asked the judge for a recess “in light of what you can imagine is coming.”According to whom? There were no notes WRITTEN AT THAT TIME, and Thorne's testimony clearly is perjured. But that is not all.
A video at the trial earlier Wednesday showed a young girl being interviewed who first did not make any allegations against the former teacher. However, after a break from questioning, she did.
This material was not presented to the defense at discovery. That is right. The prosecution decided to claim that it both (a) provided all the material at discovery and (b) found this "new" piece of evidence. As anyone can see, (a) is mutually exclusive to (b).
In other words, the prosecution is playing a shell game, a "heads I win, tails you lose" contest that House is encouraging. This trial is a farce, a travesty, and, frankly, an abomination. We have the prosecution trying to make up stuff on the fly, witnesses committing perjury, and a judge trying to make rulings that paper over all of the holes in the prosecution's case.
Apparently, they can get away with this in Catoosa County, just as Michael Nifong got away with all sorts of tricks for nearly a year in the Duke Lacrosse Case. However, the case came tumbling down as the facts came out, and facts are stubborn things.
[Update]: An attorney has asked me a number of questions regarding Tim Deal's testimony today. They include:
- What was the date of this so-called disclosure?
- Would they have a male detective working with a female counselor to interview a young girl about so-called molestation by another female?
- Do the records for the sheriff's department have Deal at the location where Thorne allegedly interviewed her on that date at that time?
- Why did Deal's notes as given to the defense at discovery not include this alleged incident?