Furthermore, it really is no accident that House denied time and again the introduction of exculpatory evidence that would have made this case an even bigger rout against the prosecution than it already was. In really is no accident that the authorities tried their best to stack the deck in this farce of a trial. No, the table was set long ago.
I relate a speech given by Judge Andrew Napolitano a few years ago at the Cato Institute in which he related how Janet Reno successfully "won" her own "Tonya Craft" trial when she was a state prosecutor in Miami Florida more than 20 years ago. Writes Napolitano:
Political ambition can be a powerful motivating factor for government abuse of our rights. Consider one of the cases that helped propel Janet Reno to national stardom. In 1984, Reno faced a serious challenger in her bid for reelection as Dade County’s state attorney. In August of that year, Frank Fuster and his wife, Ileana Fuster, were arrested for sexually abusing more than 20 children who attended their home daycare center. Reno began the case by soliciting Laurie and Joe Braga, both billed as “child abuse experts” with no psychology training, to interview the children.The reason that Hillary Clinton pushed for Reno to receive her appointment as the U.S. Attorney General was that Clinton said she was "good on children's issues." If promoting false charges and using trickery, lies, and torture in order to promote children, then the people of the United States have a sick notion of what is "good" for children. It is no surprise that a month after taking office, Reno presided over the most bloody government massacre of its citizens since Wounded Knee in 1890; among a large number of victims of the raid organized by this "lover of children" were young children. Perhaps it is not surprising that after Reno said she was "taking responsibility" for this massacre (although she did not resign or do anything that really spelled "responsible"), her standing rose among Americans.
The Bragas used suggestive and misleading interview techniques to elicit false accusations from the children in the case. The children were brainwashed with fantasies of sexual abuse involving masks, snakes, drills, and other objects, and eventually came out of the interviews thinking they were victims.
Of all the children alleging sexual abuse against Fuster, Reno’s office only presented physical “evidence” that one child was abused. The prosecution invoked a laboratory test suggesting that a child had tested positive for gonorrhea of the throat. However, the lab test that was performed is very unreliable and often gives false positives. Reno’s agents tested for the family of bacteria to which gonorrhea belongs rather than specifically for gonorrhea; other bacteria that could have caused the false positive are harmless and are frequently found to live in children. Of course, the state ordered the lab to destroy the evidence three days later, thereby preventing the defense from challenging the state’s “evidence.”
Recognizing that the case against Fuster was weak, Janet Reno’s final straw was to torture Ileana Fuster physically and mentally to the point where she could be coerced into implicating her husband. Reno had Ileana isolated from the prison population and placed in solitary confinement, naked. Ileana described her treatment in a 1998 interview: “They would give me cold showers. Two people will hold me, run me under cold water, then throw me back in the cell naked with nothing, just a bare floor. And I used to be cold, real cold. I would have my periods and they would just wash me and throw me back into the cell.”
Late one night, the naked Ileana, according to her lawyer, received a visit in her darkened solitary cell from an intimidating 6-foot-2 woman. The woman told Ileana that she knew that Ileana and her husband were guilty. “But how can that be? We are innocent,” Ileana proclaimed. “Who are you?” “I’m Janet Reno,” the woman said. Ileana repeatedly told Reno that she was innocent, and Reno kept repeating, “I’m sorry, but you are not. You’re going to have to help us.” Reno made several more solitary, nightly visits to the naked Ileana, each time threatening Ileana that she would remain in prison for the rest of her life if she didn’t tell Reno what she wanted to hear.
Finally, Reno hired two psychiatrists from a company called Behavior Changers Inc., who met Ileana 34 times in a one-month period. These psychiatrists claimed to be able to help individuals “recover memories,” but their technique was simply to hypnotize Ileana so that she could be brainwashed into believing that Frank Fuster was a child molester. The coercion eventually worked: with the psychiatrists present and with Janet Reno squeezing her hand, Ileana implicated her husband.
Ileana’s trial testimony against her husband put the final nail in Frank Fuster’s coffin. Reno won the conviction, her reelection bid, her name in the newspaper headlines, and a stepping stone to a position as the nation’s chief law enforcement officer. However, Ileana Fuster has repeatedly retracted her confession and testimony, swearing that she and Fuster never abused any of the children, and that her confession was the product of brainwashing.
Yet, thanks to Janet Reno, an Fuster remains incarcerated for 165 years without the possibility of parole.
As Paul Craig Roberts and Lawrence M. Stratton note in their book, The Tyranny of Good Intentions, a book that has heavily influenced my thinking, the law was lost a long time ago in this country because people on all sides of the political spectrum decided that they wanted results over due process of law. Both Clinton and Reno are what one might call political "liberals," yet they favored using the law as a weapon to push what clearly have been false criminal charges.
Likewise, one has only to watch one episode of William O'Reilly on Fox to see someone who believes that once a person is accused, then the law should move directly to the punishment phase. Innocence before the law? Not a chance, at least not with O'Reilly, or his psychotic friends Nancy Grace and Wendy Murphy.
Americans like to think of themselves as people who want results, and they want them NOW. Furthermore, neither Republicans nor Democrats today believe that the Rights of the Accused, once the bedrock of Anglo-American criminal law, should have any meaning. That means that once someone is targeted for prosecution, almost no barriers stand between the state and the individual, no matter how flimsy the evidence might be. The only thing that can prevent a wrongful prosecution is the goodwill and moral compass of the prosecutors.
In the case of Tonya Craft, the prosecutors chose to lie, obfuscate, bully, and disrupt the proceedings. However, for once, the jurors in the Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit were not impressed, and early on saw that House and the Dishonest Duo were working closely together, something that rubbed against their own view of fairness.
And what was the reward for following the law and their consciences? Oh, the jurors were called out in a most shameful way by LMJC DA Buzz Franklin, who decided that the rules that govern his office were to be suspended. Keep in mind that prosecutors in this country are so powerful, that if all of them have the moral rectitude of Franklin, Arnt, and Gregor, then there is no hope at all for the law because no one can stand up to people who have near-unlimited resources and who are fully immune from lawsuits or prosecution even when they break the law themselves.
No doubt, House, Franklin, Arnt, and Gregor admire what Reno did in the Furster case and wish they could have done the same with Tonya Craft. However, there still is some decency left in the LMJC, although it is not because any of the elected or appointed officials in that mix have any intention of being beholden to the law. There is decency only because jurors like those in the Tonya Craft trial recognized their duty before God and their fellows.