Tuesday, July 27, 2010

My Own Path to the Tonya Craft Case -- and Beyond

Once upon a time, I pretty much was a law-and-order Republican. True, I had some libertarian tendencies, but when it came down to the vote, I generally went for the GOP. I bought into the "tough on crime" politicians, and I remember when I heard that there had been no convictions in the McMartin case, I thought the jury had made a big mistake.

In other words, I pretty much bought into what the authorities were telling me. If children were being sexually molested in droves, well, the law needed to get tough.

Then one night I watched an episode of PBS's show "Frontline," which dealt with the accusations of child molestation in the Little Rascals case in Edenton, North Carolina. At that point, the whole thing hit me: this was a farce, a total farce. I began to follow the case, including Bob Kelly's trial, and in the end he was convicted when three holdout jurors decided to vote "guilty," something that all three later admitted that they wish they had not done.

At the time, I was doing freelance writing for the Christian publication, World Magazine, and I asked publisher Joel Belz if I could go to Edenton to do an investigation. He turned me down, saying he did not want to be seen as "supporting child molesters." I have not written for World since, and Mr. Belz and I have had a strained relationship at best.

(It got worse after World in 2001 awarded then-Attorney General John Ashcroft with its "Daniel of the Year" award. Ashcroft presided over unwarranted federal expansion into our lives in a way that no AG, not even Janet Reno, had done, and his enthusiasm for state-sponsored executions left me cold. Ashcroft's penchant for expanding the reaches of federal criminal law also has convinced me that he was and is the enemy of individual liberty, and his harshness in going after people who really were not guilty of what historically could be called real crimes demonstrates his utter contempt for decent people. World's uncritical support for him pretty much cemented my break with the publication.)

During my grad school years at Auburn, I moved from Republican to outright libertarianism, and my association with the Ludwig von Mises Institute began in those years, and it continues. I received both an economic AND a political education there, and I keep on learning.

Because World was not interested in my taking a hard look at what clearly was an injustice, I had no forum from which to write. The Internet and Lew Rockwell's site (Lewrockwell.com) would change that when Crystal Mangum falsely accused three Duke University lacrosse players of raping her at a party, I believed it was obvious from the start that she was lying.

Most of the mainstream media believed Mangum, but Lew let me go with my own instincts and go with it I did, writing nearly 70 articles on the case and coming to understand the power of the blogosphere. I was not the only "citizen-journalist" to jump on this, as historian and college professor K.C. Johnson with his Durham-in-Wonderland blog skewered prosecutor Michael Nifong's case and played a major role in the charges being dropped and Nifong being disbarred by the North Carolina State Bar.

In the spring of 2009, I started this blog, but it tended to be very unfocused, as it reflected my own interests and thoughts. Let me say, however, that Tonya's case really did help me focus this blog on something about which I am passionate: the increasing abuse of the law and of innocent people by the authorities. (My other blog, Krugman-in-Wonderland, focuses on economic analysis and policies and contrasts the viewpoints of modern statism and Keynesianism with Austrian Economics.)

There seems to be no shortage of such abuse in my old home judicial district where I lived off and on for more than 30 years. When I lived there, I was not aware of the utter abuse of innocent people by prosecutors, and the way that police and prosecution witnesses regularly lie under oath. (In other words, the law-and-order Republican in me could not see then what now has been obvious to me: the LMJC has been "captured" by the "bad guys.")

While Tonya has been acquitted, nonetheless other cases remain (along with Tonya's custody fight to gain back her children). There is the injustice done to Brad Wade, there is the Eric Echols case, and there are others as well, just in the LMJC. Furthermore, I won't concentrate just on the LMJC (although one could do that full-time, given the lawlessness of those entrusted with "protecting" the law in that district), as there are people all over this country being wrongfully accused and convicted.

In other words, there is work to be done. Thanks to all readers of this blog who have contributed and who have helped make this venture worthwhile.

19 comments:

Doc Ellis said...

Greetings Dr Anderson,

I have been sort of aware that the US system has been corrupt for a long time. You helped me focus on that reality when you wrote about the Duke University case. I will do what I can to increase other folks awareness by sharing your observations as you publish them.

Thank you for writing

Doc Ellis 124

Mary Jane said...

Dr. Anderson,

I love this post. I understand you and your passion a lot better now.

By the way, you may already be aware, but Sandy Pearson, Tonya's close friend and supporter, wrote as her comment to someone's post on the "True for Tonya" facebook that it is NOT TRUE that Tonya and her attorneys have requested more time to prepare for a hearing to fight for custody of her kids". There was no explanation as to what really happened, though. I am on pins and needles thinking how Tonya must be feeling!

William L. Anderson said...

I am familiar with the reasons as to why the hearing has been delayed, but really am not at liberty to give them. There is a real problem here, as the lies that set who series of events into motion also have the residual effects that continue even past the trial.

The trial decided one thing, and one thing only: Tonya Craft would not go to prison. One would think that the results, as well as the obvious perjury committed by the prosecution and its witnesses would tell us that everything else that led to Joal and Sarah Henke getting custody (although not permanent) also was a lie, and that Tonya should get her children back.

Unfortunately, the courts don't work that way. Instead, we have courts that treat everything they do -- even if based on a lie -- as the ONLY way.

Trish said...

Bill thanks for all that you have written and for bringing awareness to the unjustice not only here in Georgia, but across the country. Hopefully soon Tonya will have her children back and my son also. Once a family gets tangled up in the legal system it becomes a nightmare!!!

Mary Jane said...

Dr. Anderson,

I see. I won't press you for the fact for now. I am sure you will tell us if or when it becomes all right for you to disclose it. It must be so very frustrating and sad for Tonya.

Trish,

I will pray for you, your son and his children.

KC Sprayberry said...

Paths to righteousness often take the same direction. I recognized the corruption around here to a small degree during the Sam Parker case but never took steps to do anything. The reasons? Only one actually. My husband mentioned creating waves could cause huge problems for us, even if we did nothing but comment on the justice system. Well, I let it go. Sam Parker wasn't a saint, far from it. He may or may not have killed his wife but the Rome DA that tried the case wasn't an award winning lawyer, no matter who says so. Right after the verdict, the jurors that talked said they convicted because of the location of the mysterious cell phone calls. But seeing true justice done was never going to happen after that travesty. Or so I thought.
Then I see a mug shot of a kindergarten teacher accused of child molestation. First thought, how awful. Those poor kids, and my thoughts were that many, many kids were involved. Upon a closer look at that mug shot, I immediately changed my mind. Why? Tonya Craft's eyes reflected shock and disbelief. Not at getting caught but at how a horrible system could do something so wrong. Even then I didn't do much more than follow the reporting. But then I discovered Bill's blog and became vocal. Thunder didn't crash down upon us. The great LMJC didn't descend upon my house to rip away my child and say I must be a child molester since I support one. No, I found many, many people like myself. So, thank you, Bill Anderson. Your hard work has done a lot already and we're praying for it to continue to see justice done.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone been paying attention to the Mineola Swinger's club case?
I'm suprised it hasn't received more attention.

It is total bullshit but 4 life sentences so far.

Even this blogger has admitted it is a witch hunt. The comments by "Tanya" are really painful to read

http://pysih.com/2010/06/20/update-patrick-kelly-jamie-pittman-and-shauntel-mayo/

duane

kbp said...

TimesFreePress tells us...

"....According to Hamilton County Circuit Court Judge Marie Williams’ office, the date for Ms. Craft’s custody hearing has been set for Sept. 28."

JD said...

Now I'm back to worried again about the custody situation. In one of the interviews after the acquittal Dr. Lorandos praised Judge Williams and the GAL for their efforts in their handling of the custody case. Of course that was before the June preliminary hearing date.

Justine Valinotti said...

I am not a religious person. But I will say this for you, Professor Anderson: Whomever or whatever God is, you are doing God's work.

For as long as I've been registered to vote, I've been registered as a Democrat. However, members of that party have, at times, been just as bad as, if not worse than, Republicans in using fear-mongering to control people and advance the agendae of power-seekers. We saw this in the cases of Kelly Michaels and the Duke lacrosse players.

Neither major party is going to make this society more just. Only parties and candidates who place individual liberties above all else will do that. I don't see them in either major party any more than one can find candidates who want to limit the role of government among the donkeys or the elephants.

Anonymous said...

Mary Jane, thank you so much. It is going on five years that my son has not been able to be a part of his children's lives. As Tonya said, you can't get back time!!!

By the way, if any of you who support Tonya are on FB, I started a page for my son. It is called Restore Jason White's parental rights. It is a close group, because his x-wife is on FB, but you can ask to be a member.

Trish said...

That was not suppose to be anonymous, I hit the wrong key!! I was also going to add, KC, I truly think Sam Parker is guilty, but that was a sham of a trial.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Mr Anderson, You are the best. Keep up the good work. Love your blog.

justiceseeker51 said...

Yes, thanks Mr. Anderson(Bill)! You have been doing an Amazing job. I have read a lot of your different blogs, other than this one. They are ALL very informative..
Keep the Faith


Debbie

JD said...

The problem is not with a political party, but with the person. Some people don't care about the truth only about getting what they want to further their aspirations, albeit a judgeship, state or federal position, elected or appointed. As long as we elect that type of person, who alot of times is seen as the person who will get something done, we will have this problem. We as voters need to look at what a person has done in his past and what he/she has done to get there, instead of just what they've done because they might have gotten things done the wrong way.

john lichtenstein said...

I went to college in OC during the McMartin trial so I got a lot of it in the local media. At the time of the trial I could not believe that anyone believed the charges. For example that the Buckeys had supernatural powers to fly, teleport people, or make wounds vanish, who could believe that? Are there really people that stupid in this world?

It seems more likely that *everyone* involved in that case knew without a doubt that they were prosecuting innocent people.

SSL123 said...

Thank you, Mr. Anderson, for publishing this excellent blog, and you have done an outstanding job to educate the public on the dangerous epidemic of false accusations of either "child molestation" or "rape."

I would respectfully disagree with you on one small point though; I consider myself a progressive person, and I never believed Ms. Craft was guilty. I never believed the three Duke lacrosse players were guilty either, even before I read KC Johnson's and Stuart Taylor's book UNTIL PROVEN INNOCENT. The book only confirmed what I suspected, that they had never committed any crime, and Nifong was trying to railroad these young men for his own personal ends. I'm only sorry that Nifong only served one day in jail for his criminal contempt. It should have been at least a week, and I would have preferred a month.

Too many innocent persons have been wrongfully convicted of crimes that never even took place, maliciously invented by false accusers out of spite, revenge and who knows what else. What's even more appalling is that these so-called law enforcement officials bend and even break the law in order to get their ill-gotten "convictions." Thanks for doing all you can to educate the unaware that the nightmare of a false accusation can happen to any innocent person. I look forward to reading more.

Trish said...

Money is also a powerful motivator behind false accusations!!!

William L. Anderson said...

SSL123,

I think that I needed to better differentiate between people who consider themselves to be "progressives" and the results of the Progressive Era. There are plenty of people who might take a "progressive" view of society and government, but who obviously don't approve of prosecutorial misconduct, subornation of perjury, and the like.

The larger issue as I see it, however, is that the Progressives wanted to replace elected politicians (who they considered to be venal and stupid) with educated "experts" better known as bureaucrats. It has been this administrative state, however, that has become unaccountable at all levels.

Progressives, who hated the old Constitutional order with its restrictions upon the power of the state (read Woodrow Wilson), believed that "experts" who would take the reins of bureaucracy would be public-oriented, selfless beings who would govern wisely. They never took into account that bureaucrats and civil-service protected government employees themselves would become a huge interest group that would "capture" the apparatus of governance to benefit themselves.

Today's "progressives" still are chasing the Great White Whale of "good government," and not all "progressives" are liberal, by any means. The other day, I read a column by right-winger Cal Thomas who said that the USA needs to end the "corruption" within the government of Afghanistan. Yeah, right. What a joke.