Friday, May 27, 2011

The New York City "Rape Cop" verdict

This past week, two former New York City police officers, Kenneth Moreno and Franklin Mata, were acquitted of raping a woman while on duty. As I have not followed this case, I really cannot comment on the specifics of the charges except to say that the events the woman described and the reality of the investigation were two different things.

In other words, the "victim" lied. Of that, I have no doubt. Like the Duke Lacrosse Case in which Crystal Mangum described a 30-minute assault complete with ejaculation and being beaten with fists, the forensic evidence simply did not match the story. Despite the best efforts of the prosecutors to, frankly, suborn perjury, the jury was not buying the fantasy that the government was trying to conjure up.

Now, the cops were convicted of three counts of official misconduct for entering the woman’s apartment, and that was inevitable, given that the officers had gone to the apartment when they should have been doing their normal duties. That conviction cost them their jobs and may well result in jail time, but there was no evidence that they had raped the woman and plenty of evidence to the contrary.

Unfortunately, keeping with the theme that made the NY Times a laughing stock during the Duke case, we see the newspaper continues with the same narrative: a woman accused them; therefore, they are guilty. The article declares:
For Cyrus R. Vance Jr., the Manhattan district attorney, the verdict was an unsatisfying conclusion. The decision, after a trial that lasted almost two months, also comes at a critical juncture for an office that is navigating the biggest case of Mr. Vance’s brief tenure: the sexual-assault charges against Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former managing director of the International Monetary Fund.

The jury’s decision also underscores the difficulty of obtaining favorable results for women who say they were sexually assaulted, and who often are subjected to scrutiny and skepticism that keep many of them from speaking out. In this case, defense lawyers pounced on the credibility of the woman because she was very drunk on the night in question and did not remember many details.
So, we see that this is about the politics of rape and sex, not about justice. It is about the promotion of the political career of the son of Jimmy Carter's secretary of state, and about prosecutors that decide that evidence does not matter, only politics.

What these cops did was bad and certainly a dereliction of their duties. However, what the prosecutors did was worse, for while Moreno and Mata violated their legal duties, the prosecutors suborned perjury, which is a felony and goes to the very heart of the system.

Unfortunately, the NYT and the political elites favor the felons.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Update on our Lavian adoption

Sintija (who is age 12) is coming for five weeks this summer, and will arrive July 10. We are still in the adoption process. We have raised about $10,000.00. We are currently awaiting approval from US Immigration to bring Sintija into the country on a permanent basis.

We have most of our paperwork completed. We would like to be able to go to Latvia and bring her home to stay this fall, but we still need to raise money. Our most pressing need is for $5,100.00 to pay for the document translation and the Latvian attorney. After that, all of the subsequent expenses will be for travel.

Friday, May 20, 2011

"An Absolute Honest-to-God Texas Frame-up"

People have written me on occasion asking if I were familiar with the "Mineola Swingers Club" case, and while I was, I can say I didn't know much about it. As this article in Texas Monthly demonstrates, those who did know the facts decided that the facts were not good enough, and that the only "satisfactory" outcome would be to frame the defendants. And that is what the authorities did.

The facts are fairly well-known. A group of adults supposedly had young children engage in sex behavior on stage at a "swingers club" in Mineola, Texas. The children alleged a number of wild things, but at the beginning the authorities in Woods County could see through it, but, as often happens, someone else got involved, the "child protective" workers did their guilt-assuming, suggestive interviews, and the rest was history. Innocent people went to jail.

Writes Michael Hall:
To recap, from 2005 to 2008, four Tyler children--three siblings and their aunt—all aged 4 through 7, made allegations that in 2004 seven adults, including their parents, had forced them to attend a sex kindergarten in a trailer park, where they learned to play sex games, and then took them to a swingers club in nearby Mineola, where they performed sex acts on stage in front of crowds of as many as 30 adults, who videotaped the shows. The stories told by the kids were wildly inconsistent and sometimes outright bizarre: adults casting spells, wearing witch outfits, and sacrificing chickens; one child said she had flown around on a broomstick. Every single child initially denied to social workers knowing anything about a sex kindergarten or club; it was only after multiple interviews that they started making outrageous allegations. But there was nothing to back them up: no adult witnesses and no physical evidence—no DNA, no fingerprints, not even any videotapes.

In fact, Wood County, where Mineola is located, did its own investigation, back in 2005, when just one child was talking about a sex club. Investigators (including an FBI agent), found absolutely no evidence to back up her accusations.
Unfortunately, the truth was not enough:
This didn’t stop the criminal justice machinery of Smith County. A Texas Ranger got involved and before long he was helping interview the other kids. In 2007 arrests were made; the public was outraged that a sex kindergarten and a sex club would operate under their noses. Three of the adults went to trial in 2008 and their juries, made of good country people who want nothing more than to protect their children, found them guilty in a matter of minutes. A fourth defendant was found guilty last summer.
If you wish to know why I have no hope at all that authorities will want to do what is right, the following pretty much explains the current state of "law" in this country:
I find it unfathomable that so many good people could allow and encourage these prosecutions to go forward. What happened to the lawyerly skepticism of Judge Jack Skeen and DA Bingham and the other men and women in his office?

*Why didn’t they look closer at the kids’ weird, implausible stories?

*Why didn’t they look closer at the foster mother of three of them, a woman named Margie Cantrell who moved to Mineola from California in 2004 and who has a history of manipulating her foster kids? (One of her California kids characterized her to me as “the puppet master” and said, “She brainwashes the kids to believe the stories she makes up.”)

*Why didn’t they give serious credence to the fact that not one of the seven defendants would testify against the others in exchange for a lesser sentence?

If they had done just one of these three, much less all of them, they would have realized the obvious: Nothing happened. There was no crime. There was no sex kindergarten and there were no child-sex shows at a swinger’s club. Ultimately, I can’t help but believe that Bingham knows this. Let’s put it this way: If he really believed these people put on live sex shows with children, would he really be setting them free now?

I always figured the cavalry would ride in and save the day for them. First I thought it would be the office of the Attorney General, which, in the summer of 2009 sent two lawyers to help investigate the case after Bingham tried to recuse his office from further prosecutions. But the AG’s office didn’t do anything. Then in the spring of 2010 two of the defendants had their verdicts thrown out by the 14th Court of Appeals in Houston—a process which saw the DA in neighboring Wood County file an extraordinary amicus brief in which he officially called into question everything the Smith County DA had done. “[N]o evidence was found to corroborate the stories told by the children,” he wrote.

But that was it. No cooler or wiser heads stepped in to actually free these people. In fact, those two defendants whose cases were overturned were going to be folded in with the remaining defendants (two of whom are grandparents of two of the children) into one mass trial in June. It is these six who pled guilty.
No matter how many times these kinds of cases are exposed, no matter how much research is published on problems that we find when "child protective" workers interview young children, no matter how many times that the "evidence" contradicts the Laws of Time and Space, the authorities will bring charges and compliant juries will vote guilty. Why does it happen?

It happens because people in authority are not held accountable for their actions. Protected by legal immunity and the mainstream news media, which needs these people as sources for their stories (no matter how fantastic those stories might be), the bad actors are free to lie, suborn perjury, and conspire with judges to rig trials. Protected by politicians and the U.S. Supreme Court, police, prosecutors, and "child protective" workers will pull off this scam time and again -- because they can do it.

Hall ends with this depressing thought:
Why would they do this if they aren’t guilty? Well, innocent people plead guilty all the time. They confess to crimes they didn’t commit (about a quarter of the DNA exonerations involve some form of false confession) and they plead guilty to crimes they didn’t commit. They especially do it when they are certain they will be found guilty, no matter what they do or how good their attorneys are. In these cases we’ve already seen four different juries vote guilty—in the time it takes to watch a movie. These defendants know the realities. They can go to prison for life—or they can go home. They don’t have a whole lot to lose by pleading guilty. Their lives have already been ruined—they’ll always be known for these allegations anyway.

So, Patrick “Booger Red“ Kelly told his mother that he was taking the plea. “I don’t like it at all,” she told me. “But he’s screwed here. Despite all anybody can do, he’s never going to be found ‘not guilty’ in Tyler. He’s at the end of his rope. He told me, ‘Mama, I’m tired. I’m in here for something I haven’t done. I want to go home.’”

I usually believe in the ultimate good will of good people; justice will triumph. Of course, that only happens if people actually do something about injustice. In this case decent people turned away from doing anything about a terrible wrong. They’ve got a word for that, and the word is “evil.”

In Smith County, the bad guys won.
In Catoosa County a year ago, the "bad guys" did not win when jurors saw through the lies of the authorities and acquitted Tonya Craft. But they still are on the job, still trying to frame innocent people, still lying, still suborning perjury, still fabricating "evidence." As long as people like this are in positions of power and authority, the "bad guys" will be winning.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Sean Lanigan is lucky: At least the Fairfax County Police didn't murder him

Fairfax County, Virginia, is a Washington, D.C., bedroom community, and most people there owe their employment either to government or to businesses that serve government workers. It also is the home of a brutal and marauding police force that is quick to gun down unarmed people and to make false accusations against good people.

The sad case of Sean Lanigan, a teacher in Fairfax County falsely accused of child molestation and the victim of police and prosecutorial misconduct, is only one of many victims in that county, where the police and prosecutors run amok because they can. But I say that Lanigan is lucky, given the fate of Salvatore Culosi, who was gunned down by a member of a Fairfax County SWAT team.

Culosi, an optometrist who bet on a few football games, had made the mistake of befriending a Fairfax County detective whom he met in a bar. David J. Baucom, the detective, decided to see if he could get Culosi to bet more money, and he finally talked him into betting $2,000 on a game, which meant Culosi could be arrested in Virginia for "running a gambling operation."

Keep in mind that this "crime" was masterminded by the police, and then the authorities sent a SWAT team to arrest Culosi. When police arrived, Culosi walked out unarmed, and then he was gunned down by officer Deval Bullock. (As this article in Reason shows, Bullock's official story was a lie, and all that he received for punishment was three weeks off from work.)

The police were not content in murdering an unarmed man (and if any of us were to shoot down -- even accidentally -- an unarmed person, we would be tried for murder, since we don't wear a blue costume and tin badge). Radley Balko's Reason article explains:
In the months that followed (the shooting), Baucum continued his investigation, badgering Culosi's grieving friends and relatives after pulling their names and numbers from the cell phone he was carrying and a computer taken from his home the night he was killed. Steve Gulley, Culosi's brother-in-law, told The Washington Post the following April that Baucum called him and menacingly asked, "How much are you into Sal for?" Scott Lunceford, a lifelong friend of Culosi's, told the Post Baucum called him and accused him of being a gambler. The calls, Gulley told the paper, smacked of intimidation aimed at discouraging a lawsuit.
In the end, the family of Sal Culosi settled with Fairfax County for $2 million, but no one at the department was prosecuted and only Bullock received a mild punishment.

Following the shooting, Fairfax Chief David Rohrer wrote a report of the incident which turned out to be fabricated. As Balko explains, in response to Rohrer's claim that the shooting was accidental, as Bullock was bumped by a car door and the gun simply went off:
The Culosis were dubious. They believed Bullock mistook the cell phone their son was holding the night he was shot for a gun. They hired their own investigators, who determined, based on the department's own measurements of the crime scene, that when Bullock pulled the trigger he was away from his vehicle and much closer to Culosi than he had claimed. Using the recorded locations of shell casings, police vehicles, and Culosi's body, they produced computer animations showing that the incident could not have happened in the manner described by Chief Rohrer's report.
Writing false reports is a crime called "obstruction of justice," but Rohrer did not have to worry about being charged.

However, in Lanigan's case, Fairfax police threw the possibility of charging people who were contradicting the story the cops wanted to be told with "obstruction of justice." (Again, if one wishes to lie, it helps to be wearing a blue costume and tin badge. After all, government workers are "heroes" in Northern Virginia.) Writes Tom Jackman, who covered this story for the Washington Post:
But when others – staff, parents – tried to tell (Fairfax Det. Nicole) Christian anything she didn’t want to hear, she threatened them with prosecution for obstruction of justice, the staff members and parents said. School district investigator Steve Kerr’s investigative report, written after Lanigan’s acquittal, confirmed those claims, noting that: “Because of the jury’s decision, the detective [Christian] advised that she will not pursue criminal charges against [staff member] or [staff member].”
In other words, in the Orwellian world of Northern Virginia, lies told by government employees in blue costumes are the truth, while the truth told by Mere Mundanes is considered to be a lie.

But, Christian's smarmy tactics did not stop with threats against witnesses with exculpatory evidence. No, it gets MUCH worse:
In addition, the accuser’s close friend and corroborating witness to the incident quickly tried to retract her story, her mother said, but Christian wasn’t hearing it. In a letter to the mother of the witness from assistant superintendent Kevin North after the trial, North confirmed that “you requested a re-interview with your daughter, which the detective declined.”

Police feel that child victims and witnesses can be manipulated or intimidated into changing their story, and the witness’s mother said Christian told her, “if she changes her story, they’re going to wonder why she changed her testimony. She said, ‘I know how to do my job. Don’t tell me how to do my job.’ ”

But when Christian and assistant Fairfax prosecutor Katie Pavluchuk approached the witness and her mother outside Lanigan’s preliminary hearing in March 2010, the girl and her mother refused to speak with them. The girl then joined the accuser in recanting the claim that Lanigan had lain on top of the accuser.

Not long after that hallway encounter, Fairfax County launched a Child Protective Services investigation into the witness’s mother -- the reasons for which have not been made public for alleged inappropriate behavior by her boyfriend. The witness’s mother was eventually cleared of any allegations of misbehavior, but also had to undergo the pressure of being investigated. The girl and her mother have since moved from the area. (Emphasis mine)
In other words, if people want to tell the truth, the Fairfax County police counter with tactics of intimidation, just as they did to Sal Culosi's parents after police gunned down their son. And even after a jury quickly acquitted Lanigan, police and prosecutors STILL are insisting that he was guilty, apparently telling each other that it was an "O.J. verdict."

In other words, the police and their social services allies did what they do best: intimidate through false accusations. (No, I don't think that the social services investigation was a coincidence.)

For all of the accolades that Jackman laid on Christian for her supposed experience, one thing stands out: she clearly fabricates "evidence." First, she is so incompetent that even when she was at the school where the alleged molestation occurred, she never even looked a the room where the alleged incident was supposed to have occurred.

This is important, because (like the tiny bathroom in the Duke Lacrosse Case that could not have fit three young men raping a woman in the way that Crystal Mangum described) the room could not fit the tumbling mats that the lying 12-year-old accuser claimed she was placed. In other words, there was a key piece of evidence that Christian ignored, but then she threatened to charge people who pointed out that issue with "obstruction of justice."

But, it gets worse. Jackman writes:
Police declined to allow Nicole Christian, the lead detective on the case, to be interviewed for this article. Several months after Lanigan was acquitted, Fairfax prosecutors dismissed another of Christian’s child abuse cases in the middle of trial, a rarity, when the detective acknowledged that she had “misstated” some key facts in her sworn testimony. (Emphasis mine)
In police vernancular, a "misstatement" actually is a lie. In other words, Christian was caught fabricating material, but she still remains on the job and no doubt will be instrumental in destroying other innocent lives.

The people of Northern Virginia consider themselves to be "progressive," and if "progressive" means the endorsement of the lying, smothering state, I guess we can say that it is a "progressive" community. Yet, for all of the sophistication these people claim for themselves, in reality there is a brutal underside to this area. Police and prosecutors are free to lie, falsely accuse, and even commit murder, and nothing ever is going to be done about it. People who choose to live there do so at their own peril.

Monday, May 9, 2011

The end of the semester is here

My posts will be spotty over the next couple of weeks, as I am at the end of our semester. I'll post when I can do it.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Daniel J. D'Amico on "The American Prison State"

The United States imprisons more than two million people, which is more than a quarter of the world's incarcerated. Like so much of government life in this country, many prison employees are unionized and their leaders agitate for more prisoners in order to keep this unholy industry going.

Daniel J. D'Amico, who will teach a course this summer with the Mises Institute with the same name as the title of this post, gives a brief history of the mentality that goes behind this drive to incarcerate. Like so many other public evils in this society, the drive to fill and expand prisons comes from a tag team effort of both liberals and conservatives.

Before he left his office of U.S. attorney general, John Ashcroft spoke to fawning employees of the Heritage Foundation, telling them how wonderful it was that the prison population is growing, claiming that throwing more people into prison was responsible for lowering the nation's crime rate. On the other side of the political spectrum, liberals have believed that the answer to "crime" is to create new "crimes" that fall within their mantra of Political Correctness.

And then there is the Drug War, which also is driven by both the political and social attitudes of liberals and conservatives, along with police and prison guard unions. So, we see a huge social disaster unfold, yet those in power only make things worse.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Obama's campus kangaroo courts

When Barack Obama ran for president, he spoke somewhat eloquently (when he had his teleprompter in front of him) about due process and all of the other things that the Bush administration was eviscerating in the name of "security." As one who vociferously criticized Bush and his attorney general, John Ashcroft (who now is an "ethics" adviser to the murder firm formerly known as Blackwater), I don't believe that justice is or should be partisan and it certainly should not be political.

The Obama administration, however, has "jumped the shark" with a new Department of Education order to colleges and universities that receive federal money to adopt new "standards" when deciding sexual harassment and sexual assault cases against students, faculty, and employees. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) reports:
Under the new regulations, announced in an April 4, 2011, letter from Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Russlynn Ali, colleges and universities receiving federal funding must employ a "preponderance of the evidence" standard—a 50.01%, "more likely than not" evidentiary burden—when adjudicating student complaints concerning sexual harassment or sexual violence. Institutions that do not comply face federal investigation and the loss of federal funding.
In other words, the government is demanding that more males on college campuses be offered up on the altar of Political Correctness and Feminism. There is no other explanation.

For years, feminists have tried to lower legal standards for criminal convictions in rape and sexual assault cases, and they really don't care that such actions result in wrongful convictions and innocent people being sent to prison. (To most hardcore feminists, there is no such thing as an "innocent" male.)

FIRE's press release continues:
"The Office for Civil Rights' unilateral revision of campus codes across the country is unquestionably unjust. Students accused of serious crimes like rape should not be tried under the same standard of proof used for a parking ticket," said FIRE President Greg Lukianoff. "OCR is proceeding from the fallacy that reducing protections for the accused will somehow increase justice. This is a dangerous and wrongheaded idea that will undermine the accuracy and reliability of the findings of campus courts."

OCR is the federal agency tasked with enforcing federal civil rights laws, including Title IX, in educational programs and institutions that receive federal funding. OCR's April 4 letter decrees that under Title IX, the "prompt and equitable resolution" of student complaints regarding sexual harassment and sexual violence requires that "school[s] must use a preponderance of the evidence standard (i.e., it is more likely than not that sexual harassment or violence occurred)"—a requirement not previously discovered in the 39-year-old law. OCR explicitly rules out the use of higher standards of proof, stating that university judicial systems maintaining the "clear and convincing" standard—which requires accusers to prove that "it is highly probable or reasonably certain that the sexual harassment or violence occurred"—are "not equitable under Title IX." Both standards of proof fall far short of the "beyond a reasonable doubt" standard required in every criminal case in the United States.
My sense is that this is the Obama administration's answer to the infamous Duke Lacrosse Case which fell apart when it became obvious that not only was accuser Crystal Mangum lying, but police and prosecutors -- Durham County D.A. Michael Nifong even was disbarred for his role in the case -- were in on the Big Lie. The outcome was not popular either with civil rights groups and feminists, who believed that the three defendants in the case should have gone to prison for what they WERE, not what they did or did not do.

After the charges were dismissed in 2007, the Marxist and feminist sites were seething, and the North Carolina NAACP continued to claim that the lacrosse players raped Mangum. (Now that Mangum is charged with murder, the Marxists, feminists, and civil rights advocates have been a bit more silent.)

So, we now have the government's answer to the Duke case: turn campus disciplinary hearings into kangaroo courts -- if it is possible to make them even bigger farces than many of them are at the present time. If the law did not put the Duke boys into prison, then maybe a future young man accused of rape (and who is falsely accused) can have his life ruined.

As I see it, many colleges and universities are welcoming this ruling, and not because it has anything to do with justice. Instead, it will further strengthen the atmosphere of Political Correctness that already rules in higher education.

Now, given the prevalence of alcohol and drug consumption in the contemporary college scene, and given the fact that the current generation of young people don't seem to have many sexual inhibitions, I hardly am surprised that there are going to be unwanted, or at least regretted, sexual encounters. However, keep in mind that colleges, through the unabashed handing out of condoms everywhere and through their constant promotion of the Sexual Revolution, also are helping to bring on this collision course.

So, how are we to handle a bad situation? Obama has the answer: create more kangaroo courts. In other words, deal with the decline of civilization by attacking one of the last bastions of civilized society: due process of law.

Monday, May 2, 2011

My latest article on Lew Rockwell's page: More problems with prosecutorial immunity

In my latest article on Lew Rockwell's page, I take issue with court decisions that establish absolute immunity for prosecutors. While I do understand their arguments, nonetheless, because the only accountability mechanisms for prosecutors are in the hands of fellow prosecutors and government lawyers, the situation creates perverse incentives because prosecutors know that no one will hold them to account unless the situation is so publicly bad that the other prosecutors are running for cover. (The Duke Lacrosse Case and the disbarment of prosecutor Michael Nifong is a case in point.)