Thursday, April 22, 2010

Tonya Craft Trial: Does Evidence Really Matter? Apparently Not!

As I read through the various Twitter posts and updates from local news media, I am struck by the whole Kafkaesque nature of this case. Now, this is not unusual in the "trial-by-hysteria" nature of this kind of child molestation case. If you examine the various Day Care Hysteria cases of about 20 years, you can see the same patterns that exist in Tonya Craft's trial.

For a real education in how those trials really worked, read Dorothy Rabinowitz's No Crueler Tyrannies, which lays out how each of these cases became farces and then tragedies. There was a common thread in each of these cases and it was this: logic was stood on its head, and nowhere was that more evident than in the way that police and social workers carried out their investigations.

Just as I witnessed in the Duke Lacrosse Case, in the "trial-by-hysteria," evidence did not matter. As we have seen in the Craft trial, the prosecution is making up evidence on the fly, reinterpreting events, using heresay, and generally abusing the law.

In this post, I wish to take a brief look at how the evidence was obtained, and some irregularities in what happened. First, however, I need to point out how an authentic investigation occurs, information that I received from a long-time police officer and investigator.

In most crimes, the criminal act, such as a murder or a robbery, clearly has been committed and it is the job of the investigator to find out who committed the crime. Thus, the question regarding the person in the dock is this: Is this person the guilty party?

However, there are classes of crime that post two questions. The first is this: Did it happen? The second, if the answer to the first is affirmative, is: Who committed this act?

As occurred in the Duke case, the police decided (after a SANE fabricated "evidence") that a rape did happen when, in fact, it did not. Thus, the arrests of Collin Finnerty, Reade Seligmann, and David Evans were false arrests from the beginning. In the child molestation witch hunts, investigators, egged on by social workers and hysterical parents, falsely concluded that the children in question were molested, and then hyped the "evidence" to gain false convictions.

In the situation where a real crime was committed but the wrong person arrested and tried, the officer told me that a good investigator must take the case where the facts lead. However, he added that officers go wrong when they decide beforehand who committed the crime and then try to squeeze the facts into their theories.

The situation becomes even more tragic, however, when no crime has been committed and then the investigators decide to squeeze fiction into facts and then frame someone for it. As we have seen with numerous false rape charges, once the allegation is made, the false-accusation train often is hard to stop and the authorities generally have no desire to stop it.

"Proving" child molestation can be difficult enough, even when it really has happened, and there are lots of child molesters out there that need to be put away. However, as we saw in the hysteria cases, the investigators decided at the beginning that there just had to be molestation, and they were not going to be thwarted by a child denying anything had happened.

Thus, the children were browbeaten, and finally investigators often would claim (as Janet Reno said, when she was an engine of false accusation as a DA in Florida) that when a child said "no," that really meant "yes." Of course, when a child said, "yes," well, that meant "yes," too. In other words, investigators often decided that molestation already had happened, and it was their job to pry it from a child no matter what.

Not surprisingly, much of the information would turn out to be absurd. When Kelly Michaels was on trial, jurors heard that she had huge naked-pileup games in the middle of the day-care center where she worked (an amazing feat, given no other adults at the center ever witnesses such a spectacle), and that she was regularly feeding human feces to children. She was convicted, and the conviction later overturned.

As in the Craft trial, there are a number of common threads. The first is that interviewers rarely were real professionals, as opposed to charlatans with an agenda. (Prosecutors love charlatans as expert witnesses. Read about Steven Hayne and Michael West, along with Joyce Gilchrist, and you have a House of Fraudulent Fame when it comes to "expert" witnesses.

The second is that the normal steps that characterize most logical police investigations are not carried out, as police and prosecutors resort to tricks instead. In normal cases, there is an investigation, there is an arrest, a preliminary hearing (if the defendant chooses), an indictment, and then a trial or plea bargain.

In the Craft case, there seems to have been hysteria, a cursory investigation, an arrest, more investigation, an indictment, and then a re-arrest. This last step is interesting and also violates the spirit of the law. Ms. Craft wanted to have a preliminary hearing, but, instead, prosecutors had her indicted first, and then re-arrested, which permitted them to bypass the whole hearing.

Why do prosecutors do that? It is simple, and I will use the Duke case to explain. Mike Nifong secured (through a truly fraudulent "lineup" using photos only of the Duke Lacrosse team) "identifications" of Seligmann and Finnerty on April 4, 2006, but waited nearly two weeks to quietly present his information to the grand jury, and then arrested the players the next day.

Even though Nifong and the media were claiming that wild rapists were running loose in Durham and at Duke, apparently, Nifong did not see Finnerty and Seligmann as such threats that they could not be arrested for a fortnight. The reason he did that was twofold: first, it allowed him to avoid a preliminary hearing where he would have to show the evidence he had in his possession, and at that point, it would have been obvious he had no case at all. Second, it heightened community anger against the lacrosse players, as it could be claimed that wealthy, white boys were receiving preferential treatment, and that the community needed to show them a lesson.

Likewise, when Ms. Craft was indicted and re-arrested, the prosecution did not have its story straight (and it doesn't have it straight, now), and it could have been disastrous for them to show what they had. In fact, as one of the reporters put on Twitter during the questioning of Det. Tim Deal, Ms Craft:
was arrested 3 mos before doc signed off on SANE's report of girls' medical exams.
In other words, it really was not medically established that sexual abuse even had happened, yet the state plowed on. Furthermore, the method of questioning in which investigators have asked leading questions, and then have made claims that the most important "disclosures" occurred with the video cameras turned off has helped me to see that this is nothing but a railroad.

As I see it, the state (1) never tried to establish with real medical professionals whether or not sexual abuse even occurred, (2) used unqualified interviewers to draw false information out of children (the state raided the office of a therapist in Atlanta who had interviewed one of the children and concluded there had been no sexual abuse, showing its contempt for competent interviewers), and (3) decided to frame Ms. Craft through the usual means.

The other reason I believe that evidence really does not matter has been the tricks and outright lies told by the prosecution. From hiding exculpatory evidence (something that got Nifong disbarred) to having its witnesses changing testimony on the fly to successfully demanding that evidence not be introduced that would demonstrate that their key witnesses had lied in court, the prosecution has been able to bully its way through the trial.

I would urge readers to go through the Day Care Hysteria cases and then see the parallels between those cases and what is happening now in the Catoosa County Courthouse. Better yet, read Rabinowitz's book. You will see that this farce of a trial is like what happened before. Like the Bourbons of France, prosecutors learn nothing and they forget nothing.


Anonymous said...

No the evidence doesn't matter. The Lambs and the Wilson's have already paid for the verdict in this trial. Now its just costing the tax payers a huge amount of money for a pretend trial

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know what came of the case where Wilson funeral home was accused of discarding waste in improper areas? Just wonder if that was another situation of the Wilson family owning the law enforcement in N. Georgia. And also wondering anyone has mentioned the name of the GA state trooper that the Lambs are known to best friends with and continually brag about it.

Anonymous said...

More than a few criminal defense attorneys love to use charlatans as expert witnesses. Examples are John Gerdes, Henry Lee, and Michael Baden. Furthermore, the defense attorneys for the Menendez brothers based their entire defense on accusing the dead parents of sexually molesting the brothers. They put on a series of "experts" to make this claim.

William L. Anderson said...

Because I do work as an "expert" witness, I know something about the whole system. The attorney for whom I work is great, and has a lot of integrity. I tell him that my estimates are conservative, and I stick hard to economic theory and don't deviate from it.

In my area, credentials matter, and being able to explain a theory correctly matters, too. Furthermore, the people for whom I do work expect integrity from me, and they openly tell me NOT to construct something that helps them out, or that I am not obligated to do it.

Now, I do run into people who cut corners, and that is not right. I am a pretty simple-minded person in that regard. I believe in right and wrong, and in most instances, we can tell the difference!

Anonymous said...

I with one of the other people that posted. This case has already been decided. People you really don't understand the power the Wilson's and the Lamb's have around here. As far as the McDonald's I do not know them. I have seen first hand how the other 2 families seem to make things disapear.

Anonymous said...

If you want to see some highly dubious testimony by so-called expert witnesses, you should study the defense of Phil Spector when tried for the murder of actress Lana Clarkson.

One of them, Michael Baden, was the husband of one of Spector's attorneys. Do you think that sounds like a conflict of interest? Baden just happened to have an "ah hah" moment that persuaded him to testify that it was suicide rather than 2nd degree murder.

The defense premise was that a beautiful woman who worked as an actress comes into a strange house, finds a gun, and shoots herself in the face. Admittedly, the defense attorneys for Spector did not have much to work with.

You have to look carefully at the experts put on by BOTH sides, not just those of the prosecution. There are many more examples beside the two Phil Spector trials.

William L. Anderson said...

I agree with the last comment. Just because an "expert" witness is on the defense side does not mean anything to the qualifications or the truth of what the person is saying.

However, I find that in criminal trials, for the most part the defense experts are better and more qualified than prosecution experts.

Oh, and there is going to be a huge surprise regarding an expert for the defense. Remember yesterday when Stacy Long said she had read someone (whose name she mispronounced)? Don't forget that name. We have a hilarious and ironic situation upcoming, trust me.

Anonymous said...

If you haven't done so already please go to and read "My Friend...Her Story". It will completly validate and show how truly innocent Tonya is.

Please please please continue to pray for her