Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Accusation and Conviction Machine, Part II

The connection between economics and the study of accusations of rape and child sexual abuse might seem tenuous at best, but the current situation actually invites economic analysis. Why? Economist who look at public policies will examine the incentive structures that these policies create, and from there, it is relatively easy to analyze the behavior of the individuals who are part of that system.

Thus, as I noted yesterday, there are four federal acts that greatly have increased not only false accusations of sexual misconduct, but also have resulted in the imprisonment of perhaps thousands of innocent people, most of them men, but some females, too. For those people wrongly convicted, this has been a silent holocaust, and the damage it has done to the lives of families and especially children has been horrific.

How might a federal law contribute to false accusations? After all, I am sure that when then-Sen. Walter Mondale introduced his bill, he did not declare that what this country needed was an increase in the population of wrongly-convicted people, and that members of Congress eagerly agreed. No, Mondale saw that children were being abused, and he believed that if the federal government (using the U.S. Constitution's "Commerce Clause" as a hook) could rectify the situation by providing money to states and localities and also help "standardize" the process by which the authorities deal with these problems.

As a result of the Mondale Act and the two Victims of Child Abuse acts, a whole "child protection" network was set up, which includes Child Protective Services agencies in each state (CPS), the various Departments of Family and Children's Services (DEFACS), and the Children's Advocacy Centers. The law has given people who work for these agencies, and especially the CPS agencies, vast powers to seize children, take them out of homes, and put them into state foster care systems.

As the Rev. Dennis Austin has written, these laws almost guarantee abuse of the system, given the incentive structures that they have created:
Most states have what are called Child Protective Service Workers (CPS). These workers, along with law enforcement officers, investigate abuse reports. While the law enforcement officers have been trained to be objective, the CPS have not been and they even are called "validators" which raises a question to their role in an investigation. The CPS have authority to deny a parent the access to the children even if there is a court order which allows them to have visitation with the children. The CPS will send a child for an evaluation.

According to the Mondale Act, if an evaluator does not report suspected abuse and the child goes back to an abusive situation, the evaluator can be imprisoned. These evaluators are often either afraid of the consequences of imprisonment if they mistakenly place a child back in the home of an abuser or they may even be a validator as the CPS workers.

The indicators that these validators use to determine abuse are actually quite common behavior which even normal children sometimes exhibit. Some of these indicators include, bedwetting, acting out, nightmares, whining, temper tantrums, thumb-sucking, and compliant and fearful behavior. These validators often propitiate allegations of abuse because it puts food on their tables. It is their career and without such allegations, they could be without a job. Although this is a horrifying thought, this is a reason to ignore evidence that shows innocence and only present to the court "evidence" that substantiate the client's claims of abuse. (Emphasis mine)
To further understand how these incentive structures invite what we call "junk science" into a courtroom, one should examine how hypothesis testing works. In hypothesis testing, there is a null hypothesis and an alternative hypothesis.

According to the rules of scientific method, one should reject the null ONLY if there is a high degree of evidence that it should be rejected, with the evaluator then accepting the alternative hypothesis. In criminal court, the standard for conviction, is "guilt beyond a reasonable doubt," and if one examines such standards from the standpoint of scientific method, one can say that the "null hypothesis" is the "assumption of innocence."

Defendants charged are supposed to be viewed as "innocent until proven guilty," and that standard exists precisely because our forebears from England wanted the "Rights of Englishmen" to govern the rules of the courts. People like William Blackstone demanded that the prosecution provide a very high standard of proof to keep innocent people from being convicted and thrown into prison or even executed. Thus, Blackstone famously declared, "Better 10 guilty men go free than one innocent man convicted."

That system "worked" to a certain degree in Tonya Craft's case, as even though the prosecution worked with a corrupt judge to rig the proceedings, nonetheless the jury did not believe that "Alberto-Facebook" and "The Man" had met the "beyond a reasonable doubt" standard. However, the "child protection" agencies are governed by very different standards, and because of the incentive structures that CPS, DEFACS, and CAC workers face, it should not be surprising at all that they have become a veritable false accusation industry.

Note that the Mondale Act proscribes punishment for these workers if they fail to act when a child is in an abusive system, or if they misjudge a situation and unwittingly place a child in danger, they can be prosecuted and even imprisoned. Thus, it is in their interests to assume that ALL allegations of abuse are true until absolutely proven otherwise.

In scientific terms, this would mean that the null hypothesis is not "innocence," but rather guilt, and overturning that hypothesis is almost impossible because there is no punishment proscribed for "child protection" workers who assume guilt when, in fact, the alleged abuser is innocent. Furthermore, you see the entire "child protection" industry accepting the notion that since one cannot "prove a negative," someone who is accused always has to be seen as guilty.

It works like this. I cannot prove that I did NOT kill JFK. If I present my birth certificate which shows I was 10 years old and I say that I was in a classroom at Boothwyn School during the shooting in Dallas more than a thousand miles away, someone can claim that my birth certificate is forged and that I am lying when I say I was not in Dallas. (Someone can claim that I really was on the Grassy Knoll.) In other words, a determined person always will have a rejoinder to whatever I might claim.

One can see the problem when these kinds of "guilty and never proven innocent" standards are brought into a court of law, and the courts accept them. We are looking at a meat grinder in which innocent people generally don't have a chance of being acquitted. Furthermore, we see prosecutors -- people who have sworn to uphold the law and the fairness of the courts -- accepting these "always guilty" standards and teaming with judges to run a railroad.

One could see this standard at work with the interviews of the three children. When Stacy Long interviewed Sandra Lamb's daughter, and when Suzi Thorne interviewed Tonya's child, both interviewers already had decided that Tonya Craft had sexually abused these children, and it was their job to make sure that the children "disclosed" such information. Neither person cared how she got the "disclosures," just as long as she was successful in reaching that goal.

Both prosecutors also displayed the same mentality. For example, when "The Man" asked David Craft if he "heard anything" that would signal that Tonya was molesting a child in another room, Mr. Craft said he had not. Gregor responded that the sound of a child being molested was not loud.

So, let us translate according to Len "The Man" Gregor's hypothesis testing: (A) David Craft did not hear any noises, suspicious or otherwise coming from another room; (B) if Tonya was quietly molesting a child, then David probably would not have heard anything; therefore (C) Tonya was molesting children.

This is not exactly a high standard of proof, which supposedly is required in a court of law in the United States, and one can say that Gregor's attempt at hypothesis testing was disgracefully bad. We saw the judicial version of "junk science," and it is nothing less than tragic that cowards and bullies like "Alberto-Facebook,"The Man," and "judge" Brian Outhouse are permitted to run proceedings using these counterfeit methods that really are nothing more than devices to create kangaroo courts.

Unfortunately, I am just scratching the surface of the damage that these federal acts have created. I'll have more on this issue tomorrow.


Victoria said...

Great post! I'm glad you covered in depth the whole CPS and mandated reporting fiasco.

I was once reported to CPS because I confided to a therapist on my first (and last) visit with her that my husband had verbally argued with me in front of our 1 year old daughter - I made it very clear at the time, when she questioned about my daughter, that there was no abuse of any sort even remotely involved. Turns out she had been a social worker for CPS prior to her therapist job. She was obviously the over zealous authoritarian type. Next thing I know a CPS worker was at my gate asking to interview me inside my house. Apparently it is not okay with them for parents to verbally argue in front of children. Uh oh...I guess there goes almost all children into foster care and more money for CPS and their cronies. I live in fear of these people now that I have young children. They are a rouge bureau, they can yank children from homes on suspicion or a false report from an anonymous source. From what I understand, anyone who won't talk to them without a lawyer is presumed guilty beyond a shadow of a doubt, and they seem to operate outside the normal workings of the law in some ways.

This injustice need to be stopped. Thanks for helping to uncover this scandalous injustice.

KC Sprayberry said...

The more I hear about the Mondale Act, the more I believe it should be abolished. Granted, if anyone ever asked Mondale if he thought innocent people would go to prison based on the monies provided by this law, he would have said that thought never crossed his mind. However, an either intended or unintended consequence is just that. The lure of unmonitored federal money is far too great for all these 'overzealous' prosecutors, interviewers, and DFACS employees. They feel their jobs are in jeopardy because they haven't rooted out all children from their natural homes to 'protect' them. It's time to go back to common sense and have the null hypothesis be innocent until proven guilty, with the parameters of proving guilt being strictly monitored. Families in this country can't survive until this system is completely cleaned out and the view 'children can't lie about something like this' goes away.

Trish said...

There is also a law in Ga. that pretty much states that if a child dies, it is either murder or gross negligence. This law is rediculous as it opens up more investigations and more charges,when sometimes a child is injured or dies and it is just an accident. No one wants a child to die, but accidents happen, in spite of how careful you are. Just a couple of days ago, a young man apparently dropped his baby and the baby has suffered a head injury. I don't know all the details, I wasn't there, but everyone is ready to hang this young man, based on news reports. Many of them were on there saying I never do anything that would put my child at harm. I sure would like to meet these perfect people, who never make a mistake or never have an accident!!!

I know why the Mondale Act was written, we had too long turned our backs on abused children, pretty much denying that it even existed, but now we have gone too far in the other direction, every child is abused that has a bruise or suffers an injury in an accident. We sure need some people with rational minds and common sense to look at these laws and rewrite them, so that they do protect children, but not turn every parent/caregiver into a possible child abuser/molestor. America needs to wake up!!

kbp said...

Bill does well covering HOW this CPS fiasco started, the CONTROL that has been passed along freely to such agencies.

A little something not mentioned here is that in Tonya's case, or any that involve parents facing CRIMINAL charges, our country does offer to cover the legal fees for those who cannot afford them (how good public defenders are is another topic!).

The overwhelming majority of cases involving the CPS's across this nation NEVER make it to criminal court, so the parent(s) involved are on their own to pay for the legal help needed to keep from losing custody of their children.

Many can't afford attorneys and most start out believing the CPS workers will help them!

kbp said...
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KC Sprayberry said...

Not related to the discussion at hand but in a way it is. Check out this link: I thought this went away years ago but this woman wasn't allowed to vote in the primary yesterday by the Republican members of her local election commission because she's a lifelong Democrat who wanted to change to Republican. My mouth is still hanging open at this. Shame on them.

volfan69 said...

Melydia Clewell says that Tonya Craft's amended complaint was filed today. She didn't provide a link. Do any of you have one? Thanks.

William L. Anderson said...

I have a copy of the amended complaint and am reading it now. It definitely is more specific than the first one.

volfan69 said...

Thanks, Mr. Anderson. I hope that you can share it with us later.

KC Sprayberry said...

found this link on WRBC to the amended lawsuit. Reading now.

Anonymous said...

What a read, spells out the case a little better, and its clear that the defendants conspired to railroad Tonya. From what info I've been allowed to see/hear, I dont see them walking away.

KDaw said...

Amended complaint is very specific. I will expect that phone records and a lot of other evidence that was suppressed will be called into play. I don't think anyone will be able to talk their way out of the "briar patch" they have landed in. Hopefully the powers that be will take notice and clean house.

I am not going to hold my breath though.

Throckmorton P. Gildersleeve said...

This is an article written by Dennis Norwood that has been posted online in the Chattanoogan.

There are some interesting quotes from Scott King as to the timeline the case might take and the possibility of reaching a settlement.

IMHO, if the case goes to trial, whatever company or entity that provides Catoosa County w/its liability coverage will make a business decision and cut their losses if they can. They have the deepest pockets. I sincerely hope that the rest of these peckerheads get to feel some of the anxiety that their reckless conduct earned for them. We all know what karma is and my dream if for karma to slap the fecal stuffing out of all of them.

Too bad Team Hag couldn't be included in the suit. I guess we will have to settle for those 3 little jars on Dr. Lorandos' desk. Each little jar contains one of these hillbillies' manhood. Wonder if Dr. Lorandos will return their manhood or just keep the set as a trophy? One trick pony indeed!

Kathy said...

Dennis Norwood is not afraid to speak his mind and I think I can safely say he speaks for all of us.

KDaw I agree I'm not holding mine either, what a shame the powers that be are to cowardly to use it.

kbp said...

Throckmorton P. Gildersleeve,

Sir, your wit and humor is always a pleasure to read!


kbp said...

I should add a compliment to Bill. He is the ONE that has made all the information and motivation to read it grab my attention.

300 million like Bill would create a nation the world could only envy.

Thanks Bill

Throckmorton P. Gildersleeve said...

Hi kpb:

THANKS for your kind words. I have earned a reputation as something of a smart mouth and am proud of it. I try to use humor to deal with some of the anger I feel towards Team HAG and the ignorant redneck peckerwood parents and government worker bees who forced these accusations on an innocent kindergarten teacher.

From Day 1, like the old hamburger ads, I kept asking "Where's the beef?" Much like school lunches there was no "beef," only soy filler.

THANKS again for your kind words. My attempts at humor help me deal with the heartbreak this case has caused a truly innocent lady.

Also, read some of Lame's stuff too. His zingers are priceless.