Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Accusation and Conviction Machine, Part III

In the past two posts, I have laid out some reasons why there seem to be so many "false positives" when it comes to child molestation charges in places like the Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit, or, to put it another way, innocent people are convicted of heinous crimes. The main reason, I believe is federal policy, and the way that it is implemented.

One of my main areas of historical study has been the "Progressive Movement" that began in this country in the late 19th Century and has been with us ever since. Academic historians trend to treat Progressives as always being the "good guys" who helped save us from the "ravages" of big business. In reality, "Progressives" believed that the U.S. Constitution, with its checks and balances, was outmoded for a modern, "scientific" society, and that people needed to be ruled by a strong executive (President of the United States) who, guided by "experts," would be able to make important decisions without having to consult Congress.

Some of the "accomplishments" of the "Progressives" included World War I (or at least this country's entry into it), complete with the near-nationalization of the U.S. economy during that time, Prohibition, and, indirectly, the Great Depression. (Lest anyone angrily object -- and that usually is the case -- I would urge readers to look at the writings of prominent "Progressives" like Herbert Croly, Margaret Sanger -- especially her writings about eugenics and black Americans -- and Walter Lippman, at least in his early days before he turned against the New Deal.)

An important legacy of "Progressivism" has been the empowering of the executive branch and especially the federal bureaucracies. With every social movement, including the attempts by the Barack Obama administration to vastly increase the power of federal agencies, Congress has empowered the bureaucracies, and in the past few decades, have given the "family and children" agencies literal life and death power over American families.

Anyone who has dealt with the various "child protection" or "child advocate" agencies can attest to the bullying techniques used by people who enjoy near-absolute power over the lives of others. From what I can see, people who enjoy bullying others often self-select into working for entities like CPS or the CAC or some other agency which has near-dictatorial powers over families. Furthermore, as I noted in my last post, the sets of incentives that govern the workers in these agencies, plus the procedures as outlined by Congress, guarantee that these entities will approach EVERY case as though the accused were guilty, no matter how specious the evidence.

Furthermore, as economist Murray N. Rothbard noted, we can expect to see a deterioration in the system of justice over time. Hans Hoppe, writing about Rothbard in 15 Great Austrian Economists, says:
In particular, Rothbard scorned the idea of a "limited" protective state as self-contradictory and incompatible with the promotion of social utility. Limited government always has the inherent tendency to become unlimited (totalitarian) government. Given the principle of government-judicial monopoly and the power to tax-any notion of restraining government power and safeguarding individual life and property is illusory. Under monopolistic auspices, the price of justice and protection will rise and the quality of justice and protection will fall. (Emphasis mine)
Indeed, in cases where "child protection" workers and the police work to accuse people of child molestation and other acts of sexual misconduct, Hoppe's interpretation of Rothbard holds fast. Unless one is prepared to spend upwards of a quarter-million dollars, an accused person almost certainly will go to prison, with guilt or innocence being irrelevant. That alone should bother the heck out of people associated with the system of "justice," but, to be honest, very few of them care at all.

So, for the various child "protection" agencies, we can see that the sets of incentives favor the assumption of guilt. The real problem comes, however, when people who operate with an assumption of guilt join with people in the actual "justice" system, where "innocent until proven guilty" supposedly rules.

At this point, we have to understand that "innocent until proven guilty" is inconsequential because prosecutors now run almost the entire "justice" apparatus. There almost are no checks and balances with prosecutors, and many judges themselves are former prosecutors who see their job as helping make sure that the accused are found guilty, no matter what the evidence. We saw this in all its ugliness at the Tonya Craft trial (although "judge" Brian Outhouse was just a garden-variety attorney before being elected to his present post) when it was clear that there was a tag team of prosecutors and the "judge" trying to rig the outcome.

Now, people should have been shocked at this, and certainly many were, although my numerous conversations and emails with the people at Channel 9 demonstrated to me that they were just fine with the travesty that was going on before them. (The news director of WTVC-TV intimated to me in an email that Ms. Craft very well could have been guilty, although one surely could not tell that from the "evidence" the prosecution threw at the jury.)

However, we have to understand that when we have a marriage of prosecutors who see all of this as a game that they are trying to "win," and "child protection" agencies that operate on the assumption that everyone (except themselves and prosecutors, of course) is a child molester, then it almost is impossible to get justice in a court of law when one is charged with something like this.

As I see it, this is a pretty logical outcome of what we call "Progressivism." Instead of having to depend upon the "messy" and "unprofessional" "innocent until proven guilty" system, we can have the "professional experts" determine for us who is guilty and who is not. (Not surprisingly, few people are "innocent," at least according to these so-called experts.)

Thus, when Tonya's jury actually saw through the nonsense, the "professionals" were outraged. District Attorney Buzz Franklin called out the jury (and I called out him), and the Dishonest Duo of "Alberto-Facebook" and "The Man" had their own pity party with (Who else?) Channel 9.

What were these guys saying? They were declaring that THEY were the "professionals," and they knew Tonya was guilty, so anyone who got in their way -- including those jurors who wickedly and recklessly insisted on looking at the evidence -- was a friend of child molesters. If you wish to understand the end result of "Progressivism" and the attitudes it has spawned, I give you Franklin's press release and the ADA's Channel 9 interview. This "we are the experts" mentality that helped launch two world wars and the Great Depression is alive and well, and even thriving, despite all the damage and millions of lives it has cost.

The average person really understands Lord Acton's statement: Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. However, the "experts" never will understand it, because they really want us to believe that they are beyond corruption. Anyone who has been tossed into the maw of this country's "child protection" machine knows full well the horror of absolute power.


kbp said...

"...Unless one is prepared to spend upwards of a quarter-million dollars, an accused person almost certainly will go to prison, with guilt or innocence being irrelevant."

And you have not touched on the larger number of cases that do not involvr criminal charges!

"Anyone who has been tossed into the maw of this country's "child protection" machine knows full well the horror of absolute power. "

Unfortunately thay all learn too late and others question the truth they pass along, if they are brave enough to spread the truth.

Thanks Bill, you touch on topics the entire nation should consider ...before they vote.

eagle1 said...

Mr. Anderson,
There is another aspect to all of this that you have not mentioned.
This is the POWER of the judge to "sentence" the folks found guilty by a jury.
Here is how the deal works.
A prosecutor tries the defendant on the most simple charge possible. They pick charges that are easy to prove, yet the law is still strict.
Then after they get the guilty verdict, the judge can sentence the person as he wishes. Terms like 5-20 years etc.
I have seen this happen where the charge was not serious at all, and the jury did not here about other serious allegations, which were maybe hard to prove.
So the judge then uses other allegations that was NEVER proven, to render a MAXIMUM sentence.
So far as I know, he does not have to record other discussions, etc. that made him/her decide on a max time in prison.
I think about this concept when I hear Len Gregor explaining that "If we were making these charges up, why did we not come up with some bigger lies?"

Anonymous said...

"Among the newly revealed accusations, the suit alleges the Catoosa County District Attorney allowed a live audio feed from the courtroom which enabled state witnesses to hear testimony prior to taking the stand and match stories. If true, this would have been a direct violation of the rule of sequestration which was invoked and prevented Craft's own mother from being able to sit in the courtroom throughout the 22 day trial."

That's a pretty huge accusation.

Anonymous said...

@7:38 It was common knowledge DURING the trial that the prosecution witnesses were allowed to be in a comfortable room and have their elctronic devices like laptops and cell phones. So, its not much of a stretch that the prosecution would allow an audio feed. Hell if they couldn't get away with that I'd dare say they would have a town crier go in that room and read the transcripts from the preceeding witness! Disgusting rot the lot of them.

Lookout Spy said...

Bill, with these last three articles you have really tied together the macro factors behind Tonya Craft's nightmare. You enable the public and general reader a chance to understand why it seems we live in a world gone mad. Excellent job!

Doc Ellis 124 said...


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Doc Ellis 124

William L. Anderson said...

Lookout Spy,

I will try to wrap up things tomorrow. There was a bit of a "Warp 10" jump at the end in this one, and as a writing project, I'm not sure I really tied things well. So, for my last one (Part IV), I will note just what is happening regarding "experts" and why.

One people in authority don't care about something being true or not ("Hey, we're just doing our jobs"), then it is over.

Lookout Spy said...

Seems the post WW II Nazis used that excuse as well.

Anonymous said...

What about the West Memphis Three?

liberranter said...

There almost are no checks and balances with prosecutors, and many judges themselves are former prosecutors who see their job as helping make sure that the accused are found guilty, no matter what the evidence.

While I have no way of knowing whether nor not it has had a measurable impact on justice being done, the practice in many European countries is to select a graduate right out of law school and put them into a special training/apprenticeship program for a judgeship, without them ever practicing law as either a prosecutor or a defense attorney. Apparently the rationale is that judges will be "untainted" by either prosecutorial or defense biases, enabling them to objectively hear all sides of a case and render decisions based on the letter of the law and the merits of the cases themselves. Again, I have no way of knowing whether any empirical studies have been done on how well this works, but I have to think that it is better than the system we have in place here in Amerika.

William L. Anderson said...

The 2:26 poster is referring to this situation:

I remember the crime and now remember that we had "confessions," but people have to remember that it is not hard for cops to coerce a false confession from a kid. For that matter, they could do it to any of us if they use the right "techniques."

The cops already had mangled the investigation, so they needed to find a way to "solve" the crimes.

Anonymous said...

After reading today's comments I went looking for earlier quotes, commnets, statement, & acts from the cast of characters.

Here's an interesting article excerpt I found from March 2008:

"District Attorney Herbert "Buzz" Franklin said the courthouse here is so cramped he recently had to step over a child molestation victim on his way to the courtroom."

Apparently Buzz has had child molestation victims lined up by the hundreds for years now...

Seriously, it's fascinating to go back and retrace all the writings on the wall, all the signals and lights going off. This Tonya Craft debacle was just waiting to happen.

Six said...

The first half of your post was fantastic! Often times people assume those who call themselves 'progressives' to be the ones who champion protecting peoples rights, and that may be true in lip service. However, the natural progression of progressives - and often 'conservatives' too is to dictate to others what they ought to do or not to do while using the strong arm of the government to impose it. The idea of protecting your civil liberties which include being guaranteed a fair trial and due process is often in contrast to authoritarian types who beleive they know better than everyone else what should happen. When it suits them and they have a person they don't like enough they are all too comfortable violating peoples rights to get what they want. These silly laws get in thier way!