Tuesday, August 24, 2010

It Doesn't Get Much Worse Than This

During the erstwhile Duke Lacrosse Case, Joe Neff from the Raleigh News & Observer helped carry the day. In the early days of the affair, the N&O drove the coverage in a dishonest, smarmy way, with one of its resident leftists, Samiha Khanna, writing most of the copy.

However, the adults soon took over and Joe Neff from late spring until the end of the case compiled an extremely impressive list of articles that ultimately exposed the case for the sham it was. Since then, Neff has written a series of article on the scandal that has engulfed the North Carolina "justice" system involving the State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) crime lab, a place where "forensics" often was a sham and where employees tricked the results in order to help prosecutors gain convictions.

If you wish to get a good sense of what happened, read the series in the N&O, as well as Radley Balko's excellent Reason crime column. Balko writes:
A stunning accompanying investigation by the Raleigh News & Observer found that though the crime lab’s results were presented to juries with the authoritativeness of science, laboratory procedures were geared toward just one outcome: putting as many people in prison as possible. The paper discovered an astonishingly frank 2007 training manual for analysts, still in use as of last week, instructing researchers that “A good reputation and calm demeanor also enhances an analyst's conviction rate.” Defense attorneys, the manual warned, often “put words into the analyst's mouth to try and raise inaccuracies.” The guide also instructs analysts to beware of “defense whores”—analysts hired by defense attorneys to challenge their testimony.
Indeed, it was that same mentality shown by prosecutors in their "win at all costs" (the main cost being the truth) in the Tonya Craft trial that led Chris Arnt and Len Gregor to tell a jury that highly-respected defense witnesses Dr. Nancy Aldridge, Dr. Nancy Fajman, Dr. Ann Hazzard, and Dr. William Bernet were nothing but "whores of the court" and people who "lied for pay." At the same time, "Alberto-Facebook" and "The Man" expected people to believe that the poorly-trained and educated, giggling, eye-rolling, sighing, and shoulder-shrugging charlatans at the local Children's Advocacy Center were crackerjack experts.

Why do these things occur? They occur because the legal system protects the criminals within it. Suborning perjury, tampering with evidence, forging documents, and lying in official documents all are crimes, yet no matter how egregious the violations of the law, no prosecutor (and usually no cop) ever is in danger of facing the bar of justice.

In short, prosecutors run the system, and judges (most of whom are former prosecutors) go along with the crimes, and then make rulings that protect all of the wrongdoers from punishment. As a woman at the Georgia State Bar told me, all of these things are just examples of prosecutors "doing their jobs," and she approved of everything I just have listed.

As I have read through the years of example after example of prosecutorial misconduct, I have come to realize that there really is no more hope for the system. The defense bar has been emasculated, and innocent people are convicted each day as prosecutors run about like wild animals. Indeed, if you want to find a group of criminals in the LMJC, don't go to the local jails; just go to Buzz Franklin's office.

While North Carolina claims to be trying to "reform" the system, one cannot "reform" anything when the prosecutors are in charge. The only way there can be any meaningful reform in American criminal justice is to end immunity for prosecutors, police, and judges. If the rest of us have no immunity, and we continue to do our jobs, then why should this class of people be protected from having to obey the law?

As I go through the various links demonstrating misconduct on behalf of prosecutors around the country, I come to realize that nothing is going to change. We see a charlatan like "dentist" Michael West testifying for prosecutors and helping to win convictions, even though all prosecutors who use West know that he is a fraud. Radley Balko explains:
I’ve written extensively on West over the last few years, most recently in a feature about the 1992 Louisiana murder trial and eventual conviction of Jimmie Duncan. In that case, I obtained a video showing West repeatedly jamming Duncan’s dental mold into the body of the young girl Duncan was accused of killing. Forensic specialists say that what West does in the video isn't a remotely acceptable method of analysis, and may amount to criminal evidence tampering. Duncan is on death row in Louisiana, based in part on West's analysis.
The whole thing is so outrageous that one does not wonder why West is not behind bars, but even today, prosecutors in Mississippi seek out the services of this lying charlatan and the disgraced "forensic pathologist" Steven Hayne. (I am sure that both men would be welcomed with open arms in the LMJC both by prosecutors and judges. Liars and charlatans feel very, very comfortable around each other. Maybe they can have a group hug.)

In a country where people actually cared about justice, men like Arnt, Gregor, West, Outhouse, and many others would be looking for honest work or would be sitting in the crowbar motel. Instead, they draw large salaries on the public till, lie in court, present false evidence, send innocent people to prison, and are touted in the local press as "heroes."


Anonymous said...

The law should reflect that witnesses, including expert witnesses, will be held accountable for knowingly bearing false testimony to gain a conviction. They should receive the punishment they sought for the innocent victim. An eye for an eye! While few witnesses may actually be prosecuted, you can bet the perspective in the expert witness training manuals would change.

Doc Ellis 124 said...

Greetings Dr Anderson,

I have excerpted and linked this to my
BikerorNot blog line at
and I tweeted this to
Facebook at , to
MySpace at, and to
LinkedIn at
Thank you for writing this

Doc Ellis 124

KC Sprayberry said...

Unfortunately, until the laws change, no one is safe from the antics of these 'clowns' (absolutely no insult meant to the members of that industry). They will continue with their activities until the citizens of this country say enough is enough and force our governing authority to remember we are their employer not the other way around. When a bad employee disgraces the rest of a company in the private sector, they are shown the door and never allowed back in. The public sector, however, rewards these bad employees by continuing to use their services and even awards them for their criminal actions while protecting them from the same laws they spit on. There is a way for the ordinary citizens to take care of this problem. However, historically, in this area too many are content with the status quo and afraid of what change brings. One has to wonder if any change is better than constantly looking over our shoulders and wondering if we are next.

jp said...

Educated Citizens and Jury Nullification are about our only options in this farce of a "justice" system…

kbp said...

That is a much better form of revolt!

Anonymous said...

You would have thought that the Lambs, Wilsons and McDonalds would have come into this new school year a little quiter. Lord no!!! At open house their they were. Sandra with a dress up to her well you know. Wilson lady thinking she is best thing on earth. I thought at first the McDonalds actually got the clue that we can't stand them but no they showed up a few days later. Believe it or not I sat back and watched and most people licked their ***** as usual. It just really makes me sick.

KC Sprayberry said...

Anon 3:24. And that's why those people get away with what they do. Standing back and letting them get away with their antics is a symptom of letting the bully have what they want to keep their attention off you. These people are bullies, make no mistake about that. So, instead of knuckling under to their intimidation tactics, the next time you see them in what you think is inappropriate dress, or acting in a manner you find offensive, address the issue in an adult manner - no matter how loud and offensive they become. In fact, let them yell and scream and threaten. Stand back and maintain your outward cool then quietly, without profanity, tell these pretenders you're not impressed and would appreciate more appropriate behavior around children. Yes, you can do that. It's your right as much as it is theirs to act the fool. But their acting the fool around impressionable children is not a right they should have ever been granted. If the school authorities take you to task, quietly say to them that no one else was doing what should have been done years ago and you were standing up to bullies - something no school outwardly condones in this day and age. Embarrassing a public official in front of those they serve has oftentimes brought about needed change. But remember, always address these issues with dignity and don't lose your temper. You'd be amazed at how many people will back your stance when you maintain your dignity.

Lame said...

I have another solution to the problem. Bring back dueling. After what Buzz Franklin said about Tonya Craft's acquittal, I say her husband should call that SOB out, and the two of them take ten paces, turn and fire. I would bet $1 million, that Franklin would piss his pants at the thought of facing a person protecting their family's honor.

See, folks, one of the things that kept people from doing and saying the kind of crap that prosecutors are up to these days back in the Old South was the fact that if they made such malicious statements to the press or in public or engaged in malicious prosecution, they could count on someone demanding satisfaction.

So, I say, bring back dueling. Andrew Jackson had the balls. Let's see how many modern politicians and "public servants" have the coconuts to face meeting their maker over the things they say and do.

Throckmorton P. Gildersleeve said...

Hi Lame:

Yes, Andrew Jackson did indeed have the “balls” and not just the testicular kind. He would duel at the drop of hat over besmirching his beloved Rachel’s name or for most any other reason. He was buried with at least 2 pistol balls, probably more, in his corpse from wounds received while dueling. Thanks to the level of medical care practiced then, removing them would have been more dangerous than simply leaving them in place. In his most famous duel, the one with Charles Dickinson, Jackson let his opponent fire first, took a round in his chest near his heart, then calmly aimed and fired, killing Dickinson who was desperately trying to reload his cap and ball pistol for a second shot. Jackson bled like a stuck pig and lingered near death for several days but survived. They did not call him Old Hickory for nothing! According to one author, he “rattled like a bag of marbles” as he aged due to rounds remaining in his body from his dueling wounds.

There is much to admire in Jackson’s personal strength and political policies just as there is much to condemn in his some of his other beliefs. His support of the forced Cherokee Removal which became the Trail of Tears is unjustifiable and contradicts the expansion of democracy that his elections represented. Jackson was a reflection of the frontier that produced him and a man of his times and the duality of his personality and philosophy make him a fascinating historical figure.

As for your other point, I have no doubt that Franklin would defecate AND urinate all over himself if he actually had to answer for the lies, half-truths and semi-truths presented to the court and the public during the Craft Inquisition and afterwards. The Buzzard has no honor; so, the idea of someone who does have defending it up close and personal would cause his body’s waste elimination processes to go into overdrive.

liberranter said...

As for your other point, I have no doubt that Franklin would defecate AND urinate all over himself if he actually had to answer for the lies, half-truths and semi-truths presented to the court and the public during the Craft Inquisition and afterwards. The Buzzard has no honor; so, the idea of someone who does have defending it up close and personal would cause his body’s waste elimination processes to go into overdrive.

I seriously doubt that Franklin, or any other of the pieces of excrement that clog his office, would EVER agree to a dual without insisting upon armed "backup" from at least one member of the Fat Blue Line Gang that serves as his personal bodyguard corps. Cowardly castrati like Franklin, all mouth and flatulence when they have muscle at their disposal, are incapable of "manning up" for themselves when all alone.

Lame said...

"Cowardly castrati like Franklin, all mouth and flatulence when they have muscle at their disposal, are incapable of "manning up" for themselves when all alone."

That's why when a female news reporter armed with a microphone and a TV camera approaches one of them, they turn tail and run faster than a yankee at Bull Run.

Anonymous said...

The SBI scandal is just the tip of the iceburg. Mr. Neff has yet to expose the crime in the court system: biased judging and violations of the NC General Statutes and American and NC constitutions which have resulted in forced guilty pleas and convictions.there is one way to stop this - it's a federal statute called Title 18, Section 242 that the FBI enforces.