Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Ordeal of Michael Rasmussen, Part III: Is It Torture, or Just Prudence?

When Americans think of prison, they think of it as a place where people are punished AFTER having been convicted either at a trial or after a guilty plea. The notion of someone being imprisoned and facing real prison conditions before a trial, and especially when there is serious question about someone's guilt seems, well, "un-American."

I hate to say it, but today, "un-American" means applying the standards of justice that are provided by the U.S. Constitution and our legal inheritance from the Rights of Englishmen that our colonial forebears gave us. Today, prosecutors and police have no obligation to follow the law, as the courts pretty much have told them that the law is whatever they want it to be.

My previous post -- including Kerwyn's comments -- lays out just a few real problems in the prosecution's case. In fact, the prosecution is so unsure that it even is presenting a truthful case that it has resorted to the "three bites of the apple" approach: continue to put Mr. Rasmussen on trial until he no longer can afford any defense counsel and is given a public defender, who then works hand-in-glove with his bosses (prosecutors, as in reality, public defenders might as well be employed by the prosecution) either to plead out his client or to present such an awful defense at trial that leads to a conviction.

As I see it, "three bites of the apple" is dishonest to the core and represents the worst that the state gives us in the administration of "justice." But it does not stop there.

Right now, Mr. Rasmussen is being held in solitary confinement at the Charles County jail. This is being done supposedly to "protect" him from other inmates, as "child molesters" always get "the treatment" from the regular prison body. (Keep in mind that "the treatment" is not possible unless the authorities work hand-in-glove with the inmates to make sure that a rape -- or worse -- occurs. The notion that jail or prison authorities are seeking to protect anyone but themselves is a very, very sick joke.)

So, Mr. Rasmussen is kept in his cell almost the entire day with no contact from anyone else. At last report, he had been in the same set of clothes for nearly a week with no opportunity to change.

Solitary confinement, or putting prisoners in "the hole," is a form of punishment, not protection. Charles County authorities know that their case is weak, that Det. Selkirk and Det. Austin have presented material that is questionable at the least and utterly dishonest at worst. They are aware of the huge discrepancies in the evidence, and much more (as Kerwyn and I will be presenting over the next several days).

So, as I see it, they are trying a new tactic: break the accused through a form of torture. Strip him of everything, give him a sense that there is no hope no matter how much he tells the truth, cut him off from everyone and everything, and then watch him utterly deteriorate.

This is reprehensible, but this is what is done in this country. It is ironic to hear Hillary Clinton lecturing others about freedom of speech and torture and all that, yet members of her own political party (Charles County is controlled by the Democratic Party) pretty much act as though they are Third World dictators.

(I will add that Republicans are not better, and that their "law-and-order" mantra is partly responsible for the deterioration of U.S. law. It seems that no Republican can run for office without declaring that he or she is "tough on crime," which really means that they are tough on the Constitution and the Rule of Law.)

The Charles County strategy is pretty obvious: break the prisoner. There is no case, the man is innocent, but the authorities want to win and they will win at all costs.

Because of the state of U.S. law today, torture is applied regularly by both people wearing the badges of Republican and Democrat. It is not a partisan thing; rather, it is what happens when justice becomes utterly politicized, and when those who are in charge of administering justice are not held accountable for their actions.


Kerwyn said...

I think that one of the issues that just flat pisses me off is Rassmussen's bond. His bond has been set at a cool mil. Yes 1 million dollars. Based on?

He said she said. All the offenses he is charged with are over 20 years old. NO other person has come forward to claim Oh ya he did me to, just sweet Apryl and his own Nephew.

Now, profiling child molesters is NOT within my scope of practice. But I would lay odds that some of the follow is true.

1. Child molesters do not de-escalate, meaning they don't commit full blown sodomy on a boy then downgrade to "rubbed up on me" fully clothed on a girl. Then never ever touch another child again.

2. Child molesters AS A RULE don't check "all of the above" in the selection menu. They like boys or they like girls, they rarely like both.

Somehow the prosecutors have managed to convince a judge that this man, who has NO claims against him other that these he said she said from 20 years ago is a danger. So no bond because they had already bleed him dry from the first set of charges over a year ago that they have been unable to substantiate.

Like Tonya Craft, he was arrested once, posted a 50k bond, then arrested again a year later and the bond went to 1 mil. Arrested on claims they didn't bother to bring charges with a year ago. Why? no evidence. No evidence anywhere but the claims of a pissed off ice princess and the wild claims of her cousin whom, by the way, she knew well.

KC Sprayberry said...

Forgive my lack of knowledge on this subject, and I'm sure the number's different for every state, but hasn't the statute of limitations passed on this particular crime? I did a quick search and found the longest amount of time that can pass to prosecute for this crime is 10 years after the victim turns 21 or 3 years after discovery of the crime. From what I understand here, the whole thing hinges on individuals who claim this happened 20 years ago. Now, this man's 25 year old daughter has a mighty fine memory if she can remember what happened at 5. I'm sure a quick poll of 5 year olds around the country about what they ate for lunch last month will come up with anything from a shrug of the shoulders to "I don't know." If this woman is going to come up with the "I just remembered" defense to people questioning her accusations or the ever-famous "my shrink/therapist used hypnosis or regression therapy, she's about to be ridiculed by everyone around her. "I just remembered was the favorite phrase of Joal Henke during the Tonya Craft hearing and the whole country saw what happened there. As for the hypnosis/regression therapy memories, haven't many courts already proven how bad they are, going so far as to show the therapists performing that type of therapy actually planted the suggestions themselves. Maybe the Charles County media needs to dig up a Melydia Clewell or Callie Starns to report on this trial as those two women did. The only chance this poor man has is fair reporting because he sure won't get a break from a prosecutor with obvious political advancement on his/her agenda!

Kerwyn said...

Apparently Maryland has NO statute of limitations on this......

They can prosecute you 100 years after the fact as long as someone wants to accuse you even if there is no evidence of anything...

KC Sprayberry said...

Maryland considers this type of crime as bad as what people called the ultimate seven? Things like murder and kidnapping and I can't remember the rest right now. This is ridiculous. And it's incredibly stupid to think someone could remember in detail what happened to them at 5. Mostly, they'd have impressions of a person 'hurting' them, not minute, picky details. I swear, these people are actually worse than Arnt and Gregor - and I didn't think anyone could be worse than those schoolyard bullies!

Doc Ellis 124 said...

Greetings Dr Anderson,


Thank you for writing this

Doc Ellis 124

Anonymous said...

I think it is amazing that the news stations were quick to report it in the beginning but now have buried it and no one is willing to report the truths as they come out.