Random Thoughts Again

Blue&White
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Re: Random Thoughts Again

Postby Blue&White » Tue Dec 11, 2018 9:43 am

I really didn't focus on the celebrity aspect of this. I'm not even clear on who among the beautiful people are talking about it. And, I agree it's more complicated than her advocates want to make it, but I think equally it's more complicated than the Tennessee authorities and courts are making it, too. This girl was a victim of sustained sexual abuse. The guy she killed was no saint - he paid for sex with a child. I don't think she should be absolved of all culpability but 51 years given all she was through seems obscene to me and a total miscarriage of justice.

A few years ago in Texas they let a teen who drove drunk and killed 4 people got probation after arguing "affluenza" as a defense. That Brock Turner kid raped an unconscious coed and got 6 months because the judge felt that a rich white suburban kid would suffer too much from a longer penalty. I realize that these are different jurisdictions and neither of those involved murder. But, you have a battered, abused teen who kills a man who is paying for sex with a teen - something I consider "karma" - and then you have 2 affluent teens who get a slap on the wrist for killing and raping. You can't look at 3 distinct cases in 3 different jurisdictions with 3 different fact patterns and draw any real conclusions - but it's not just 3 cases. It's a definite societal trend where money and skin color influence outcomes in the justice system and the poorer you are or the less white you are, the worse the system treats you.
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Blue&White
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Re: Random Thoughts Again

Postby Blue&White » Tue Dec 11, 2018 11:24 am

So, here is a feel-good (so to speak) story on Julia Roberts you may all find interesting.
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psu_dad
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Re: Random Thoughts Again

Postby psu_dad » Tue Dec 11, 2018 12:01 pm

That "hand job" headline was pretty funny, too. How can an editor read that and not say "ummm... hold on a sec ...". :lol:
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Blue&White
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Re: Random Thoughts Again

Postby Blue&White » Tue Dec 11, 2018 9:36 pm

I was just reading more about the former fraternity president at Baylor who got that plea deal. The victim's impact statement is pretty crushing. You can read it here..

That's pretty egregious that the DAs who prosecuted the case did not even show up. I don't blame the victim for being angry. And, I don't buy the excuse of "we weren't sure we could convict him". This is worse than losing the case in my opinion. You have a rape victim who is willing to tell that story on the stand and under oath, you put her on and let the chips fall where they may. Or, at minimum, you use the pressure of that testimony to get him to plead to something real. But, letting him walk with what he did is about the same as him getting an acquittal. The victim certainly seems to think so. Hopefully someone looks at how this was able to happen and what laws and procedures maybe need to change.

I will say this, though: I am not a violent person and I don't generally wish harm on people. And, I don't have daughters. But, if someone did that to one of my nieces and was able to just walk it off like that he would have to look over his shoulder for me for the rest of my life. I wouldn't just let that go. I'd go after the son of the bitch.
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psu_dad
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Re: Random Thoughts Again

Postby psu_dad » Wed Dec 12, 2018 10:21 am

Or, at minimum, you use the pressure of that testimony to get him to plead to something real.

They apparently tried that. This deal causing all the commotion wasn't the first deal he was offered. Two years ago, a couple of months after the indictment, the DA offered him 10 years probation and a $5,000 fine in exchange for his plea to sexual assault. He wouldn't serve prison time (unless he violated probation), but he would be a registered sex offender.

He wouldn't take the deal.

I don't know what his attorneys know ... and I don't know what the DA knows ... but it seems that neither of them thought he had a serious chance of losing in court.
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Blue&White
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Re: Random Thoughts Again

Postby Blue&White » Wed Dec 12, 2018 10:28 am

That is certainly what the DA is is saying now. And, my point is that they were better off losing in court than letting him just walk away with this. At least, if they had a victim willing to testify - and they did - they were better off losing in court. Sometimes it's as much about the journey as it is the outcome. The point of taking someone to trial is to seek justice for the victim, punishment for the pepetrator, and to protect to public from someone who may do it again. They agreed to a plea agreement that failed on all three criteria. Again, if they had a victim who wasn't willing to testify and tell her story under oath, I can sort of see it. But, that was not the case here. And, a plea deal that does not meet any of the criteria just makes no sense. They failed in their obligations here.

Of course, they did meet the unstated 4th obligation - to get cases off their dockets as quickly as they can and move on to the next thing. Prosecutors tend to be overwhelmed due to being understaffed. I suspect that is true even in the community where Baylor University is located. But, they really failed here. They failed the victim and they failed society with that deal. It serves no purpose. They really were better of losing in court. And, I bet the victim could better live with that if she had the chance to tell her story.
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psu_dad
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Re: Random Thoughts Again

Postby psu_dad » Wed Dec 12, 2018 10:34 am

They really were better of losing in court.

Politically, sure. But is that legally ethical? (I'm asking because I don't know).

As a DA, if you believe you don't have a solid case and will lose in court, is it ethical to bring it to trial anyways just to cover your butt from political fall-out?
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Blue&White
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Re: Random Thoughts Again

Postby Blue&White » Wed Dec 12, 2018 11:00 am

It's unethical to bring a case where you don't believe in good faith in the person's guilt. That was the problem with the Duke Lacrosse case. It wasn't just that the DA didn't have a strong case. It's that he knew the girl was most likely lying, had a bunch of exculpatory evidence, sat on all that and prosecuted anyway. That's a big no-no. You dont prosecute people where you have reasonable belief they didn't do it.

But, where you think the kid did it and will have a challenge proving it in court? You can bring those cases all day long. Prosecutors are loathe to do that because it hurts their conviction rates. I know it happens all the time in Law and Order but Jack McCoy's are the exception, not the rule. Most prosecutors don't want to lose and won't bring a case because it's right if the evidence isn't strong enough. That's just reality.

Here, we have no idea what evidence was excluded or what the witnesses would say. But, unless the DAs just didn't believe the victim - and I find that tough to believe - they should have included her in the decisions. And, if they didn't believe her than why have the kid plead to anything at all? Makes no sense.
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psu_dad
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Re: Random Thoughts Again

Postby psu_dad » Wed Dec 12, 2018 11:27 am

Makes no sense.

That's my position. Given the graphic testimony, it's easy to muster outrage over this. But the dominant feeling I have is confusion. There's something going on that I don't understand.

This is far from over. There are pending civil suits against the accused, the fraternity and the owner of the frat house.
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Blue&White
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Re: Random Thoughts Again

Postby Blue&White » Wed Dec 12, 2018 12:31 pm

There's something going on that I don't understand.

I don't think it's really that confusing. I may be off on this but my sense is the DA didn't want to go to trial on something they were not sure they could win. I have no doubt this was not a slam dunk. They probably both had been drinking, the guy is saying there was consent, or they were both drunk, or something along those lines. She claims her drink was drugged but there is probably no way to prove that it was. Maybe it was in her drink but maybe she took it elsewhere. A toxicology report should show if she was drugged or not, but that doesn't help with who gave it to her. I doubt any of this kid's fraternity brothers were willing to testify that they knew anything about drugging women at their parties so it was easier to have sex with them. Anyone who was aware of that and did nothing to stop it was probably partaking as well. At minimum, it's a pretty good bet that no one was coming to testify. And, her friends probably didnt' see anything either. She says her assailant took her away where there were no witnesses. So, no one saw anything, and proof is hard to come by. Add to that a toxicology report that says she was barely coherent or in some kidn of impaired shape and no matter how compelling a witness she may be it's a sure bet that the defense attorney is going to rip into what she drank and that she has no clue who put what in her drink, or when it happened. You're the DA and that is probably your case. So, what do you do?

If you're the DAs here, you let the kid off and don't even show up for the plea hearing. You don't tell the victim that's what you are doing, you just make a decision that does not put you and your conviction percentage on the line. You figure the odds of winning this case with those facts are pretty low. So, you cut a deal that serves no purpose other than to say "we got another check in the 'win' column" because, technically, the kid plead guilty.

It's not that complicated and I don't think there is some hidden thing we are not aware of. Maybe my assumptions above are wrong but I seriously doubt I am off the mark by much. But, here's the thing - the school thought there was enough evidence to suspend the frat and the kid. And, the deal you came up with served no purpose to anyone except you - that purpose being "we didn't lose the case". And, your victim is totally shattered. It probably doesn't help that the cops and the doctors she encountered didn't take her seriously or told her it was somehow her fault. I don't know that happened, but I do know someone who's daughter went through almost this exact same thing (except she couldn't figure out who raped her) and that's how the cops and doctors treated her daughter. I expect it was the same here. Just a guess.

They are cowards. That's what you're not getting. That's not a cut on you. But, I am very confident I'm pretty close to what happened here. They didn't want to go through the effort and lose. So, they did almost nothing instead. It's messed up and and it's morally wrong. They should have taken him to trial and let those chips fall where the chips fall.
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