Monthly Archives: November 2012

Double Standard

So this guy is convicted of “intimidating a victim or witness in the third degree”.  He wants to call a witness in his defense, and while she is waiting in the courthouse to testify, the prosecutor arranges to have her arrested.

Before she testifies.  Ironic, don’t you think?

Not a problem, says the Appellate Division.

She never winds up testifying (surprise, surprise) so we don’t know what she would have said.  Great.  If you’re the government and you terrify some defense witness out of testifying at all, you win.  If you’re a private individual doing the same thing – that is, even assuming this guy was guilty of intimidating a victim or witness in the third degree – you get charged and convicted after the government intimidates all your witnesses.

Nice incentives you put in place there, AD.  Even the most mediocre intelligence at the police departments and prosecutor’s offices can figure out what to do now when the defense wants to present some pesky witness that might jeopardize a conviction.

The timing and circumstances of the arrest here yield an inference that is all but mandatory.  That the AD can disingenuously dance around that with a truly laughable feigned ignorance tells you everything you need to know about how the system in working in New York at present.

And in a seemingly unrelated story, a police officer is accused of fabricating evidence, only this time it isn’t get the bad guy; it’s to collect $350 in a small claim against a neighbor.  But it isn’t really unrelated.

Without getting into the merits of that case, the real question is:  why wouldn’t a cop do whatever he felt like doing to vindicate his position?  It’s only in the rarest of cases he word will ever be second guessed.  The cop is just following his training.

And that comes down from the regional appellate court, setting the tone for the whole region.  There could not be a clearer statement from the appellate court that witness intimidation, while a crime for everyone else, is a government prerogative.

This case will be little noted elsewhere, but CDL’s should be up in arms about it.

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Filed under Judicial lying/cheating, wrongful convictions

Random Thoughts After Hiatus

For my regular readers I must apologize for an unexplained six week absence.  I must apologize again because I’m not even going to explain it now.  Maybe it doesn’t have any explanation other than it is just one of those things.

In any case a few things transpired during that time that might warrant a thought or two:

- The election went pretty much as I thought, to the extent I thought much about it at all.  Being an exile in my own land I didn’t vote.  I’m pretty much of the opinion that voting is worse than a waste of time:  at this point its primary purpose is to pseudo-legitimize the illegitimate.  Our collective public life needs to undergo a profound transformation that has nothing to do with who is president or what congress is doing.  And there will be such a transformation soon (at least in historical terms) no matter what anyone does or doesn’t do.  Personally, and although it’s not really a strong opinion either, I think constitutional monarchy is the best form of government, precisely because it leads everyone outside the government to the conclusion that the government doesn’t matter much.  That’s much healthier than the current state of affairs.

- The Sessler v. Schiener bout in Livingston County went the way Sessler said it would go when he was assessing his chances objectively before the Republican committee that rejected him:  The Conservative and Republican lines split and the Democrat was elected.  First time a Democrat has held the Livingston County District Attorney’s office office since 1872, according to local news reports.  I don’t know the new incumbent, a former Monroe County ADA named McCaffrey, at all.  But a complete overhaul of that office, particularly with respect to ethics is long overdue and perhaps he will do something in that direction.  One can never hope for too much, though.  Institutional momentum is very powerful and of course crosses party lines.

In any case, Steven Sessler did a very necessary if unheralded public service.  It would be nice if the people of Livingston County appreciated it, but they probably never will.

- This scandal is endlessly fascinating, but don’t kid yourself.  The MIC is filled with them.  How one surfaces and becomes an issue while thousands of others go unmentioned is always the real question.

- At various points in the remote past I tried to write songs.  I found it extremely difficult, and have never written one that was any good at all.  So I’m very grateful for those that do.  I don’t envy them.  It recently dawned on me that even from the greatest and most prolific composers – like Mozart – there are only a relative handful of compositions that endure.  It’s much easier to just play music, yet that is how you can fill your world with good music.  To each his own.

 

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