Wrongful Conviction ‘Industry’

Seriously.

So here’s an article, via the Wrongful Convictions Blog, by a Chicago cop taking on one of The Innocence Project’s first big wrongful conviction successes out of Chicago, back when George Ryan was governor.

Back before George Ryan went to prison, like most governors of Illinois seem to.

The cop makes a good case that in this instance the wrongfully convicted Anthony Porter was in fact rightfully convicted because he actually killed the two people he was convicted of killing in the first place. 

I guess we need a new phrase:  “wrongful exoneration”.  We’ll add that to the phrase “wrongful acquittal” that we also coined over here at Lawyers on Strike.

But let’s tone it down a bit here, shall we?  Do you think you’ve got a lot of folks over-invested in these things?

Retired cops from all over the country came to the city to help the detectives prepare for the trial, for it was a common belief among the police that Porter was guilty and had gotten away with a double homicide.

Let’s assume for purposes of dicussion that Anthony Porter was wrongfully exonerated.  The effort, including “retired cops from all over the country” to make him a poster child for the sins of the perfidious wrongful conviction industry is really nothing more than a desperate attempt to reassert dwindling dominance, and the same kind of distortion of reality that causes wrongful convictions – and for that matter wrongful exonerations – in the first place.

For months now I’ve been chronicling (see, e.g., here) a rash of court decisions out of the federal court system’s 7th circuit – that is, where Chicago and the Anthony Porter case are located – all dealing with wrongful convictions or wrongful prosecutions, in many cases admitted, where police and even prosecutors committed grotesque abuses of their power in order to obtain convictions of innocent people because that was easier and better for their ‘career’ than doing their job and doing the right thing.  And the governor isn’t shaking the hands of these rightfully exonerated and the media isn’t writing stories about them and the cop-author of the linked article isn’t mentioning any of these cases along with the Anthony Porter matter because his purpose is polemical and not educational.  It is partisan and not truthful.  It is about reclaiming absolute hegemony over the criminal justice system for the cops because apparently near absolute hegemony isn’t enough for them, and “retired cops from all over the country” are onboard with the effort, which to me is sad.

There are hucksters who will try to capitalize on any trend, and I’m sure that they have appeared and will appear again in wrongful conviction cases.  Using them to score rhetorical points is just more hucksterism. 

There is no legitimate argument that we don’t have a serious wrongful conviction problem in the United States (CNN is doing a series just on wrongful death row convictions), there is no serious dispute that the police have had too much power for too long.  As in any such state of affairs in any context the power gets abused, first by a few, and then by more than a few, and then by many until finally it is a normal part of the every day functioning of a police department.

Like the police department in Mount Morris, New York, circa 2004.

Even there, of course, not every cop enthusiastically goes along, and maybe some would join an effort to clean things up if they didn’t also feel that it would be ruinous to themselves and their families.

And here’s a reality that’s as much irony as it is true:  the friend of the honest cop in Mount Morris and elsewhere is me, not some huckster cop-author pandering to a built in readership.

Maybe there’s a wrongful conviction ‘industry'; but it’s a tiny fraction of the size, power and scope of the criminal justice system conviction industry (two can play at the game of using the term ‘industry’ as a pejorative).  In either case honesty has to trump subservience to an agenda if we are to leave the world, or at least the criminal justice system, a better place than when we found it.

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22 Comments

Filed under Media incompetence/bias, wrongful convictions

22 responses to “Wrongful Conviction ‘Industry’

  1. Sir,

    Your comments betray a clear bias that you claim exists in prosecutors and cops.

    “For months now I’ve been chronicling (see, e.g., here) a rash of court decisions out of the federal court system’s 7th circuit – that is, where Chicago and the Anthony Porter case are located – all dealing with wrongful convictions or wrongful prosecutions, in many cases admitted, where police and even prosecutors committed grotesque abuses of their power in order to obtain convictions of innocent people because that was easier and better for their ‘career’ than doing their job and doing the right thing.”

    This is an extraordinarily ingorant, fradulent, offensive claim. The cops and prosecutors are running around putting the wrong guys in jail to boster their careers. What exactly was David Protess doing at Northwestern?

    One thing the self annointed prophets of the justice system rarely do is trace the radical origins and assocations of the wrongful convicton movement. Take Bernadine Dorhn, for example. Harldy a whisper when Northwestern hired her at their Law School and eventually had her working on wrongful convictions, a woman who went around setting off bombs for more than a decade. There is a vast collection of evidence that she was the bomber that killed a policeman in San Francisco. Never a word about the real political views of Dorhn and her ilk by the commentators like you, but if you look closely at the major players in the movement, she is hardly unusual.

    You should take a break from your long-winded sentences and follow the evidence. The police jumped in to the Porter case because it was one of the few opportunities they had to put police investigations on trial, as well as wrongful conviction investigations. There are dozens and dozens right behind it. You should take a look at the Porter case, then Madison Hobley, then Ronald Kitchen and Aaron Patterson.

    I have a new book out on this movement called Crooked City. You can check it out from my website, crookedcity.org.

    Martin Preib
    Chicago Police Officer
    Writer
    crookedcity.org

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    • I do sometimes commit the sin of “long-winded” sentences (we used to call them “run-on” sentences). Touche.

      I appreciate you coming over here to comment. We try to run a polite blog over here at Lawyers on Strike, sometimes overly pointed remarks in our posts notwithstanding.

      But on to it. You miss the point entirely. Let’s grant for purposes of discussion that there are some hucksters riding the wrongful conviction wave and that there have been some “wrongful exonerations”. Does it follow from that that there are no wrongful convictions and no legitimate exonerations? Of course not. Back to Logic 101 for you if you think so.

      So what, then, is your point? You are arguing that David Protess and Madison Hobley and Ronald Kitchen and Aaron Patterson and whomever else you might dig up discredit the notion that there are wrongfully convicted people who should be exonerated. And then you argue that the “innocence movement” is tarnished in its origins by the participation of commies.

      The first is a non-sequitur. The second is an ad hominem.

      Your incredulity at the very idea of police and prosecutor perfidy in the service of career over truth is either feigned or fatuous. Look what happened in the Central Park jogger case. Read Pyle v. Kansas, where prosecutors convicted one guy of a murder and then prosecuted another for the same murder. That was 1942. Read Napue v. Illinois, where a prosecutor blatantly misrepresented to court and jury that he had not made a deal with a witness when in fact he had. That was 1959. Read Connick v. Thompson. Or Buckley v. Fitzsimmons. Or Albright v. Oliver. Or forget the long history of Supreme Court cases and just watch CNN. Police and prosecutors are not exempt from the human condition and its tendency towards sin and never have been.

      If there are hucksters riding the wrongful conviction wave then expose them. I’m all for it. But there are many – far too many – wrongful convictions, and far too many of those involve police and/or prosecutor dishonesty. Your only answers to that are things like red-baiting. I hate commies as much as the next guy, but the fact is those kinds of arguments say more about the rhetorical baton you have picked up than anything else.

      Thanks again for coming over here and commenting. Glad to have you.

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  2. One always analyzes a modus operandi in a crime. Then one looks for other instances of similar conduct. The modus operandi in the wrongful conviction movement is clear, obviously clear. The Porter case is only the tip of the iceberg. Every time some new witness appears or someone in a case suddenly changes their statement, one has to be suspicious that these radicals are spinning their web again.

    When one identifies the modus operandi, then the wrongful conviction advocates moves away from their claim that they are investigating criminal cases into the fact that they are engaging in a criminal conspiracy. That’s what emerges in a vast collection of wrongful conviction cases, beginning with Porter. The problem is that no media, no academics are willing to look into it, largely because they are afraid to see how they badly they were bought and sold. The argument that oh well there are still plenty of other wrongful convictions doesn’t hold much water.

    Once again, your claim that police and prosecutors put the wrong man in prison for their own career benefit is offense and insulting. Perhaps this has taken place a few times in the long history of criminal justice, but it is a rare, exceedingly rare event.

    The fact that you would point to the Central Park Five case as an instance of wrongful conviction reveals clearly you are not competent to judge these cases. There is no doubt whatsoever those kids are guilty of that brutal assault on that woman. That case is a textbook wrongful conviction scam, with yet another “bombshell” statement from a serial rapist and killer years after the crime who has everything to gain and nothing to lose by joining in the scam. The prosecutor and detectives in that case have been put through hell, exactly like the detectives in the Porter case, simply by investigating and prosecuting a case based upon the evidence.

    Pointing out the radical connections among the wrongful conviction activists is not red baiting at all. Dorhn should have been indicted for the murder of the cop in San Francisco. The fact that she got away with it and Northwestern hired her is a clear indication of the intensely radical, anti-authority bias that permeates this movement and helps explain why they will do anything do ruin the lives of police and prosecutors.

    If you want to see how the wrongful conviction movement really works, you can check out my book, Crooked City at crookedcity.org

    I’ll pass on CNN.

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    • One always analyzes a modus operandi in a crime. Then one looks for other instances of similar conduct.

      Really? No “crimes” are one-offs? Or, wait: M.O. is man uses .25 to hold up gas station. All gas station hold-ups using .25’s are same man?

      The problem is that no media, no academics are willing to look into it, largely because they are afraid to see how they badly they were bought and sold…Once again, your claim that police and prosecutors put the wrong man in prison for their own career benefit is offense and insulting.

      But it’s not “offensive” and “insulting” when you do the same or similar thing to “academics” and “media”? Why the double standard?

      There is no doubt whatsoever those kids [i.e., central park five - ed.] are guilty of that brutal assault on that woman.

      This statement is simply foolish.

      The prosecutor and detectives in that case have been put through hell,

      Nothing compared to what their victims, or indeed any victim of any wrongful conviction have been put through. But take comfort: some of the wrongfully convicted are cops. How do you come down on those, I wonder? Must cause you some consternation: your shtick, so far as I can tell, is parroting the cop hive-mind to garner and audience for your book.

      Dorhn should have been indicted for the murder of the cop in San Francisco.

      Maybe she should have. Haven’t read up on that one, but I certainly don’t approve of anyone killing any cops, or wrongfully convicting them or anyone else, or any other form of violence, lying or cheating to deceive or unjustly treat anyone. Maybe we can agree on that.

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  3. Nothing compares to what the victim of a wrongful conviction went through? Tell that to the woman who was raped in Central Park or the families of the victims in the Porter case, or Hobley’s, many of whom jumped from the third floor to avoid the flames and had to drop their children to people below. Tell that Marilyn Green who walked out of the park with a fatal gunshot wound to the neck, pointing in the direction where Porter ran but unable to speak.

    My statement is foolish? Now who’s arrogant? The cops arrested those punks and one of admitted to participating in the rape before the police had even discovered the victim. What a coincidence! Twelve detectives working on the case, traveling to different parts of the city and getting the same narrative from offenders and witnesses in the era before cell phones. What another coincidence!

    One again, if you think those kids are innocent you have no idea what you are talking about. The Central Park Five is a wrongful conviction scam from the get go, one taken from the chicago playbook by none other than Al Sharpton.

    You’re totally lost.

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    • Nothing compares to what the victim of a wrongful conviction went through? Tell that to the woman who was raped in Central Park or the families of the victims in the Porter case,…

      Sorry, Martin. Back to reading comprehension 101 for you. You’re taking issue with something else, not what I wrote. It might be an easier argument for you to make, but then that’s part of your problem. Sometimes these things are not easy or obvious.

      The cops arrested those punks and one of admitted to participating in the rape before the police had even discovered the victim. What a coincidence!

      That’s an interesting claim. There seem to be a few details missing, though. Care to elaborate or provide a link of some kind?

      The Central Park Five is a wrongful conviction scam from the get go, one taken from the chicago playbook by none other than Al Sharpton.

      This is a guilt by association argument, Martin. I’m no fan of Al Sharpton. That has nothing to do with this. The District Attorney participated in the exoneration, but you only trust District Attorneys when they agree 100% with the police. Or rather, not so much the police but your particular brand of police, those who believe truth is the product of the stronger will, like some latter day nightmare out of Nietzsche’s playbook but without the discipline of logic or rational thought. Or reading comprehension.

      Your reasoning is very sloppy and it leads you, and cops like you, into error. It’s not arrogant of me to notice, it’s stubborn and block-heaaded of you not to face up to it and try to correct it.

      Of course it is possible that Reyes did not act alone, although you claim to be a big fan of the “M.O.”, so consider this little factoid:

      Police failed to link the April 19 jogger assault with a rape and murder committed in the same area two days earlier by Reyes.

      “The police and the district attorneys office had a set of confessions and were satisfied that the defendants perpetrated the attack on the jogger. They had no cause to search for links to other cases,” the report found.

      From a decade old CNN article.

      So he committed a rape and murder – alone – two days earlier but his claim to have acted alone here is not credible? Why, because the cops got “confessions” from some 14 year olds?

      See, your thought process, and that of the cops who authored that report, are that once you get a confession you don’t need to look at anything else. Life is just like NYPD Blue where the truth always comes out in the confession room at the police station by the efforts of the tough minded and savvy cop.

      This brand of cop-mindset is juvenile and impervious to the least subtlety, which is where the real truth is much more often found. You need to think more and insist less.

      The DA’s and judges are your adult supervision because that’s what you need. And if they don’t do their job there are defense lawyers who are a check on both them and you. Often not a very effective one, I’ll grant you, but then spoiled children stamping their feet and holding their breath until they get their way are not easy to deal with.

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    • Interesting link, Martin. I didn’t realize that there was an anti-innocence-project “movement”; I thought given the reluctance of the system to ever undo a conviction that when the system actually did it there would be a very strong presumption in its favor that would scare off challengers.

      So I’ll say this for your brand of cop: they may not have much reasoning ability, but they sure don’t scare easy.

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  4. My ability to reason and my brand of cop? You punk. I guess stereotyping is only offensive when dealing with certain minorities.

    Sharpton’s actions in the Central Park Five Case are right in line with wrongful conviction modus operand, the same one that freed Porter. Trump up some “new” evidence that isn’t evidence at all, get some career killer rapist to change his tune in a way that benefit him and gets back at the police who put him in prison and whammo, it’s a wrongful conviction from quasi-intellectuals like you.

    Yeah, the state was really reluctant to release that monster Porter on the streets. Yeah, prosecutors really fight these releases, seeing as they have been letting them almost every week on the same kinds of trumped up “evidence.”

    Allright smart guy, answer this: The entire time the cops were investigating the crime, the victim was unconscious. If the cops, then, were framing the little innocents, if they were engineering their own story, how could the cops know that the woman would not wake up and provide a completely different account and therefore expose their conspiracy? How could they be certain the victim would have no recollection of what happened to her? Never mind the logistical impossibility of getting so many cops and prosecutors in on a false case, getting all the little innocents to make up a common story with their parents right there. How could the cops who went to one part of town to get a statement communicate with all the other detectives going to another part of town and get the same narrative?

    It’s all complete wrongful conviction crap again. The whole innocence claim fails apart, just as it does in the Porter case when you see that the detectives obtained independent witnesses hours apart who corroborated the initial witnesses. Conviently, Protess and his students never bothered to even talk to these witnesses, just as the wrongful conviction advocates in New York never bother to answer elemental, simple questions like this one.

    Once again, you don’t know what the hell you are talking about and you won’t bother to get it right because you are a pompous, condescending.

    http://nypost.com/2011/04/21/the-central-park-five-again/

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    • Martin. Perhaps I was a bit pompous and condescending. Apologies. But you’re so far off on the Central Park jogger thing you and others like you need to wake up.

      And, I said you made a pretty good case on the Porter exoneration. For what that is worth. Don’t I get any credit for that, a few points off my pomposity score? Of course, I haven’t made a detailed study of it, so I wouldn’t put to much stock in my agreement and neither should you. But sure, there’s a possibility that with all the exonerations there have been some wrongful ones. Like I said this is not an easy business.

      Now, to another of your points. If the cops know what everyone who has any experience in such matters knows, there isn’t much to worry about with the victim waking up and remembering, since people that severely injured pretty much never remember how it happened. Not to mention nobody really expected her to survive, though I suppose that could seem callous for me to say, but of course I don’t mean it that way. Just trying to be systematic and answer your objections.

      Not to mention also, cops are very effective at getting victims and any other witnesses to go along with the narrative once they’re committed to it. Badges and guns and the mantle of authority and all that. And the system teaches them that it will all go their way, so they’re very confident too.

      So in all events this idea that they would have to worry about what the victim would say is a weak objection.

      The New York Post link says nothing about anyone confessing prior to the victim even having been found. Did you have anything to support that previous claim? I’d be interested.

      Bear in mind that the Post just shills for the cops so they can get the scoop on other news outlets. That other site you linked to which goes on and on about media bias against cops? It takes a really distorted perspective to argue that media bias against cops is some kind of problem. Most local outlets do little reporting on criminal cases other than parroting the cop narrative when a person is arrested. The bias against criminal defendants in the media is so overwhelming claiming the opposite is bizarre.

      Matias Reyes raped and murdered another woman, by himself, two days earlier in the same vicinity, right? You have any answer for that one, in terms of corroborating his confession to the jogger case?

      I don’t think, by the way, that the cops set out to frame those kids or that they even intentionally framed them. It was a terrible thing and I’m sure there was a lot of pressure to find the guy or guys and cops get caught up in a frenzy like that, just like anyone else. They got them to confess, and I’m not even alleging that getting them to confess was wrongfully done. But we have to face the basic fact that the confessions were false, as many confessions are, and that there’s no reason to believe anything other than that Reyes raped the woman by himself. No rational reason, anyway.

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  5. Forget about it.

    I never said there were no wrongful convictions. Alstory Simon is wrongfully convicted. It’s possible Alton Logan was innocent, but he should have been retried, not simply released. It looks as if Rolando Cruz was not guilty. There may be others. But any wrongful conviction claims by the Innocence Project should be met with deep skepticism. If this skepticism were applied to the Central Park Five case, it would fall apart. It’s important to observe that the detectives and prosecutors in this case want the city to take it to trial, a clear indication that they stand by their belief these little scumbags, who have been beating and robbing people for several days in Central Park, are guilty. If there were a shred of doubt among them, they would want to settle and not go to trial where more evidence could arise against them, evidence that could lead to them paying out of their own pocket or facing criminal charges. The fact that the prosecutors and detectives are standing together is another sign. Contrary to your worldview, prosecutors and detectives do not conspire together. They are not allies. If either side thought the other was at fault or wrong, they would not want to go to trial.

    The little innocents were first apprehended as offenders in a wilding event in the park, which had been going on for several nights. The police took into custody Kevin Richardson. While riding in the back of the squad car, before the police even knew that the woman had been assaulted, Richardson blurted out, “Antron did it.” The cop asked what Richardson “Did what?” The little thug said, “the murder.” Just like the corroborating witnesses in the Porter case, this is how open and shut this case is, why the jury found them guilty and why the appeals courts reaffirmed the convictions. It’s just another example of the fact that the Innocence Project’s aim is to undermine convictions, not fairly investigate them. The outrage is that these scumbags only got 12 years for what they did to this woman.

    The confessions were not false. They were conducted according to the book and they are airtight. The kids all construed stories that implicated each other. The defense argument is that the cops did coerce statements from the offenders. That’s the entire basis for the claim that it is a wrongful conviction. Nevermind what a burden these fraudulent claims have imposed upon the lives of the investigators and prosecutors, exactly as they did for the detectives in the Porter case.

    The cops assigned to the case were among the best in the city. There was not pressure by the bosses or the politicians to come in with an offender no matter what. This is the kind of histrionic, paranoid, adolescent nonsense that permeates the wrongful conviction movement. There was pressure to get the right guy. Everything matched up in the case, including the fact that dozens of detectives went out across the city and got the same narrative from witnesses and offenders. How they could have possibly gotten the story wrong or coerced a false one is complete nonsense. The fact that people have come to believe such nonsense shows the damage these wrongful conviction radicals have done to the criminal justice system.

    You dismiss the newspaper story because it was published in the Post. Now who is guilty of guilt by association? The wrongful conviction movement is split along conservative/liberal lines. It reveals clearly the terrible bias that permeates the left. The important thing to do is follow the evidence.

    What about the two witnesses?
    Lamont McCall and Orlando Escobar both said they saw three teenagers assaulting the jogger: two of them were punching her in the chest and legs while the third teen was between her legs. “She was naked. Her legs were spread,” recalled McCall. Their statements were confirmed by Linda Fairstein, a thirty-year veteran of the Manhattan Sex Crimes Unit. These statements make hash of Matias Reyes’s claim that he alone assaulted the jogger.”

    The lead doctor testified repeatedly that the injuries to the victim could not have been done by one assailant? How could that lard ass Reyes have chased the jogger carrying a tree branch and overtaken her? How could have dragged a hundred yards? It’s all crap.

    After all these years of fighting for justice for victims of sex crimes, the wrongful convictions whack jobs think nothing of destroying Fairstein’s career and reputation.

    And on and on and on….

    Once again, counselor, you have completely blown it with this case.

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    • Hello, Martin.

      First, the criticism I made of the New York Post is not “guilt by association”. It’s an allegation of self-interest as a bias coloring their news coverage. There may be ways to defend that allegation but calling it guilt by association isn’t one of them.

      Two. We need more information about the circumstances of Kevin Richardson’s supposed statements in order to assess: a) whether they occurred at all; or b) whether they were the product of taint from a police narrative that was already in place. Such as, when was the first record of the supposed statements created? Who made the record? Who was the police officer to whom the suppsed statements were made?

      Three. The same is true of the statements of Orlando Escobar and Lamont McCall. Under what circumstances were they obtained? Who obtained them? When? I’ll just note that at this point McCall is dead and Escobar isn’t talking, according a New York Post article.

      Four, you might wish to follow this link:

      http://www.williams.edu/Psychology/Faculty/Kassin/files/Drizin.Leo.04.doc

      and read the Introduction, then tell me what you think. You could read more than that, of course. It’s about false confessions. In any case, I’d be interested to hear your thoughts.

      Last, I am not in any way politically aligned with the wrongful conviction industry, movement or whatever. Politically I would generally be described as very conservative. I am not a cop hater. I am wary, however, of criminal prosecutions, as were the founders of the US, obviously.

      I agree police/prosecutor “conspiracies” are rare, but not as rare as I’d like. I’m aware of several myself, though I wish I wasn’t.

      More than conspiracies, however, I think sloppy reasoning is rampant in police departments and prosecutor’s offices. It’s not a matter of intelligence, because although intelligence probably inclines someone towards better reasoning ability, the ability must be cultivated and attained through discipline and practice. In that sense anyone can improve their reasoning ability. But few will do it if they have no incentive – that is, if their invalid or even ridiculous arguments still prevail.

      And that’s really the problem.

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  6. Well, I’ll gather up all the transcripts of the Central Park Five Case and present them in a bundle when you do the same, when you can show me how the jurists in the criminal case, who had looked at all the evidence, including the fact that the prosecutors admitted from the very first second of the case that there were likely multiple offenders, the appeals, the challenges to the confessions were all struck down and yet a collection of activists with a spotty history with the truth at best suddenly knows better than this entire process.

    These statements are part of public record. If you think these little scumbags are innocence, it’s really up to you to provide documentation first.

    I’d like you to show why it was Reyes was not forced to make his admissions under oath and face examination by prosecutors and why an investigation by the police department was stifled.

    The activists want the city to pay millions because they claim the police engineered false confessions. They are alleging malfeasance in the CPF case. There was nothing sloppy about that investigation. Nothing. You could not have done more to ensure the rights of the youths were protected. The rights that were not protected were the victim’s.

    Conspiracies by the wrongful conviction movement are rampant. The Trib knows, the Sun Times knows it and they have all put their head in the sand about it. Where’s the outrage? Where’s the self-righteousness?

    It’s disgusting.

    The fact that you got the CPF case so completely wrong is a sign of your faulty reasoning, in my opinion. How many other case have you got wrong? As I said before: Porter, Kitchen, Hobley, Patterson…they are all totally guilty and I can prove it, just as I can with the Porter case.

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    • I don’t know anything about most of those other cases you have cited. I agree you might be right about the Porter case, but I don’t know enough to be confident about that. But you did make a good case there, from what I could tell from reading what you provided.

      On the Central Park thing, though, I think you’re very wide the mark, and it’s been a good case for us to discuss because I think it illuminates the differences in the way we think. I don’t believe I ever said I thought those kids were “innocent” in the sense that they have never done anything wrong or perhaps even didn’t do anything wrong on the night in question. I am suspicious that they may have had some involvement, although I also think the lack of physical evidence implicating them makes their involvement unlikely.

      What I believe I have maintained is that there is no good reason to think they are guilty, as opposed to just suspecting some limited involvement; whereas on the other hand the case against Matias Reyes acting by himself has very good reasons in its favor.

      I am also more suspicious that the investigation, and the prosecution, was tainted in all kinds of ways subtle and not-so-subtle than I am suspicious of the involvement of the kids, and for you it’s the opposite, if you indeed have any suspicions about the investigation at all. And that’s where I am very clearly right and you are very clearly wrong. Skepticism of official accusation is every citizen’s duty, including every police officer and every prosecutor and every judge. And every switch in that line that fails makes it all the tougher on the final circuit breaker – the defense lawyer.

      People like you have made my job much, much harder than it ought to be. I don’t say that with any bitterness or rancor but I certainly don’t mean it as a compliment, either, as if to say gee, you guys are such formidable opponents. Our discussion here has been pretty illustrative: you dig in your heels and are impervious to suggestions that the system has screwed up, even when very, very good evidence says so, evidence far superior in quality to anything supporting the system’s original determination. A disparity in the quality of evidence that large compels a result that while perhaps not 100% certain is the only reasonable result there is.

      You either won’t get that, or can’t. I think it’s the former.

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  7. This is one of the most meaningless posts I have ever seen. You are a lawyer and you say there is no good reason to think they are guilty? How bout the trial in which the jury reviewed the evidence? How bout the appeals, the challenges, all of which were rejected? How bout the many glaring holes in the claims of Reyes? How bout the statements from the doctor, the confession…need I go on. It’s almost as disgusting as that maggot Mumbai who has captured the imaginations of so many high profile leftists.

    Really, Reyes acted alone? He chased that woman carrying a heavy stick, caught up with her, beat her, then dragged 100 yards? Sure he did.

    Like so many other wrongful conviction cases, you break down the evidence and it’s open and shut. New York is about to join Chicago in paying hundreds of millions of dollars in restitution for bogus cases.

    I’m glad I’m making you’re job that much harder. I believe in our system of justice.

    Once again, you put words in my mouth. I never said the system doesn’t screw up. It certainly did in the Central Park Five Case. You cited it as an example of a wrongful conviction.

    You’re wrong. The evidence clearly bears it out. That’s why the detectives, the prosecutors, the police union, Bloomberg are all fighting to get it back in court rather than media. Because they know it’s a bullshit claim of wrongful conviction and they know they will likely win in court as they have every single time on this case.

    You’re the one who won’t get it. You clearly haven’t even reviewed the case.

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    • Oh Martin.

      If you “believe in our system of justice” the way you say you do, then that system has exonerated the Central Park Five and you’d have to accept that without complaint.

      You can’t wear the mantle of the system of justice against me. I am a higher ranking official in that “system” than you are. In theory at least.

      True, the jury heard the evidence, which included the confessions of the 14 year olds. According to most accounts I have read, the confessions were really the only evidence. Take the confessions away and what is there? Neither one of us has mustered up much detail here otherwise, so I’d have to be open to the idea that I’m missing something, but you haven’t pointed to anything. That doesn’t give you a basis to fault me for not “reviewing the case”. You haven’t given me much to work with except some New York Post articles. Straining to argue that Matias Reyes couldn’t act alone when it is apparently undisputed that he did the same kind of thing alone on other occasions is undermining your position, not bolstering it.

      Appeals and other “challenges” generally don’t turn on facts; they’re supposed to turn on ‘law’, but rarely do that either. For the most part appeals are a meaningless exercise rubber stamping what happens in trial courts. At least where the appellant is a criminal defendant. But the complaint that all these tribunals have looked at everything and affirmed a conviction is frequently made by those in the law enforcement community as if there couldn’t possibly be any problem with the fact findings since they’ve been exhaustively reviewed with a fine tooth comb over and over. It’s a towering falsehood that can be grounded only in ignorance of what those courts actually do – or in bad faith.

      The detectives, prosecutors, et al, ad nauseam are always likely to “win in court”. They have enormous advantages in resources, training and experience. But more importantly and frequently they benefit from undeserved credibility.

      Believing in our system of justice is not the same as being credulous towards official accusations; it’s the opposite. That’s one big reason your thinking goes so badly awry. You’re fundamentally confused before you even start looking at this or that case.

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      • You’re higher on the hierarchy than me in the criminal justice system? What a joke. Tell someone who gives a crap about hierarchies. You’re so pompous and self important.

        “For the most part appeals are a meaningless exercise rubber stamping what happens in trial courts.”

        Tell that to James Ealy. Tell that to the cops who have worked on the dozens and dozens of wrongful conviction cases that have freed killers and put them back on the street and have been paid more than $200 million dollars from varous municipalites, soon to be joined by New York City in the scam called the Central Park Five, which you bought hook, line and sinker…

        Mr. Credibility

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        • Martin: my point was simply that if you “believe in our system of justice”, as you said you did, well then you would have to believe in me, since I am an official of that justice system. Doesn’t mean I’m infallible, of course. I make mistakes.

          But I think referring to me as a “punk” is a little out of bounds, don’t you?

          Your concept of “the justice system” is unbalanced. There’s a separation of powers. The police are members of the executive branch. Lawyers are members of the judicial branch. Public prosecuting attorneys are a hybrid, aren’t they? I wonder about the constitutionality of public prosecutors. In the UK, attorneys have to do both prosecution and defense in criminal matters. I think that’s a better way to do things.

          In any event, I realize that subtleties of this kind are not your thing. Your self-concept is that you’re on the law enforcement team and I am on the opposing team. I consort with criminals and commies and racial minorities, so I’m with the bad guys. You are with the good people.

          Willing things to be so does not make them so. The “better team” – stronger, more influential, well armed – does not have a superior claim to truth in a search for truth simply by virtue of being more powerful. What’s revealing about your repeated references to me being “self-important” and “pompous” is that you’re projecting: the humility deficit is on your end, not mine.

          But pride goeth before the fall, someone once said.

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          • Don’t call me fatuous and question my reading comprehension and you won’t get called a punk. Your first sentenced is so logically tortured I don’t know where to begin. You don’t need to lecture me on the functions and divisions of the criminal justice system.

            One of the most frustrating aspects of arguing wrongful conviction cases with the members of the professional classes is the myriad ways they assert some kind of superiority in their arguments, even when they completely wrong and uninformed, as you are. Eric Zorn is a perfect example of this. Who the hell are you to tell me about my shortcomings with “subtleties”? You can’t even comprehend the Central Park Five case.

            What is a self concept? Is that different than a simple concept?

            You can consort with whomever you wish. Who cares? But if the people you are consorting with run around and set off bombs, like the Weather Underground, or trump up false evidence in murder cases, like Al Sharpton and David Protess, then, yes, your associations are suspicious. Don’t put that racial minority crap on me.

            Thanx for the lecture on humility. I’ll work on it, along with my self concepts, my lack of subtleties. Meantime, why don’t you get your facts straight before you start arguing for the release of monsters and payouts to monsters?

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            • My dear Martin.

              Your overuse of hyperbole is noted.

              I don’t know why you bring “racial minority crap” into this, although it seems to me there are veiled racial themes in your arguments. It seems you’re particularly annoyed by the Central Park jogger case because the exonerees are minorities – or “monsters”, as you might put it – and the victim is white. Seems that way. Maybe not.

              Still, they stand exonerated and you haven’t offered any compelling reasons why that’s wrong other than links to some New York Post (!) articles. People have to do a lot better than that to have any hope of being exonerated in the first place. But then as a cop you are used to the double standard: cops expect their word to be taken without any corroborating non-cop proof; defendants have to have video or evidence of similar reliability corroborating their word.

              Getting 14 year olds to confess to things is not difficult for the police. They don’t necessarily do anything wrong in getting the confessions, but that doesn’t mean the confessions are the truth.

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  8. You brought the minority issue into it. Your stereotypes of cops are well noted, however wrongheaded, as well as your pompous nonsense about the Central Park Five. Anthony Porter was also exonerated, as was Madion Hobley., Aaron Patterson…ah, why do I bother. It’s hard to begin on how clueless you are. I’ve wasted enough time talking to someone who has spent their life comfortable with assumptions that have no basis in reality. When you’re not busy in love with your own poorly constructed thoughts, read the Sun Times today to see how clueless you and the wrongful conviction crowd truly are. Meantime, on behalf of all the police in the city, a hearty go to hell for your disdain and ignorance:

    “But then as a cop you are used to the double standard: cops expect their word to be taken without any corroborating non-cop proof; defendants have to have video or evidence of similar reliability corroborating their word.”

    What an idiot.

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    • Martin. Thanks for the link to the Anthony Porter article. The whole thing does indeed sound very fishy. I’m familiar with Terry Ekl (representing Simon) through some other work of his. He has a very interesting practice, it seems.

      I can certainly see that a wrongful conviction ‘industry’ could get as polluted as the criminal justice system can be. I tend to think that exonerations in the ordinary course, much like convictions in the ordinary course, would tend to be more reliable. What I mean by ‘ordinary course’ is that a case would be handled in the usual way by an attorney not allied with either the police or a wrongful conviction establishment, and if that results in an exoneration either at trial or thereafter I’d tend to put more stock in it.

      But then….

      Unless you can get a ready made donor base ginned up over a wrongful conviction, there’s no funding, except on those rare occasions when the convictee himself has wealth to burn. But even Conrad Black wasn’t successful in the end although he really is wealthy.

      That’s one problem.

      The flip side of that is that when you have a wrongful conviction industry, you may have the funding but you also have incentives and agendas that don’t necessarily line up with this or that case. Such an industry attracts death penalty abolitionists, for example, whose real agenda is to abolish the death penalty entirely, and they are only interested in exonerations as a means to an end: discrediting the system that produces death sentences.

      In other words, the exoneration industry grows to resemble the conviction industry in methodology, abuses, institutional concerns and momentum, career concerns, disregard of evidence and truth.

      That aside, I suppose we’re just talking past each other but that’s entirely your fault, not mine. But I give you credit: you’re on track to establish a ‘wrongful exoneration industry’ to counter the trend in favor of the wrongful conviction industry. I imagine that’s inevitable, but at the moment you appear to be the point man. Good for you.

      I don’t see any of this ending well, though. You have the same mentality, so common among police, that has led to so many wrongful convictions: absolute certainty with very little, or no, or even manufactured evidence. It’s like cops who are 100% sure that they can always spot a liar because, oh, the person looks up when answering, or to the left, or whatever.

      To put it succinctly I would say that what is really wrong with the conviction industry, the wrongful conviction industry, and now you’re budding wrongful exoneration industry is the indulgence of the desire to have power over the truth, rather than submitting to the truth’s power over you.

      In a very real sense civilization itself depends upon placing into positions of authority those, and only those, who practice the latter.

      “A Man for All Seasons” is really about this very subject. You should watch it, it’s a good movie anyhow.

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