Lawyers have a problem with the idea that something is inherently unbelievable. At least some lawyers do. And it’s a shame.
The reason is partly innocent. Trial lawyers become very habituated in, inured to, ensconced in (I think that about exhausts the thought there) a “process” for finding the truth, and the idea that there is some other means of identifying the truth that does not involve that process is thus a bit alien to them. The truth is found by examining and cross examining and arguing the points. That’s how we do it, and we lawyers are society’s truth finders. We are the high priests of truth finding. We work at the altar of the bench and bar.
But it’s also partly not-so-innocent. Any other mechanism for truth finding is a threat to the lawyer’s high priest status, and income and wealth and power and all that. This is particularly true if the “other mechanism” might be better at determining the truth than the one lawyers regularly wield.
Inherently unbelievable is just such a threat.
I bring you once again to the Ashley Baker statement. It is inherently unbelievable. No one has to cross-examine her or otherwise test anything that isn’t already known to such a high degree of certainty that it qualifies as Truth with the capital ‘T’.
The context is important, as I have said before. But in this instance context only drives the point home, the point being that the Ashley Baker statement is a deliberate fabrication. But before we even get to that, we should understand that the statement reveals itself on its face. At least, lawyers should understand this.
Consider the story the statement actually relates. Shaun Theriault and Todd Gaddy are talking in Mark’s pizzeria in Mt. Morris, NY. Ashley Baker overhears just one thing from this conversation: Shaun Theriault saying “Sephora was the driver.” That’s all there is until later that evening when she mentions what she overheard to Todd, who then provides the context: Sephora was the driver for the Geneseo robbery.
Now of course theoretically such a thing is possible. Let’s get that out of the way. But as a practical matter, in light of experience it is not possible [see People v. Galbo, 218 NY 283 (1916)]. People do not remember isolated, disembodied statements that mean nothing to them, that are the equivalent of a random group of words. But that is precisely the story that the Ashley Baker statement tells: at the time she supposedly overhears this sentence out of the mouth of Shaun Theriault she would have no idea what it meant. Sephora was “the driver” of what? For whom? When?
In other words, the story the Ashley Baker statement tells never happened. Even if such a sentence had been uttered by Shaun Theriaut – which, in context, is itself so unlikely that the idea is not worth considering – Ashley Baker simply could not have remembered it.
And there is another thing to consider, this too being inherent in the Ashley Baker statement itself: how could Ashley Baker have been in a position anywhere in a pizza shop where that one, isolated and disembodied sentence from Shaun Theriault was all that she would overhear, without hearing something else that would provide some context for it? Shaun Theriault did not (this should be obvious) walk into the pizza shop, go up to Todd Gaddy and say “Sephora was the driver” and walk out. This, too, is impossible – not in theory, but in practice. But then how can Ashley Baker overhear and remember only that one thing? Other things would have to have been said, at roughly the same time, that would have provided a context and thus made the sentence “Sephora was the driver” intelligible to Ashley Baker; yet the statement itself says otherwise.
But the rudimentary laws of physics that everyone knows come into play. In other words, a person could not be physically positioned such that only the one sentence would be overheard. Yet the statement purports to represent that only that one sentence was overheard, a sentence that would moreover have had no meaning whatever to the person who supposedly overheard it.
The story of the Ashley Baker statement is thus so unlikely from both the lay-physics and the lay-neurology involved that it isn’t worth serious consideration. It is inherently unbelievable. No context is even necessary to reach this conclusion.
But then, when we actually do consider the context it is obvious that this inherently unbelievable statement is not a random and incoherent event; rather, it has an obvious – if criminal – purpose: to falsely implicate Sephora Davis as “the driver” for the Geneseo robbery, meaning in turn that whoever generated the inherently unbelievable statement must have had information tending to indicate that she was not “the driver”. Then we consider that the statement’s scribe – Dana Carson – was in fact, precisely, the only public official absolutely known to be in a position to have such information on the date the Ashley Baker statement was generated, based on the records of the police themselves.
This means, with a degree of certainty that is not attained even by DNA tests, that Dana Carson was there and then engaged in a conspiracy with at least Ashley Baker and Eric Harder (the rapist) to generate false evidence and perjury to the effect that Sephora Davis had been “the driver” for the Geneseo robbery. Put another way, it is a 100% certainty, based upon unimpeachable evidence generated by the culprits themselves, that there was a conspiracy to falsely implicate Sephora Davis and that the conspirators included at least one police officer.
This was a potentially capital federal offense by the conspirators. See 18 U.S.C. 241, 242.
Under the circumstances one would think that Sephora Davis would be entitled to some kind of relief. But because the system is truly, truly broken in so many ways, this has for some reason become a difficult question. Although a seriously criminal conspiracy is shown and it involves at least one public official acting under color of state law, the law of the United States – that is, federal law – is not even certain that this constitutes a violation of Sephora Davis’ rights. Not even when it resulted in the deprivation of her liberty, which is supposed to be a constitutional value of some weight.
Or maybe it is certain. But somehow, somewhere some confusion has set in. Or we have forgotten, much as we have forgotten that some things are simply true and others are simply false and some evidence is inherently unbelievable.
We need to recover these memories. We are floundering, and leaving our beloved truth finding process at the mercy of morons who commit easily perceived fraud – at least when those morons are police and prosecutors.
That is intolerable. And that is what the Sephora Davis matter has always been about.