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Hillary Clinton and Thomas Alfred Taylor’s Underpants: It Takes a Village to Rape a Child

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Or maybe we should say: It Takes a Village to Get Away With Raping a Child.  

bill-and-hillary

This is Hillary Clinton in 1975.  She was on her way to becoming a “feminist icon,” so of course she stepped up to defend a 41-year old man who admitted to raping a child — a twelve-year old child.  There were two witnesses to the crime — another man and a teen boy who were in the car with the rape victim.  The offender plied the child with alcohol and then raped her.

As reported in The Washington Free Beacon in a well-researched article by Alana Goodman, Clinton, in 1975, by her own giggly admission, knowingly orchestrated a fraudulent test of the evidence from the crime in order to try to deceive the jury about her client’s guilt: she sent a part of the rapist’s underpants that had no fluids on it to a lab in New York and then threatened to use the negative lab result to disprove the prosecutor’s other evidence.  She also made false claims about the victim’s mental state, calling her an unstable liar.  Ultimately, despite powerful evidence condemning the rapist, the prosecution let Clinton’s client plead down to little more than time served.

There are lessons for everyone in this story.

Academic Feminists (a category that includes many feminist journalists) are now piling on anyone who deigns to criticize Clinton for using dirty tricks forty years ago to help a child rapist get off with a slap on the wrist.  This may sound odd, but Academic Feminists have never been interested in putting real rapists into real prisons.

In fact (a fact you won’t learn in women’s studies classes), from the very beginning of the modern feminist movement, Academic Feminists have been far more interested in playing identity politics than in punishing rape.  At the first meetings of the N.O.W., violence against women wasn’t even going to be included as a platform of the group, out of fear that condemning violence against women would result in some minority men getting convicted for the rapes they committed.

Couldn’t have that.

Better to throw all rape victims under a bus than hold black rapists responsible for their rapes  — of mostly black women and children.  From the beginning of modern feminism, racial and ethnic sensitivity — who committed a crime — was more important than the victim or the crime itself, let alone the ethic of justice for all.

[It should be noted that this attitude disgusted a critical mass of other feminist women who started working with police to protect women and children anyway — regardless of the color of their offender.  These service provider types generally like to stay away from politics, and they shouldn’t be confused with Academic Feminists and other political bottom feeders]

Fast-forward to today: the Academic Feminists have spent the last several years perfecting their March Towards Universal Guilt But No Prison Time Only Re-Education For All Men But Especially White Fraternity Brothers.

Academic Feminists have always just been leftists who care more about emptying the prisons than about real victims of crime.  They would rather exploit rape cases for political ends than imprison rapists.

For example, Amanda Marcotte at Slate is wagging around her frayed invisible Code of Defense Lawyer Ethics to explain why Clinton wasn’t merely right to use deceit and character assassination of a 12-year old rape victim to get her rapist client off: according to Marcotte, Clinton was super-right to use deceit and character assassination of a 12-year old rape victim to get her rapist client off  because she’s Hillary Clinton:

Defense attorneys have an unpleasant but necessary job, and Clinton did what she was obligated to do, which was to give her client a constitutionally mandated adequate defense. … As long as juries keep acquitting based on this myth that women routinely make up rape accusations for the hell of it, defense attorneys will continue to use it. The problem here is a larger culture that promotes rape myths, not defense attorneys who exploit these myths in last-ditch attempts to get acquittals for rapists who have overwhelming evidence against them.

According to Marcotte, everyone else uses rape myths, so the legal standard is to use rape myths, so Clinton was just giving her client the benefit of a really good defense by using rape myths and she should be praised for doing this because it had to be super hard for her to shed her principles that way, but, by the way, if a frat brother uses a rape myth, even if there’s no rape involved, even if he’s just making a bad joke, he deserves to be destroyed, preferably by Amanda Marcotte, Hillary Clinton, and millions of other women.

Yes, this is the way the Academic Feminists think.  I think it has something to do with all that mascara intersecting ink from bad tattoos and shards of bad prose by Judith Butler in the dark little place where your heart’s supposed to be.  Other people just call it identity politics.

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Amanda Marcotte, Defense Ethics Specialist, With Cat

The Academic Feminists are certainly showing their tushes with this defense-of-Hillary-defending-the-child-rapist-thing.  At least the masks are off.

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Wicker Women

But there is another story here, one that it would behoove the conservative critics of Academic Feminism to remember as they fight back against the guilt-by-identity regime. The lesson is this: in the real world, in real courts, real rape victims are still being subjected to such horrific, humiliating injustices, and real rapists and child molesters are still walking away from their crimes in nearly every case.

Forget the idiotic academic fake statistics that claim one in five women are raped in college for a moment: in the real courts, one in five rape victims don’t ever get a day in court.  Hell, more than four in five rape victims don’t ever get a day in court.  So while you’re busy fighting the Academic Feminists, do not make the mistake of believing that what you see happening on college campuses has any bearing on the real criminal justice system.

And when you’re done demanding justice for yourself, you should demand justice for victims of real rape, lest you become like the Campus Feminists you’re fighting — lest you become interested in injustice only when it affects you and people who look like you.

Once you’re done being disgusted by the glee that Hillary Clinton expressed in recounting her clever deceits that freed a child rapist, don’t get gleeful yourself over Clinton’s comeuppance: there’s still a child victim involved, and nothing about what happened to her is funny.  There’s still an injustice to be righted.

The Hillary Clinton rape defense is also an important story because it lays bare the perverse lies that pass for criminal defense and the sleazy tactics that warp rules of evidence.  If conservatives really care about right and wrong and justice and injustice and toppling identity politics, they cannot draw a circle around these real injustices committed against rape victims and say: this has nothing to do with me because I’ve been persecuted by the Campus Feminists.

There are many thousands of rape victims, hundreds of thousands of them, victims of real rape, who have  been denied justice.  Hillary Clinton’s giggly story shows how easy it was in 1975 to get a rapist off, and things haven’t changed as much as one might think today.

We need conservative men to be willing to stand up for these victims, because the campus feminists don’t care about them.  That little raped girl isn’t responsible for speech codes and campus tribunals against frats.  Rapists still routinely walk because of warped rules of evidence and prejudiced jurors who believe they’re sticking it to the man, or sticking it to some feminist, or playing Atticus Finch by springing a predator back onto the streets.  Child molesters still routinely plead down to time served, or less.  If the conservative movement is going to engage the subject of rape, they should also stand up for these rape victims instead of putting all their energy into battling feminists in the fantasy-realm of academia.  It would be nice to see Minding the Campus and Truth Revolt and Phi Beta Cons expand their interrogation of injustice and rape to include the real courts.

Scoring political points isn’t everything.  Only people like Amanda Marcotte and Hillary Clinton should be guilty of an accusation like that one

 

 

 

Let Out Early for Voluntary Manslaughter, Now Accused of Kidnapping and Rape

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Here’s another one.

Another what?

Another offender who should have been in prison but was let out early, and some innocent child paid the price.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is reporting that Daryle Edward Jones kidnapped and raped a young girl in Athens, Georgia:

Jones, 41, has been charged with rape, aggravated assault, aggravated child molestation, aggravated sodomy and kidnapping in the case. He remained in the county jail Saturday afternoon.

Here’s what they did not report: Daryle Edward Jones was supposed to be in prison until April.  Or at least that is how long he would have served, had he served his entire previous sentence.  Which, of course, nobody ever does, but isn’t it nice to imagine that somebody, somewhere, even once, would serve all their damn time?

In April of 1994, Jones committed voluntary manslaughter.  It’s hard to know from the online records what he really did, but suffice to say that getting 20 years in 1994 was the maximum for that crime and serving nearly all of it was unusual, so I suspect at least one of two things:

  • The crime was particularly heinous and the voluntary manslaughter was offered only with an agreement to serve a long sentence.
  • Jones, who was 21 at the time, must have had a terrible juvenile record, likely sealed.

So Darlye Jones went to prison for voluntary manslaughter in April, 1995 (he’d probably had a year in jail before that) and got out June, 2010, fifteen years later.  Then he was back in prison from January, 2012 to October, 2013, possibly for a parole violation because no other crime is listed.  Four months after finally being released, he has committed a heinous kidnapping/rape.

What is there to learn from this?

Under-prosecution may be the problem.

My guess — and it’s just a guess — is that Jones had a prolific and violent criminal career before being put away at the age of 21.  Yet he was only charged with one crime, which is entirely typical, even today.  Contrary to what all liberals and all those Right on Crime Grover Norquist types and Reason libertarians believe, our criminal justice system is wildly lenient towards nearly all criminals and expends the resources to put away only a tiny fraction of people who commit even serious crimes.

And given his current crime and the severity of his previous sentence, he may have been a sex offender but the sex offense was not kept on the table for some reason.  He’s not in the sex offender registry, as far as I can tell.

There is troubling talk across the Right today about prosecutorial over-reach.  I consider such talk to be almost entirely anecdotal and wildly out of touch with reality in our criminal courts — and motivated in large part by Alex Jones and his ilk, who have it out for police in an utterly personal and unhinged way.

Yes, the Department of Justice in Washington and Eric Holder in particular are troubling, and Holder is openly contemptuous of the rule of law and treats victims of crime with contempt — except those who fit certain categories of so-called hate crime that he invented in 1999.  Holder is pro-criminal, anti-victim and almost entirely lawless, but Eric Holder does not represent law enforcement in the states.

The sort of leniency that lets a killer walk free to rape a child is what too often represents criminal justice in the states.  We need longer sentences and more law enforcement, not less of both.  How many times do we have to see stories like this?  Let’s talk about what the feds are up to, certainly.  But don’t conflate that with state courts where, especially in urban areas, crimes like burglary aren’t even being investigated, let alone prosecuted anymore, and prolific criminals still have most of their charges dropped against them every day.

Here is a terrific response by “David” to yet another anecdotal complaint about “over-prosecution” from the Right.  It is in response to this (uncharacteristically) lazy screed in what is usually an excellent source on crime policy, City Journal:

Before every reader of this article jumps on the “let’s bash prosecutors” bandwagon, the good professor’s thoughts warrant a bit of careful consideration. Professor Bhide is, after all, a PROFESSOR of law, not a practitioner. And his online list of accomplishments shows that he has never practiced criminal law at any time in his illustrious career. Indeed, his expertise lies more in the realm of business and, perhaps, economics. Having said this, Professor Bhede is correct to be outraged by Ms. Khobraghade’s arrest and the humiliating and inexcusable way she was treated while incarcerated. Professor Bhede is also correct when he expresses concern about the proliferation of federal criminal laws. And perhaps Professor Bhede is also on to something when he quotes the following from the ABA (though this organization is not particularly well-known for either its objectivity or its lack of bias): “‘Individual citizen behavior now potentially subject to federal criminal control has increased in astonishing proportions.'”

But the key words in the quote Professor Bhede uses from the ABA are “potentially subject”. For even though there are too many federal criminal laws, it has been my actual experience that the feds prosecute only a tiny fraction of the cases they could file. Additionally, the feds file ONLY when they are assured of victory (not the standard for filing a criminal charge, contrary to Eric Holder’s excuses to the contrary) and potential good press. Professor Bhede lists a number of activities that Congress has criminalized since our Constitution’s ratification. But the impetus for the “busybody Congresses” that pass these laws usually takes the form of busybody groups and individuals who believe this or that activity should be criminalized. Prohibition readily comes to mind. …

So for those who are ready to jump up and say, “Professor Bhide is absolutely correct! Federal prosecutors need to be reigned in!”, I would respond that too often these very same prosecutors do too little with regard to crimes that directly impact the safety and welfare of our society. And I say this because I spent almost 20 years as a state prosecutor, in a major metropolitan area, where I concentrated primarily on handling felony narcotics dealing and firearms offenses. (To those who would protest and say that I was part of the problem because I was part of the “War on Drugs”, I would respond as follows: Please go tell this to the little 75 or 80 year old woman who is afraid to go out on her front porch because a group of punks–usually armed–are slinging crack, coke, or meth in her neighborhood. This person lives in fear for her life every day. Tell her that the street in front of her house is not a war zone. She’ll say you’re wrong.) Very little assistance was provided prosecuting these crimes by any of the U.S. Attorneys and their staffs in the city where I worked. I don’t know what, exactly, were the priorities of our resident U.S. Attorneys (several of them came and went during my time as a deputy prosecutor), but I do know that they couldn’t be bothered to help make our city’s streets and outlying areas safer. With the laws available to them, U.S. Attorneys can do a lot to put really bad people out of commission for very long periods of time. But if a certain crime (or group of crimes) aren’t on some important politician’s radar, well, such crimes won’t be prosecuted by a U.S. Attorney. …

Too many laws? Perhaps. Not enough use of many of the laws already in existence? Yes. …

 . . . read the whole thing here 

 

Is Katherine Ann Power Violating the Law by Profiting from the Murder of Officer Walter Schroeder? Did Boston University and Oregon State Help Her Break Parole?

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In 1970, Katherine Ann Power helped murder Boston Police officer Walter Schroeder in a bank robbery.  Power was a college radical who was helping arm the Black Panthers by robbing banks and stealing weapons.  Thanks to her violent acts, rather than any discernible academic accomplishment, she is now a celebrity in academic circles, like many other violent terrorists of her time, including Bill Ayers, Bernardine Dohrn, Susan Rosenberg, judge and “human rights” law professor Eleanor Raskin, and Obama Recovery Act advisor Jeff Jones.

Officer Walter A. Schroeder

Officer Schroeder, a member of an extended family of Boston police, left behind nine children who were raised by their mother in public housing following his death — and at least four of his children followed him into police work.  Schroeder’s brother John, also a police officer, was murdered on the job three years after Schroeder’s death.

As the Schroeder family mourned their losses, Power went into hiding, aided disgracefully by feminist activists who sided with a murderer over the widowed mother and nine children she left destitute.  Such is the power of sisterhood.  Power’s boyfriend and fellow murderer-cum-political-activist, Stanley Bond (they met at Brandeis, which was admitting ex-cons like Bond as part of a government rehabilitation project), was a prison pal of serial rapist-murderer Alberto DeSalvo, the Boston Strangler.  But of course, hanging with serial killer rapists is no impediment to sanctification if you also hate the right people, like police.  By preaching the murder of cops, then murdering a cop, Bond and Power earned eternal approval in faculty lounges.  A feminist collective in Connecticut helped her change her identity after Schroeder’s murder.  Then a group of lesbian activists in Corvallis, Oregon helped her become a restauranteur.

In 1993, Power emerged from hiding and received a token sentence for her crimes.  She was also on the receiving end of a tidal wave of positive publicity for the story she composed about her time in hiding, most disgracefully from Newsweek Magazine, which grotesquely equated her “travails” in the underground with the suffering of Schroeder’s nine children at his death.  Equally grotesquely, the New York Times’ Timothy Egan portrayed Power as a suffering, traumatized victim of conscience — and a pretty terrific cook, to boot:

The therapist, Linda Carroll, said she had never seen a psyche so battered as that of the fugitive, Katherine Ann Power. It was impossible for her to believe that this bespectacled cook with the terrific polenta recipe, a person who would cry at any mention of family, had spent 14 years as one of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s 10 most wanted fugitives … Earlier this week, Ms. Power had a reunion with her family in Boston. On Wednesday, she was led in shackles to court, where she pleaded guilty.  Ms. Carroll saw her patient on television on Wednesday night; she saw that she was smiling. “I burst out crying,” she said. “I was so proud of her. She had walked away but she had walked away as a whole person.”

Carroll, Egan, and other attention-seekers piled on, shilling stories of their encounters with the beautific Power.  The murderer was credited with possessing a special sense of peace and enlightenment, something she is now monetizing in places like Taos, where she recounts her “journey”; the horrors of her brief prison sentence, and her current status as a “practical peace catalyst,” as she puts it.  This is a schtick she had perfected before emerging from hiding in 1993, when she hurried from perfunctory non-apologies to the family to immediately demanding attention through a “victim-perpetrator reconciliation program.”  Such programs, like many prison rehabilitation schemes, have become taxpayer-funded platforms for killers to goose their narcissistic pleasure through recounting crimes and claiming theatrical remorse.
At the time Powers was convicted, she was given a sentence that forbade her from profiting from her crime.  Her parole ended in 2013, and she is now making up for lost time, and cash: she has published a book, and the “Peace Studies” program at Oregon State University in Corvallis, where she lived in hiding for years, is honoring her this month.  Somebody should look into the legality of her earning money now from the murder of Officer Schroeder.

But even if she is permitted to profit now, did Power violate parole prior to 2013?  Powers’ sentence, and whether college and university presidents in Boston and Oregon helped her violate it, deserves further scrutiny.  Oregon State promoted her at an event that was held in 2001, while her parole restrictions on profiting from crime were still in place; they also awarded her a degree in Ethics that arguably was granted to her because of her notoriety.  Is there a paper trail on that?  She received a liberal studies degree from Boston University while incarcerated, a degree in which she wrote about herself being in prison: was this not profiting from her crime, too?

It is time to take a hard look at the blood money being earned by unrepentant criminals like Katherine Ann Power.  And any police officer residing in Oregon should call Oregon State to protest the current deification of a terrorist who preached the murder of police and then murdered a police officer.  You’re paying for it with your tax dollars — in fact, given the federal subsidies that are the lifeblood of all of higher education, we’re all paying for Katherine Ann Powers and her murderous academic peers.  Here is the contact information for the Oregon State’s president.

Katherine Ann Power, Enjoying her Newsweek Cover

When Katherine Ann Power was featured as a damsel-in-distress on the cover of Newsweek, one of Walter Schroeder’s children, then-Sgt. Claire Schroeder, delivered this powerful response:

“When Katherine Power and her friends robbed the State Street Bank in Brighton with semiautomatic weapons, my father responded to the call. One of her friends shot my father in the back and left him to die in a pool of his own blood. Katherine Power was waiting in the getaway car, and she drove the trigger man and her other friends away to safety.

“Twenty-three years later, Katherine Power stands before you as a media celebrity. Her smiling photograph has appeared on the cover of Newsweek. She has been portrayed as a hero from coast to coast. Her attorney had appeared on the Phil Donahue show. [She] is receiving book and movie offers worth millions of dollars on a daily basis.

“For reasons that I will never comprehend, the press and public seem more far more interested in the difficulties that Katherine Power has inflicted upon herself than in the very real and horrible suffering she inflicted upon my family. Her crimes, her flight from justice and her decision to turn herself in have been romanticized utterly beyond belief.

“One of the news articles about this case described it as a double tragedy–a tragedy for Katherine Power and a tragedy for my father and my family. I will never comprehend, as long as I live, how anyone can equate the struggle and pain forced upon my family by my father’s murder with the difficulty of the life Katherine Power chose to live as a fugitive.

“Some of the press accounts of this case have ignored my father completely. Others have referred to him anonymously as a Boston police officer. Almost none of the stories has made any effort to portray him in any way as a real human being. It is unfair and unfortunate that such a warm and likeable person who died so heroically should be remembered that way.

“One of the most vivid pictures I have of my father as a police officer is a photograph showing him giving a young child CPR and saving that child’s life. I remember being so proud of my father, seeing him on the front page of the old Record American, saving someone’s life. Years later, when I was a 17-year-old girl at my father’s wake, a woman introduced herself to me as that child’s mother. I was very proud of my dead father.

“More than anything, my father was a good and decent and honorable person. He was a good police officer who gave his life to protect us from people like Katherine Power. I do not doubt for a moment that he would have given his life again to protect people from harm. He was also a good husband and he was a good father. I have been proud of my father every single day of my life. I became a police officer because of him. So did my brother Paul, my brother Edward and, most recently, my sister Ellen.

“My father had so many friends that we could not have the funeral at the parish where we lived because it was too small. On the way to the church the streets were lined with people. As we approached the church, the entire length of the street looked like a sea of blue–all uniformed officers who had come to say goodbye to my father. I saw from the uniforms that the officers had towns and cities all across the United States and Canada. I felt so proud but so hollow. I remember thinking that my father should have been there to enjoy their presence.

“When my father died he left behind my mother, who was then 41 years old, and nine children. He wasn’t there to teach my brothers how to throw a football or change a tire. He wasn’t there for our high school or college graduations. He wasn’t there to give away my sisters at their weddings. He could not comfort us and support us at my brother’s funeral. He never had a chance to say goodbye. We never got a last hug or kiss, or pat on the head.

“Murdering a police officer in Boston to bring peace to Southeast Asia was utterly senseless then and it is just as senseless now. The tragedy in this case is not that Katherine Power lived for 23 years while looking over her shoulder. The tragedy is that my father’s life was cut short for no reason, shot in the back with a bullet of a coward while Ms. Power waited to drive that coward to safety.”

As the late Larry Grathwohl observed, the terrorists of the Weather Underground, the Black Liberation Army, the Black Panthers and other violent groups were not seeking peace: they were seeking communist victory and protracted, bloody revolution on the streets of America.  It is shameful that Oregon State University is honoring a murderer and terrorist in a so-called “peace program,” or any other academic pursuit.  It may be illegal that they endowed her with academic privileges and resources in the past.  Anyone wishing to share information for making the case that Powers illegally profited from her role in the murder of Officer Schroeder at Oregon State, Boston University, or at the Unitarian Churches that hosted her “peace” talks should contact this blog.

In 1970, Katherine Ann Power was radicalized by Stanley Bond, a killer empowered by the Brandeis University scholarship he was given because he had committed violent crimes; 43 years later, Power is being similarly empowered to deliver her coded messages of hate to new generations of impressionable students.  Whether or not Katherine Power can be held responsible for breaking the terms of her parole, it is time to start holding colleges and universities responsible for the fiscal support and academic honors they shower on people who murder police and others.  These academic officials have made their institutions accomplices to murder.

Vision 21: The Good, The Bad, and The Creepy in the DOJ’s New Crime Victim Initiative

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The Office of Justice Programs of the Department of Justice is busy promoting Vision 21 Transforming Victims Services, the DOJ’s sweeping “new” agenda for providing “services” to victims of crime.  I’m using the scare quotes here because I don’t trust Eric Holder to do anything about crime other than politicize it.

OJP masthead
Vision 21 Transforming Victim Services

Vision 21 is certainly a paean to identity group activism and identity group representation and identity group “outreach.”  True to form, the DOJ leaves no stone unturned in their efforts to kick the justice system further down the road of pure identity-based balkanization.

But the most troubling thing I’m seeing at first glance is the emphasis on providing “services” to victims in lieu of getting justice for them.  It looks like Vision 21 is providing multiple opportunities for activist organizations to exploit crime victims for other ends.  The involvement of groups such as the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Soros-funded, pro-offender VERA Institute for Justice suggests to me that one of the primary intentions of Vision 21 is to neuter the voices of real crime victims who demand real consequences and real sentences for violent and repeat offenders.  And, sure enough, Holder’s handpicked leaders have been floating anti-incarceration messaging in the endless “stakeholder forums” that inevitably accompany such initiatives.

Expect to hear a lot about how victims “want to be heard and included more than they want prosecutions.”  Expect offenders to be counted as sort of “co-victims” of crime.  Expect a lot of talk about the restorative justice movement, which was long ago hijacked by advocates for criminals and is now used primarily to keep offenders out of prison, rather than making them take responsibility for their crimes.  The “criminals are victims too” activists who hijacked restorative justice and profit from the vast “criminal re-entry” service industry are running the show at the DOJ.

Visin 21 is certainly a full-employment vision for the criminology profession.  And putting criminologists in charge of anything relating to crime victims is like sticking puppies in tiger cages.  But feeding the criminologists has been a primary goal all along.  Laurie Robinson’s tenure at the DOJ was dedicated to systematically subjugating the criminal justice system to the academic criminologists, in order to, of course, take all that vengeful punishment and incarceration stuff out of the equation (except in the cases of so-called hate criminals).

Now Mary Lou Leary is carrying the full-employment-for-criminologists ball.  FYI, “smart on crime” here means hopefully not incarcerating anyone, no matter what they do, unless Eric says it’s a hate crime:

This focus on careful analysis is one of the Justice Department’s top priorities. We are committed to promoting programs and approaches that are “smart on crime.” Under the leadership of Attorney General Eric Holder, I can assure you that this is more than a mere buzzword. For this Department, being smart on crime means resisting knee-jerk reactions, investing in solid research, and ensuring that evidence is translated so it is useful to all of you on the frontlines.

Get it?  This is supposed to be a statement about victim programs, but Leary is talking “knee-jerk reactions.”  They’re helping crime victims avoid “knee-jerk reactions,” like wanting their offenders behind bars.  This will be accomplished with science.

On the positive side, The National Crime Victim Law Institute and other highly credible crime victim advocates are also involved in Vision 21.  And the initiatives to professionalize and expand evidence collection is money well-spent.

While the Experts Fiddle, George Soros Buys the Criminology Profession

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This week, the Soros-funded anti-incarceration-criminologists at John Jay College’s The Crime Report excitedly announced a major new initiative: Soros-funded anti-incarceration criminologists are going to pull on their Sherlock Holmes caps and investigate the “causes of incarceration” in America.

Again, because they didn’t find it the last 500 times:

Eighteen of the country’s leading scholars and experts on corrections and related fields have launched a major project to study the “causes and consequences of high rates of incarceration” in the United States.

The panel of scholars, chaired by Jeremy Travis, president of John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, will examine the reasons for the dramatic increases in U.S. incarceration rates since the 1970s, which have produced one of the world’s highest incarceration levels—with more than 2.3 million people behind bars in U.S. prisons and jails at any time.

The topic has been widely discussed and analyzed for years . . .

I can save them the time, of course, but it’s not an answer they’re going to want to hear.  The reason why we have so many people behind bars is because they committed crimes.  

We could actually use a few more people behind bars:

Gwinnett County police have arrested a man who they suspect broke into a woman’s home and raped her, according to Channel 2 Action News.

The attack happened Monday evening in a neighborhood off Buford Drive, according to Channel 2. Officers and canine units eventually caught Marcus Terrell, of Lawrenceville, and arrested him and charged him with the assault, according to Channel 2.

Terrell has been arrested 16 times in Gwinnett County dating back to 1994, according to Channel 2. He has been arrested on charges of DUI, public indecency, loitering, and child molestation. Records show the child molestation charges were dropped for a guilty plea to sexual battery in 2004. He received a one-year sentence.

Terrell has also been arrested several times in Dekalb County, according to Channel 2. Officials in the Gwinnett County District Attorney’s Office, told Channel 2 that they can’t discuss Terrell’s criminal history at this point. They said more details may come out at his preliminary hearing . . .

One year for molesting a child.  This type of thing happens every day.  But the public doesn’t hear about it.  Nor will the experts be discussing and analyzing it at this task force.  What they’re going to be talking about is how to get the maximum number of people out of prison for any reason whatsoever no matter what they’ve done, a practice they refer to as “filling in the knowledge gaps”:

The group  will examine a wide range of issues related to U.S. corrections, including the costs and benefits of current sentencing and incarceration policies, and it will explore any evidence  that “alternative punishments might achieve similar public safety benefits and lower financial and social costs,” according to the official announcement of the project.

The panel will also assess existing research on incarceration, identify research gaps and offer policy recommendations.

In its statement announcing the project, the MacArthur Foundation said, “It is evident that there are significant knowledge gaps regarding the causes and consequences of incarceration.”

Knowledge gaps.  Like, how we can live with ourselves while letting people who rape children walk the streets.

Or, how the experts are going to conceal their activities from the public that is paying for their latest silly and deceptive study, as they quietly empty the prisons at the behest of George Soros’ Open Society Foundations:

The new study somewhat parallels ongoing or proposed work, including projects by the Pew Center on the States [Soros-funded] and affiliated organizations on sentencing reform in several states, and a national criminal justice commission proposed by Sen. Jim Webb  (D-VA) that is yet to be approved by Congress.

Members of [Jeremy] Travis’ study panel include some major leaders and researchers in the corrections field.

They are:

  • Michael Tonry, professor of law of the University of Minnesota [Soros funded] 
  • Avelardo Valdez, professor of social work at the University of Southern California [Soros funded]
  • Bruce Western, professor of sociology at Harvard, who wrote a 2006 book on punishment and inequality in America [Soros funded]

The panel already has held one meeting. In the future it may call in experts to make presentations but will not hold public hearings.

So George Soros engineered a complete takeover of every university criminology department in the United States some time around 2004, and now the intellectual minions he spawned are being invested with the power to destroy our criminal  justice system from within, while the same journalists who dampened themselves when the Koch brothers paid for one little economics chair at University of Florida studiously pretend they can’t see this, a disciplinary crime exacerbated by the fact that they are also taking money from Soros through their own professional organization of crime journalists at John Jay College’s Center on Media Crime and Justice, which Soros cleverly bought a couple of years ago.

OK, but what’s my point?   

 

 

What Wasn’t Said About Dharun Ravi: The Hate Crimes Racket

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There is a strange article about the Tyler Clementi hate crime conviction in Minding the Campus: in it, Jackson Toby, a professor emeritus, claims that ” criminologists are not enthusiastic supporters of hate-crime laws.”

Bunk.

It is nice to imagine that, somewhere out there, there are criminologists troubled by the selective enforcement protocols and unelected power grabs that characterize the hate crimes industry.  But I have encountered only one such creature in many years of tracking the enforcement of hate crimes laws.  All the rest dumbly cheer the hate crimes parade, at least as it applies to whatever cause du jour justifies that professor’s raison d’etre.

As it were.

One particularly galling incoherence arising from these laws (which might have been illuminated by this case but was not) occurs at the intersection of sex crimes and bias intimidation. I’m assuming that Mr. Ravi was convicted under a peeping statute.  Little has been said about this, and I’m not surprised.  Sexual offenses of any kind represent thin ice for the hate crime establishment, because the establishment does not want hate crime laws “diluted” or subjected to “distraction” (their words) by “counting” sex crimes and sexual slurs against heterosexual women as hate.

You can see the problem: it’s a number game.  So you won’t find activists talking about the conviction of Mr. Ravi in terms of sexual abuse, because then somebody might pop up and say, hey, what about all those other cases of sexual abuse, the ones targeting females?  Shouldn’t they also count as bias intimidation?

They should indeed, if you are naive enough to believe that laws are enforced as they are written.  This is true of most laws, but not hate crime law.  With hate crime law, activists have worked behind the scenes for nearly two decades to ensure that heterosexual women never get counted as victims of hate under the category of gender bias because doing so would necessitate counting, at the very least, serial sex offenses as hate crimes. And there goes the statistical neighborhood, as it were, and even more so if you start “counting” male serial killers who intentionally select random male victims.

Add in child molesters, and imagine what the hate crimes offender universe starts to look like.

Whenever an offender randomly selects a female or a male and attacks what makes them female or male — their sex organs — then those crimes naturally ought to be prosecuted as hate crimes: this is what the laws are supposed to do (In reality, hate crime enforcement as it exists today doesn’t even meet the “random” standard very often — contrary to the screeching headlines, most hate crime prosecutions involve people who do know each other and offenses that rarely rise above simple assault).

Here are the 2009 FBI statistics.  For comparison, there were 88,000 forcible rapes in 2009, and those were reported rapes with police investigations, whereas the hate crime numbers are collected as “incidents and offenses,” a specially-invented category that the criminologists don’t want to clarify for you, either:

[Hate Crime] Offenses by crime category [2009]

Of the 7,789 hate crime offenses reported:

  • 61.5 percent were crimes against persons.
  • 38.1 percent were crimes against property.
  • The remainder were crimes against society. 

Crimes against persons

Law enforcement reported 4,793 hate crime offenses as crimes against persons. By offense type:

  • 45.0 percent were intimidation.
  • 35.3 percent were simple assault.
  • 19.1 percent were aggravated assault.
  • 0.4 percent were the violent crimes of murder (8 offenses) and forcible rape (9 offenses).
  • 0.3 percent involved the offense category other, which is collected only in the National Incident-Based Reporting System.

Crimes against property

  • Of the 2,970 hate crime offenses that were crimes against property, 83.0 percent were acts of destruction/damage/vandalism.
  • The remaining 17.0 percent of crimes against property consisted of robbery, burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, arson, and other crimes. 

Crimes against society

There were 26 offenses defined as crimes against society (e.g., drug or narcotic offenses or prostitution).

Meanwhile, not even serial killer/rapists who carve up half-a-dozen women get counted as hate criminals, thanks to a very specific and ugly betrayal by feminists and other activists — orchestrated by none other than Eric Holder, back when he was cozying up to Bill Clinton and working under Janet Reno.  Holder was abetted by Abe Foxman and Kim Gandy, the former president of the N.O.W., who shoved her heterosexual membership under the proverbial bus to pander to the gay and minority activists who always demand such pandering from heterosexual women.  The Left is a disturbingly sexist place.  It is where the real war on women lives.

If you counted serial rape and serial killing of women or men as hate crimes, then in addition to the very large problem of heterosexual women suddenly becoming the largest category of hate victim, there would also suddenly be a great many minority and gay hate criminals, and these offenders would rank among the hate criminals who committed the worst crimes: rape, murder, and murder/rape.  This is certainly not what the activists, or Holder, wanted when they took the time to invent these laws and then invent such novel ways of deploying them.

So the ADL, SPLC, SCLC, HRC, and others fought very underhandedly to keep (heterosexual, biological) women from being counted as victims of gender bias hatred.  Very, very rarely, a heterosexual-female-victim case slips through, but it’s the exception that proves the rule that, in practice, only gays and transvestites and cross-dressers get counted as gender bias victims.

Activists breathed a big sigh of relief when criminologists and legal scholars kept their mouths firmly shut about this insanely illogical, increasingly politicized, and subjective enforcement of hate crime laws.  How quietly?  One activist admitted to me that her organization didn’t put the rape question (which always came up, she said) in writing when training prosecutors and police.

Meanwhile, ironically, other feminists were working to remove gender bias FROM sex crime laws: they worked state-by-state to remove any reference to female victims or male attackers in the criminal code.  Thanks to that reform, men are now recognized as victims of sexual assault, and women are punished when they commit sexual assaults.  Contrast this with Ireland, where, as Kevin Myers bemoans pungently, only males are held responsible for illicit teen-teen consensual sex.

The criminologists and law professors kept their lips zipped as activists empowered by Holder took over training of police and prosecutors and DAs, instructing them in the niceties of counting some victims while not counting others, and not keeping records that might come to the attention of anyone asking uncomfortable questions.  After all, you can’t get tenure if you don’t get research grants, and they don’t give out research grants at the McDonalds: they give them out at the DOJ.  Soon the hate crimes leadership could do or say pretty much anything.  Academia responded by chaneling the silence of the lambs.

My favorite ugly admission from those early years, before the hate crimes industry perfected the art of owning the press, was a murder in rural Georgia where investigators announced that they were trying to figure out if Offender X had known he was killing a man dressed like a woman (hate crime) or if he was “just” offing a woman (not a hate crime).  The gay and transvestite activists geared up to raise hell if it were the former, and Georgia feminists deferred and bowed and scraped, carefully saying nothing at all about the extraordinarily dehumanizing double standard unfolding in their own back yard.  Thus the official determination of the victim’s relative worth in the eyes of the law was reduced to whether or not he/she had male genitals beneath his/her dress when he/she was throttled to death.

Here’s what I think.  The victim, Tracey Thompson, was the victim of a hate crime whether or not his or her* attacker cared about his or her genitals.  Thompson’s life and soul mattered more than his or her sexual identity.

Nice little legacy the hate crimes industry invented: instantaneous minimization of murderous hatred of half the human race.  Efficient.

And silence regarding this and every other ugly double-standard perpetrated by hate crime activists is the legacy of the criminology profession and law professors, too — silence as activists gained control over DOJ protocols and training and politicized justice and corroded the very notion of equal protection under the law. With precious few exceptions, criminologists abandoned both critical analysis and principle when faced with the possibility of having to swim against the activists’ tide. It is too late for them to pretend otherwise now.

 

*I don’t know which Thompson would have preferred to be called.

Al Sharpton: Why Doesn’t The Media Remember His “Whore” Moment?

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Don’t get me wrong: it’s always nice to see this disturbed hate-clown get even a little piece of what he deserves:

But Sharpton’s distaff comments about gays are not quite the right focus for the current scandal over Rush Linbaugh calling women s***s, Bill Maher calling women c***s, NPR comic Marc Maron wishing violent rape on Michelle Bachmann, or various other public figures and human rights activists dropping b-bombs and other slurs on women (note: by “various other public figures and human rights activists,” I mean every gay male political activist I’ve ever known, several well-placed professional lesbians, Salon’s entire “sex-positive” girl-staff, and the earth-shoe-wearing-man-heroes of the liberal Left).

Too few of the writers objecting to Sharpton’s play-doh-like transformation into cultural decency arbiter on MSNBC are recalling his really relevant slurs — the ones against the Central Park Jogger.

Sharpton and his sidekick Alton Maddox assembled and egged on protesters who called the jogger a “whore” and called her attorney “bitch,” “white devil,” “witch,” and “slut.”  He announced that he didn’t believe that she was actually raped or beaten into a coma.  Sickeningly, he demanded that she be examined by a psychiatrist and accused her boyfriend of being “the real” rapist.  He tried to incite violence against her, nearly succeeding, just as he threatened violence against the Pagones family after orchestrating Tawana Brawley’s false rape accusation against Steve Pagones.  Thanks to the racial hatred stirred up by Sharpton, the Jogger, who had been left for dead by her attackers and also left with brain injuries, was forced to arrive and leave the courthouse under heavy security.

Of course, there were no consequences for Sharpton . . .

Are commentators now worried about bringing up these subjects because of the subsequent vacating of the sentences of the Central Park’s Jogger’s assailants?  They shouldn’t worry: the acquittals were false.

As of today, Townhall’s Larry Elder is the only journalist who has mentioned the lynch-mob hatred Sharpton whipped up against the Jogger and, by extension, other white victims of interracial rape.  Elder writes:

In 1989, a young white woman, dubbed the “Central Park jogger,” was monstrously raped and nearly beaten to death. Sharpton insisted — despite the defendants’ confessions — that her black attacker-suspects were innocent, modern-day Scottsboro Boys trapped in “a fit of racial hysteria.” Sharpton charged that the jogger’s boyfriend did it and organized protests outside the courthouse, chanting, “The boyfriend did it!” and denouncing the victim as a “whore!”

Sharpton appealed for a psychiatrist to examine the victim, generously saying: “It doesn’t even have to be a black psychiatrist. … We’re not endorsing the damage to the girl — if there was this damage.”

Elder feels the need to note that the defendants in the Jogger case had their sentences vacated in 2002, but he didn’t look closely enough:

(The convictions of the accused were eventually vacated, despite their taped confessions, after another man — whose DNA matched — confessed to the rape in 2002.)

The vacating of those sentences was a travesty, orchestrated by activists, an aged and compromised Robert Morgenthau, and a cowardly judge, all of whom knew that the youths’ confessions were limited to information that was not in any way contradicted by the later revelation that the sole DNA found at the crime scene belonged to serial rapist/killer Matias Reyes.  None of the defendants’ confessions indicated that they had ejaculated at the scene of the crime: they had only admitted that another man committed the rape as they helped restrain and torture the young woman.

Reyes himself admitted the crime only after the statute of limitations reportedly ran out — which should never have happened.  He was already serving 33 to life, with the strong likelihood of no release for the serial rapist murderer, whose crime “signature” included offering victims “their eyes or their life” and stabbing them around the eyes to enhance the terror of his attacks.  Already convicted for vicious crimes including the rape/torture/murder of a pregnant woman in front of her children, Reyes’ subsequent “confession” that he was the sole assailant should never have been believed — nor did police and prosecutors involved in the case believe it.

”He is a complete lunatic,” said Michael Sheehan, a former homicide investigator whose work helped prosecute Mr. Reyes for the murder of Lourdes Gonzalez.

Ann Coulter documented the entire sordid saga of the vacating of the sentences in her book Demonic and was hysterically persecuted for doing so.  Prosecutor Linda Fairstein was accused of a wide variety of sins for speaking the truth about the evidence in the case: the few others defending the convictions were also tarred, but not in the personal, racial way reserved for Fairstein, the victim, and later, Ann Coulter.  The Village Voice stooped to new racial lows by insinuating guilt on the part of the victim, who implicated nobody as she remembered nothing of the attack, and sleazily accusing Fairstein of “Ash-blonde Ambition.”

Others who should have spoken out about the travesty of wrongful acquittal remained silent, doubtlessly out of fear of the racial cudgel.

Coulter courageously spoke out:

On April 19, 1989, a 28-year-old investment banker went for a run through Central Park, whereupon she was attacked by a violent mob, savagely beaten, raped and left for dead. By the time the police found her at 1:30 a.m. that night, she was beaten so badly, she had lost three-fourths of her blood and the police couldn’t tell if she was male or female. The homicide unit of the Manhattan D.A.’s office initially took the case because not one of her doctors believed she would be alive in the morning.Confessions were obtained in accordance with the law, with the defendants’ parents present at all police interrogations. All but one of the confessions was videotaped. After a six-week hearing solely on the admissibility of the confessions, a judge ruled them lawful.At the trials, evidence was ruled on by the judge and tested in court. Witnesses were presented for both sides and subjected to cross-examination.One witness, for example, an acquaintance of one of the defendants, testified that when she talked to him in jail after the arrests, he told her that he hadn’t raped the jogger, he “only held her legs down while (another defendant) f–ked her.” (That’s enough for a rape conviction.
In the opposite of a “rush to judgment,” two multi-ethnic juries deliberated for 10 days and 11 days, respectively, before unanimously finding the defendants guilty of most crimes charged — though innocent of others. The convictions were later upheld on appeal.The only way liberals could get those convictions overturned was to change venues from a courtroom to a newsroom. So that’s what they did.The convictions were vacated based not on a new trial or on new evidence, but solely on the “confession” of Matias Reyes.Coincidentally, this serial rapist and murderer had nothing to lose by confessing to the rape — and much to gain by claiming that he had acted alone, including a highly desirable prison transfer.As with the tribunals during the French Revolution, the show trials were based on a lie, to wit, that Reyes’ confession constituted “new evidence” that might have led to a different verdict at trial.In fact, Reyes’ admission that he had raped the jogger changed nothing about the evidence presented in the actual trials. It was always known that others had participated in the attack on the jogger. It was always known that none of the defendants’ DNA — a primitive science back in 1989 — was found on the jogger.This is why prosecutor Elizabeth Lederer said in her summation to the jury: “Others who were not caught raped her and got away.”The only new information Reyes provided was that he was one of those who “got away.”But 13 years later, the show trial was re-litigated in the backrooms of law offices and newsrooms by a remarkably undiverse group of Irish and Jewish, college-educated New Yorkers. They lied about the evidence in order to vindicate a mob and destroy trust in the judicial system.

The sentence vacating was orchestrated and exploited by Innocence Project activists who felt no compunction about subjecting a brutalized rape victim to injustice and even more unnecessary suffering.  It also greased Sharpton’s re-entry into power society — all on the back of an innocent rape victim.

(Guy in the middle is Obama Education Secretary Arne Duncan.  Because hanging out with people who try to get mobs to attack a rape victim is so . . . educational.)

Now the Innocence Project  is codifying its lies about the Jogger’s assailants in their false science of “wrongful conviction causes” and shilling state-by-state legislation based on the same.

And abetting them are professors from every law school in the nation.  No legal academician, to date, has demonstrated a drop of intellectual integrity regarding this case or the entirely faked “statistics on wrongful confession,” “statistics” produced almost wholly from this single case.  Law professors collectively lack the spine — and ethics — to risk being targeted if they dare to question the Innocence Project’s increasingly wild statistical and causal claims.

Many people voiced compassion for the Jogger in 1989, but virtually nobody stood with her in the wake of this misogyny-drenched, manufactured, legal re-lynching.  This time, as we revisit Al Sharpton’s violent, prejudiced, hate-mongering, the real story should not be ignored.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sandra Fluke isn’t a Slut, But She’s a Nasty Piece of Work . . .

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. . . lying to Congress about rape that way.

Fluke testified that she knew a fellow Georgetown student who opted to not report a rape because she was worried that her insurance wouldn’t cover the rape examination:

One student told us that she knew birth control wasn’t covered, and she assumed that’s how Georgetown’s insurance handled all of women’s sexual healthcare, so when she was raped, she didn’t go to the doctor even to be examined or tested for sexually transmitted infections because she thought insurance wasn’t going to cover something like that, something that was related to a woman’s reproductive health.

This statement is utterly unbelievable.  Does anyone really believe in the existence of a Georgetown student who was raped, then decided to not report the existence of a dangerous, predatory criminal because she might have to pony up more than a co-pay to have a rape kit examination?  Does anyone believe that this alleged victim wouldn’t at least call 911, or the local rape crisis center, or the Georgetown Woman’s Center, or any of the student anti-rape groups that plaster campuses with their posters denouncing rape, if she was that worried about paying for a rape kit in the aftermath of experiencing a rape?

If this extremely politically convenient woman really does exist, then any of those phone calls would have reassured her that, thanks to the hard work of people like . . . me . . . no woman in this country needs to pay for a rape kit.  The federal government requires states to cover these costs at the risk of losing funding.  Washington D.C. also covers the costs.  State victims’ compensation boards cover the costs.  Rape kit collection is covered even if a woman decides to have a rape kit collected while choosing to not report the rape to the police.

But even if this unlikely, unsympathetic, alleged victim does exist, Fluke’s testimony is still a lie because it was designed to exploit this non-issue.  Ms. Fluke exploited real rape victims in order to advance a non-argument for prescription coverage for contraceptives: what on earth should we call that?  She tried to create false fear about the cost of rape kits in order to promote a different cause.  And that is exploitative.  Repugnant.  If one real victim worries about this now because Sandra Fluke used rape victims’ fears this way on the witness stand, then it is on Fluke’s head, and on the heads of the other professional reproductive rights activists who carefully tooled this testimony alongside her.

Yet not one congressperson challenged Fluke’s rape kit testimony.  Not one mainstream media reporter paused for a gut-check . . . or a fact-check.  The last time anyone in the media bothered to talk about rape kits was during Sarah Palin’s run for vice-president.  Back then, Salon and Huffington Post and a thousand Democratic operatives tried like hell to pin the “not paying for rape kits” charge on Palin.  They never found a smoking gun, but the story made national news, not once, but over and over and over again.

They didn’t do this because they cared about rape victims in Wasilla.  They did it to play a political game, with rape victims serving as the kickball.  That’s how much leftists, and leftist feminists, really care about real rape.

It should be noted that in the wake of Fluke, not one rape crisis representative has come forward to reassure women that they will not have to pay for rape kits, not in Washington DC, not anywhere in the United States.  Where are these advocates?  Where are all the professional rape crisis workers, the people paid to tell the rest of us these things, because it is supposed to be so important to educate the public and dispel misconceptions and encourage reporting?

Where are the campus rape activists, who ought to be out there reassuring women that they don’t really have to pay if they go to a hospital for medical care after a rape?

Where are Tori Amos and Christina Ricchi and Neil Gaiman, those brave spokespeople who lend their names to RAINN, the very well-funded, national, message-driven-anti-rape-non-profit that is supposed to exist to do rape education but somehow hasn’t gotten around to issuing a press release correcting the false information perpetrated by Sandra Fluke?  RAINN raises more than a million dollars a year to “educate the public about sexual assault and conduct outreach to at-risk populations.”  Don’t give your money to people like this.

Fluke went on The View, and not one of the allegedly pro-woman women on that program bothered to pause for a moment to reassure viewers that no rape victim needs to worry about the cost of collecting a rape kit, because doing so would break the narrative, which is that the vicious Jesuit priests at Georgetown are keeping women from reporting rape.

Rush Limbaugh didn’t silence these people.  They silenced themselves, because rape is just an issue to use when it’s politically expedient.  Rape is the red-headed stepchild of the political left.  It’s a crime issue, a sentencing issue, a recidivism issue, and frequently a race issue: as such, the Left works hard to control the message while sometimes actually opposing measures that would achieve justice for victims.  Every honest person working in rape advocacy knows that the price of admission to the left-wing table is to avoid talking about the prevalence of politically incorrect rapes (white victim, minority offender and even minority victim-minority offender) while hammering away at the campus date rape issue (so long as the accused fit the desired stereotype).  Honest activists know that the types of reforms that really reduce rape — minimum mandatory sentencing, truth-in-sentencing, post-release offender registration — are opposed by the Left, so they frequently don’t even bother to show up for hearings on such bills.  And they know to keep their pretty lips zipped on the lies perpetrated by the hate crimes industry in the interest of keeping heterosexual female rape victims from cluttering up the all-important hate crime stats.

While I worked on sentencing reform that would actually reduce the prevalence of rape in Atlanta, the campus rape activists and the local affiliate of RAINN there were super-busy keeping rape victims from being counted as hate crime victims (unless they were gay), in order to please the gay and ethnic-rights activists of the Left.  They were busily raising money for campaigns that hectored all men about rape while they studiously ignored real rape cases that didn’t fit their ideological needs.  They never complained about jurors letting offenders off, for instance, because doing so would involve wading into politically perilous waters.  They never bothered to address the increasingly toxic myths about the prevalence of false accusations being churned out by the Innocence Project.  They pointed fingers at frat brothers, got their degrees in Women’s Studies, blogged about their sex partners, became fake lesbians to enhance their shot at the tenure track, and never once sat in a courtroom watching jurors decide that some 13-year old hadn’t really been raped by her mommy’s boyfriend because she “wanted it.”

I want to make something extremely clear: the first-wave and second-wave feminists didn’t do that.  Those women worked hard and took political risks to help rape victims and punish rapists.  They damned the political costs.  They worked gratefully with sympathetic police and partnered happily with sympathetic Republicans.  They didn’t wallow in thrall to the criminal defense bar.  But by the 1990’s, the third-wave, sex-positivity, politically correct thingies who followed them were literally undoing the work of the women who preceded them.  By 1999, there was a definite schism between the older service-providers — women who actually spent evenings working in the gynecology emergency rooms and staffing rape crisis centers — and the Emily Bazelon ilk, the well-paid third-wave activists who unravelled those efforts in the morning light.

It was an ugly scene, the same scene now being played out nationally, thanks to Sandra Fluke’s decision to lie to Congress about rape.  What a nasty piece of work.  What a shame about the feminist movement.

 

George Soros Funds the Fight to Lie About California’s So-Called Three-Strikes Laws

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First, a controlling fact.  California’s much-reviled “three-strikes” law bears no resemblance to what you’ve read about it in the news.  How much no resemblance?  Lots of no resemblance:

  • Prosecutors and judges have discretion in applying the law.  Discretion means “not draconian.”  Discretions means that it isn’t really a “three-strikes” law but merely a recidivist statute that permits, but in no way requires, application of its sentencing guidelines.  Someone can have 20 strikes and the law still won’t necessarily be applied.  Someone can rape and molest dozens of women and children and still not get three strikes sentencing.  The reality of criminal prosecution is that, in virtually all cases, when people face multiple charges (barring a few such as murder) those charges are telescoped down to one or two, and the others offenses are simply not prosecuted.  The tiny number of people facing three-strikes sentencing are extremely flagrant offenders who have committed dozens or hundreds — not two-and-a-half — violent crimes.
  • There are no people serving life sentences “merely” for stealing Cheetos or a VCR tape.  Those are myths.
  • Prosecutors use this recidivist sentencing law so rarely that most apply it just a few times a year, and even then, it frequently doesn’t lead to 25-to-life.  But media reporting frequently stops at the original charge.
  • The lies the media tells about “three-strikes” are legion.  The word” strike” better describes the media’s flailing confabulations about recidivism sentencing than any aspect of sentencing itself.

There is a great website by Mike Reynolds, an expert on California’s three-strikes law and its application (application being 95% of the law, no matter what they tell you in school).  I urge you to read his site and support his efforts:

Three Strikes and You’re Out: Stop Repeat Offenders 

Mike Reynolds debunks myths about three-strikes laws increasing costs for the state.  He proves that prison growth did not occur because of three-strikes laws; he explains who does and does not get enhanced sentencing, and he factors in the financial savings arising from reduction of crime arising directly from the prolific offenders who are sentenced under these laws.  In other words, he does what journalists and politicians ought to be doing, but do not.

From Mike’s site:

What is sometimes mistaken (or misunderstood) is the level of violence and brutality, as compared to the value of something rather minor. My daughter, Kimber, was murdered over a “minor” purse snatching. In fact, most murders are over little or “minor value” issues. Keep in mind, every “Three Strikes” case is closely reviewed by prosecutors who must prove the prior convictions in court. In the event that the defendant is found guilty of the current felony offense, the judge can, and does, review the merits of the case to decide whether or not to apply the full “25 to Life”, or reduce the case to a second strike.

On average, only (1) out of every (9) eligible third strikers gets a “25 to Life” sentence. The average third striker has (5) prior serious or violent felony convictions.

Read Mike’s site!  

~~~

Meanwhile, anti-three-strikes activism is an astroturfed social movement funded for years through various channels by billionaire financier George Soros.  The Los Angeles Times reports that Soros just gave $500,000 to the effort to get an anti-three-strikes measure on the California ballot in November.  The other major funding of the ballot initiative is Stanford Law Professor David Mills.  I wonder if anyone’s done an audit to see how much educational taxpayer money (even private schools rely largely on public funds) Professor Mills has used for his political activism.  His “academic” website is basically an advertisement for activism.  Why do California residents put up with paying for this guy’s hobbies?  Can’t he take his druggie-yellow sunglasses off for a photo for his law school?  Is that too much to ask?  What is that, a denim shirt?  Would a suit kill him?

“Professor” David Mills, Stanford University, Photographed on a Sunny Day.

Maybe he dresses this way to conceal the fact that he made a fortune in private investment firms before picking up a starring role at the previously dignified Stanford Law posing as a denim-wearing soldier for the right of thugs, rapists, and home invaders to continue their prolific criminal careers against non-investment firm types who can’t afford personal security like Mills’ and Soros’.

David Mills doesn’t even have a real vitae.  He’s published four editorials (one, risibly, in Slate; one, risibly, in MSN Slate) and one law review article in his own school’s law review, co-authored by a real scholar.

My goodness, the things that get you a law professorship at Stanford these days!

~~~

 Anyway, back to the three-strikes campaign.  Below you’ll find some articles I’ve written on the real criminal careers of the more famous poster-children of Soros’ and Mills’ cause.  It took decades for ordinary people and crime victims to create enough traction in the justice system to merely punish a small percentage of prolific criminals.  Now we stand to lose such progress.  These men — sheltered by their extreme wealth, capable of avoiding the consequences of their actions, are trying to empty the prisons in order to make themselves feel virtuous while spitting in the faces of law abiding Americans.  It’s a consequence-free titilation for them, on your backs and the safety of your loved ones.

If you’re in California, the time to push back is now.  George Soros and David Mills merely have money.  We have the truth.  We need letters to the editor every time someone makes a false claim about saving money on prison costs, or cries alligator tears about Supermaxes cluttered with Cheetos-stealing Jean Valjeans and other nonsensical lies.

Here are links to just a few of my posts on three-strikes laws and other recidivist measures under attack by George Soros:

Jerry DeWayne Williams: The original “pizza slice” poster boy for the anti-three strikes movement . . . and his real record

Robert Ferguson: “Bag of cheese” poster boy for the anti-three strikes crowd; of course there’s more to the story

Rodney Alcala: California serial killer and sexual torturer (worked for the LA Times after he racked up a horrifying record)

Russell Burton: 20 years of serial leniency for horrific recidivist sexual assaults in California and Georgia 

Lavelle McNutt: Prolific serial rapist with 36-year record of leniency in at least two states

John Jay College’s Crime Report: Getting Less and Less Objective By the Day

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Once upon a time, strange as this may seem, a public college existed that was considered a proud resource for young people aspiring to enter law enforcement.  In 1966, that college was (re)named John Jay.

  John Jay, first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court

45 years later, there are strong indications that John Jay is abandoning its original mission.  It now harbors programs hostile to police, making it . . . well, like every other college and university, rather than a rare and needed exception to that rule.

The school’s influential Center on Media, Crime, and Justice once published a largely objective-seeming resource for criminal justice journalists: Crime and Justice News.  But then, the inevitable happened: they got a big wad of cash from George Soros and jumped straight off the non-partisan cliff . . .

. . . into the warm, balmy waters of anti-policing biases with their new, Soros and Ford Foundation funded publication, The Crime Report.  Everyone in the pool, now:

More than Half of Arrest-Related Deaths are Homicides by Law Enforcement: Report

The country saw a reported 4,813 arrest-related deaths between 2003 and 2009, according to new data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS).

Over 60 percent of all the deaths were classified as homicides committed by law enforcement personnel, BJS found.

About 98 million arrests took place in the U.S. during those years. While men accounted for about 76 percent of all arrests, they made up 95 percent of the deaths.

The study is part of a long-term project by BJS called the Arrest-Related Deaths program, which released its first report in 2007.

Read the full report here.

Actually, do read the full report, because what you will find there is dry, statistical analysis of deaths that occurred during engagements with police, written by the BJS’s Arrest-Related Deaths program, rather than this misleading nonsense histrionically illustrated with a highly suggestive, staged photograph of two officers kneeling on some poor college kid wearing a backpack.

Not to mention no “scholarly” explanation of why police shootings are classified as “homicides.”

Nor explanation of why this article is tagged “murder,” when murder is definitionally different from homicide, which is the thing the DOJ analysis is actually addressing.  This is far from an isolated example of anti-police bias in the allegedly scholarly Crime Report.

To summarize: Soros buys a few academics at John Jay, and they start their own “newspaper,” which disseminates misinformation in the name of a college that used to be a refuge from the usual cop-bashing fantasy-land of academia.  I suppose that’s where I’d spend my money, too, if I wanted to scorch the earth and could afford to do so.

And people holler endlessly about the Koch brothers funding one little economics chair in Florida. Meanwhile, the Soros and Ford Foundations — which are institutionally hostile towards policing and law enforcement — they buy entire academic departments, and the departments abandon whatever scholarly objectivity they still clung to — and nobody so much as whispers.

 

Cliff Kincaid on the Real Story of the UC Davis Pepperspray Incident . . . and UC Davis Prof. Nathan Brown on “Teaching” Revolution

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Cliff Kincaid interviewed UC Davis Professor Nathan Brown regarding Brown’s call for the campus to become a no-go zone for police.  This is a new strategy being used by many Occupy groups and other protestors, who look to be beginning to migrate to college campuses now that cold’s setting in.

Universities and colleges tend to be more hospitable than city parks, because they are much more nursery-like: nice places to crash; built-in constituencies of the verbosely idle; anorectic girls willing to share their cafeteria cards; PR-allergic administrators . . . and protection from the more deranged homeless and/or criminal hoi polloi who harshed many a city-park-Occupy vibe by hogging the tofu loaf, among less amusing ironies.

Besides, universities are already occupied by herds of tenured professors dreaming nostalgically of their own big moments occupying the lunchroom at Columbia.  And tenured professors have a superpower in the form of double-secret-protected speech, which they like to call “academic freedom,” a highly unusual title if you think about it, because, unlike other things labelled “free,” “academic freedom” is guarded very, very jealously by the very tiny subset of faculty who claim it for themselves.

 Professor Nathan Brown, exercising his special superpower academic freedom of speech

So it would seem that college campuses are ideal places for the weary Occupiers to winter, except, ironically, if the faculty succeed in this throw-out-the-police thing.  For, if excited gaggles of tenured professors like the ones occupying the English Department of UC Davis do get their way, then all the other perks of protesting on campus — warm dorm showers, landscaping for pupping tents, safety for females and other living things — well, all of that is going to go poof the moment every pickpocket, sex offender, and crazy homeless person learns that the post-structuralists over at U.C.D. have booted the campus cops to the curb.

The following is an actual statement by the entire UC Davis English Department demanding the disbanding of the school’s police force.  It sure is going to be a highly stimulated crowd at the Department Holiday Party this year:

 The faculty of the UC Davis English Department supports the Board of the Davis Faculty Association in calling for Chancellor Katehi’s immediate resignation and for “a policy that will end the practice of forcibly removing non-violent student, faculty, staff, and community protesters by police on the UC Davis campus.” Further, given the demonstrable threat posed by the University of California Police Department and other law enforcement agencies to the safety of students, faculty, staff, and community members on our campus and others in the UC system, we propose that such a policy include the disbanding of the UCPD and the institution of an ordinance against the presence of police forces on the UC Davis campus, unless their presence is specifically requested by a member of the campus community. This will initiate a genuinely collective effort to determine how best to ensure the health and safety of the campus community at UC Davis.

Hmmm, except, as Cliff Kincaid observes, UC Davis has an actual crime problem:

According to the most recent crime statistics, while crime on campus in general showed little change from 2009-2010, some serious crimes were on the rise. There were 88 burglaries on campus in 2010, compared with 84 in 2009, and 21 forcible sex offenses compared with 18 the previous year. There were 11 aggravated assaults compared with nine in 2009.

How much worse will that get, once the coppers get replaced with composition teachers or, God forbid, roving militias conscripted from Philosophy or Classics?  Forget Occupy for a moment, and consider preoccupation, which ranks high among things that make campuses desirable for predators, along with stuff like:

      • keeping odd hours
      • living away from home for the first time
      • spatial un-vigilance due to music devices wedged in ears
      • public lugging of expensive consumer electronics on expensive bicycles
      • distractions brought upon by big ideas and/or hormones
      • beer

And that’s just the professors.  Think of the students.

~~~

Professor Brown, who earns a nice salary teaching classes on incoherencies such as the poetics of nanotechnology, has become something of a celebrity, thanks to an open-letter-blog-post currently mounted beneath an image of a fist on the website Bicycle Barricade (Get it?  French Revolution plus expensive bicycles), in which he fumed, scolded, and grandstanded; used the word “outrage” a lot; issued accusations about severe physical injuries that have not been confirmed by anyone; referred to himself as a special asset to the school, and then told the school’s chancellor that she, in contrast to him, was not an asset.  The latter seems awfully materialistic, coming from someone advocating for the overthrowing of rapacious consumerism, but, whatever.

Brown j’accuses:

[T]he administration of UC campuses systematically uses police brutality to terrorize students and faculty, to crush political dissent on our campuses, and to suppress free speech and peaceful assembly. . . I am writing to hold you responsible and to demand your immediate resignation on these grounds. . . I am writing to tell you in no uncertain terms [emphasis inserted, to emphasize the hysterical tone] that there must be space for protest on our campus. There must be space for political dissent on our campus. There must be space for civil disobedience on our campus. [Why?  He does not explain.] There must be space for students to assert their right to decide on the form of their protest, their dissent, and their civil disobedience—including the simple act of setting up tents in solidarity with other students who have done so. [Let me see if I’ve got this right: they need space to assert their right to decide on the form of protest, and then they need other space to do the protesting . . . wait, I’m getting confused, perhaps you could say more about that]  There must be space for protest and dissent, especially, when the object of protest and dissent is police brutality itself. You may not order police to forcefully disperse student protesters peacefully protesting police brutality. You may not do so. It is not an option available to you as the Chancellor of a UC campus. That is why I am calling for your immediate resignation.

[Here comes the deconstruction part, so hang tight]Your words express concern for the safety of our students. Your actions express no concern whatsoever for the safety of our students. I deduce from this discrepancy that you are not, in fact, concerned about the safety of our students. Your actions directly threaten the safety of our students. And I want you to know that this is clear. It is clear to anyone who reads your campus emails concerning our “Principles of Community” and who also takes the time to inform themselves about your actions. You should bear in mind that when you send emails to the UC Davis community, you address a body of faculty and students who are well trained to see through rhetoric that evinces care for students while implicitly threatening them. I see through your rhetoric very clearly. You also write to a campus community that knows how to speak truth to power. That is what I am doing.

I call for your resignation because you are unfit to do your job. You are unfit to ensure the safety of students at UC Davis. In fact: you are the primary threat to the safety of students at UC Davis. As such, I call upon you to resign immediately. . .

And so on.

You can find the entire “manifesto” here; yes, there is much, much more of it.  Technically, repetition is a rhetorical device, as I am sure Professor Brown will demonstrate repeatedly in coming days.  The tone of all of this is terribly childish, but, to me, not nearly so disturbing as the contents of the following video, which I need to preface by saying that it resembles nothing so much as one of those totalitarian mind-control dystopias hippy professors used to attempt to inoculate us against by assigning books by Orwell, back when I used to take English classes, or rather, back when I used to take English classes where the professors actually assigned novels, instead of assigning political manifestos instead of novels in English classes:
[you-tube video here.]
~~~
Despite all the cop-hating and protest-leading he’s been doing lately, Dr. Brown still seems to find it curious that anyone would question his course syllabus on past and present protest movements, titled: The Real Movement of History – Left Communism and the Communization Current.  Indeed, it is true, as he asserts, that his syllabus covers the seminal Marxist texts, a reasonable academic subject, if taught reasonably, by which I mean objectively.
Though I know the word “objective” is objectionable, I’m just going to put it out there.
Curiously, though, the syllabus ends with The Coming Insurrection, a manifesto with extremely detailed descriptions of the very scenario unfolding largely under Dr. Brown’s direction on the U.C. Davis campus as I write this, a scenario beginning with creating and then escalating conflicts with police, then demanding the removal of police from public spaces, then “occupying” those spaces, then fomenting total, violent revolution in which no one group takes responsibility for the violence being perpetrated by their leaderless, horizontal, mass-chanting compadres once the police have gone home — to protect their threatened families, is the way it goes in Dr. Brown’s reading list.

That’s not quite the same pedagogical coincidence as looking up at the sky whilst reading Wordsworth and suddenly thinking that you might consider “wandering lonely as a cloud.”

I quote The Coming Insurrection at length here because I think it’s important to see the point at which it is impossible for Dr. Brown to continue coyly insisting that he is merely teaching historical texts of revolution, as opposed to performing them step-by-step on the taxpayer’s dime while pretending to teach English:

In the subway, there’s no longer any trace of the screen of embarrassment that normally impedes the gestures of the passengers. Strangers make conversation without making passes. A band of comrades conferring on a street corner. Much larger assemblies on the boulevards, absorbed in discussions. Surprise attacks mounted in city after city, day after day. A new military barracks has been sacked and burned to the ground. The evicted residents of a building have stopped negotiating with the mayor’s office; they settle in. A company manager is inspired to blow away a handful of his colleagues in the middle of a meeting. There’s been a leak of files containing the personal addresses of all the cops, together with those of prison officials, causing an unprecedented wave of sudden relocations [emphasis added throughout]. We carry our surplus goods into the old village bar and grocery store, and take what we lack. Some of us stay long enough to discuss the general situation and figure out the hardware we need for the machine shop. The radio keeps the insurgents informed of the retreat of the government forces. A rocket has just breached a wall of the Clairvaux prison. Impossible to say if it has been months or years since the “events” began. And the prime minister seems very alone in his appeals for calm. . .

Liberate territory from police occupation. If possible, avoid direct confrontation.

“This business shows that we are not dealing with young people making social demands, but with individuals who are declaring war on the Republic,” noted a lucid cop about recent clashes. The push to liberate territory from police occupation is already underway, and can count on the endless reserves of resentment that the forces of order have marshaled against it.  Even the “social movements” are gradually being seduced by the riots, just like the festive crowds in Rennes who fought the cops every Thursday night in 2005, or those in Barcelona who destroyed a shopping district during a botellion. The movement against the CPE witnessed the recurrent return of the Molotov cocktail. But on this front certain banlieues remain unsurpassed. Specifically, when it comes to the technique they’ve been perfecting for some time now: the surprise attack. Like the one on October 13, 2006 in Epinay. A private-security team headed out after getting a report of something stolen from a car. When they arrived, one of the security guards “found himself blocked by two vehicles parked diagonally across the street and by more than thirty people carrying metal bars and pistols . . .

There’s no ideal form of action. What’s essential is that action assume a certain form, that it give rise to a form instead of having one imposed on it. This presupposes a shared political and geographical position – like the sections of the Paris Commune during the French Revolution – as well as the circulation of a shared knowledge. As for deciding on actions, the principle could be as follows: each person should do their own reconnaissance, the information would then be put together, and the decision will occur to us rather than being made by us. The circulation of knowledge cancels hierarchy; it equalizes by raising up. Proliferating horizontal communication is also the best form of coordination among different communes, the best way to put an end to hegemony.

Sound familiar?  Watch the whole creepy Dr. Brown repeato-video, and read his entire manifesto, and then as much of The Coming Insurrection as you can take without needing a nice long walk, and then let me know if you believe this guy has a snowball’s chance in hell of calling himself a mere scholar and not tactician of Marxist revolutionary tactics . . . anywhere but in academia, of course, where wishes are horses being ridden by beggars.

Furthermore, mustering all the authority of a former graduate student who involuntarily took a snootful of Marxist theory courses myself while expecting them to be about stuff like poetry or literature, I sincerely doubt Dr. Brown even grasps at feigning academic objectivity in his classroom.

I doubt it precisely because of the way he stood ranting in public about the relationship between his scholarship and the protests in which he was engaging.

I, too, have been schooled to interpret texts and see through rhetoric, and my take on Nathan Brown is that he stood in his own public square quivering precisely at the frisson of un-objectively teaching while doing — all the while feeling the ghost of the soapbox in Hyde Park’s Speaker’s Corner creaking beneath his Birkenstocks.

Or perhaps, his expensive Italian shoes.

But the main point here is not the class politics of footwear, and I apologize for presumptuousness on my part.  The point is whether Dr. Brown is being truthful when he says that his scholarship is one thing and his activism another, or whether the actual content of the former might not raise some troubling questions regarding both his academic professionalism and his current ascendence to spokesperson for the entire U.C. Davis English Faculty on the subject of overthrowing the police.

Let’s set aside, for a moment, the fact that Dr. Brown fails to include in his fascinating survey courses any viewpoint contrary to the assertion that communism is the inevitable and right endpoint of all history, shades of Fukuyama certainly withstanding.  Such is the minutiae of crabbed minds.  Or, the discipline of teaching history as once practiced (not performed) by modest intellectual giants in short-sleeved button-collared shirts humanly striving above all else to preserve the protocols demanded of them by the creed of professional objectivity.

Let’s set all this . . . traditionalism . . . aside, this outré neutrality, cast it into the depths of extreme relativism from which Harold Bloom, who is responsible for so much of it, somehow rises every morning inexplicably smelling as if he has just washed both his hands, as we instead contemplate one detail — the detail of how Dr. Brown’s oddly-named survey course on communism ends precisely where his public persona begins — with cries for bloody, absolute revolution in the streets, and not-too-veiled threats towards any and all “authority figures” but especially the police.

To borrow an ugly from the current argot, I’m just trying to problematize these things.

~~~

And now, to this — the true story of what happened on the UC Davis campus in the hours leading up to the use of pepper-spray on a few systematically threatening, definitely not passively-resisting students and non-student professional agitators.  Here is the video you won’t see on the evening news, although it ought to be the one that is being seen, because it shows precisely what these protestors intended for the police they surrounded, and jeered at, and threatened.  Put yourself in the police’s shoes.

The video also shows a great deal about Professor Nathan Brown, although he is not in it.  It shows that despite papering his accusations with overwrought claims about his own special rhetorical perspicacity, he is just an average, even sophomoric, dissembler.  He wildly exaggerated what the police did; he threw a tantrum at his bosses, and he lied about the behavior of the protestors.  Even the best excuse that could be made for him is a particularly pedagogically unfortunate one: he just didn’t do a close enough reading of the text.

And now he is encouraging others to similarly misapprehend, and this makes for a demoralizing spectacle — an entire department of people claiming to be specially trained and insightful readers-of-texts, eagerly signing up without bothering to fact-check an inaccurate, premature, and presumptuous manifesto.

And these are the people getting paid to teach the art of reading.  Reading.  Remember that?

 

 

 

 

 

Good Thing It Wasn’t A Hate Crime: Raymond Harris Just Tortures Women and Sets Them On Fire

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He’s not a hate criminal, just a guy who likes to rape women and stab them and beat them to death or near-death while torturing them by setting them on fire.   Second City Cop has the only real coverage — nobody else is outraged by the fact that Illinois let this guy go, not once, but twice, after he raped and tortured and set a woman on fire, and tried to get another one, and now he’s attacked a third woman (surely there were more).  This time, the victim, a 73-year old nurse, died.

Raymond Harris, serial torturer and rapist of women.  But not a hate criminal.

Well, thank goodness it wasn’t a hate crime: we can all take comfort in that.  From Second City Cop, who links to this Chicago Sun-Times article:

Only in Illinois can 30 years in the joint equal 13 years:
  • A parolee who fatally beat and robbed an elderly nurse in Bridgeport last month used the dead woman’s engagement and wedding rings to propose to his girlfriend, Cook County prosecutors said Thursday.Raymond Harris, 36, showed the rings off at a party just hours after he attacked Virginia Perillo in her garage in the 3300 block of South Parnell, assistant state’s attorney Melissa Howlett said. In addition to her rings, Harris also took Perillo’s purse, Howlett said.Perillo, 73, was discovered by a neighbor in a pool of blood with severe head injuries and defense wounds to her forearms on the night of Oct. 22. The brain-dead woman died at Stroger Hospital two days later.
  • Harris was paroled in May after serving 13 years of a 30-year sentence for his 1997 attempted murder and aggravated arson convictions, Howlett said.
And this isn’t the first time he violated parole:
  • In that case, Harris broke into a woman’s home, raped and beat her for several hours, Howlett said. He also threatened that victim at knifepoint, cut her neck and set three separate fires in the woman’s home, Howlett said. The woman woke up with her legs on fire and suffered third-degree burns.Just three weeks before that attack, Harris had been released from prison for a 1993 armed robbery, vehicular invasion and burglary. In that case, Harris brandished a gun at a woman getting outside of her car outside her home, Howlett said.
Obviously, this piece of s**t doesn’t learn from going to prison.

And just as obviously, the Illinois Parole Board and the Bureau of Prisons haven’t learned that some people are beyond redemption and reform. Where’s the outrage? Where’s the outcry that yet another violent offender isn’t serving even 50% of his sentence before being loosed upon society once again to maim and kill.

Note that among those participating in the lack of outrage is the Chicago Civil Rights Unit, which doesn’t give a damn because these particular beaten, raped, and tortured victims just aren’t the right type of victims.  They aren’t calling these crimes hate crimes because the victims were just women, and doing this sort of thing to just women isn’t as serious as picking other types of victims, thanks to hate crime laws.  Eric Holder says so — he said so repeatedly and belligerently when Clinton made him the point man for implementing the deceptive enforcement standards that pretend to include but quietly exclude heterosexual females and many other living things from hate crime law enforcement.

Note too that the other usual suspects — the Jessie Jackson types, the Leadership Council on Civil and Human Rights, the gay activists, the Anti-Defamation League, CAIR — not a peep from any of the braver arbiters of what is and isn’t to be “counted” as hatred.

Just torturing and raping and setting women on fire doesn’t count.  Not the right kind of body, see?

Imagine for a moment the headlines if Raymond Harris had a nasty habit of repeatedly trying to beat black men to death and setting them on fire.  Imagine if he targeted Jews, or Muslims, or gays, or lesbians, instead of “just women.”  Then it would be candles-in-paper-cups, rally-outside-city-hall time for all the professional activists and politicians who view the torture of some as particularly heinous, while run-of-the-mill rape-torture-torchings are just . . . well, technically, they’re understandable, and lesser, in the hierarchy of human value these activists have imposed on our justice system.

Some victims get politicians carrying candles.  Others don’t.

By dividing the world into “understandable” versus “outrageous” victim selection, where no such legal distinction existed before, the hate crimes industry desecrates the human dignity of every victim of a serious crime whom they don’t count as a “victim of hate.”  Nobody dares to challenge them, because doing so makes you a target of their rage, as I learned in Atlanta.  And rage, it is. These activist groups operate as if they are purely above question, above scrutiny and challenge.  I gave up a long time ago trying to get any reporter, anywhere, to ask any of these organizations why they don’t view crimes like the ones committed by Raymond Harris, or dozens of other brutal serial killers, as worthy of being investigated and prosecuted as “hate.”*  How much more evidence do they need that this man targets women for acts of extreme and random violence, including setting one on fire?

While researching hate-crime enforcement, I also gave up trying to speak to sentencing experts in law schools after one pitched such an astonishing hissy fit at me that I resigned myself to the cowardice of the academic classes.  I gave up trying to interview other types of academics when they refused to speak on record about their opinion of the enforcement of these laws, even when they privately expressed consternation about precisely the types of things I write about here.  Academic freedom — to quiver in the herd, indeed.  Hate crime activists guard the boundaries of their fiefdoms with extreme care; they threaten people who dare to question their agendas.  They use accusations of prejudice to maintain silence, when open and ethical conversation about the real meaning of “hate” is what is needed.

They also control the messages delivered about hate to every school-aged child in America.  If you encourage your child to question these laws when they are taught to them in the classroom, don’t be surprised if there are consequences.

Much is being said these days about the Justice Department’s departure from colorblind enforcement of voting rights laws, thanks to J. Christian Adams, a former DOJ attorney who courageously blew the whistle on intentionally biased enforcement of voting rights cases.  But what happens when the law itself is the creator of bias?  Hate Crime laws are a disturbing departure from the very values civil rights activists once labored to impose on the justice system: equal protection under the law, equal treatment of all victims, equal punishment for offenders.  The laws themselves are the scandal, but on top of that scandal, these laws are being enforced in deceptive and rankly prejudiced ways that magnify the injustices they produce simply by existing.

How on earth do you blow the whistle on that?

How many more women, and men, and children will be raped or murdered because the justice system divides victims into “important” and “unimportant” categories, and the criminals targeting the unimportant ones get chance after chance to kill again, as Harris got?  In 1997, at precisely the time Clinton and Eric Holder were grandstanding in the White House about hate, pounding their fists on tables, proclaiming that nobody should even dare to ask why “hate crimes” are worse than other crimes (Holder’s speciality was the “don’t ask” line), Raymond Harris raped, tortured, and stabbed a woman.  He set her body on fire, leaving the victim covered with third-degree burns.  Clinton and Holder could have used Harris’ assault to illustrate the alleged need for their new law, but they didn’t consider that crime — and thousands more like them — important enough to count as “hate” because the victim was just a woman.  So 13 years later, Raymond Harris slipped out of prison again — something that surely would not have happened had he been prosecuted as a hate criminal after the 1997 attack, or even just labeled a hate criminal by activists.  Hate crime activists could have prevented Harris’ most recent parole merely by showing up and using that magical word, hate.  But, in truth, they don’t see what he does to women as hatred, because he just does it to women.

And now Eric Holder is the Attorney General of the United States, still busily and selectively deploying hate crime laws for his political ends, and Raymond Harris, abetted by the other policies Holder endorses,** has killed a 73-year old nurse named Virginia Perillo.

And the silence, from the activists and journalists and politicians, is deafening.

Virginia Perillio, dancing at her son’s wedding

*In fairness, there is one mention of “hate”  in reference to the Raymond Harris case in the Chicago Sun-Times: the Times reminds its readers that it will not tolerate hate speech in their comment threads.

**prioritizing prisoner “re-entry” over incarceration; increasing the use of early parole; making outsized claims about “rehabilitation” of violent offenders; promoting second chances for everyone except “hate” criminals

Today Detroit: Tomorrow Los Angeles, Oakland, San Francisco . . .

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Probation instead of prison = more murders (link broken).

Sort of gives a new meaning to the Department of Justice’s massive push to defund incarceration and subsidize Prisoner Re-Entry instead:

Detroit Police chief: Homicides spike 31%; overall crime down

Mark Hicks/ The Detroit News

Detroit— The Detroit Police Department’s crime figures released Monday for the third quarter show 23 more homicides compared to the same period last year, a 31 percent increase.

The latest crime figures show a nearly 19 percent hike in murders so far over 2010, with 301 homicides citywide through Sunday.

Overall crime is down about 7 percent from July 1 to Sept. 30, Police Chief Ralph Godbee said.

The department is having “a bear of a time getting our arms around” the widespread number of guns in the city, resulting in more violent conflicts, he told residents at the Breithaupt Career & Technical Center on the city’s west side.

Some of the homicides also involved suspects who were on probation for other previous crimes, said Inspector Dwane Blackmon of the homicide unit.

“It’s important to note those who are constantly causing havoc in the community… have been placed on probation,” he said.

Expect more of the same as well-funded activists fight to overturn two- and three-strikes laws and minimum mandatory sentencing, and California prepares mass early releases of prisoners.

Oddly, in Detroit, other types of crime are down.  Or they may simply be being reported or recorded less.  You can’t hide a body as easily as you can overlook other types of incidents.  See here for a related post.

In other Detroit crime news, public bus drivers are still protesting dangerous conditions on the job:

Bus service in Detroit resumed Monday for the first full weekday since more than 100 drivers shut down the system for hours Friday morning, citing concern for their safety. The lack of bus service Friday prevented many Detroiters from making it to work or school on time. . .

Mayor Dave Bing ended the shutdown Friday by promising to use Detroit Police to heighten security, which pleased drivers and riders alike. Drivers were protesting an alleged attack on a colleague Thursday at the Rosa Parks Transit Center in downtown Detroit.

“It’s sad that that had to happen for us to get some attention,” said 20-year DDOT driver Charles Kimbrough. “We need help out here. We need help badly.”

Kimbrough, 44, had Friday off, but he wouldn’t have driven his bus if he had a shift. He stands in solidarity with the other drivers, and the alleged assault Thursday was the tipping point for drivers who feel unsafe because of criminal activity on DDOT buses.

“I know people that have been stabbed, spit on,” he said. “It ain’t nothing new to me.”

Asked how often he feels safe driving, Kimbrough quickly said, “Never.” Riders have put their hands on him, and he’s not allowed to carry a weapon for protection. He keeps the job to support his family.

There’s an easy solution for all of this: impose consequences for crime, instead of literally imprisoning everyone else in the city.  It’s one or the other.

Mass Murderer Jim Jones: Religious Extremist or Atheist Stalinist? Answer: What’s Best for the New York Times?

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The New York Times is the Baron von Munchhausen of news sources.

People’s Temple Agricultural Project (Jonestown) Massacre, 1978

Exhibit #6,759,382,901 is the following story, reprinted in the Times, detailing mass murderer Jim Jones’ unrealized plans to deploy suicide bombers and hijack and crash planes into targets in San Francisco.  Suicide bombers, hijacked planes . . . in the 1970’s?  By a revolutionary communist who decried Western capitalism as the sources of all evil?  Jones was clearly emulating or coordinating with other radical terrorists of the day.

So one might expect some reference to the PLO hijackings, or the assassination of the Israeli Olympic Athletes, or the bombs set by the FALN, or the Weather Underground, or the Red Army Faction, or the Black Panthers, or any of the other communist revolutionaries who were setting bombs and hijacking planes at the same time when communist revolutionary Jones was planning to set bombs and hijack planes.

One would be incorrect.  The Times article identifies only one inspiration for Jones’ murderous intentions: religion.

On Jim Jones’ Agenda, A Prequel to Sept. 11

By SCOTT JAMES

Published: August 12, 2011

Twenty-five years before the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001, a religious extremist plotted to hijack a commercial airliner — filled with 200 or so unsuspecting passengers — and deliberately crash it.

The target was San Francisco. And the would-be perpetrator was not a jihadist, but the man who would become one of history’s more infamous villains: the cult leader Jim Jones of the Peoples Temple, whose headquarters was then on Geary Boulevard in San Francisco.

With the hijacking plot, described in a coming book and recently confirmed by a former Peoples Temple leader, Mr. Jones is said to have wanted to cause death on a scale that the world would not soon forget. He called it “revolutionary suicide,” a warped vision of religious martyrdom . . .

I hate to side with Jim Jones here, but when Jones talked about “revolutionary suicide,” he actually meant revolutionary suicide, not religious martyrdom.  Sure, like most cult leaders, he used the trappings of religion (except when he didn’t), but what he preached was “apostolic socialism,” which he specifically presented to his followers as the antidote to religion.  And he convinced his followers to kill themselves (those who weren’t murdered by others) not by promising paradise but by telling them that they should choose death over violent persecution by America.

Jones was an atheist, card-carrying member of the Communist Party who split with the CPUSA only when they grew a little sour on his lifelong personal hero, Joseph Stalin.  He hobnobbed with other communist radicals like Angela Davis; broke bread with militants from the Nation of Islam, and lifted the term “revolutionary suicide” from Black Panther Huey P. Newton, who lost family members at Jonestown. Jones called Jonestown the “purest communist” settlement on earth, and after he forced the mass suicide/homicide of more than 900 of his followers, he left documents deeding his and their assets to the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

In other words, he worshiped Joseph Stalin, not Jesus Christ.  Literally.  And he was not shy about saying so.

Yet the Times mentions none of this.  Jones is briefly labelled a “cult leader,” and then the writer simply starts referring to him as a religious leader, using terms such as “church members,” “church records,” “flock,” and “congregation.”  In reality, Jonestown was named “The People’s Temple Agricultural Project,” an obvious bow to Stalin, and it was structured on North Korean work farms.  So why doesn’t the reporter even seem to think to call it what it was: a communist labor camp?

Why would the Times scrupulously avoid so many facts? Take your pick:

There is the paper’s own shameful coverup of Stalin’s crimes, perpetrated by their Moscow Bureau Chief Editor, Walter Duranty.  Who wants to mention Stalin as Jones’ primary influence and raise all that embarrassment and kerfuffle, when you can just vaguely point at the Bible-thumpers and hope Jim Jones’ Wikipedia entry is down for the day?

There is the Times’ current agenda to disassociate terrorism from Islam by emphasizing the religion of non-Islamic terrorists, even if they aren’t motivated by religion, like Timothy McVeigh, or if they’re motivated by some other belief system, like Jones.  Thus Jones becomes a psychotic “religious extremist,” not a psychotic communist extremist.

Then there is the desire to protect the reputations of prominent Democratic and Liberal politicians, some still in office, who tumbled all over themselves doing favors for Jim Jones in the 1970’s.  So embarrassing are these ties that the Jim Jones story has long been stripped of its prominent main actors, people like Rosalynn and Jimmy Carter, Walter Mondale, then-and now-California Governor Jerry Brown, and gay icon Harvey Milk.

Jim Jones with Walter Mondale to his left — [correction, SF Mayor George Moscone]

Jones was everywhere during the Carter administration, a sort of Forrest Gump-meets-Charles Manson.  Who wants to remember this?  He was an important San Francisco political appointee and election activist who showed up in an array of important people’s rolodexes.

Jim Jones with Rosalyn Carter

High-ranking politicians turned a blind eye to his passion for Stalin and Kim Il-Sung as they shuffled aside the increasingly troubling reports emerging from the People’s Temple Agricultural Project in Guyana.

Jim Jones with then-Governor, now-Governor of California, Jerry Brown

The Times article is a reprint from The Bay Citizen, and it is fair to suggest that the reporter is speaking to a San Francisco audience familiar with Jones’ real identity.  But that doesn’t justify running the piece in a national paper while retaining the shorthand that he was a mere “religious extremist.”

You have to look elsewhere to find facts.  In City Journal, Daniel Flynn writes:

Jim Jones was a power player in Bay Area politics and thereby a player in national Democratic Party politics. Local politicians and activists benefited from the slave labor that he could provide on little notice to people political rallies and hand out campaign literature. In gratitude, [Mayor George] Moscone appointed him chairman of San Francisco’s housing authority and Willie Brown likened Jones, a man who would eventually kill more African-Americans than any Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard, to Martin Luther King, Jr. First lady Rosalyn Carter and her husband’s running mate, Walter Mondale, both met with the cult leader.

In another article, Flynn describes the particularly close relationship between Harvey Milk and Jones:

Before the congregants of the Peoples Temple drank Jim Jones’s deadly Kool-Aid, Harvey Milk and much of San Francisco’s ruling class had already figuratively imbibed. Milk occasionally spoke at Jones’s San Francisco–based headquarters, promoted Jones through his newspaper columns, and defended the Peoples Temple from its growing legion of critics. Jones provided conscripted “volunteers” for Milk’s campaigns to distribute leaflets by the tens of thousands. Milk returned the favor by abusing his position of public trust on behalf of Jones’s criminal endeavors.

“Rev. Jones is widely known in the minority communities here and elsewhere as a man of the highest character, who has undertaken constructive remedies for social problems which have been amazing in their scope and effectiveness,” Supervisor Milk wrote President Jimmy Carter seven months before the Jonestown carnage. The purpose of Milk’s letter was to aid and abet his powerful supporter’s abduction of a six-year-old boy. Milk’s missive to the president prophetically continued: “Not only is the life of a child at stake, who currently has loving and protective parents in the Rev. and Mrs. Jones, but our official relations with Guyana could stand to be jeopardized, to the potentially great embarrassment of our State Department.”

The abducted child died at Jonestown despite his biological parents’ efforts to save him, efforts personally derailed by Harvey Milk.  Daniel Flynn calls this “the only remarkable episode in Milk’s brief tenure on the San Francisco board of supervisors . . . swept under the rug by his hagiographers.”

Letter from Harvey Milk Supporting the Abduction of a Child by Jim Jones

To summarize: in their desire to slot Jim Jones into the “non-Islamic religious terrorist” column, the Times artfully manages to avoid any mention of Jones’ revolutionary ambitions, his violent peers, his communist beliefs, his political enablers, or his recruiting methods, which ran heavily to racial and gender themes.  What is left to talk about when you are trying so hard to avoid mentioning anything?  Well, there are feelings.  A former Jones follower shares her bad poetry with the reporter, who is moved to link to it.  You can’t learn about Jones’ ties to the Carter administration by reading the Times, but you can read this:

I have a right to live without guilt and shame

I have a right not to be exploited by others for their personal or financial gain

I have a right to be loved and love again

–Terry Buford O’Shea

To paraphrase the Times’ editorial policy, who could disagree?

The link to O’Shea’s versifying is something called Alternative Considerations of Jonestown & People’s Temple, which is a project of the Jonestown Institute of the Department of Religious Studies at San Diego State University.

The Times shows little curiosity about the Jonestown Institute, treating it like an ordinary academic department.  And perhaps at San Diego State University it is an ordinary academic department, though elsewhere, publications bearing titles such as A Sympathetic History of Jonestown and In Defense of Peoples Temple might raise eyebrows.  Department chair Rebecca Moore, author of these books, is described by Daniel Flynn as a well-placed apologist, not for Jim Jones specifically but for his vision of communist paradise and for Jonestown itself, despite the violently enforced brainwashing that preceded the colony’s final bloody day.  Not coincidentally, Moore lost two sisters who were high-ranking colleagues of Jones and thus helped shape the colony’s totalitarian controls and its brutal end.  Now she is engaged in a mission, underwritten by San Diego State, to rescue Jonestown from its critics.

Daniel Flynn devastatingly describes Moore as “a concentration camp warden’s kin putting the best face on his work.”

On-line, San Diego State’s Jonestown Institute offers syllabus suggestions for teaching students about Jonestown in “non-judgmental” ways. They also publish scores of documents found at the colony after the massacre, including organizational charts imagining ambitious Agricultural Five Year Plans and Business and Industry schemes ranging from running a cassava mill to opening a nightclub to sell beer to the Guyanese (who “love to party”).   There is the eerily common utopian colony fantasy of achieving financial solvency through the production of small toys and sewn objects, and many notes regarding strategies for avoiding taxation by the Guyanese government.  The Guyanese surely saw in Jonestown the sort of cash cow Jim Jones saw in the U.S. taxpayers, who were unknowingly subsidizing Jonestown through the colony members’ welfare and foster care benefits, funneled to Jones through his San Francisco political allies.

The Jonestown Institute describes this systematic welfare transfer scheme as a form of “helping” Jonestown members who had been traumatized by “all of the ills” of America society, and they systematically bury or deny other facts about conditions at the colony prior to its fatal denouement.

In turn, The New York Times describes the Jonestown Institute as a mere academic institution.

And so, the whitewash continues.

Taking Pretty Pictures of Anthony Sowell’s Brain: The Real Reason The Justice System’s Broke

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Anthony Sowell has been convicted of murdering eleven women and trying to kill three more.

Now that his defense team has finished lying about the evidence during the trial phase, they will now move on to lying during sentencing.

Trial lying:

Sowell’s attorneys anchored their defense on the argument that prosecutors had no hard evidence — no DNA, no fingerprints, no eyewitnesses — linking Sowell to the women’s deaths.

That would be, no hard evidence except for the bodies of the eleven women found dismembered and scattered throughout his house.  And blood from the victims on his sheets.  And so on.  Why does anyone tolerate this sort of behavior from the defense bar?

But there’s more.

Sentencing hearing lying:

Sowell’s attorneys, John Parker and Rufus Sims, have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on experts to build a case against executing Sowell.

That would be, hundreds of thousands of your dollars.

In the upcoming penalty phase, jurors might hear from neuroscientists who have interviewed Sowell at length or analyzed scans of his brain for insights into his disposition. A military expert is expected to testify about Sowell’s career as an officer and electrician in the U.S. Marine Corp.

Ah yes, the academic-driven “brain scan” racket.  Suddenly phrenology’s in fashion again.

But let’s not leave out the rest of the gravy train:

And nearly $150,000 has been paid to a social researcher, charged with the task of scouring the globe for witnesses who can testify about how Sowell became the man he is. That could include family members, former teachers or mentors who could humanize Sowell and explain what might have gone wrong in his developmental years.

The sole trajectory of criminal justice over the past half-century has been a deliberative shifting of responsibility for crime away from the offender and onto the rest of us.  Why are we paying someone to “scour the globe” for people who can “humanize” Sowell?  Why aren’t we spending that money scouring the globe making sure he didn’t discard any other dismembered bits of “non-evidentiary” female skulls and torsos for his defense attorneys to deny?  In one of the more sordid chapters of Sowell’s sordid trial, the AP withdrew a story about the eleven women’s bodies found in his home because the headline referred to Sowell as a “rapist” instead of an “attempted rapist.”  This is pointillistic, fetishistic sensitivity to a mass murderer, built on the irrelevant fiction that his 1989 conviction for rape and kidnapping wasn’t really rape and kidnapping because of a plea deal he cut to gain reduced charges.

There is no limit to the degradation of innocents in our courts today.  Why do we tolerate it?

And why do we subsidize it? I’m sure some public defense attorney charged by the hour to demand that the AP Stalinistically cleanse its headline of the undisputed fact that the woman kidnapped and tortured by Sowell in 1989 was penetrated by him, thus making it “rape” instead of “attempted rape.”

Well, at least all those systematic rapes and murders and dismemberings weren’t hate crimes.  That would have been really bad.

James Alan Fox. Professional.

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Surveying the current crop of well-known criminologists is sort of like watching a sack of drowning cats trying to make excuses for the guy who just threw them in a lake.  It didn’t used to be that way.  Once, giants in short-sleeved button-down shirts with clip-on ties labored anonymously in room-sized IBM computers.

Now we have celebrity criminologists like James Alan Fox jealously guarding his speciality of crawling into sex killers’ brains and popping back out to tell the rest of us stuff like: “serial killers are really angry, and they blame other people for their problems.”  That is, when he isn’t seething with thinly-disguised contempt towards crime victims, who seem to bother him by existing.

Last week, Fox summoned all his professional expertise to pen a very nasty little screed decrying ABC news for hiring crime victim Elizabeth Smart to comment on crime.  Here is Fox describing the poised young woman, who survived kidnapping and months of repeated sexual assault:

The 23-year-old college student is well-known, of course, for having been kidnapped from her home at the age of 14 and repeatedly raped by a homeless religious extremist, and lucky enough to live to tell about it. However, ABC is looking for Smart to speak about much more than her own victimization. Apparently, the network believes that her harrowing ordeal qualifies her as an expert on the general topic of kidnapping.  Her name may be smart, but she is hardly an expert.

Does the professor realize that he is projecting all the gravitas of an aggrieved teen?  Yet he also manages to sound like a middle-aged professor trying to kiss up to news executives by pretending that their coverage of topics like “kidnapping” is somehow dependent on dense intellectual inquiry.  Here, by the way, is the cover of one of Dr. Fox’s dense intellectual inquiries:

That’s not lurid and exploitative because the authors are academics.

Fox certainly is an expert at what he does, which, in addition to stating extremely obvious things about serial killers, involves playing down the legal significance of woman-hatred as a motive for sexual crimes against women.  I’ve written here, here, and here about his prominent role in deceiving the public about the ways hate crime laws are subjectively enforced, all in order to serve the demands of activists.  Fox’s particularly low and ugly sub-speciality in this ruse is using his “expertise” on sex killers to distinguish between ‘hate motivations’ and ‘just killing bunches of women because you have low self-esteem, or can’t get a date.’

In other words, whenever some extremely angry guy gets a gun and mows down random women, or goes into a bar and attacks the first woman he sees, or rapes and murders woman after woman, you can count on James Alan Fox to blather on about the guy’s feelings of insecurity while carefully pretending that the question of whether the crime should be prosecuted as “hate” isn’t relevant.  Reporters never interrupt this delicate tap dance with questions as Fox sashays “women killed by gunman looking to kill women” into the “non-hate” column.

So when James Alan Fox complains about the networks hiring “non-experts” like Elizabeth Smart, he isn’t just being offensive on a personal level: he is pretending that he and his credentialed peers aren’t pushing their own agendas when they appear on the evening news.  Although these agendas routinely come with funding from activist groups, the network media never seems to mention that.  Fox’s personal style is misdirection by omission, as when he manages to crawl through lengthy interviews about the causes of inner-city crime without mentioning broken homes or missing fathers.

It would be interesting to ask him why he thinks Elizabeth Smart’s captor wasn’t prosecuted for “gender bias hate” — or to ask that question of any of the academics who pull in big salaries and grants to lecture us about what we should be believing and not believing.

One might occasionally expect a little humility from the academic discipline that brought us whoppers like “unemployment increases crime . . . oh wait, scratch that.” One would be in error.  The outrage expressed by Fox over the Elizabeth Smart hiring isn’t just about her: it is the outrage of a class of people who are used to getting away with promoting their own faux objectivity and controlling the message without being challenged or questioned at all.

But Fox’s outrage is also very much about Smart being a crime victim. Criminologists who tend to see criminals as the only victims of our justice system (in other words, criminologists like Fox who get quoted in the New York Times) are rendered deeply uncomfortable by the presence of actual victims.  Victims, like their equally unreliable sidekick, The Public, often have the temerity to complain about crime, instead of relying on criminologists to tell them how they should feel.  Fox’s meltdown over Elizabeth Smart is awash in the sort of anxieties and antipathies that criminologists reserve for crime victims (and never for criminals).  He slips from fatuousness to outright contempt:

I will resist the temptation to judge whether such a role is healthy for someone who endured nine months of sexual assault and servitude, with the psychological effects lasting well beyond her rescue. More to the point, what insights can Smart bring to the table or the set of Good Morning America? . . . Smart may have had an up close and personal, albeit untrained perspective of her abductor, but most kidnappings are for very different purposes than hers. Wouldn’t viewers learn much more from an analyst who has specialized in the study of kidnapping . . . Obviously, hiring Smart is much more of an attention grabber.  To be fair, ABC’s decision to feature Elizabeth Smart as their kidnapping specialist reflects a fairly common practice in what could be described as the mass media version of “it takes one to know one.”

“It takes one to know one”?  It takes one to know one what?  That saying is a pejorative, as is the entire tone Fox assumes here:

There are countless other examples of activists who turn their victimization into a credential for instant expertise. After surviving a mass shooting at a crowded Texas restaurant, Suzanna Gratia Hupp became the darling of the NRA, was elected to the Texas state legislature and published a book — all on her experience-based advocacy for right-to-carry laws. Closer to home, Donna Cuomo gained the limelight as the aunt of a teenager once murdered by furlough-absconder Willie Horton, and eventually gained a seat in the Massachusetts House of Representatives predicated largely on her tough-on-criminals agenda.

The darling of the NRA.  Gained the limelight. What did these people ever do to Fox, other than being crime victims and refusing to hide their faces in shame, as he and his peers would prefer?  Note that he describes vicious murderers in neutral terms while lashing out at their victims.  And what, precisely, is “experienced-based advocacy for right-to-carry laws”?  Does Fox know how people become lobbyists?  It’s not by getting a Ph.D. in lobbying.

Here is Suzanna Gratia Hupp’s story.  It is sickening that James Alan Fox would skip these facts in order to enhance his contemptuous dismissal of her:

On Wednesday, October 16, 1991, Hupp and her parents were having lunch at the Luby’s Cafeteria in Killeen. She had left her gun in her car to comply with Texas state law at the time, which forbade carrying a concealed weapon. When George Hennard drove his truck into the cafeteria and opened fire on the patrons, Hupp instinctively reached into her purse for her weapon, but it was in her vehicle. Her father, Al Gratia, tried to rush Hennard and was shot in the chest. As the gunman reloaded, Hupp escaped through a broken window and believed that her mother, Ursula Gratia, was behind her. Hennard put a gun to her mother’s head as she cradled her mortally wounded husband. Hupp’s mother and father were killed along with twenty-one other persons. Hennard also wounded some twenty others. As a survivor of the Luby’s massacre, Hupp testified across the country in support of concealed-handgun laws. She said that had there been a second chance to prevent the slaughter, she would have violated the Texas law and carried the handgun inside her purse into the restaurant.

Suzanna Gratia Hupp, with a picture of her murdered parents

It sounds as if the professor doesn’t wish to merely ban non-professors from speaking to the media: he wants to prevent the proles from doing things like running for office in state legislatures.  How dare these women . . . represent people.  What he says about John Walsh is even more shocking:

John Walsh made a career on the shoulders of having been the father of a 6-year-old abduction/murder victim.

Fox is too much of a coward to say “on the shoulders of Walsh’s six-year old abducted and murdered son,” though that’s obviously what he means.  Otherwise, he’d be talking about Walsh standing on his own shoulders, which makes no sense.  What a dishonest little quisling.  Also, what an odd way of arguing that you’re more professional than someone.  Yet, despite all the ill advised things Fox has already said, the professor has even more to say:

Although [Walsh’s] efforts in hostingAmerica’s Most Wanted may have contributed to bringing certain criminals to justice, was he really the best person for the job? What is it about having his son grabbed and killed that qualified him as an expert on law enforcement investigation?

Hmmm.  This begs an academic question, or maybe just a question about academics: did Dr. Fox do a scientific study to back up this assertion that crime victims don’t make the “best” hosts for popular television shows about fugitives from the law?

What’s that?  He didn’t?

OK, is he at least a credentialed expert on casting for television shows?  No?  Then why is he writing authoritatively about a subject firmly outside his area of expertise in an essay arguing that people who lack academic credentials should not voice their opinions on subjects outside their area of expertise?

I guess he’s not an expert in logic, either.

In fact, the most laughable part of Fox’s argument is his insistence that he and his academically credentialled ilk act like professionals when they’re the ones out trolling for headlines.  Here’s my evidence:

Professionalism Exhibit 1:

This is Fox’s own website, from the very classy WOLFMAN PRODUCTIONS, which also represents porn star Ron Jeremy and Daryl Davis, the “Black Klansman.”  In the super-professional world of WOLFMAN PRODUCTIONS, Dr. Fox proudly boasts that he is called THE DEAN OF DEATH. This is itself an exaggeration: Northeastern University confirms that Fox is not actually the Dean of Death but only a regular professor in their criminology department.

Dr. James Alan Fox, Lipman Family Professor of Criminal Justice and former dean at
Northeastern University in Boston, presents six incredible lectures on criminology, serial killers, and violence…

  • Killing for Pleasure: Serial Killers Among Us
    A chilling examination of the minds, motives and capture of infamous serial killers of
    our time.
  • Overkill: Shooting Rampages in America
    Workplace avengers, family annihilators, and schoolyard snipers–more methodical
    than imagined.
  • Lessons from the Schoolyard: Youth and School Violence
    A look at the causes of youth and school violence, including an assessment of the
    easy solutions that don’t work and the difficult ones that do.
  • Dial M for Media: Violence and Popular Culture
    A critical discussion of violent themes in television, film, and video games and the
    commercialization of killing.
  • Angry and Dangerous: The Do’s and Don’ts of Disgruntlement
    A guide to understanding vengeance in many work settings and how best to identify
    and respond to problem people and places.
  • American Terror: From the Columbine Killers to the DC Snipers
    An analysis of common themes to various home-grown forms of terror. Including serial
    murder, school violence, child abductions, and workplace violence.

James Alan Fox is The Lipman Family Professor of Criminal Justice and former dean at Northeastern University in Boston. He has published fifteen books, including his two newest, The Will to Kill: Making Sense of Senseless Murder, and Dead Lines: Essays in Murder and Mayhem. As an authority on homicide, he appears regularly on national television and radio programs, including the Today Show, Dateline20/2048 Hours andOprah, and is frequently interviewed by the press. He was also profiled in a two-part cover story in USA Today, which dubbed him “The Dean of Death,” in a Scientific American feature story as well as in other media outlets. He served as a consulting contributor for Fox News following the 9/11 terrorist attacks and as an NBC News Analyst during the D.C. Sniper investigation. Fox often gives lectures and expert testimony, including over one hundred keynote or campus-wide addresses around the country, twelve appearances before the United States Congress, White House meetings with President and Mrs. Clinton and Vice President Gore on youth violence, private briefings to Attorney General Reno on trends in violence, and a presentation for Princess Anne of Great Britain. Finally, Fox is a visiting fellow with the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics.


For a fee, you can purchase,”Six Incredible Lectures on Criminology, Serial Killers, and Violence” by The Dean of Death.  And he has had private meetings with both Janet Reno and Princess Anne of Great Britain.  Princess Anne!  Princess Anne?

Princess Anne and Janet Reno, both holding invisible balls

Here are some of the reviews this knowledgeable and credentialed intellectual uses to promote his knowledgeable intellectual lectures on crime:

…incredibly astounding… marvelous…”
– Southwest State University

…a huge success. His thought provoking speech on serial killers was extremely entertaining and captured the audience’s attention. Mr. Fox did a wonderful job; I am still hearing great comments about his presentation.”
– Adams State College

Yeah, there’s just nothing more entertaining than listening to some self-important academic prattle on about people who rape and murder women and little boys. Fox’s choice of promotional  materials begs another academic question: if James Alan Fox considers his serial killer research “entertaining” and “amazing,” and if he sells it as a gruesome sideshow through a company that represent porn actors and other assorted lowlife, then where does he get off scolding Elizabeth Smart and John Walsh for talking publicly about crime after they experienced it as victims?

Ron Jeremy, Porn Star.  Stay classy, Northeastern University

Here’s a mental exercise: picture James Alan Fox hanging at the Wolfman Productions Christmas party, regaling Ron Jeremy with his cool stories about meeting Jeffrey Dahmer.  Now keep that image in your mind as you contemplate the presumption Fox displays in these crude, published musings about Elizabeth Smart’s state of mind:

I will resist the temptation to judge whether such a role is healthy for someone who endured nine months of sexual assault and servitude, with the psychological effects lasting well beyond her rescue.

Servitude!  The Dean of Death is also a word master.  Fox pretends he is not “judging” Elizabeth Smart’s mental state but actually resisting the “temptation” to judge it by yammering on about it in print.

I wonder how he justifies even mentioning her mental state?  Is Dr. Fox a mental health professional?  Is he a psychiatrist?  A psychologist?

Uh, he’s just a sociologist.   He has no relevant degrees, no authority, no certification.  Maybe it’s a hobby.  Or maybe, to paraphrase Fox: he may be a professor, but he’s also the guy being represented by Ron Jeremy’s agent.

Chicago Weekend: Is Crime Down, Or Are Neighborhoods Emptying?

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Is crime really dropping in Chicago? Not long ago, the public would have been forced to rely on some pretty unreliable sources for an answer:

  • academicians who worship at the ‘the public’s crime fears are overblown‘ altar
  • mainstream reporters who worship at the “academicians who worship at the ‘the public’s crime fears are overblown’ altar” altar
  • Chicago politicians

From sources like that, you get contradictory numbers like this, in the Chicago Sun-Times:

Five men were killed and at least 19 other people — including two children — were hospitalized after violence in the city this weekend.

Despite the violent weekend, Chicago Police announced Sunday that violent crimes have decreased for the 30th consecutive month and there have been 31 fewer murders this year than through June of last year, a 14.4 percent decrease. The crime stats also indicate a decrease in aggravated batteries, aggravated assaults and criminal sexual assaults.

Five people blown away, 19 others shot or otherwise injured, in one unremarkable weekend that featured the sort of bad weather that tends to drive people off the streets, so that’s good news: crime is down!  (**Update: 11 more shot overnight Sunday, ten homicides total)

Sure, murders are down.  They don’t say how much agg. assaults and batteries dropped, nor do they offer what might be the most accurate measure of non-safety — the number of shootings, as oppose to the number of entirely successful gun murders.  Let’s not reward bad aim, or good doctoring.

At least the public has alternative sources of information, now that cops are blogging.  Second City Cop speculates about other possible explanations for the alleged “drop in crime”:

Are there any actuaries out there who can determine the per capita rate of homicides? We lost at least 200,000 people in the recent census, and since rates are measured in terms of crimes per 100,000, is this a real drop in crime or just a statistical equivalent? And are we still doing that thing with people shot during robberies? And the other thing that negates the FBI ever using Chicago numbers in their crime stats because they’re so hinky?

SCC’s commenters (also cops) knock a little more gild off the lily:

What about property crimes? Criminal damage reports? Thefts? And what of the clearance rates, esp. for violent crimes, like robberies? Oh, I forgot, robberies are property crimes, acc. to Cline.

Crime has gone down for over 30 straight months with the shortage of cops? We don’t need any more cops. In fact lets get rid of all of them and let the animals run the asylum.

With severe police shortages, crime reports fall through the cracks.  So is the public “over-reacting” or is crime under-reported?

It also appears from the cop blogs that Chicago authorities are camouflaging crime numbers by classifying gun robberies as “property crime” instead of violent crime.  I imagine this sort of free pass gets carried over to Chicago courtrooms, where felons who stick guns in peoples’ faces get off easy because it’s just a “property” offense.  And remember all the criminals robbing other criminals who aren’t about to call 911, and the residents intimidated into silence.

Remember too the nine-year olds and eight-year olds and 12-year olds caught in the crossfire.  I don’t even think that’s a complete list from the past week.

How many violent crimes go unreported in a city like Chicago?  This demoralizing Chicago Tribune must-read offers some insights:

Whatever you do, don’t use my name, said the 83-year-old widow, and the fear in her voice was palpable. . .

We [the reporters] met a lot of longtime residents on many blocks fighting to hang on to and regenerate their communities. We wanted to tell their stories, but more often than not they would not let us if we used their names. They are terrified of retribution by the criminal elements — gangs and drug dealers — whose activities mushroomed in the newly vacant houses around them. . . “It’s like young people are berserk around here,” said the elderly widow. “It’s like they’re destroying themselves. Practically every other night or so, we hear shooting just west or east of us, or in the alley. It sounds so close, it scares you.”  She has lived in her house for 54 years, one of the early black families to move into the community. . . After years of watching, [the elderly residents] know by sight most of the players in the nightly drama. The one they fear most is a soft-spoken boss of street crews selling drugs.  “He is just an ordinary-looking person,” said one of the block club’s men. “He doesn’t dress fancy or drive flashy cars. He is very quiet and usually very courteous with people on the street. But he is a vicious killer who is all business.

“Everybody knows who he is.”

If the drug boss knew people were reporting his activities to the police, club members agree he would strike back at them. It’s a frightening prospect because they say he calmly shot a man to death in front of witnesses near their block several years ago and walked away free. The fear of reprisal for reporting criminal activity seems well-founded. Police recognize that gangs and drug dealers plant their own people into community meetings as spies, taking notes on which residents speak out against illegal activity. Community policing experts tell residents to report crimes in strict privacy, not in public forums.

Does any of this sound like good news about the crime rate?  Is Chicago really getting safer, or is the opposite true, despite any temporary drop in murder stats?  The reporters here lay too much blame on the “subprime mortgage crisis,” instead of on the thugs or the justice system that allows them to get away with murder, empty houses or no empty houses.  But, otherwise, the story serves as a fierce corrective to the “crime is down” boosterism coming out of city hall.  For the senior citizens trying to hold their neighborhoods together for the uptenth time in fifty years, it’s horror show:

They are terrified of retribution by the criminal elements — gangs and drug dealers — whose activities mushroomed in the newly vacant houses around them . . . crime problems didn’t seem epidemic, block club members say, until the recent foreclosures as a result of the subprime mortgage crisis.  According to the census, Englewood and West Englewood lost nearly 20,000 residents in the last decade. Now, 3,500 boarded-up houses and empty lots dot the communities

This actually confirms Second City Cop’s musing about population and statistics: high-crime areas experienced large population losses during the recent mortgage crisis.  So it might be that crime rates, adjusted for population, have not dropped at all.

Gee, you’d think some city statistician or publicly funded academic would have caught this.  No, they’re all far too busy denying the existence of crime and lobbying to empty the prisons.  Meanwhile, back on the block:

Because their street is quieter than nearby streets, the longtime residents say police don’t patrol their block as frequently as they do adjoining ones.  “The drug dealers and addicts know that,” said an 80-year-old woman who is also a longtime block club member. “The addicts buy their drugs around the corner and then park in their cars on our block to use their drugs and have their sexual encounters (to pay for drugs). At night, you know they are smoking crack from the blue flame that flares up.”

She talks despairingly of how the crime surge has changed her life.

“I don’t want shooting outside my house or out in the alley. I just want to go to the store and not be afraid, and to get on the bus without fear.”

Is crime really down? Or have the official statistics merely been pummeled by fear of reprisals and thinned by the cop shortage . . . then massaged by statisticians, pled down by attorneys, and shiatsu-ed again by academics, until that hard metal barrel pointed at someone’s face has metamorphosed into a property crime, or maybe just drug possession, if victims are too afraid, or too felonious, to come forward?

Then the anti-incarceration activists can claim that we need more “alternatives to prison” for all those “drug and non-violent offenders” who fill cells.  And the cycle starts over again.

Englewood Neighborhood, Chicago (Terrence Antonio James, Chicago Tribune / July 10, 2011)

Disappearing Adria Sauceda: The Nun, The SNAP, The Law Professor, The President, His Newspaper and the U.N. Defend Torture-Killer Humberto Leal

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The Nun:

This is rapist and murderer Humberto Leal, mugging for the camera beside one of his many supporters, Sister Germaine Corbin.  Not included in the picture?  Sixteen-year old Adria Sauceda.

Adria can’t mug for cameras with nuns because she’s dead.  Not just dead — gang-raped, then kidnapped, tortured, raped, and beaten to death in the desert, her skull crushed with repeated blows from a 40 pound slab of asphalt, her body violated by a fifteen inch broken stick.

But he looks like such a nice boy.  Look at the nun’s smile.

Nuns minister to murderers and Catholics oppose the death penalty.  And so it should be.

But photos like this have nothing to do with ministering to a soul: this is public relations calculatedly erasing the memory of another soul — Adria Sauceda — disappearing her and placing Leal in her place.  Humberto Leal’s supporters — who include the President — want to turn Leal into a mere victim of America’s “vicious and unfair” justice system.  The only way to do this is to lie about the legal record and erase the evidence of his crime, namely an innocent sixteen-year old girl named Adria.  A shopworn way of scrubbing such human evidence is to plaster airwaves with photos of the killers looking shy and boyish in the presence of beaming nuns.

I have a modest suggestion for avoiding such deceptions in the future: the next time Sister Corbin wants to play Helen Prejean by clasping hands for the cameras with someone like this, she should use her other hand to hold up a picture of the victim.  Then things like facts and what is really at stake will not be buried behind the smiles.

A picture of murder victim Adria Sauceda, held in her parents’ hands

The SNAP:

Shamefully, SNAP, the Survivor Network of Those Abused by Priests, has also come out in Humberto Leal’s defense, because, they claim, he was molested by a priest.  But they don’t stop there: in their eagerness to climb into bed with Leal’s Bernadine Dohrn-connected defense team (see below), SNAP is actually promoting the defense’s risible claims of Leal’s innocence.  Their statement of support completely whitewashes Garcia’s crimes, a stunningly cynical act by a group that claims to exist in order to . . . oh, oppose the official whitewashing of sexual crimes:

Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, National Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests [contact info deleted].  We wholeheartedly support efforts to postpone the execution of Humberto Leal, and to try and protect kids from Fr. Federico Fernandez, through both secular and church channels.  We believe it is possible, even likely, that Fernandez could be criminally prosecuted, but only if Catholic and Texas authorities aggressively seek out others who saw, suspected or suffered the priest’s crimes. Delaying Mr. Leal’s execution is just and fair and would help this outreach process.

The whitewashing doesn’t end there.  SNAP uses their website to promote a discredited version of Leal’s “innocence.”  This version has been rejected repeatedly by the courts.  Worse, it intentionally minimizes the circumstances of the murdered girl’s suffering.  Here is SNAP’s version, quoting a wildly inaccurate article by someone named Brandi Grissom, who happens to be an anti-death penalty activist writing as a journalist for an online paper.  I’m quoting extensively here to offer some background, but the last paragraph’s the kicker:

One of [a priest’s] alleged victims is Humberto Leal, a death row inmate who in 1995 was convicted of raping and bludgeoning to death a 16-year-old girl. His attorneys this week filed a clemency petition on his behalf. They asked Gov. Rick Perry and the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles to stay his execution and allow him to testify both as a victim and a witness of abuses allegedly perpetrated decades ago by Father Federico Fernandez, who served at St. Clare’s from 1983 to 1988.

Now, others who attended St. Clare’s have been spurred by Mr. Leal’s recent revelations to come forward and report similar abuse. They hope that by telling their stories they can stop the July 7 execution of Mr. Leal, and spur law enforcement to investigate and prosecute Father Fernandez.

The priest, who currently works in a church in Bogotá, Colombia, denies ever abusing anyone.

Church authorities in San Antonio removed him from the parish and sent him to New Mexico for treatment in 1988 after a grand jury indicted him for sexually abusing two other boys. In statements to police, the boys described multiple occasions when Father Fernandez schemed to get them alone and groped them. After the indictment, the boys’ family reached a settlement with the church, and the young men decided not to testify. Charges against Father Fernandez were dropped, and terms of the settlement were sealed.

Even before Father Fernandez arrived at St. Clare’s, he had been accused of sexual misconduct. In 1983, San Antonio police charged him with exposing himself in public, though the charges were eventually dropped. And since Mr. Leal’s revelation, others who attended St. Clare’s have reported similar abuse. . .

As is usually the case in a criminal matter, the facts of what led to Mr. Leal facing execution next month are in dispute — all, that is, except that Adria Sauceda was raped and murdered. Mr. Leal maintains he did not rape the girl and witnesses testified at his trial that she had been gang raped at a party. Witnesses told the authorities that Mr. Leal arrived at the scene and, outraged at what had happened to her, took her away from the party. He admitted that he and Ms. Sauceda physically fought after they left, and that she could have died after he pushed her and she hit her head on a rock. The police found her body about 100 yards from the location of the party.

Hit her head on a rock  . . . as he was rescuing her!  Gee, this Leal guy sounds like he might be innocent, doesn’t he?  And this is SNAP, after all, and they stand beside victims who have had their sexual assaults pushed under rocks, as it were.

Let’s be very, very clear about what SNAP is doing.  They are attempting to deny that Adria Sauceda was raped — again — by Leal as he bludgeoned her to death.  They are using their credibility as a rape victims’ rights organization to say that Leal’s kidnapping and rape of Sauceda may not have occurred.

And this is a rape victims’ rights organization.  Jesus wept, though not just this one time: I’ve seen similar ugliness in other victims’ rights groups hijacked by advocates for offenders.

Regarding the rape, SNAP forgot something.  They forgot the stick.  After the child was taken from the party by Leal, she was raped with a stick.  A jagged stick with screws sticking out of it, to be precise, which, to be even more precise — let’s say discerning — was used on Adria Sauceda while she was still alive.  That’s rape, and SNAP, of all bloody organizations, should know that, rather than quibbling over the number of times a dead girl was violated.  What, are they the only victims who ever matter?  Where is their membership regarding this obscenity?

With this decision to publicly support Leal, and to support him in the way they have chosen, SNAP’s leadership has made itself vulnerable to a common accusation — that they are just left-wing activists using the molestation crisis to attack the growing sexual conservatism of the Catholic Church.  I discount these accusations when they come from people who are themselves busy downplaying the reach of the molestation issue (particularly the cover-ups).  The absurd John Jay “hippies made us do it” “study” is one example of cover-up that discredits its advocates, for example.

But with this swift move by SNAP, such exploitation of victims is full circle now.  As usual, the people left out in the cold are the ones unfortunate enough to have been raped or murdered by one politically protected group or another.

What we’re actually witnessing here is the mundane drumbeat of insinuation, as yet another victims-rights group centrifuges its values and joins its opponents in picking and choosing among victims to support.  In a broader sense, I blame this sort of ethical slippage on the many political satisfactions of “hate crimes” laws, which codify and reward the act of valuing some victims over others.  Once identity politics is larded into sentencing, and activism, it’s easy to throw less politically useful crime victims out with the trash.

Here is the real record of the evidence, from Pro-Death Penalty a serious website that deserves serious attention, especially from those who hold that the death penalty itself is universally insupportable on religious or ethical grounds.  It is especially important for these types of death penalty opponents (I count myself one) to witness the whole truth, to not push away facts, or fall for outrageous claims of innocence, or pose for color glossies with sick sadists, or violate one’s mission statement to defend certain victims by helping bury others.

I encourage you to read the entire story at Pro-Death Penalty, because it catalogs the disturbing censorship by virtually every news agency — and activists at SNAP, among others.  Pro-Death Penalty quotes Texas Attorney General Gregg Abbot.  This passage is long, and painful to read: please remember it as you see the whitewashing of this crime in every media source over the next week:

[A] witness testified that an unidentified male invited him to have intercourse with Adria. The same witness testified that he later observed another man carrying a disoriented Adria to a truck, where he “had his way with her.” Twenty-three-year-old Humberto Leal was also at the party. At some point the intoxicated but conscious victim was placed in Leal’s car. Leal and Adria left together in Leal’s car. About thirty minutes later, Leal’s brother arrived at the party in a car which came to a screeching halt. Leal’s brother was very excited or hysterical. Leal’s brother started yelling to the people left at the party, “What the hell happened!” Leal’s brother was yelling that Leal came home with blood on him saying he had killed a girl. Two of the trial witnesses were present when Leal’s brother made these statements. Shortly thereafter Leal’s brother left in a rush. Several of the party members went looking for Adria in the same area where the party was. They found her nude body lying face-up on a dirt road. They noticed Adria’s head had been bashed in and it was bleeding. Her head was flinching or jerking. These party members called the police. When the police arrived, they saw the nude victim lying on her back. There was a 30 to 40 pound asphalt rock roughly twice the size of Adria’s skull lying partially on Adria’s left arm. Blood was underneath this rock. A smaller rock with blood on it was located near Adria’s right thigh. There was a gaping hole from the corner of Adria’s right eye extending to the center of her head from which blood was oozing. Adria’s head was splattered with blood. There was a bloody and broken stick approximately 14 to 16 inches long with a screw at the end of it protruding from [her body]. Another 4 to 5 inch piece of the stick was lying to the left side of Adria’s skull. The police made a videotape of the crime scene portions of which were admitted into evidence. Later that day, the police questioned Leal. Leal gave two voluntary statements.

Remember this part: it is important, in the context of President Obama’s defense of Leal.  Yes, that President Obama.

In Leal’s first statement he said he was with Adria in his car when she began hitting him and the steering wheel causing him to hit a curb. Leal attempted to calm her down but Adria leaped from Leal’s car and ran away. Leal claimed he sat in his car and waited about ten or fifteen minutes to see if Adria would return and when she did not he went home. After giving this statement, Leal was informed that his brother had also given a statement. Leal then gave another statement. In this statement, Leal claimed he followed Adria when she got out of his car and ran away. Leal claimed Adria attacked him. Leal pushed her and she fell to the ground. When she did not get up Leal attempted to wake her but could not. He then looked at her nose and saw bubbles. Leal stated he got scared, went home, prayed on the side of his mom’s bed and told family members what had happened, claiming it was just an accident. After giving this statement an officer gave Leal a ride home. The police searched Leal’s house. The police seized a blouse which contained several blood stains, hair and fibers. This blouse was later identified as belonging to Adria. The police also seized Leal’s clothing from the night before. Leal was arrested later that afternoon at his home. Leal’s car was also impounded. The police conducted Luminol tests of the passenger door to determine whether any blood was evident. Blood stains were discovered on the passenger door and seat. Detectives testified that the blood stains were streaked in a downward motion, indicating that the blood had been wiped off.  There was insufficient residue to conduct a blood typing of the stains on the vehicle. Other DNA evidence was found on the underwear Leal was wearing that night. That evidence consisted of blood as well as bodily fluid. The DNA test did not preclude Adria’s blood type from the evidence tested. Dr. DiMaio, the medical examiner who performed the autopsy, testified about Adria’s injuries and cause of death. DiMaio testified that even though Adria was intoxicated when she received her injuries, she would have been aware of what was happening to her. In addition to Adria’s massive head injuries, DiMaio testified about injuries Adria received to her chest and shoulder which were consistent with having been inflicted by the stick found in Adria’s vagina. DiMaio also testified about the defensive wounds Adria received to her hands trying to protect herself from some object. DiMaio also testified Adria was alive when the stick was placed in her vagina. Adria’s neck also contained injuries consistent with manual strangulation. DiMaio testified Adria received some of her injuries while standing up. Adria received her head injuries while lying flat. The injuries to Adria’s head were due to blows from the front. These injuries were inconsistent with a fall. Adria’s head injuries were consistent with Adria lying on the ground with somebody standing over her striking her. DiMaio testified the large rock could have delivered the injuries to Adria’s head. Based on the injuries to Adria’s head, DiMaio testified Adria would had to have been struck with the rock two or three times. DiMaio testified Adria died from blunt force trauma injuries to the head. DiMaio could not say for certain that the rock caused the injuries. He testified Adria was beaten about the face with a blunt object or more than one object which could have been the rock or something else. On cross-examination, DiMaio testified that one blow from the rock could have caused Adria’s death. DiMaio also testified about bite marks he found on Adria’s left cheek, the right side of her neck and the left side of her chest. Another witness compared the bite marks on Adria’s chest and neck with dental impressions of Leal’s teeth. They matched. The State’s indictment charged that Leal killed Sauceda while in the course of and attempting either to kidnap her or to commit aggravated sexual assault. Leal was convicted and, after a separate punishment phase, sentenced to death.

Nice work, SNAP.

The Law Professor:

Meanwhile, in the courts, the whitewashing of Adria Sauceda’s murder continues, cradled in the hands of experts trained in such ugly arts.

Humberto Leal’s defense attorney, Sandra L. Babcock, of the terrorist-sheltering law school at Northwestern University, has an interesting vitae.  Ms. Babcock’s research interest is imposing international law on the American justice system, a hobby she practices with her colleague, terrorist-cum-law-professor Bernadine Dohrn.  In 2008, Babcock and Dohrn worked “tirelessly” together to get Chicago’s city council to pass a resolution signing on to the U.N. Convention for the Rights of the Child.  Of course, such things always sound nice.

In 2003, along with the A.C.L.U., The Jimmy Carter Center, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, the Center for Constitutional Rights, and the Open Society Institute, Sandra Babcock, Bernadine Dorhn, and Van Jones (he’s listed as “invited”) participated in an A.C.L.U. sponsored conference called Human Rights at Home: International Law in U.S. Courts (program here). The purpose of the conference was to find ways to insinuate international (read: United Nations) laws and resolutions in American legal arenas, as Sandra Babcock is attempting to do to free her client, Humberto Leal.  From the conference program:

The conference will familiarize lawyers and advocates with international human rights treaties, laws and organizing strategies that can strengthen domestic social justice work by:
* Ensuring U.S. accountability for violating international human rights principles in additional to domestic constitutional ones
* Providing new, affirmative protections for workers, poor people, immigrants, and victims of discrimination
* Linking multiple issues to address problems that intersect race, gender, and poverty
* Connecting local advocacy to global struggles

As per her academic research and this movement, Babcock is now claiming that the police failed to inform Leal of his right to Mexican consular support when he was arrested.  Allegedly, this failure violated the rules of the International Court of Justice at the Hague: Leal, as a “Mexican national,” should have simply been able to call “his” embassy and the entire mess — the body, the rock, the stick, the bloody clothes, et. al. could be whisked away like some New Guinean ambassador’s parking tickets.

But there’s one little problem: Humberto Leal has lived in the United States, apparently illegally, since he was two.  Talk about wanting it both ways: Leal was an American until the moment he murdered Adria Sauceda.  That changed in the brief space between bashing in a young girl’s head and wiping down the doors of his car.  Now he’s a “Mexican national,” a term everyone from the President to the New York Times to “human rights” organizations (Leal’s rights, not Sauceda’s) is using with no irony and no explanation, as they lobby to cloak a killer in layers of special privileges while simultaneously lobbying to prevent police from inquiring about immigration status.

Get it?  The police will have to determine if someone is a foreign citizen in order to offer them consular rights, but they’ll also be forbidden to ask if someone is a foreign citizen in the interest of not discriminating against illegal immigrants, a lovely Catch 22 dreamed up by academics.  This cliff we’re careening towards is permanent demotion of Americans’ legal rights on their own soil.  If President Obama, his friend Bernadine Dohrn, and Jimmy Carter get their way, the police are going to find their hands tied in ten different ways, and our criminal justice system will soon be utterly subservient to whatever the hell they dream up at the U.N.

Expect more Humberto Leals.

Why isn’t the president of Mexico (or, say, America) calling for justice for Adria Sauceda?  Is that so difficult to conceive?

In an excellent article in American Thinker, David Paulin writes:

In Mexico, ordinary citizens can expect little from their country’s criminal justice system; it’s not a place where they can count on receiving justice.  So it is surprising that Mexicans on death row in the U.S. can expect so much from their government.  Americans, moreover, have always fared badly when caught in Mexico’s criminal justice system; it’s one of the risks of going to Mexico, and international law does not seem to offer additional guarantees of safety to visitors going there.  Yet in this case and others, Mexico presents itself as a paragon of virtue, committed to the lofty ideals of international law that Texas and other U.S. states are ignoring.

In 2004, Mexico sent its top legal talent to the International Court of Justice in The Hague — and complained about 51 of its citizens being on death rows in various U.S. states; none, they complained, had been advised that their government was prepared to offer them top lawyers for their defense.

That Hague court ruled that the U.S. was indeed bound by the treaty — prompting President George W. Bush to ask the states to apply it and review cases involving Mexican citizens awaiting death sentences.  However, Gov. Perry was unimpressed.  He refused to grant a stay-of-execution for Jose Medellin, 33, an illegal immigrant from Mexico found guilty in the 1993 rape-strangulation of two teenage Houston girls, Jennifer Ertman and Elizabeth Peña.  Instead, Medellin was executed, despite having never been informed that Mexico was ready to provide him with a great lawyer.

The President and His Newspaper

In order to really disappear Adria Sauceda, fully and truly, you need more than bunches of law professors and activists: you need the media.  The New York Times does not disappoint.  The Times gawkingly refers to Humberto Leal merely as a “Mexican citizen,” as if he wandered over the border one day and ended up smashing a girl’s head in with a rock, his decades of residency in the U.S. tacitly denied.  As they put it:

Mr. Leal, a Mexican citizen, was not immediately informed of his right, under an international treaty signed by the United States, to seek assistance “without delay” from Mexican consular officials in navigating a confusing foreign legal system.  Such help might have been crucial for someone like Mr. Leal who, his lawyers say, had few resources and a limited understanding of his plight.

Poor guy: maybe he didn’t speak English and got lost looking for directions back to the embassy.

Or, maybe people like Northwestern University Law Professor Sandra Babcock have just gotten so used to lying, of not being challenged by the paper of record that they simply don’t expect to be called on even the most astonishing deceptions.  Babcock’s statement is a cringing embarrassment for the Times and Northwestern Law School (which, as Bernadine Dohrn’s employer, admittedly short circuited their ability to blush decades ago).

But Babcock’s Times quote goes beyond lying.  It is direct, false accusation of everyone involved in the Leal conviction, from the police who arrived at the murderer’s house to the U.S. Court of Appeal for the 5th Circuit, which, David Paulin writes, strongly affirmed Leal’s guilt.

Luckily for Ms. Babcock, her accommodating and incurious pals at the Times do not cite the appeals record.  Nor do they interview anyone who might disagree with her fable of “foreigner” Leal’s Bread-and-Chocolate disorientation with the country where he has lived since he was in diapers.  The word of one academician who grotesquely fibbed her way through two previous paragraphs apparently trumps our entire appellate legal system:

“This was an eminently defendable case, and I don’t think it would have been a capital case if he’d had decent trial counsel” from the start, said Sandra L. Babcock, a Northwestern University law professor representing Mr. Leal on behalf of the Mexican government.

Contrast this with the brief summary of Leal’s appeals compiled by John G. Winder.  Brief, but too long to list here.  Would it be too much for the Times to acknowledge that Leal has had at least 45 different hearings and appeals?

Maybe the Times is just practicing for the time when decisions about American justice are being made in the Netherlands, or 760 United Nations Plaza. In any case, reporter Brian Knowlton blithely allows a passel of activists to insist, one after the other, that Leal’s defense was insufficient, without once mentioning those 45 hearings.

Reading Times articles like this one does have its advantages.  It is amazing, the things you can learn when observing activists in their own natural surroundings.  Mexico’s justice system may be incapable of staunching the flow of blood on their own streets, but they’re spending millions of dollars defending outsourced child rapists and murderers from the vagaries of American jurisprudence:

Early assistance in murder cases also matters, said Noah Feldman [continuing the ‘poor Humberto’ meme], a Harvard law professor: [sic] Prosecutors know that seeking the death penalty is a long, difficult, expensive process, and they carefully weigh their chances. Knowing that the accused will be well represented could tip the balance away from seeking death, he said.

With that sort of idea in mind, Mexico in 1999 created an ambitious legal assistance program to aid its citizens in capital cases. The program’s director, Gregory Kuykendall, now heads a team of 32 lawyers; in the year ending in May, Mexico spent $3.5 million on the program, according to the Sunlight Foundation, which focuses on government accountability.

Richard Dieter, executive director of the private Death Penalty Information Center, said Mexico’s active legal support had probably contributed to a decline in death penalty cases in Texas. “I think part of it is just better representation,” he said. “Mexico gives advice to other countries about how to do this.”

So if you want to come to America to rape and murder young women, either tomorrow or some time in 2028, it’s best to get Mexican citizenship first.

However, also according to the Times, the U.S. is not far behind Mexico in preparing the ground, as it were, for the future transition to governance by the United Federation of Planets:

The State Department has held hundreds of training sessions across the country to familiarize federal, state and local law-enforcement officials with the Vienna treaty and has issued a 144-page booklet outlining the requirements, with translations in 20 languages, including Creole and Cambodian.

Written, of course, by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the same “private” organization paid a pretty taxpayer dime to decide and then tell us stuff like why it is that some crimes are called hate crimes and some crimes are just bashing in a young girl’s head while raping her with a stick.  It’s not how laws are written and passed by elected legislative bodies, you see.  What really matters is the opinion of experts like law professors, Eric Holder, the IACP, the United Nations, and the Hague.

At the end of this dark, long road to dismantling the American Justice System, there lies — what?  The District Court of the United Nations Human Rights Council?  The fact that President Obama has joined forces with the United Nations to side with Humberto Leal and against our own courts is terrifying. In the wake of the Casey Anthony verdict, it has also gone unnoticed.  Justice for Adria Sauceda and Caylee Anthony?  Not in this America.

Marilyn Buck, Cop Killer: Five Less Than Six Degrees of Separation From Barack Obama

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This is Marilyn Buck, cop-killer, friend of cop-killer Mumia Abu Jamal, also friend (rather, indicted co-conspirator) of un-indicted co-conspirators Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn, who are personal friends of President Obama, who paroled Buck from prison despite the fact that she had decades more to serve for multiple shootings and bombings, including the 1981 Brinks Robbery that left two innocent police and a security guard dead.

It’s a small world after all.

These are the policemen and security guard killed in the Brinks robbery:

Officer Waverly “Chipper” Brown

Sgt. Edward O’Grady

Brinks Security Guard Peter Paige

Marilyn Buck has become a hero among Leftists.  They’ll tell you it’s because she was a “freedom fighter” or a “Marxist anti-imperialist poet,”  but it’s really because she was unrepentant about killing police and bombing buildings.  Here is one of the many tributes to Marilyn Buck, who developed terminal cancer after her parole date was set:

Here are some people holding hands in remembrance of her “spirit.”  I wonder if any of them are thinking of Peter Paige, Edward O’Grady and Chipper Brown.

Look, more terrorists.

Laura Whitehorn, Susan Rosenberg, Marilyn Buck

Gosh, where do you think they are, on the beach?  They’re in prison.  Or rather, they were in prison.  Then Bill Clinton pardoned the terrorist in the middle, who came out and wrote what is perhaps the whiniest memoir of her generation, which is saying quite a lot (George Russell has a great review here).  The terrorist on the left got cut loose early during the Clinton administration, too.  Obama freed Buck last year.

Here is a picture of the terrorist in the middle speaking at a prestigious international writing conference after Bill Clinton pardoned her.  Why did he pardon her?

Here is a picture of Marilyn Buck with her good friend who is a law professor at Emory University.  Lots of people associated with the Black Panthers and the Weather Underground and the BLA became college professors or law professors and they all seem to have won PEN prizes for their horrible and silly poetry.  Buck, who could not versify her way out of a wet paper bag, won three PEN awards (see here and here for more ethical decision-making by PEN).

Kathleen Cleaver and Marilyn Buck

Here is a terrorist who became a law professor at Northwestern University, with her husband the terrorist who now holds a prestigious post as the Vice President for Curriculum Studies of the American Educational Research Association, where he helps decide what children will be taught in schools.  By the way, he’s also a self-described sexual radical, which doesn’t seem to have harmed his career in elementary education:

Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn

Interestingly, Bill Ayers was named Chicago Citizen of the Year in 1997, when he was working with a young lawyer named Barack Obama . . . for the work he did with Barack Obama.  But Bernadine Dohrn really seems to have been the brain trust, which comes across in this creepy documentary.  Dohrn isn’t just a law professor: she has long been a suspect in the unsolved bombing murder of a San Francisco police officer.

Sgt. Brian V. McDonnell

Isn’t it odd how the black-and-white photos of the murdered police seem to be from some long-ago era?  That’s because they died.  They didn’t grow old and walk on beaches or hang out with international celebrities at writing conferences or receive special favors from presidents or acquire academic posts they never really earned . . . but for the invisible line on the vitae for the right type of bomb-throwing.

You know: aim at police.

So why have all these terrorists been set free by Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, or never prosecuted in the first place?  “Guilty as hell, free as a bird, America is a great country,” Ayers notoriously told David Horowitz.  On September 11, 2001, he smirked out from the pages of the New York Times under a headline that read No Regrets for a Love of Explosives.  That morning, Joe Trombino, one of the Brinks employees who survived the 1981 attack, was killed in the Twin Towers.

Marilyn Buck, the unrepentant, paroled, dead terrorist and cop-killer, is well on her way to being anointed a minor Ché.  She’s got the face.  The Center for Constitutional Rights celebrates her — celebrates a cop-killer — as do many other activists and academicians.

~~~

************My report on the circumstances of Marilyn Buck’s parole and the people who support her, Releasing Terror: The Rehabilitation of Marilyn Buck, can be found at America’s Survival, along with information about at-large cop-killer Joanne Chesimard and other American terrorists.********************************

Mumia Abu-Jamal and Marty Hittleman: California Teachers Endorse a Cop Killer, Get Caught, Blame Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker

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Question: What’s worse than a teacher’s union voting to support a cold-blooded cop killer? Answer: A teacher’s union voting to support a cold-blooded cop killer, then making up all sorts of lame excuses to the cop’s widow before hanging up on her, then running to their membership to tell an entirely different story to justify their behavior . . . by pointing fingers at  Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, who, according to the California Federation of Teachers union, is forcing teachers 2000 miles away support a cop killer.

Marty Hittelman, President, California Federation of Teachers

You can’t see it in this photo, but his pants are on fire.

Two weeks ago, Kyle Olson at the site Big Government broke the troubling story about the California Teacher’s Union renewing their support for convicted cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal.  Three decades ago, Abu-Jamal gunned down police officer Daniel Faulkner.  Although the courts have permitted Abu-Jamal scores of reviews, the conviction unambiguously stands.  For background on the Mumia case and factual information and myth debunking rarely reported anymore, go to DanielFaulkner.com, the website run by Faulkner’s widow.

Support for Mumia goes way back in academic circles. In 1995, 1998, and 2000, academics took out full-page pro-Mumia ads in the New York Times. Which academics?  All the usual suspects, including Frances Fox-Pivens, whose prominence in this and other causes gives the lie to her current complaint that she was merely an anonymous scholar toiling in the stacks until Glen Beck made her a household name.  Along with Pivens, academicians who put their names in the Times on the pro-cop-killing side of the ledger include: Howard Zinn (of course), Henry Louis Gates (of course), Cornel West, Noam Chomsky, Jonathan Kozol, Angela Davis, Toni Morrison, Herbert Aptheker, Peter Matthiessen, Patricia J. Williams and Sonia Sanchez (of course, of course, of course, of course).

And hundreds more.  The California Teacher’s Union has long been pro-Mumia — in certain like-minded circles, mind you.  But now that the internet is helping get this news to the public, and thus less sympathetic audiences, the union is crying foul . . . about people actually finding out about their prima facie public act of supporting Mumia.

Weird.  Isn’t the point of voting for a resolution or taking out an ad in a newspaper getting attention?  Apparently not for the CFT.  It’s one thing to grandstand in an echo chamber; it’s something quite different to have your controversial actions blazoned in the hard light of day.  And so, union president Marty Hittelman has been flailing around, accusing journalists of participating in some conspiracy against him for merely reporting on the CFT’s public policy platform.

Maureen Faulkner

Hittelman also lashed out at Daniel Faulkner’s widow, a pretty stupid move considering her proven (and tragically well-worn) capacity to defend herself.  Maureen Faulkner, a hero of mine, pulled no punches in her encounter with Hittelman last week:

Thursday, I called and spoke with Marty Hittelman, president of the California Federation of Teachers, to inquire if I had the facts straight regarding its endorsement of the murderer of my husband.

During my brief conversation with Mr. Hittelman, I calmly asked him if he knew what happened the night my husband was murdered. He replied that he did not know and “he has not read any of the transcripts” yet, he believes “Abu-Mumia deserves a third trial.”

He told me that the resolution (by the teachers) only took one minute and he had not personally voted on it. I responded that it may have only taken one minute but the continuing trials, appeals and propaganda have resulted in many years of emotional distress for me and my family. He replied, “I’m sure it has.”

He also said this wasn’t supposed to get out into the press, asking, How did you find out about this?” I replied that I found out through the newspapers and told him, “You have no idea what victims go through when they lose a loved one to murder.” At this point, Hittelman hung up on me!

“How did you find out about this?”  What a buffoon.  You’d think Hittelman would have learned a few things since his last media wipeout, when he infamously compared the charter school movement to “lynch mobs,” then dug that hole even deeper by defending his choice of words using even less choice words.  Here is Hittelman quoted in Intercepts blog:

What’s a lynch mob? It’s when a bunch of angry citizens get together and without any study they decide to lynch somebody. And in this case (the measure), they’re going to lynch their school. If you want to call them a lynch mob, you can, but basically what they’re doing is lynching the school and all the teachers who will be fired and all the kids who will have to go to a different school.

Let me see if I can illustrate Hittelman’s thought processes:

school choice  =  lynch mob

media coverage = right-wing conspiracy

defending a cop-killer = educator union job

But, there’s more. The excellent Intercepts blog observes that Hittelman has long been deeply involved in pro-Mumia activities for at least a decade.  So he was feigning ignorance when he told Maureen Faulkner he knew little about the case.  From Intercepts:

It’s curious that Hittelman would claim to have not read “any of the transcripts” since he figures prominently in a May 2000 press release by the Educators for Mumia Abu-Jamal attempting to raise funds for newspaper ads (like this one that appeared in the New York Times) advocating for a new trial. He was also a signatory to the ad. Educators for Mumia Abu-Jamal [which] still exists, and Hittelman’s name still appears on the organization’s “list of supporters.”

Hittelman’s behavior places educators in California in a very difficult place.  If they don’t do something about their union president, his actions will continue to represent them.  Imagine being a student whose parent or sibling was killed by some violent thug like Mumia, knowing that the teacher sitting in the front of your classroom is officially supporting the release of a killer.  Imagine being a cop’s kid walking into a school where every single teacher is supporting people who kill cops.  That’s currently every classroom in California, a new definition of culture war.

The deception gets worse. Marty Hittleman downplayed the significance of the Mumia resolution when he spoke with Maureen Faulkner, but he took a very different stance when explaining the pro-Mumia resolution to teachers themselves.  On the CFT website, the official line on the Mumia resolution is that it is crucial for union members to support the resolution because any criticism of the union’s action on Mumia is part of a concerted attack on unions by people like Dick Cheney.  Yes, Dick Cheney is part of the conspiracy:

A few weeks after the CFT convention, a conservative activist noticed that among the CFT resolutions—posted on our website—was one supporting a new trial for Mumia Abu Jamal, a man convicted nearly three decades ago of killing a police officer in Philadelphia.  This resolution was shared with a right wing “news” website founded by Dick Cheney, which promptly created an uproar in the conservative media machine . . .

The CFT reiterates that they believe Mumia didn’t receive a fair trial, despite Hittelman’s claim that he had not even reviewed the record of the case:

The CFT does not believe he received a fair trial, and everyone who is accused of a crime deserves a fair trial.

Any criticism of anything the unions do is an attack on all workers:

Unions were built through solidarity. We would not have the 8 hour day or minimum wage laws or the weekend if working people hadn’t stood in solidarity with one another, across the country, and with other groups of citizens concerned about democratic rights—much like what is occurring today in Wisconsin and other Midwestern states where workers’ collective bargaining rights are under attack by billionaires and their right wing politician friends. If due process rights are violated anywhere it is a concern of citizens in a democracy everywhere.

You see, according to Marty Hittelman, teachers ARE Mumia.  The union is equating educators with a cop-killer, and also saying that’s a noble thing.  Demonstrations of such feelings reveal the deep pathology of the pro-criminal left, and the existence of a critical mass of people in academia who fantasize constantly about being oppressed by “lynch mobs” of  “evil Americans.”  Part of the fantasy is believing that killers in prison are the only real victims, and that crime victims are hateful mobs, and that cops are violent liars who deserve it when they get shot.

So how do California police feel about the California teachers supporting a cop-killer? Brotherhood may run deep among unions, but not so deep that police are going to overlook the CFT resolution.  So Hittelman goes on a hysterical offensive, arguing that the real issue isn’t his union’s support for Mumia but the nefarious actions of Monopoly-piece bankers and other assorted fat cats who are trying to use the teachers’ Mumia platform to drive a wedge in worker’s solidarity:

For weeks in Wisconsin, teachers and police stood side by side with other unionists and their friends in the community in demonstrations, marches, and the occupation [sic] of the Capitol in Madison, protesting the outrageous anti-worker attack . . . The story about the CFT resolution, and the way it was spun, is part of a strategy to undermine the solidarity of public sector workers, especially police and teachers.  It is also yet another attempt to distract the public from the central story of our historical moment:  the crashing of our economy by the wealthy and their Wall Street banks; their continuing successful efforts to fight paying their fair share of taxes to support the public education and services everyone needs . . .

So you see, being critical of California teachers for supporting a cop killer is oppression.  Meanwhile, according to Daniel Flynn, the (national) Fraternal Order of Police is pretty unhappy with the (national) Federation of Teachers over the California union’s actions:

On April 14, FOP National President Chuck Canterbury issued a scathing letter to American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten.  In part, it read:

I cannot understand why the CFT, which like us represents rank-and-file employees, would support a murderer.  In fact, Abu-Jamal’s victim was a rank-and-file law enforcement officer and a member of F.O.P. Local Lodge #5 in Philadelphia.  I can only assume that the membership did so out of ignorance of the facts or that they were misled by this killer’s propaganda machine.  I want to set the record straight and would respectively, yet urgently, request that you and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) publicly reject this repugnant resolution.

According to Flynn, the Federation of Teachers isn’t budging, and there are now plans to pass a national resolution supporting Mumia.  Soon, teachers in every state may be throwing their support behind a brutal, unrepentant cop-killer.  And they should be taken at their word when they do it, like everyone who makes this choice, no matter if they try to weasel out of it in settings where such attitudes are inconvenient.

Burglary is Not a Non-Violent Crime: In Oakland, It Isn’t Even a Crime

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Well, OK, that’s not exactly true. But in July, Oakland police announced that, due to budget problems, police will no longer respond to a long list of crimes, including residential burglary where the home invaders are unknown.

I’m sure it didn’t help that the city had to spend so much money responding to the recent liberation of sports shoes and consumer electronics in the name of Oscar Grant.

Shoe Locker Looter Wearing an Oscar Grant Mask

That’s a lot of money that could be spent on doing things like protecting people’s property, going instead to prevent protesters from destroying even more Mom and Pop franchises and delis and phone kiosks and other symbols of oppression.

Maybe there should be an enhanced penalty for premeditated rioting.

Meanwhile, want to train to become a burglar?  Move to Oakland.  Though I don’t recommend living there, because home insurance rates are about to shoot up.  For everyone, of course, not just burglars and looters.  Funny how that works.

I spent way too much time yesterday fruitlessly searching for a comment I’d seen on a police blog, one that perfectly sums up the dangers of lowering the bar on criminal behavior this way.  The commenter, a cop himself, was writing about the war on cops.  He pointed out that virtually every cop killer has repeatedly cycled through the court system, learning along the way that he could get away with practically anything.

Even more troubling, the widespread belief that so-called non-violent crimes like drug trafficking and residential burglary don’t merit prison terms is creating a generation of criminals who not only have no fear of consequences but actually feel entitled to commit crimes.  Whenever they find naive people to support them in their belief in these “rights,” they also feel more entitled to direct their resentment and rage at symbols of law enforcement, namely cops.

We should not underestimate the perniciousness of reinforcing the notion that it is “unjust” to punish people for things like breaking into other people’s houses.

Oakland has actually codified that mindset.

These trends are especially dangerous for women. Back when Georgia was implementing its DNA database by collecting DNA from all felons, not just sex offenders, something really shocking showed up in the first few hundred “hits” (where a felon’s sample matched previously unsolved crimes).  Many men who only had prior records for burglary or drugs or aggravated assault were identified as rapists in stranger rapes that had gone unsolved.

That begs a few questions, questions which, sadly, law professors and criminologists are utterly disinterested in asking.  Too bad, because they’re extremely relevant in the ongoing debate about prosecuting or not prosecuting certain crimes and how we choose to spend our shrinking justice budgets.

For example, how many of these men were previously caught committing rapes but were granted non-sex offense pleas by money-conscious prosecutors who didn’t think they could get rape charges to stick?  In one of his several trips to prison, my own rapist got more time for resisting arrest and B&E than for sexually assaulting another victim — more time for breaking into a window than a woman’s body — thanks to one such money-saving plea.  I’ve got a file cabinet stuffed with other examples of serial rapists — and serial killers — given multiple chances to rape and kill, thanks to routine, money-saving courtroom shortcuts.

They don’t call them “bargains” for nothing.  These types of offenders also now have enhanced abilities to do pre-assault dry runs in Oakland and other places that are ratcheting back law enforcement.

Now, with less enforcement of these lesser crimes, more serious offenders stand to get away with even higher quantities of violent crime.  A sex offender operating in Oakland can rest confident knowing that the police won’t be showing up to investigate his fishing expeditions.  Does anybody believe the that the tiny fraction of burglars who end up in a courtroom in Oakland won’t benefit from the downgrading of this crime?

And what is happening in Oakland is the future for everyone, the logical consequence of decades of pricing justice out of reach — for us non-offenders, that is.  We spend so much on largely useless “rehabilitation” and frivolous appeals that there is no money left to actually enforce the law.  This is how violent recidivists are made, and how cops get killed, and why the rest of us are forced to spend more and more of our money insuring our lives and looking over our shoulders.

In the 1990’s, elected officials were able to turn New York City around by doing precisely the opposite of what Oakland is doing today.  Expect opposite results, as well.

From Murder Bumps to Brain Scans: New Ways to Excuse Crime

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All this week, NPR is reporting on new genetic research to determine if some people have genes that make them kill people.

That is, if by “report” you mean shamelessly advocate and if by “genetic research” you mean paying expert witnesses to misrepresent academic findings in the courtroom.

Bradley Waldroup: Destined to Kill?

In the subtly-titled “Can Your Genes Make You Murder?” reporter Barbara Bradley Hagerty answers: Why of course, yes, if it will get that poor man in the trailer park off from shooting his wife’s best friend eight times and then hacking up his wife with a machete, and to heck with him being drunk and just deciding to do it!

When the police arrived at Bradley Waldroup’s trailer home in the mountains of Tennessee, they found a war zone. There was blood on the walls, blood on the carpet, blood on the truck outside, even blood on the Bible that Waldroup had been reading before all hell broke loose.

Note the “all hell broke loose” sentence construction, as if it wasn’t Waldroup doing something, but that something beyond his control was acting on him.  Like genes.  Or hell-ghosts.

Or maybe he became a zombie.

In other words, it took a mere one and a half sentences for Ms. Hagerty to start singing the defense attorney’s refrain of diminished capacity.

Assistant District Attorney Drew Robinson says that on Oct. 16, 2006, Waldroup was waiting for his estranged wife to arrive with their four kids for the weekend. He had been drinking, and when his wife said she was leaving with her friend, Leslie Bradshaw, they began to fight. Soon, Waldroup had shot Bradshaw eight times and sliced her head open with a sharp object. When Waldroup was finished with her, he chased after his wife, Penny, with a machete, chopping off her finger and cutting her over and over.

Ordinarily, this would be a slam-dunk murder conviction.  After all, it takes some time to pump eight bullets into an innocent woman and then tear around chopping up another one.  But then, enter the “experts”:

[Defense attorney Wylie] Richardson says he realized that the testimony at trial would be “very graphic.” The defense team, he says, did not try to dismantle the graphic evidence but rather sought to “give a broader and fuller picture of what that was.”  How to do that? The answer, it turned out, lay in Bradley Waldroup’s genes.

Wouldn’t that be “the defense said the answer lay in Bradley Waldroup’s genes”?  No?

Immediately, Richardson went to forensic psychiatrist William Bernet of Vanderbilt University and asked him to give Waldroup a psychiatric evaluation. Bernet also took a blood sample and brought it to Vanderbilt’s Molecular Genetics Laboratory. Since 2004, Bernet and laboratory director Cindy Vnencak-Jones have been analyzing the DNA of people like Waldroup.  They’ve tested some 30 criminal defendants, most of whom were charged with murder.

They’ve tested a whole 30 defendants since 2004.

They were looking for a particular variant of the MAO-A gene — also known as the warrior gene because it has been associated with violence. Bernet says they found that Waldroup has the high-risk version of the gene.

Oh no.  Not only does the killer have the Warrior Gene, he’s got the High Risk Warrior Gene!  And that’s not all.

“His genetic makeup, combined with his history of child abuse, together created a vulnerability that he would be a violent adult,” Bernet explains.

Remember when this used to be called phrenology?

You know, the discredited science of feeling people’s heads for things like “murder bumps” and promiscuity centers?

Boy, those Victorians sure were crazy.  And prejudiced, because, of course, phrenologists got busy fast dividing mankind into superior and inferior groupings by doing things like measuring people’s foreheads and noses, and you know where that ended up.

Phrenology also made policing easier, because you could simply categorize people by their physical characteristics and not wait for them to actually do anything wrong before sending them to the poorhouse.  Or Australia.

Thank goodness we’re far more advanced than those Victorians. Now we have experts convincing jurors that people can’t be held responsible for murders they actually did commit because their genes made them do it:

[Vanderbilt researcher William] Bernet cited scientific studies over the past decade that found that the combination of the high-risk gene and child abuse increases one’s chances of being convicted of a violent offense by more than 400 percent. He notes that other studies have not found a connection between the MAO-A gene and violence — but he told the jury that he felt the genes and childhood abuse were a dangerous cocktail.  “A person doesn’t choose to have this particular gene or this particular genetic makeup,” Bernet says. “A person doesn’t choose to be abused as a child. So I think that should be taken into consideration when we’re talking about criminal responsibility.”

So, essentially, Bernet “feels” a non-proven connection between violence and a gene that non-murderers also possess ought to mitigate culpability for violent acts.  Enough jurors bought this story:

[Juror] Debbie Beaty, says the science helped persuade her that Waldroup was not entirely in control of his actions.  “Evidently it’s just something that doesn’t tick right,” Beaty says. “Some people without this would react totally different than he would.”  And even though prosecutors tried to play down the genetic evidence, Beaty felt it was a major factor.  “A diagnosis is a diagnosis, it’s there,” she says. “A bad gene is a bad gene.”

Well, thank you, Dr. Beaty.

After 11 hours of deliberation, the jury convicted Waldroup of voluntary manslaughter — not murder — and attempted second-degree murder.  Prosecutor Drew Robinson was stunned.  “I was just flabbergasted. I did not know how to react to it,” Robinson says.  Nor did fellow prosecutor Cynthia Lecroy-Schemel. She worries that this sort of defense is the wave of the future.  “Anything that defense attorneys can have to latch onto to save their client’s life or to lessen their client’s culpability, they will do it,” Lecroy-Schemel says.  Waldroup’s attorney, Wylie Richardson, says she’s right.  “I would use it again” under the right circumstances, he says. “It seemed to work in this case.”

It seemed to work in this case. There’s a scientific standard we can all be proud of.

NPR’s Three-Part Series, Inside the Criminal Brain

Splitting (Other People’s) Hairs (Or Their Throats): David Oshinski, Amy Bach, Jimmy Carter, and Terry Gross Whitewash Wilbert Rideau’s Crimes

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This is Wilbert Rideau, Academy Award nominee, George Polk award winner, George Soros grant recipient, Jimmy Carter Center honoree, American Bar Association Silver Gavel winner, Grand Jury prize winner at Sundance, NPR commentator, journalist, Random House author, Terry Gross pal, friend of the famous and the rich . . . you get the picture.

Oh yeah, he also kidnapped three innocent people during a bank robbery in 1961, shot them all, and then stabbed the one young woman who couldn’t escape him after he “ran out of bullets,” as the second victim played dead and the third hid in a swamp.  He plunged a butcher knife into Julia Ferguson’s throat as she begged for her life.  Rideau later went on to claim that she wasn’t technically begging for her life, as part of Johnny Cochran’s successful 2005 bid to get him out of prison, but in this conveniently forgotten video, he tells a very different — and shocking — story about the crime.

When you read about people being released from death row, think of Rideau.  The real grounds for his release are typical — a gradual wearing-down of the justice system, manipulation of technicalities, re-trial after re-trial as victims and witnesses die or get forgotten — as, all the while, powerful activists and journalists make heroes out of the men who destroyed innocent people’s lives.

Rideau is unusual only because so many powerful and famous people decided to anoint him mascot status.  Terry Gross can’t stop aurally wriggling in his presence.  I tried to find a photograph of Julia Ferguson, but she has been entirely forgotten.

Random House, by the way, has been promoting Rideau’s book tour as an inspirational life story without mentioning his crimes.  Here is their warm and fuzzy description of their author.  The Jimmy Carter Center Facebook page, meanwhile, says that Rideau “has lived a more productive life in prison than most do outside.”  They write off the murder of Julia Ferguson as “a moment of panic during a botched bank robbery.”  Of course, it took more than “a moment” to hold up a bank at gunpoint, kidnap three people, drive them into the swamp, shoot them, chase them, catch one and slaughter her, but then again, that’s just former President Carter speaking up for justice from his human rights center again.

I don’t know anything about the author of this site, Billy Sinclair, but in addition the video he posts, he has a lot to say about the myths that reporters have invented, or swallowed whole, regarding Rideau.  As a fellow con and former colleague of Rideau, it’s especially interesting to read Sinclair’s take on Rideau’s self-aggrandizing tale of prison yard life — particularly because these stories are ostensibly what make the murderer so valuable to those of us who have, according to the Carter Center, wasted our lives by not bothering to kill anyone and then make up award-winning prison yard stories from behind bars.

I guess they don’t have video technology at the New York Times yet.  Nor New York University, where Rideau apologist David Oshinsky pens his prose.  I don’t know Jimmy Carter’s excuse, since he’s been on tv.  I guess one dead girl isn’t one too many dead girls too much to Carter.

Meanwhile, in the New York Times, NYU Professor David Oshinksy has just published a disturbingly dishonest review of murderer Wilbert Rideau’s book, In the Place of Justice.  The paper also ran a second worshipful review by Dwight Garner.  What’s striking about the two pieces (besides their redundancy — indicating the cult hero status of vicious killers like Rideau among denizens of the Times) is the lengths they go to in pretending to recreate Rideau’s brutal crime while leaving out or actually denying important facts.  If this is the new journalism — paying lip service to crimes before getting down to the main task of stroking the criminals — well, I’ll take the old journalism that simply denied the existence of the crime and the victims whole-cloth.

For it’s actually less degrading for victims and survivors to be ignored than to be forced to play bit parts in salacious spectacles like this one.  But beyond the little matter of human decency, the fact that Wilbert Rideau’s record is being increasingly whitewashed as time goes on speaks to the culpability of NPR, and the New York Times, and academic institutions like NYU that sponsor people like Oshinsky and Amy Bach, who calls the fatal injury to Julia Ferguson’s throat a “one inch cut.”  They’ve gone far beyond merely twisting the record to suit their purposes this time.  They’re publishing lies.

~~~

In the Place of Justice is not, as reasonable people might assume, a title that refers to what happened when activists got Rideau out of prison on a fourth try in 2005 — despite his undisputed kidnapping/murder of a young bank teller and shooting of two other victims in 1961.

No, it’s Rideau’s opinion of having to be locked up for such a triviality in the first place.

The murderer’s view is shared by scores of journalists and academicians who consider the skin color of Rideau’s victims (they were white) to be more significant than Rideau’s decision to shoot them (scores of minority murderers of other minorities do not receive such breathless adoration).  David Oshinski is only the latest in a long line of apologists who shamelessly rewrite history in order to advocate certain murderers’ side — an act that used to accurately be called racism, when it was just as wrongfully committed for the other side, but is now labeled “justice” when committed on behalf of vicious killers like Rideau.  Devaluing some people’s lives is justice, you see; devaluing others’ is injustice: that is where we are now.

We should have the integrity to acknowledge that, because it is preventing us from valuing all lives.

So the history prof (perhaps knee-deep in student essays that skim, not plumb, facts) must have decided this time that enough time has passed without the victims being heard from to pretend that the facts of Rideau’s crime were genuinely in doubt again.  Of course, the surviving victims weren’t given taxpayer-subsidized NPR gigs to flog and manipulate the airways for decades, either.  Oshinski’s description of the crime, laid in the fertile manure tilled by NPR and other activists, is as dishonest a performance as I’ve seen in print in a long time:

The details of his crime would be contested for decadesThere is agreement that Rideau robbed a bank at closing time, kidnapping the male manager and two female tellers. Rideau claimed he was about to release them when one of the women bolted out of the car and the manager tried to overpower him. Rideau opened fire, hitting all three as they fled. When one of the women rose to her feet, he writes, “I grabbed the knife, stabbed her and ran to the car.”  The surviving victims told a different story, insisting that Rideau had used his weapons at close range and that the woman he killed had begged for her life. [bold added]

Remember: passive language reeks cover-up of someone’s pain, and the killer’s culpability.

“There is agreement.”  And, “He was about to release them.”  “Opened fire, hitting all three.”  “The surviving victims told a different story.”  Distance, lie, distance, minimalization, misrepresentation.  In Oshinski’s version, the only fact we know is that Rideau robbed a bank and kidnapped three people: the rest is disputed, the professor claims.  Are there no standards in academia anymore?  Doesn’t this man have colleagues courageous enough to measure his words against the actual record?  You know, fact-check the historians representing their fine institution?

Of course the scores of activists who swarmed to Rideau’s cause were deeply invested in using whatever means possible to advance the idea that the details were contested.

That is, if by contested one means: self-satisfied people standing around cocktail parties one-upping each other at denying the victims’ suffering in an endless game of burnish-the-progressive-credentials.  But facts denied here aren’t really in dispute.  And the real story of Rideau’s release is very different from what Oshinski claims.

Let’s be clear about what Oshinski is playing at here: he is pretending that all that really matters — to the historical record as well as in the courts — is whether Rideau managed to shoot the people he was torturing when they were close to him or a little less close.  For good measure, he casts doubt on whether a dying girl begged for her life.  How nice.

I’ll be a little more direct in my review of his review : such agitprop denial of other people’s suffering is a moral obscenity.  For the New York Times to publish it is shameless.

For, of course, Rideau “told a different story” from the people he killed and tried to kill (except when he didn’t).  That story was rejected repeatedly until one jury committed nullification in 2005 because they believed that the history of racial discrimination was more important than Rideau’s actions in taking one life and trying to end two others.  So be it — that’s on their souls — and another blot on the jury system.  But the fact of what Rideau actually did to his victims was not contested.  Now it has been rewritten by two different men in the Times last week, the latest stage in the long rewriting on the victims’ backs.

Journalism as human rights violation.  Journalism as denial.  How much denial?  When a vehemently pro-criminal reporter like Adam Liptak bothers to report a less glowing story about the killer you’re whitewashing, you know you’re knee-deep in it.  Here is Liptak, writing in 2005:

Mr. Rideau has never denied that he robbed a Gulf National Bank branch in Lake Charles on Feb. 16, 1961, that he kidnapped three white employees of the bank or that he shot them on a gravel lane near a bayou on the edge of town. Two of the employees survived, one by jumping into the swamp, the other by feigning death. But Mr. Rideau caught and killed Julia Ferguson, a teller, stabbing in her in the heart.  The two sides at the trial last week agreed on those basic facts.

So what is not in dispute is that the shot victims tried to hide from Rideau, that he hunted them down and slaughtered the one he caught by stabbing her through the heart (heart? throat?).  Oshinski looks at this and natters on about “close range” versus distance.  How dehumanizing.  Does he have a daughter with a beating heart, I wonder?

Julia Ferguson’s parents did, at one time.

~~~

Liptak, of course, betrays far less interest in Ferguson’s heart than in the ways the legal system granted Rideau endless opportunities for appeal, and the superness of Rideau’s journalistic talents, but at least he gives the D.A. his say:

Rick Bryant, the Calcasieu Parish district attorney, said the jury had ignored the evidence.  “The verdict makes no sense,” he said yesterday. “It’s a subtle jury-nullification type of thing. The jury basically said, there is still a conviction and he’s done a lot of time.”

Of course, the victims and other witnesses lacked the vast resources heaped on Rideau all these decades.  One victim was dead, the other too ill to testify.  That gives people like Oshinski more leverage to cover up the crimes committed against them.  Here is Liptak’s recounting of Rideau’s defense.  It’s not much of defense, really, and it’s a stark injustice that anyone fell for it, insomuch as it really mattered to the jurors at all:

Mr. Rideau said his initial plan was to lock up the employees at the bank and take a bus out of town with the $14,000 he had stolen. When that was foiled by an ill-timed phone call from the bank’s main branch, he said, he came up with a second plan. He would drive the employees far out of town in a teller’s car and escape as they walked back. But they jumped from the car before he could accomplish that, and he started shooting.  “If I had intended to kill those people, eliminate witnesses, I would have done it right there in the bank,” Mr. Rideau testified on Thursday, according to The Associated Press. “It never entered my mind that I was going to hurt anybody.”

How dare those people try to save their own lives, rather than submit to murder by a future famous prison journalist.

Mr. Bryant said the prosecution had been at a disadvantage throughout the trial.  “It’s very difficult to try a case that’s 44 years old,” he said. “We had 13 witnesses who were unavailable, including the two eyewitnesses, and we had to present them by reading transcripts.” One of the survivors of the crime died in 1988, and the other was too ill to attend the trial.

You won’t read about it in the Times or from the pen of any of Rideau’s admirers at NYU, but his former prison co-editor punches more holes in Rideau’s claims of non-premeditated murder in one blog post about the suitcase he brought with him to rob the bank than the collective talent of our nation’s courts, universities and newspapers can fend off in the millions of dollars and thousands hours they have poured into his defense [“WILBERT RIDEAU’S UNEXPLAINED SUITCASE “].

And the lamented blogger crimgirl does a far better job of explaining why Rideau actually got out of prison in 2005 than all the ex-presidents and all the law school professors you can squeeze onto all the pages of all the news that’s fit to print.  I don’t know anything about “crimgirl,” and she doesn’t seem to be blogging anymore, which is a shame:

[A]fter the [1961] confession, Rideau was found guilty by a southern all-white, all-male jury. It’s probable the jurors were racist, corn-fed Klanners; however, this doesn’t negate the fact that Rideau committed the crimes. The verdict was eventually overturned because the confession’s broadcast had tainted the jury pool. In the years to come, two more trials and two more guilty verdicts were overturned on the grounds of racial bias and other jury selection violations. In 2005, a fourth trial took place. The prosecution said he murdered a woman in cold blood, and should spend life in prison. Rideau argued that he killed her, but he didn’t murder her.A racially mixed jury was selected in Lake Charles, LA. To ensure jury nullification, Johnny “Chewbacca” Cochran was hired to lead the defense team. Cochran played up the strengths of their case:

  • In prison Wilbert Rideau had published an award-winning prison-bashing magazine, co-authored a Criminal Justice textbook, shared an Academy Award nomination for an anti-prison documentary, become a sought-after lecturer, and gained many high-profile supporters who fought for his freedom.
  • Racist officials were racist.
  • Thirteen prosecution witnesses were now dead.
  • In a major victory for the defense, the judge only allowed the jury to consider verdicts that would have been available in 1961: Premeditated murder (life without parole) or manslaughter (21 years). If they had gone by 2005 law, he would have almost certainly been sentenced to life without parole, the sentence for killing someone in the commission of a felony.

~~~

Let’s be very clear about what people like David Oshinski and Terry Gross (see below) did to the victims of this crime.  They made their killer into a civil rights hero — for killing them and for refusing to regret it.  That’s the version of “rehabilitation” actually operating here.  And it makes a mockery of any notion of real rehabilitation, or real remorse.  Wilbert Rideau was released from prison by biased jurors who ignored many undisputed facts because he had been turned into a cultural hero by academicians and journalists working as accessories to cover up the details of his victims’ suffering.  In other settings, this is called a war crime — an act of historical denial.

Here, it’s called punching your ticket for tenure.

If there is any doubt that Rideau was released because he does not regret destroying lives, read on:

Theodore M. Shaw, the director-counsel of the N.A.A.C.P. Legal Defense and Educational Fund, which also represented Mr. Rideau, said he found it hard to reconcile Mr. Rideau’s crime with the thoughtful and accomplished man he has become.  “I’ve never lost sight of the fact that when Wilbert was 19 he did something incredibly stupid and tragic,” Mr. Shaw said. “On the other hand, he’s not the man he was then. It’s a story of redemption.”  Mr. Shaw pointed to Mr. Rideau’s journalistic work as proof of his transformation. As editor of The Angolite, a prison newspaper, Mr. Rideau won the George Polk Award, one of journalism’s highest honors. “The Farm: Angola, U.S.A.,” a documentary he co-directed, was nominated for an Academy Award.

In other words, if Rideau had not kept protesting the alleged injustice of people not believing his story that his victims were lying, then he’d still be serving time for the lives he destroyed.  But because he’s never shown actual remorse, he’s a cultural hero and a free man.

Mr. Bryant, the prosecutor, said Mr. Rideau’s achievements were irrelevant. “Rideau’s actions were driven by greed,” Mr. Bryant said, referring to the robbery. “It’s not like he’s been some sort of civil rights pioneer. He’s a crook.”

~~~

But fast-forward five years, and now even these protestations have been cleansed from the record. Rideau is a civil rights pioneer, full stop.  All that’s left is people like Oshinski trying like heck to finish brushing even the slightest unpleasantry into the dustbin of history, insinuating that the victims’ families are the actually dangerous people based on crimes they didn’t in fact, ever commit against Rideau himself, and painting Rideau as a jailhouse saint — you know, like the ones in the movies Oshinski likes to cite:

An hour’s drive northwest from Baton Rouge sits the Louisiana State Penitentiary, known as Angola, the largest maximum security prison in the United States. On the site of a former slave plantation, it currently houses close to 5,000 inmates and covers more ground, at 18,000 acres, than the island of Manhattan. Surrounded on three sides by the Mississippi River, its stunning physical isolation and distinctive antebellum feel have provided the backdrop for numerous feature films and documentaries, including “Dead Man Walking,” “Monster’s Ball” and “The Farm” . . . Slight of frame, weighing barely 120 pounds, Rideau seemed like easy prey. What spared him physically, he believes, was the respect he earned for repeatedly dodging the electric chair. And what saved him emotionally, he insists, were the books he devoured in his solitary death row cell. “Reading ultimately allowed me to feel empathy, to emerge from my cocoon of self-centeredness and appreciate the humanness of others. . . . It enabled me finally to appreciate the enormity of what I had done.”

No, there are no victims here, just professors and journalists and their convict-heroes reading, writing, carrying out mutually gratifying acts of affirmation:

[Rideau] saw prison life as a delicate negotiation. Convicts “possess the power of disobedience, rebellion, disruption, sabotage and violence,” he writes. “A peaceful maximum security prison owes its success to the consent of its prisoners, a consent that comes from mutual understanding and reasonable common-sense accommodations at almost every level of interaction” . . .  The new Angola owed much to Rideau’s skills as editor, gadfly and ombudsman. While in prison, he became a national celebrity, appearing on “Nightline” with Ted Koppel and winning journalism’s coveted George Polk Award. Rideau is hardly modest about it all . . . In 2005, the man Life magazine had featured as “The Most Rehabilitated Prisoner in America” was granted yet another trial.

Well, why should such an accomplished man be modest? Heck, why doesn’t Oshinski just go all the way and say that Rideau’s victims carelessly tripped into the bullets exiting his gun?   Maybe because Terry Gross’ tonsils would get in his way. Here is Gross’ version of her radio colleague and pen pal Rideau’s crimes:

Wilbert Rideau was convicted of murder and sentenced to death in 1961. At the age of 19, he’d robbed a bank. When he realized the police were on the way, he took three hostages. After one of the hostages got out of the car, he killed one hostage and shot the other two. He described this as an act of panic, not premeditated murder.  As an eighth-grade dropout from a poor family, he couldn’t afford a lawyer and didn’t understand his rights.

How . . . dishonest.  What’s especially creepy is the way Gross imagines the scene only from Rideau’s perspective: “[w]hen he realized the police were on the way, he took three hostages . . . After one of the hostages got out of the car, he killed one hostage.”   This is in no way an accurate description of the crime.  It apes Rideau’s claims that he did not intend the victims’ harm, nor that he intended to kidnap them, and it reduces the death scene to an actuarial nonentity.  Gross seems irked that she must even recount this little aside.

It takes a particularly cold and inhumane chewy-voiced NPR reporter to reduce the death scene to such cold prose.

But the death-scene is just a lagniappe, compared to the toe-curling pleasures that follow:

TERRY GROSS: Wilbert Rideau, welcome back to FRESH AIR. The other times we have spoken, you have been in the penitentiary, and it so great to talk to you knowing you are a free man. Thank you for the conversations and for the reports you did for us from prison. . . .

GROSS: Wilbert, we’ve spoken several times before while you were in prison. We spoke by phone. And the book really filled me in on the details of what you went through during your four trials and how many times you were treated unfairly.But before we talk about how unfairly you were treated, I just want to acknowledge that you really did commit manslaughter, and that Julia Ferguson was killed. You did create a lot of suffering. You’ve never denied the act, but you have said that you never intended to kill anyone. You wanted money. You bought a gun to rob a bank, thinking it was the only way to get a new life was to get money and get a way out of your life. In the middle of the robbery, the phone rang. One of the tellers picked it up and tipped off the caller there was trouble. Knowing the police were on the way, you took three hostages and fled. What did you think the hostages would accomplish for you? [bold added]

Would accomplish for him?  Accomplish?  Darn those hostages.  They just didn’t live up to their potential.

Mr. RIDEAU: I wasn’t thinking. That was the problem. I didn’t know what to do. I mean, understand, when people commit crimes, they’re expecting to get away. I mean, even in all the – it was desperation that drove me to do this, but even in my desperation, I mean, you don’t expect to get caught.

In other words, Wilbert Rideau feels less responsible for killing someone because he was certain he would not be held responsible for robbing a bank.  Had he known he would be held responsible for robbing a bank, he wouldn’t have done it, and nobody would have died.  Now there’s an idea.

If people expected to get caught, nobody would ever commit crimes.  And I didn’t know what I was thinking. I was just – all I knew was that everything had been shot to hell. Everything – you know, it was out of control. And I had no control, and I was scared to death, I mean, because I’m sure they were scared to death, too. But I didn’t have any – all I knew was just get out of that place in a hurry, and I hoped to be able to drop them off someplace and let them walk back. But it didn’t turn out that way.

GROSS: No, the police started chasing you. One of your victims jumped out of the car, and you say you panicked and just shot one of them.

Well, thanks for clearing that up, Terry.  How probing.  If only those lazy victims had worked harder to avoid the path of dear Wilbert’s bullets — but then, NPR wouldn’t have such a stimulating commentator for Gross to natter with.  If only the police hadn’t tried to stop an armed criminal who cruelly took three innocent people hostage, then Wilbur wouldn’t have had to shoot three people, then get out of his car and stab one of them for good measure.

If only the hostages and the police had accomplished more in the service of Wilbert Rideau.

There’s more, of course, of Gross simpering at the feet of Rideau, praising his prose quality, his special insights, his terrible suffering, the tragedy of people misunderstanding him.  There’s always more, once you get the pesky victims out of the way, stomp their throats out so they can’t utter a peep.

But what is strange, and ironic, and utterly unnoticed by Gross and Oshinski and all the other prisoner fetishists eagerly sweating their turn in the wings, is that when you read Wilbert Rideau’s work, what Rideau is actually saying is that he doesn’t want to be anywhere near any of the sick bastards he knew in prison, including the sick bastard that he was, and he certainly doesn’t want people like them walking the streets.  At the end of the day, his is a pro-incarceration argument:

GROSS: Give us a sense of what you faced when you left solitary confinement and joined the general population, and you were appalled by the barbarity that you witnessed. And I should say that the penitentiary at Angola had a reputation as being one of the most bloody prisons in the United States at that time.

Mr. RIDEAU: There was violence literally every day. You had people getting killed and gang wars. You had drug traffickers rampant. You had sexual violence…

GROSS: Sexual slavery.

Mr. RIDEAU: Enslavement of prisoners. Right, sexual slavery, as well. I mean, you know, if – guys would rape you, and you would – that was a process that redefined you not as a male, but as a female, and also as property. And whoever raped you owned you, and you had to serve him for – I mean, as long as you were in prison, unless you killed him or he gave you away or sold you or you got out of prison. And that’s the way it functioned.

GROSS: You wrote an article about sexual violence in prison that is one of your best-known articles. And I think that one won an award, didn’t it?

Mr. RIDEAU: It did, the George Polk Award, and it was also nominated for a National Magazine Award.

GROSS: Mm-hmm. So when you got into general population, you’re relatively short. What did you do to protect yourself as a small man entering general population? Yeah.

Mr. RIDEAU: Well, the first thing is I was looking for a weapon. In fact, when I went before the initial classification board, the chief of security told me that, you know, he asked if knew anybody. I said no. And he said, well, you’ve got to get you a weapon, and either that or go into a protective custody cell.  Well, I just spent all those years in a cell. I wasn’t going back to a cell, and I figured that, you know, I would try to make a life in the jungle. And the first thing I knew I had to do was get a weapon, and I looked around for people I knew, and I saw some of the guys who were on death row before who had already gotten off, and they told me, you know, I wouldn’t have to worry about that.  And that was a peculiarity due to the fact that I was on death row. Prosecutors and media had so – you know, they so demonize people on death row, you know, as being the worst of the worst, until not only do they kind of scare society about these guys, but they also scared the prisoners. It was kind of perverse, but it spared me that whole – I didn’t have to worry about that.

OK, let’s review: prisoners in Angola are violent rapists who prey on the weak, enslave each other, and routinely kill.  Yet Rideau survived unscathed because prosecutors “demonized” men on death row to such a degree that all these raping, killing monsters in the general population feared him despite his diminutive size.

While this story makes little sense, it is the type of thing that makes Terry Gross simper: “Mm-hmm.”  Which is the entire point, really.  The point of Rideau’s fame is that he gives people like Terry Gross the type of victimization they can revel in.  For, testifying about his victimization at the hands of other criminals is actually what Rideau is all about, little as that makes sense when you step back from it and remember Julie Ferguson.  Rideau says certain things happened to him; he complains of being victimized, and reporters and academicians eat it up uncritically because it feeds their fantasy life.

They don’t write purple prose about there being two sides to the story of any of Rideau’s stories. They don’t minimize his allegations of victimization in prison or reduce it to a few stingy lines written in teeth-gritting passing.  They give him awards for denouncing the suffering they’re simultaneously denying that his victims experienced at his hands.  This is a sickness, pure fetish, and it has passed for acceptable behavior for far too long.

Gerardo Regalado — Thank God It Wasn’t A Hate Crime: He Was Just Shooting Women

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. . . walking past the men to shoot them.

Gerardo Regalado

You wouldn’t know it from the non-existent, non-headlines, but the town of Hialeah, Florida suffered its worst mass murder and hate crime on Sunday when Gerardo Regalado shot seven women, killing four.  All the victims were or are mothers.

Regalado now joins the ranks of other woman-killers who curiously avoid the “hate crime” label, such as George Sodini, the Pittsburgh gym killer who wrote rambling anti-female diatribes before murdering three women, and Charles C. Roberts, who sent all the male pupils away from an Amish schoolhouse before binding and shooting 11 little girls, killing five.  Apparently, shooting every single woman in a restaurant while leaving the men unharmed is simply no proof that you harbor some murderous grudge against the female sex, at least according to the hate crime experts, who dread the day when somebody peers up from the statute book and says: “Hey, wait a minute, doesn’t gender mean female sometimes?”

You know, like killing 3,000 Americans on September 11 counts as anti-American nationality bias crime?

Oops, scratch that.

No, you won’t hear a peep from the experts, unless, that is, they feel the need to do damage control by going on record to deny that targeting females is anything like targeting gays, or ethnic minorities, or Hispanics, or the homeless, or any of the other extremely rare victimizations that contribute to their portrait of America as an immigrant-bashing, racist, homophobic place.  Counting women wouldn’t just crowd the picture frame: it would utterly overshadow all other crimes designated “hate,” and you can’t have that when the picture’s the point.

And so, for instance, in the wake of George Sodini’s carefully premeditated, females-only bloodbath, hate crime experts James Allen Fox and Jack Levin trilled shamelessly in the media that “a friendless society,” not the killer’s own clearly stated anti-female motives, was to blame for the women’s deaths.  That was a close one, owing to Sodini’s voluminous scribbling on the subject of hating women, that is, hatred of people who happen to be female and not male, which looks an awful lot like anti-female bias to anyone except the highly trained.  Fox and Levin had to do a real song-and-dance to avoid the subject of anti-female bias crime in that case.  And so they did, frantically pointing fingers at the economy, the internet, distracted parenting, telecommuting, and (quite horrifyingly when you consider how much this sounds like Sodini himself) people who don’t smile at strangers at the gym.

Yes, the nation’s foremost hate crimes experts looked at the mass slaughter of random women in an exercise club, and rather than acknowledge that the killer left behind a giant, pulsating neon arrow pointing at his own irrational loathing of women, they blamed the victims, musing that if only the dead women had previously been nicer to a future killer they never actually met, he might not have needed to mow them down at a later date.

That’s why the experts get the big bucks.  And the media follows in silent lockstep.

Fox and Levin haven’t weighed in on the Gerardo Regalado killings yet (maybe they haven’t heard about them, given the weird dearth of coverage).  Neither have Mark Potok, Brian Levin, the current or past leadership of the N.O.W., Eric Holder, or any other official or unofficial hate crimes activists, but if they do, it will doubtlessly be to deny that singling out female victims and shooting them in the head has anything to do with bias or hate, especially this year, when the official theme of hate crimes activism is the purported “rising tide” of anti-immigrant hate.

It certainly wouldn’t fit the activists’ message to have a Hispanic immigrant accused of committing the worst hate crime since Maj. Hasan shot dozens of innocent Americans, killing 13, and the “underwear bomber” Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab tried, but failed, to slaughter hundreds of American citizens by crashing a plane over Detroit.

Oops.  Scratch that.  Those aren’t being counted as hate crimes either.

Actually, if Gerardo Regalado’s murders were recorded as hate crimes, he wouldn’t even officially be counted as “Hispanic” because he’s the offender, not the victim. When Hispanics are the victims of hate crime, they’re designated “Hispanic.”  When they’re the perpetrators, the government counts them only as “white” or “black” (you can guess which one is useful to the activists).  That this is happening is not some paranoid persecution fantasy lurking in the minds of racists, but a mere fact of the hate crime statistics-gathering protocols implemented under Eric Holder’s leadership when Holder was point person on hate crimes in the Clinton Department of Justice.

It only sounds like some paranoid persecution fantasy.

Sort of like, “Singling out females to kill has nothing to do with hating women, even when you leave a note in your gym bag explaining that you are killing women because you hate women.”

George Sodini

Or, “Raping and beating a woman nearly to death because she wouldn’t dance with you does not indicate gender bias.”

Mbarek Lafrem

Or, “killing Americans whilst screaming anti-American slogans is not an anti-American-nationality hate crime.”

Nidal Hasan

You can see why we need experts to explain all this to us.

Here is the Miami Herald’s description of the murdered and wounded women. Remember, according to Attorney General Eric Holder, hate crimes are “far worse” than these crimes:

• Maysel Figueroa, 32, of Hialeah, who lived with her husband and their small son. She started work at Yoyito only a few days ago, after leaving a job at a discount store.  Late Sunday, Figueroa called her husband and said she would be home soon, the neighbor said. She didn’t arrive, so he went to look for her at the restaurant.

• Lavina M. Fonseca, 47, lived with her daughter across the street from Figueroa. She previously lived in Cuba’s Guantánamo province and studied Spanish and Russian literature at the University of Havana. She came to South Florida less than a year ago.  Fonseca’s daughter, Lexania Matos, 18, is a Hialeah High student.

• Zaida Castillo, 56, of Hialeah, followed her only daughter, son-in-law and grandson from the rural Cuban town of Quivicán to the United States about six years ago. In Cuba, Castillo was a vet, treating chickens on a farm. She cooked in Yoyito’s kitchen and tried to support her elderly mother back in Cuba. Castillo planned to visit her mother in November.

Three other victims who remained hospitalized Monday night include:

• Yasmin Dominguez, 38, believed to be Molina’s cousin, who was there to pick her up, or protect her from Regalado. She was the first to encounter Regalado outside. He shot her, then walked into Yoyito. She remains in critical condition at Jackson Memorial Hospital.

• Ivet Coronado Fernandez, who came from Havana about four months ago, lived with her mother in Hialeah. She was shot twice. Coronado called her brother Felix Fuentes from the restaurant and told him she had been shot. Fuentes said Coronado underwent two operations but may lose her arm.

• Mayra de la Caridad Lopez, 55, of Hialeah Gardens told her husband from her hospital bed Monday night she might have survived the massacre by diving under a metal table. She was washing pots and pans when she heard gunshots and screaming.  As Regalado entered and began shooting, De la Caridad Lopez dove for cover but was shot in the back.  It was supposed to be a happy day for her. After being unemployed for months, Sunday was her first day on the job at Yoyito’s.

Benjamin LaGuer. Brutal Rapist Identified by DNA. His Famous Friends are Still Trying to Blame the Victim.

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Benjamin LaGuer, who became a cause celeb among the media and academic demigods of Boston until it turned out his DNA matched the crime scene (after faking his first DNA test by substituting another prisoner’s DNA), wants out of prison again (see here and here for earlier posts).

He has fewer supporters this time, but Noam Chomsky and John Silber are still ponying up.  Most of his fan club went into hiding or mourning when it turned out that LaGuer’s DNA was indeed in the rape kit — rather than grope towards ethical consistency by apologizing to a rape victim they had viciously dragged through the mud.

After the DNA match, John Silber and Noam Chomsky, who led the race-tinged hate campaign against the elderly victim, continued claiming that LaGuer was really innocent or that, even if he was guilty, he didn’t really understand that he was guilty, so “technically” he was innocent . . . and other appalling nonsense.   Silber, to the eternal shame of Boston University, actually testified on LaGuer’s behalf again last week.  Here is what Silber said about the man convicted of binding, torturing and raping an elderly woman for eight hours — before spending years attacking her from behind bars:

“I think he is one of the finest examples of a courageous, honorable human being I’ve ever met,’’ John Silber, a former president of Boston University, said at the hearing.

The victim’s son-in-law commented:

“There was never a question in her mind of his identity,’’ he said. “She was a courageous woman, and that seems to have been forgotten.”

John Silber is playing an extremely ugly game on the back of a deceased, scapegoated rape victim, and nobody in Boston, or elsewhere, seems to have the integrity to call him, or his elite peers, out.

The worst behavior, however, has been exhibited by the media itself. Reporters abandoned all traces of objectivity or ethics in their rush to champion LaGuer.  For years, they published “articles” that were, in reality, mere regurgitation of the latest defense strategy.  They behaved as if there had never been a prosecution, or a successful trial . . . or a brutal rape.  As time passed and appeals piled up, both the facts of the case and the details of the crime were buried in favor of speaking for the defense, or shilling breathless feature stories about LaGuer’s writing, personality, his preening supporters, and his courageous suffering.

Print journalists misrepresented the judicial record to such an extreme degree that it can only be called intentional.  And the lynchpin of all this behavior was attacks on the victim, sometimes veiled, sometimes not.  In their self-centered desire to be part of a narrative that reminded them of To Kill a Mockingbird (“Benjy Brigade” members repeatedly cited the book), reporters helped foment a hate campaign against an elderly victim of rape.

It is astonishing that people could even call themselves reporters while exchanging personal letters with LaGuer, giving him money, chattering about his “art,” and advocating for his appeals, but the media in Boston shamelessly did all of these things.  The LaGuer coverage became a textbook example of violating journalistic principles and practices.  Except, this textbook will never be written: local academicians were themselves too busy piling onto the “Benjy Brigade.”  There has been no public reflection on the rules that were broken.  Why bother?  It’s just the victim and her family that were harmed, and their humanity doesn’t matter.

Was it really a reporter, for instance, who helped LaGuer gain phone access to the victims’ hospital room, enabling the convict to pose as a priest on the phone and lash out at the dying woman?  Others proudly announced to the world that they had become one of LaGuer’s “pen pals” or prison helpmates.  Where were their editors; where were the media ethicists and academic onlookers while reporters were acting this way?

Eagerly doing the same.

Some are still whitewashing the record.  Recent news coverage questioning the veracity of the DNA test fails to so much as mention LaGuer’s earlier botched attempt to substitute another prisoner’s DNA for his own — an important part of any story.  Such omissions, large and small, are par for the course for reporters who once lined up excitedly to befriend LaGuer and accuse the victim (a U.S. veteran) of everything from insanity to racism — reporters who then lapsed into silence once they didn’t get the DNA results they were eagerly anticipating.

The handling of the LaGuer case says a great deal — and nothing admirable — about the ways the media is covering other claims of wrongful conviction.  The pattern of acting as mouthpieces for advocates, burying non-DNA evidence, ignoring actual court records, attacking innocent victims, whitewashing convicts’ records, and wildly misrepresenting the actual causes and prevalence of wrongful convictions is now sadly routine.

Benjamin LaGuer’s victim endured an unusually brutal rape, and then a public lynching at the hands of the most powerful people in Boston.  The lynch mob is still attacking her memory, after her death.  They have learned nothing, and they have no shame.

Republican Politics Fuels the Murder Rate. No, Really. The L.A. Times says so.

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In an absurd instance of partisanship disguised as criminology, the L.A. Times is laying blame for the future homicide rate on people’s dissatisfaction with President Obama:

The recent spike in violent political rhetoric coupled with last week’s arrest of two men who threatened the lives of two Democratic House members has a lot of commentators worried about a surge in domestic political terrorism.  Those fears are misplaced. Not because there won’t be violence, but because politically inspired violence won’t necessarily be aimed at politicians.

You see, it’s not that “there won’t be violence.”  It’s that people who oppose the Democrats will go on killing sprees against ordinary Americans instead of politicians.  Or maybe in addition to themTimes editorialist Gregory Rodriguez says so.  He read a book about it.  Or, hopefully, he just skimmed it, because then what he writes here isn’t entirely the book author’s fault:

A few months ago, Ohio State University historian Randolph Roth published a groundbreaking book, “American Homicide,” that offers something like a unified theory of why Americans kill each other at such a high rate and what can be done about it.  After meticulously tracing trends in violence and political power in the U.S. from colonial times to the present, Roth concludes that high homicide rates “are not determined by proximate causes such as poverty, drugs, unemployment, alcohol, race, or ethnicity, but by factors … like the feelings that people have toward their government and the opportunities they have to earn respect without resorting to violence.”

All the way from colonial times.

Now, I have little doubt that Rodriguez is offering a less than complete description of the actual theory Roth is positing.  At least, one might hope.  Historians get in so much trouble when they project their political fantasies about things like homicide and gun control back onto the past.

Or worse, when they project those fantasies forward.  If the book is being accurately described in the L.A. Times, it sounds a lot like another classic of historical-criminological projection, All God’s Children, in which New York Times reporter Fox Butterfield blamed the Civil War for things like carjackings in upstate New York during the Carter years.  Any projection will do in the service of projecting blame from the people actually committing crime and onto the rest of us.  Or our great-great-grandparents.  Or children.  If it takes telescoping 250 years of history and as much data on comparative homicide rates as can be massaged from fragmentary sources in order to prove that America is and always has been rotten to the core, then caution be darned:

Roth’s analysis in fact puts politics at the very root of the highest homicide rate of any First World democratic nation. He points to the Civil War as the genesis of even peacetime unrest. It was not simply a case of violence begetting violence. Rather, high homicide rates were the symptom of low overall political confidence. The Civil War, Roth says, was “a catastrophic failure in nation building,” when a large percentage of the population lost faith in government and eyed their countrymen with distrust.  “Our high homicide rate started when we lost faith in ourselves and in each other,” he says.  Conservative writers like to argue that distrust for government is part of our birthright as Americans. And they’re right. It’s built into the system and can be found in the writings of Thomas Paine and Thomas Jefferson. But there’s a difference between distrust and disdain. The tradition of truly hating government began with the Civil War and a nation literally torn apart by contrasting visions and mores.

Sigh.  When I see history being slapped around like a bag of cats, it’s my brain that feels disenfranchised.

And then I remember that we are exceptional in America, and if our birthright is to be exceptionally violent because we’re such innate aberrants, then it’s up to us to embrace it.  At least we’re not a bunch of milquetoasts like the French:

Or Stalin:

(of course, the persecution of the Kulaks was difficult but necessary)

I know, I know, it’s not fair to bring this other stuff up (Hitler). Professor Roth says he is looking only at a very specific phenomenon: street crime in relation to political dissent that at the same time is not a direct expression of either organized or unorganized political action and which occurs only in “First World democratic countries” (no Pol Pot)  (No Mao).

Sort of like longitudinally comparing Newark to the Cotswolds and finding us short.  And there might be a lesson in that, but then again, maybe we should just move along from the whole “analyze” thing and start blaming Republicans, because the Times editorialist is chafing at the bit to get there:

Roth essentially believes that that antagonism plays out today when elections leave half the nation feeling empowered and the other half feeling disenfranchised. The more people who feel empowered, the lower the homicide rate.

Ummm, the more which people feel empowered?  One man’s empowerment is another man’s dis-empowerment, but with one of the outcomes, the murder rate goes down?  Let’s just not go there.

So, how does the professor arrive at the far end of this fascinating veiled leap?  Does he have data winnowing the political views held by the murderers themselves?  Has he uncovered some trans-historical political satisfaction scale for the homicidally disaffected?

Of course not.  He has no way of determining the actual politics of actual killers, who make up only the tiniest of fractions in any of the communities being thus tarred with their presence.  And then there’s the sticky wicket of not being able to produce any coherent measure of “empowerment” for large portions of the non-homicidal population throughout most of history.  Women of all races were never, until recently, as empowered as men, but that didn’t drive them to commit enough murders to affect the murder rate.  Likewise, murder rates by slaves and ex-slaves don’t exactly support Roth’s hypothesis.  And over the past fifty years, the political, economic and social power of African American men has increased as the murder rate among them rose precipitously, then fell, then rose again, then recently fell slightly, then even more recently started climbing a bit.

Details, details.  Apparently, it’s not about actual power: it’s about perceptions of power.  Can the homicide rate really be minutely correlated to municipal or national feelings?  Are killers as a group actually (and solely) driven by their sense of representational power?  What happens when the President is a Democrat and the Mayor a Republican?  In New York City, when this was true, there was the most statistically significant decrease in crime in the last half century.  But if Roth is to be believed, the New York miracle had nothing to do with policing or sentencing and everything to do with conscious — if unclear — political choices made by the killers and potential killers themselves.

What do you do with a theory like this when Bill Clinton is “feeling your pain” as Rudy Giuliani offers you a curt “up yours”?

If people feel their government shares their values and acts on their behalf, they have greater trust and confidence in their dealings with others. Conversely, those who feel out of power and mistrustful of government carry those attitudes into everyday relationships with murderous results.  As Roth sees it, even activists and politicians — from the right or the left — who sew [sic] bitter disdain for government are indirectly encouraging the mistrust that breeds violent behavior.  “The extent that people feel dispossessed affects how they deal with other people,” Roth told me. “They carry that anger … to a discussion in a tavern or a property dispute. That anger can cause us to lose our temper more quickly.”

A property dispute?  A tavern?  Remember, Roth is insisting that trans-historical homicide rates “are not determined by proximate causes such as poverty, drugs, unemployment, alcohol, race, or ethnicity.”  So the next time you’re in a tavern, and that really drunk Colonial guy at the end of the bar slits some guy’s throat with a cutlass while screaming about easements and letting the cat go in his yard, remember:

That was really a fight about perceptions of political disenfranchisement.

Now here’s where the story gets really . . . academic.  Roth claims to have discovered what fueled the white homicide rate in 1980: it was losing the Vietnam War (in 1973).  No, busing.  Oh sorry, the Iran Hostage Crisis:

Roth’s research compares the trends in “political trust” and murder statistics. For example, white homicide peaked in 1980, the final year of the Carter administration, when people angry over school busing, the Iran hostage crisis, and the defeat in Vietnam were u[n]happy in large enough numbers to bring white trust in government to its post-war low.

Now, I know the Ford years were not particularly memorable for any of us, but, come on.  What does 1980 have to do with a war that ended in 1973, besides 1980 being the year when the white homicide rate peaked and Reagan entered office?  Is there even one iota of evidence that white men who committed homicide in 1979 were Reagan supporters who would soon start feeling better about things once Carter was gone, and stop the killin’?  Could Roth produce evidence of even one murder related to feelings about the Iran hostage crisis?  But wait, we’re just coming up to the real point:

Does this suggest that Barack Obama’s election will cause a shift in rates of violence? Absolutely. According to Roth, FBI data released in December bear that out. In the first six months of 2009, urban areas that Obama carried saw the steepest drop in the homicide rate since the mid-1990s.

Actually, that drop wasn’t nearly as steep as the one previously mentioned that occurred after Republicans seized control in places like New York City and restored order, following the murderous bloodshed that reigned during Democratic administrations (which were, by the lights of this theory, better received).  Also, there is currently an uptick of violent crime in many urban areas, including Chicago, despite Obama still being president.  Could Republicans be creeping into urban areas and killing people there, just to muddle the theoretical waters?  I wouldn’t put it past them.  Not that there is any evidence of this happening.

But that’s just evidence.  And what, allegedly, is happening on the flip side of the coin?  Roth’s answer delivers far less than it promises:

In the first six months of 2009, urban areas that Obama carried saw the steepest drop in the homicide rate since the mid-1990s.  During that period, the states with the largest percentage of counties that voted more heavily Republican in 2008 than they did in 2004 saw an 11% rise in homicide in cities of over 100,000 residents.

Whoa.  That looks like a lot of work.  States — states, not urban areas, or suburban or rural areas — with “the largest percentage of counties” that “voted more heavily Republican in 2008 than they did in 2004” saw homicide rates climb “in cities of over 100,000.”  I think what Roth is trying to say here is that his argument doesn’t work if you compare Red states and Blue states, or Red counties to Blue counties.  Crime rates actually remain pretty geographically stable, except for the “donut effect’ occurring in some big cities where public housing, and the crime that goes with it, is being pushed outside city limits by gentrification.  But those generally aren’t places that voted more heavily Republican in 2008 than 2004, so he isn’t counting them.

What is he counting?  Not very much, really.  The difference between a tiny number of bizarrely selected places over a tiny period of time.  Sort of like statistical gerrymandering.

But what’s really important is that the Republicans are going to kill everyone:

I asked Roth to speculate on what could happen if the right continued its violent rhetoric and didn’t gain seats in November or 2012. He suggested looking back at the 1960s and 1970s, when left-wing activists were preaching their own disdain for government. As trust of government evaporated, the murder rate doubled.  As my grandmother would say, “God Bless America.”

No, Gregory Rodriguez, bless your heart, as polite folks are wont to say when someone utters something embarrassingly dumb.  More than dumb, actually: the insinuations in this article are offensive, albeit impressively bipartisan in their offense, if you think about it.

Then there’s the untruthiness.  For instance, the murder rate started climbing in the 1960’s long before Bill Ayers and his utterly charming wife began advocating killing cops and extremely pregnant movie stars and other living things.

Frankly, I don’t know who should be more insulted: Republicans who are being accused of responsibility for future acts of street violence because they lost 2009 elections, or Democrats who are being portrayed as being such innately violent people that they must get their way in the voting booth, or else the murder rate will rise again.

I like to think better of all people who choose to express themselves politically.  I don’t presume they’re one chad away from bloodshed, for instance, even when I don’t agree with them.  But maybe that’s just me.

Mr. X: Did the State of Georgia Let a Serial Killer Go?

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Some mornings, it’s pitifully easy to find something to write about.

Like, this morning.  Back in the early 1990’s, a serial killer was stalking women in the Reynoldstown neighborhood in Atlanta.  Reynoldstown was, in all senses of the term, crack-infested.  There were a lot of drug-related deaths.  There were a lot of prostitutes: the two go hand in hand.  Men from all over metro Atlanta would drive there to get an extremely cheap woman, or girl.  Or boy, I imagine.  This was precisely the same area where little boys were disappearing during the Atlanta Child Murders in the 1980’s.  It wasn’t a very long walk to some of the body dump sites.

I lived a few blocks east, in Cabbagetown.  On Fridays, I avoided gardening in my front yard because the men with Cobb County plates were trolling the streets, picking up emaciated prostitutes.  Some of the prostitutes jerked and twitched as they walked from cocaine-induced tardive dyskinesia.  Anyone who believes prostitution is a victimless crime is an intellectual buffoon.  The wives of the Johns were certainly victims.  There was a mother-daughter team jumping in and out of cars on my street corner: the daughter didn’t wear shoes.  She looked like she weighed about 75 pounds.  Her arms and legs were a constellation of bruises and sores.  What were those old men from the suburbs thinking?  She could be their granddaughter.  She was visibly sick.

By 1990, when I moved in, Wayne Williams had been sitting in prison for nearly a decade.  The cameras had gone elsewhere, and the money, too: politicians like Maynard Jackson and Arthur Langford (curious story, that) had sucked up the cash decent people sent to Atlanta to help the murder victims and long ago moved onto the next gravy train.  Eight female prostitutes dead in Reynoldstown didn’t attract much attention outside the police, who, contrary to stereotype, were actually the only people who gave a damn about the deaths.  Police, relatives, and local people — they knew who had children, and who went missing, and who had been a nice teenager before she got hooked on drugs.  On the other side of town, both female and transvestite male prostitutes were getting killed.  The transvestites were getting shot in the head: the women were mainly strangled or beaten to death.  If I remember correctly, if this particular murder didn’t occur later, one of the female victims was found strung up from a tree in a graveyard.  I went looking for more information about the transvestite killings and found only this blog post by “atl-Steve,” who lists nine of the Atlanta transvestite murders, eight between 1990 and 1992, seven shot in the head.  There were probably several serial killers preying on people in Atlanta at that time.  The drugs and the prostitution gave them extremely easy access to victims.  Life was extremely cheap.

One of the stories that circulated was about a Mr. X: in 1994, a woman’s body was found with a note that said: “I’m back in Atlanta, Mr. X.”  The woman was a prostitute, and she had been strangled.  This morning, in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, there is a story about the upcoming trial of Michael Harvey, who is linked to her murder through DNA.

That’s where the story stops making sense.

Michael Darnell Harvey: Mr. X

The newspaper is reporting that Michael Harvey was linked to the murder through DNA in 2005 and arrested in 2008.  It isn’t clear why it took three years to arrest him.  Was he on the run?  Was he being held on other charges?  It doesn’t say.  But it seems to me that if the police had been looking for him all this time, somebody would have said that.  And if he had been in custody in Fulton county pending charges after the DNA match, somebody would have said that.

Because the alternative is so extremely disturbing.  The alternative is that Michael Harvey was identified as a murderer, likely a serial killer, in 2005, and then nobody did anything about it for three years.  In the age of DNA, that can’t possibly be true, can it?  I hope I am missing something here.

Since 2000, all felons sentenced to state prison in Georgia have had to provide DNA samples to the state, to be added to a DNA database.  That law was passed thanks largely to recently deceased feminist activist Vicki McLennon and Lt. Governor Mark Taylor, and it has solved many sex crimes and saved lives.

In 2002 or 2003 (it isn’t clear from the state database), Michael Harvey was convicted of an aggravated assault in Fulton County.  The crime occurred August, 2002.  He was sentenced to six months and spent February to June, 2003, in state prison.  At that time, he should have given the state a DNA sample.  He also had a prior false imprisonment and attempted sexual assault conviction on his record.  Wouldn’t the DNA from anyone with a sexual assault conviction be  carefully checked for other sexual assaults?  In any case, if the law was followed, Harvey gave the state a DNA sample no later than June 2003.  His DNA was matched to a stranger serial murder in 2005.  He was charged with that murder in 2008.

So somebody has some questions to answer:

  • If he was in fact released, why was Michael Harvey, a convicted sex criminal, released from prison in 2003 without his DNA sample being entered into the state database?
  • Why wasn’t he arrested and charged with murder in 2005, when the GBI linked his DNA to a serial murder?
  • Why did it then take three more years to charge him with the crime?  Is this a screw-up that should be laid at the feet of Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard?

And some larger questions:

  • Was he really convicted only of aggravated assault in 2002/3, or was that a sex crime charge pled down to mere assault by some willing prosecutor and judge?  Were any other convictions actually sex crimes that got pled down, too?
  • Why did Michael Harvey get only three years for attempted rape and false imprisonment in 1996?  Three years for trying to rape a woman?  Nice.
  • Why didn’t the state of Georgia bother to take a DNA sample from Harvey when he was convicted of rape in 1996?  DNA was being widely used by then, and as a sex offender, Harvey probably had to provide a sample, even though the state law requiring DNA of all felons had not yet been passed.  Did he give the state DNA?  Why wasn’t it tested, if it wasn’t tested?  Is that sample one of the thousands shelved and forgotten by a criminally careless criminal justice system?
  • Does Michael Harvey’s DNA match any other crimes, especially crimes committed since the state last cut him loose?

Here is Harvey’s prior conviction record:

CASE NO: 130362OFFENSE: NOT AVAILABLE
CONVICTION COUNTY: CONVERSION
CRIME COMMIT DATE: N/A
SENTENCE LENGTH: NOT AVAILABLE

CASE NO: 130362OFFENSE: NOT AVAILABLE
CONVICTION COUNTY: CONVERSION
CRIME COMMIT DATE: N/A
SENTENCE LENGTH: NOT AVAILABLE

CASE NO: 130362OFFENSE: BURGLARY
CONVICTION COUNTY: FLOYD COUNTY
CRIME COMMIT DATE: N/A
SENTENCE LENGTH: 2 YEARS, 0 MONTHS, 0 DAYS

CASE NO: 130362OFFENSE: THEFT BY TAKING
CONVICTION COUNTY: FLOYD COUNTY
CRIME COMMIT DATE: N/A
SENTENCE LENGTH: NOT AVAILABLE

CASE NO: 130362OFFENSE: THEFT MOTORVEH OR PART
CONVICTION COUNTY: FLOYD COUNTY
CRIME COMMIT DATE: N/A
SENTENCE LENGTH: NOT AVAILABLE

CASE NO: 130362OFFENSE: THEFT MOTORVEH OR PART
CONVICTION COUNTY: FULTON COUNTY
CRIME COMMIT DATE: N/A
SENTENCE LENGTH: 6 YEARS, 0 MONTHS, 0 DAYS

He spent four years behind bars for these crimes, October 1980 to November 1984.  A long time for motor vehicle theft.  And that burglary: was it really just burglary?

CASE NO: 176538OFFENSE: NOT AVAILABLE
CONVICTION COUNTY: CONVERSION
CRIME COMMIT DATE: 09/07/1984
SENTENCE LENGTH: NOT AVAILABLE

CASE NO: 176538OFFENSE: CRMNL INTERFERE GOVT PROP
CONVICTION COUNTY: HABERSHAM COUNTY
CRIME COMMIT DATE: N/A
SENTENCE LENGTH: 1 YEARS, 0 MONTHS, 0 DAYS

CASE NO: 176538OFFENSE: simple battery
CONVICTION COUNTY: HABERSHAM COUNTY
CRIME COMMIT DATE: N/A
SENTENCE LENGTH: NOT AVAILABLE

He appears to have served nine months for these crimes, February to November 1985.  Then the Atlanta killings began.

CASE NO: 392286

OFFENSE: FALSE IMPRISONMENT
CONVICTION COUNTY: FULTON COUNTY
CRIME COMMIT DATE: 08/08/1996
SENTENCE LENGTH: 3 YEARS, 0 MONTHS, 0 DAYS

CASE NO: 392286

OFFENSE: AGG ASLT W INTNT TO RAPE
CONVICTION COUNTY: FULTON COUNTY
CRIME COMMIT DATE: 08/08/1996
SENTENCE LENGTH: 3 YEARS, 0 MONTHS, 0 DAYS

CASE NO: 392286

OFFENSE: AGG ASLT W INTNT TO RAPE
CONVICTION COUNTY: FULTON COUNTY
CRIME COMMIT DATE: 08/08/1996
SENTENCE LENGTH: 3 YEARS, 0 MONTHS, 0 DAYS

He appears to have served 1 year, 4 months in state custody for this crime, from May 1998 to September 1999.  He probably served some of his sentence in county custody prior to being transferred to state prison.  But his DNA, if it was sampled, was never checked against other rape and rape-murder cases in Fulton County while they still had him behind bars.  Come on, folks: 1999?  Unsolved rape-murders?  There’s no excuse.

CASE NO: 515573OFFENSE: AGGRAV ASSAULT
CONVICTION COUNTY: FULTON COUNTY
CRIME COMMIT DATE: 08/18/2002
SENTENCE LENGTH: 0 YEARS, 6 MONTHS, 0 DAYS

He served February – June 2003 in state custody for this crime.

2005: Harvey’s DNA is matched to the 1994 murder of Valerie Payton.

2008: Harvey is charged with Valerie Payton’s murder.

~~~

“I’m Back in Atlanta.  Mr. X.”

Living in Cabbagetown in the early 1990’s gave me a front-seat view of the realities of prostitution.  Not that they’re particularly difficult to discern from further distances.  Ironically however, just a few years later, I entered graduate school and found that academic feminists had a very different attitude towards what they euphemistically termed “sex work.”

While real feminists were pounding the halls of the Georgia legislature and city officials to strengthen laws against rapists, child molesters, and pimps who targeted children (Mayor Shirley Franklin’s finest legacy), many of the academic feminists I met were busy “celebrating” prostitution as a “liberatory practice.”

So, in a city where scores of prostitutes, including children, suffered addiction, disease, violence, rape, and murder as a direct consequence of their “careers,” the academics were excitedly playing at being fake prostitute labor organizers and paying fake professional “sex workers” like the repugnant Dolores French to come titillate them with trumped up stories about happy hookerdom.  French is married to defense attorney Michael Hauptman, who used to specialize in getting violent child molesters off (his e-mail name is loophole) — sort of a two-fer for those whose outrage over date rape never bled over into actually advocating for harsher sentencing for any rapists.

The distance between Valerie Payton’s murdered body and this dismal intellectual buffoonery?  Four miles, or a thousand light years.  Take your pick.  Meanwhile, I hope somebody in Atlanta will get to the bottom of Michael Harvey’s story.  Nothing is particularly clear right now.

Real Recidivism *Update*

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I received this interesting note from Dr. Greg Little (see yesterday’s post) explaining his research methods in more detail and discussing his findings:

Overall you present a good summary. But I can answer your questions. The study’s subjects all applied for entry into a drug treatment program (MRT) operated by the Shelby County Correction Center in Memphis, TN from 1986-1991. All were felons serving from 1 to 6 years. The control group was formed from a smaller number of individuals who were randomly excluded because of limited treatment slots. The treated subjects were randomly selected to enter…after all the subjects were placed into a pool of eligibles.

So both the study group and the control group were people who had applied to take part in a drug treatment program.  That solves the problem of self-selection, in a way, making the data on the effect of the treatment more reliable, for the main difference between the two groups would be the treatment program, and only the treatment program.

It makes me wonder about the recidivism rates for offenders who didn’t try to apply for the drug treatment program, though (not that you can get a recidivism rate much higher than 94%).  Were they simply not substance abusers?  Were they excluded because of behavioral issues such as violence?  Additionally, felons serving more than six years were excluded from the study, so we don’t know the recidivism rates for them.  Undoubtedly, members of that group include the sorts of violent criminals whose propensity for recidivism is most worrying.  And offenders serving less than a year weren’t counted either.

None of this is to say that the study isn’t valuable, nor that the researchers here are misrepresenting their findings.  But it’s important to be aware of the difference between what a study proves and what it cannot prove.  Too often, the media ignores this difference.  And when the research is conducted by activist organizations with anti-incarceration agendas (not the case here), like the Pew Foundation, or the Sentencing Project, the claims they make are often extremely unreliable.  At best.

Dr. Little continues:

There were no differences between the treated and control groups. There have been about a dozen prior published studies in peer-reviewed journals on these groups covering their time periods from 1 to 10 years after release. We were interested in what honestly happens to these people after 20 years of release. The local government, which we are not affiliated with, supplied the data.

You are correct that the authors (I am the senior author) are engaged in starting programs that reduce recidivism. We all make our living in criminal justice, we are all long-term professionals, and I have been in the field since 1975. All rearrests, only with minor traffic charges excluded, were collected as were all reincarcerations. The criminal justice system has always supplied misleading statistics, and that’s something we have battled for decades and have included such ethically-challenged issues in our textbooks and articles. There is a difference between what could be called “accurate” and what is “true” or “honest,” and we wanted to present a true and completely honest picture of what happens after 20 years. The data were, quite frankly, highly disappointing, but also somewhat encouraging. The real point is that there is a proportion of offenders that will return after their release no matter what we do. Right now, reducing those rearrested from 94% to 81% after 20 years is the best anyone has found. Reducing the reincarceration rate (which is rearrest, conviction, plus new sentence) is from 82% to 61%, also the best ever found. It means even using the best treatment known currently, 81% will be rearrested and 61% will still be reincarcerated. Without using that method, 94% are rearrested and 81% are reincarcerated.

The link to the original full article can be found here:
http://www.i-newswire.com/what-happens-over-twenty-years/21666

As I wrote yesterday, I don’t oppose realistic rehabilitation efforts (who would, really?).  What I object to is using substance abuse as an excuse for crime, which results in untold numbers of offenders escaping punishment simply because they say they’re helpless addicts.  And that doesn’t do anyone, including them, any good at all.  Nor does it help to romanticize criminals, or encourage them to believe that they are victims of society, as so many rehabilitation programs do.  Changing Lives Through Literature, for example, seems less about “rehabilitating” offenders than convincing them that their own convictions were unjust (see here and here).

Unfortunately, such anti-incarceration activists (who are currently in force in the Justice Department, in academic departments, and, of course, in the rehabilitation industry) never change their tune, no matter the evidence presented about the inevitability of re-offending.  Their first line of defense is claiming that recidivism rates are not nearly as high as many believe.  But hand them a 94% re-arrest rate, and they will say it’s proof that prison doesn’t work.  If we never incarcerate anyone, the line goes, then there will be less crime (thank goodness they’re not in charge of the laws of gravity).

A few years ago, I ran into a former co-worker who attributed his ability to kick a cocaine habit to a long sentence behind bars.  He never would have stuck with drug treatment, he told me, if he had not been incarcerated.  Then he listed other co-workers we knew who died young.  He considered himself lucky.  The so-called drug war, and stiff sentencing, doesn’t get enough credit for saving lives.

What do we do with a 94% re-arrest rate?  There’s no one good answer.  But one thing we definitely should not do is keep pretending that all that crime doesn’t really exist.

Real Recidivism: The Numbers Aren’t Good

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Whenever some academician tells the media that this program or that program has “reduced recidivism,” or that “this group of offenders aren’t likely to commit more crimes” there are three questions you should always ask:

  • how long were the offenders tracked after they got out of prison?
  • how were offenders selected for (or excluded from) study?
  • who paid the academician?

I have an especially hard time trusting studies that are designed to test one specific program or sentencing initiative.  Such studies are usually designed by people who have a vested interest in proving the program a success — either the program directors themselves or some professor or consulting firm hired to evaluate their outcomes.

It’s sort of like telling a bunch of ambitious eleventh graders to grade their own performance on the SAT’s . . . based on effort.

Unfortunately, there is no graveyard where skewed studies go to die: they live on in debates about recidivism, sentencing, and crime.  This is how myths like “sex offenders almost never re-offend” seep out into the conventional wisdom.

How do you cook the books on recidivism? You follow tiny pools of offenders.  You pick offenders who have already shown initiative by enrolling in a program or being admitted into one — self-selecting, ideal participants.  You use partial information: convictions instead of arrests; post-plea sentencing instead of pre-pleaded charges.  Mostly, you follow offenders for very short periods of time after they are released, like, down the street to the first stoplight.

When you don’t do these things, this is what the headline looks like:

Recidivism rate worse than statistics indicate, Memphis-area study finds

20 years of research discovers 81 percent of former inmates end up back behind bars

Yikes.

Jeff Smith had been free of drugs for four years. Two of those years were during a stay at the Shelby County Correction Center and two were while working at the Salvation Army after his release from jail.

It was at the Salvation Army that Smith, 54, says he felt “a sense of purpose for the first time in years.” He was doing what he says he loves best — working as a carpenter and furniture refinisher. And he counseled other former inmates to try to keep them from repeating their mistakes.

Smith wishes he had followed his own advice. “I was tempted by the devil, and I failed,” he says. Carpentry, counseling and church services at the Salvation Army weren’t enough to break the “revolving-door” cycle that means, like Smith, up to 94 percent of former inmates will be rearrested and up to 81 percent will wind up behind bars again.

94% re-arrest rate.  This is from a 20-year study that recorded every re-arrest and re-conviction, avoiding the “partial information” scheme.  The study itself was conducted by people who have a program of their own to promote: they claim that their moral reconation therapy (MRT) resulted in a 25% decrease in recidivism:

About 94 percent of inmates receiving only standard counseling had been rearrested and 82 percent of them wound up back behind bars.  Of those receiving MRT therapy, 81 percent had been rearrested and 61 percent again wound up behind bars. It was reduction of about 25 percent from the group that did not receive MRT therapy.

Well, OK.  It’s not that I think that there’s no such thing as rehabilitation.  Consequences and 12-steps and therapy do work.  But I’d need to know a lot more about their selection process to buy the 25% claim.

Besides, when anti-incarceration activists claim that we save X amount of money by not incarcerating someone, that’s just untrue.  Most offenders receive significant social service dollars — housing, medical, food stamps — when they are out of prison as well, not to mention the price of policing them and the costs that arise every time they commit an additional crime, which 94% of them apparently will do.  Offenders who return to abusing substances when they get out of prison are particularly costly as their health deteriorates and their habits drag down the families and neighborhoods around them.  Innocent bystanders and misinformed taxpayers pay the tab either way.

Without acknowledging these costs, statements like this are, frankly, meaningless:

[T]he cost of housing an inmate like Smith is more than $24,000 a year, so cutting total costs by 25 percent would mean a huge savings.

Yet public policy debates rise and fall on questionable claims like these. The media needs to do a much better job of skeptically approaching all research claims.  After all, if there is reliable research showing that everything policymakers have been believing is not only wrong, but staggeringly wrong, the debate needs to be re-calibrated:

Tennessee Department of Correction studies show recidivism rates of about 51 percent over a three-year period, and national studies show recidivism averages of roughly 65 percent over three years. But [Dr. Greg] Little and [Dr. Kenneth] Robinson say the numbers keep going up over time, and the numbers are higher because most studies don’t count re-incarcerations that took place in other states or in courts other than the original case. For instance, an inmate released on state probation or parole is seldom counted as a recidivist if later jailed for a federal crime.

There is a very large difference between 51% recidivism and 94% recidivism.  You don’t need to throw out the rehabilitation baby with the research bathwater just because the research bathwater is hopelessly dirty, but you should wash the baby in clean water.


Thirteen Strikes and Still Not Out. The Media Gets Three-Strikes Wrong Again. Robert Ferguson is Not a Victim.

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Reporters searching to illustrate the cruel and arbitrary nature of California’s three-strikes law have struck out again.  Their careless advocacy is actually providing opportunities to inform the public about facts that should have been part of the reporting on this subject all along.

Particularly, that the three-strikes law isn’t arbitrary.   Prosecutors have wide discretion in choosing to apply “three-strikes,” or not.  All that hype about an hysterical public forcing prosecutors and judges to send away shoplifters and pot smokers for life sentences?  Not true.  Prosecutors choose to forgo three strikes from 20% to 40% of the time when they could use it.

Petty criminals striking out for a series of minor property crimes?  Not true.  The California law actually requires the first and second “strikes” to be for serious and/or violent crimes.  When the third crime is a lesser offense, that’s when prosecutors often choose not to pursue enhanced sentencing.

Three convictions over a lifetime, even for youthful offenses, and then you’re out?  That’s not the way the law works.  Look at the real records of the people sentenced.  Routinely, only some of their prior “serious and/or violent” offenses are counted as first and second strikes.

Yet the wildly slanted reporting continues.

For years, the media poster boy of three-strikes was Jerry DeWayne Williams, mythically incarcerated for life for stealing a slice of pizza (a story that is not true, no matter how many times it is fervently recounted by overstimulated sociology professors — see my post, here).  In fact, Williams has been arrested three more times with virtually no consequences since that not-actually-serving-life-for-pizza-theft incident.  He threatened to kill someone, in front of a police officer, and got released.  He violated probation — twice — and got released.  Yet the “experts” don’t relay such facts to their students when they rant against three-strikes laws and the cruelty of the American Justice System in the front of the classroom.

Nor do they explain why they have been using such an inane falsehood to illustrate their arguments against this law for more than a decade now.  Have they no better case to make?  Such as, maybe, a real one?

Recently, the activists-cum-academicians-cum-journalists excitedly found another fake “three-strikes victim” to play up.  Robert Ferguson, an ugly piece of work, became an instant hero when he shoplifted a bag of cheese from a grocery store and a prosecutor tried to have him put away for 11 years, prompting wild outcry.  Activist rage ran high against the prosecutor, and the “arbitrary” system, and the cruelty that lies in people’s hearts, etc. etc. etc.

Thanks to another little-contemplated fact of three-strikes laws — that judges also may exercise sentencing discretion — Ferguson will actually be out of prison in about two years.  Yet the newly-minted myth of his oppression will undoubtedly live on in the hearts of sloppy reporters and college professors.

It is now apparently a hanging offense for a prosecutor to so much as request a strict sentence for a career criminal.

And, contrary to newspaper reports, Ferguson did more than steal a bag of cheese.  That was the less serious charge,  not that you would read it in the paper.  Marcos Breton, of the Sacramento Bee, offers a bracing corrective to the hagiography being built up around Robert Ferguson:

Robert Ferguson is the definition of a recidivist criminal, in and out of prison since the early 1980s.  He didn’t just steal a bag of Tillamook shredded cheese worth $3.99 from Woodland’s Nugget Market. He stole the wallet of a mom tending to her sick kid at a 7-11.  He’s broken into people’s homes numerous times. And every time he’s been released from prison, he’s committed new crimes and gone back in.  He could have been sentenced to life in prison long before now. His public defender, Monica Brushia, confirmed he has six strikes against him with all the burglaries and crimes he’s committed over the years.  Ferguson just hasn’t been sentenced that way. . .

Some would argue that 11 years is still too severe for Ferguson’s crimes – and [Yolo County Judge Thomas] Warriner agreed. With time served, Ferguson could be on the street in less than two years, Brushia said.  “He hasn’t gone around hurting people,” said Brushia, who added that Ferguson can’t control his bipolar impulses.  So what happens when he gets out of prison next time? “I told him, ‘You really need to stay medicated and get the psychological help you need,’ ” Brushia said.  Does Brushia think he’ll stay clean? “I’m not a fortune teller,” she said.

How contemptuous of her.  She should have to repeat that to Ferguson’s next victims.  For that matter, does she really think she’s doing her client a favor, getting him released to a situation where, according to her, he is a constant danger to himself and actually innocent people (if this bipolar stuff is true, rather than being the latest excuse reeled out to justify anti-social behavior)?  Ferguson has 13 previous convictions.  He has spent 22 of the last 27 years in prison for other crimes.

13 convictions.  13.  Six separate burglaries.  And it makes the international wire services and shrieking headlines in Europe when some prosecutor asked a judge to do something to protect the public from him?

It’s worth repeating that Ferguson was not only being prosecuted for shoplifting cheese.  He had an additional, more serious crime, for which the prosecutor was seeking the enhanced sentencing.  He thuggishly robbed a woman who was distracted when her sick child vomited in a 7-11.

Imagine if the media had reported truthfully:

Career Criminal With 13 Convictions Tried for Robbing Mother Tending Her Sick Child, Additional Theft

That sounds lots worse than what was reported by the brave truth-tellers of the MSM:

Man Who Put Cheese Down His Pants Faces Life Sentence

Make that “sounds worse” to everyone except the criminal-fetishizing New York Times, which calls the assault on the mother “petty theft,” and CBS News, which calls the robbery of the mother, and I quote, “(extremely) petty theft.”  Nice.

Marcos Breton continues:

The truth is, there is a good chance Ferguson will victimize someone again. He has nearly 30 years’ experience as a career criminal.  What if he breaks into a home, stumbles in on a family and panics?

Good point.  He’s a mentally ill career criminal who has already escalated to breaking into houses and attacking individuals in public spaces.  Who, besides Ms. Brushia, wants to bet that will end well?

The prosecutor in this case, Jeff Reisig, has been demonized. However, as Breton explains, Reisig virtually never uses three-strikes:

[I]n the end, Reisig wasn’t seeking a life sentence. After a psychologist’s report indicated that Ferguson is bipolar, Reisig sought 11 years.  Since 2000, only 12 people – less than 1 percent of Yolo’s felony caseload – have been sentenced to life under the state’s “three strikes” law, Reisig said.

To summarize: for the past ten years, more than 99% of the felons walking into a Yolo County courtroom have not been subjected to three strikes, and 12 were, a little more than one per year.  Yet this is not good enough for the activists: they want 100% of all felons to be given endless second chances.  In their eyes, every criminal is simply a misunderstood saint.  In their eyes, we are the only real criminals, for wanting to be safe.

The dishonesty of the media on three-strikes is impressive. Ferguson’s more serious offense goes largely unreported in the rush to condemn the prosecutor and make up sheer lies about the workings of our justice system.  Fewer than 1% of felons in Yolo county get three-strikes, and yet the New York Times uses the story to groundlessly blame the California budget crisis on the three-strikes law, squeezing in some misinformation about Jerry DeWayne Williams for good measure.  Meanwhile, misrepresentations spreads around the world.  The UK Telegraph gets the sentencing wrong and doesn’t include the wallet theft; the Guardian, likewise, runs multiple, inaccurate stories that neglect the actual charges and misrepresent the law.  What an embarrassment, all around.

This website has real statistics on California’s “three strikes” law.