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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.

“Every Single Crime Can Be Prevented” — Garry McCarthy

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That’s Garry McCarthy, Police Director of Newark, New Jersey, where the city’s murder rate has declined 25% under a new police administration and a zero-tolerance attitude towards crime.  CBS News compares Newark’s success with Chicago’s failure to quell violent crime.

Why doesn’t every Chief of Police sound like McCarthy?  If you can’t count on the head of the police to insist that crime is unacceptable, who can you count on?

Journalistic Ethics Week, Part 1: Nausea, or the (Attempted) Rehabilitation of Anthony Sowell

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Stop the presses! It’s journalistic ethics week, and so perhaps it’s fitting that this first story plopped down in a big steaming mess on the pages of every newspaper that carries the AP.

Anthony Sowell, who was recently found knee-deep in the decaying bodies of his victims, doesn’t deserve to be labeled a rapist, according to the AP.

The fawning press, which was understandably having a real hard time finding a way to squeeze Sowell into the role of “the only real victim here,” has now achieved its goal, if only in a tiny, biased, misrepresentation-of-a-technicality way:

STORY REMOVED: US–Rapist’s Home-Bodies

CLEVELAND — The Associated Press has withdrawn its story about a sex offender who lived in a Cleveland house where several corpses were found. Authorities say that despite a police news release that described Anthony Sowell as a convicted rapist, he was convicted only of attempted rape. The story will be refiled as CLEVELAND-BODIES FOUND.

How brave of them.  How . . . edgy.  Of course, this little grandstand doesn’t mean anything legally.  Or ethically.  Or rationally.  It is simply a piquant demonstration of the entirely consensual, sado-masochistic relationship that exists between the defense bar and the fourth estate.

Sowell is a convicted sex offender.  Attempted rape is a sex crime.  If they’re going to split the infinitive, as it were, why not change the headline to “US –Sex Offender’s Home — Bodies Found.”  But no!  That might affect his self-esteem, or cause him PTSD or something.

And you know, it’s all about the killer’s self-esteem these days.  If we spent more time focusing on their needs, they wouldn’t need to kill so many people to express themselves.

In addition to actually being a convicted sex offender, Sowell is also an accused sex offender, if the women who escaped him recently are to be believed.

But why should the journalists believe them?  Why should they take the word of mere crime victims over the word of somebody who gets his rocks off strangling women to death?  Hell, if they start doing that, it will take a tiny bit of the fun out of death row defense, and then what will Hollywood make courageous movies about?

No, it’s far, far more principled to treat those women like the degraded slags they are.

Oh, wait, is someone suggesting that these women aren’t degraded slags?  But that’s what the AP said:

Hunting from home may have been easier because of the marginal lives led by Sowell’s alleged victims. All four of the Cleveland women identified until now battled addiction in their lives.

Have any of these women been convicted for substance abuse crimes?  Did they really all agree to accompany him voluntarily to his home?  Or were they only alleged substance abusers?  This is second-hand information, after all.  How, precisely, do you define “marginal”?  Will the AP issue a retraction if it turns out that, upon further jurisprudential-ly investigation, these women were only former substance abusers, or were not abusing substances when Sowell grabbed them, or did not have criminal records and therefore must above all not be labeled wrongly in the fake-pine paneled, dimly lit basement that passes for journalistic ethics these days?

But who cares about the victims, really?  Journalism is all about rehabilitating the offender.  Behaving as if the victims are human beings entitled to the same rights as those who kill, either in the courts or on the pages of the fishwrappers that fancy themselves courts is so . . . Lifetime.

In reality, in 1989, Sowell only pled to attempted rape to gain a reduction in charges for rape and kidnapping. The victim, who was pregnant at the time of the attack, had actually been kidnapped, bound, gagged and raped (thank you, Cleveland Plain Dealer, for bothering to get it right).  If the AP is so pointillistically hellbent on offering a legally accurate record of events, then why take out all mention of sex crime?  The plea was a legal fiction, a technique that a guilty man used in order to shorten his sentence as much as possible.  It slotted Sowell into a sentence in exchange for admitting to a lesser crime, but it did not create forensic or legal proof that the rape was only “attempted.”

Too bad these types of facts don’t matter in the ethical universe of the AP.

I wonder if DNA still exists from that case.  Perhaps, if the police could offer the legal vigilantistas in the media proof of precisely where Sowell’s penis went after he kidnapped, bound, and gagged a woman — you know, like cradling the skull of a Pot Pol victim, or sifting through the final hours of the Argentinian disappeared — they might see the error of their ways.

But I doubt that would be the outcome.  Retractions are for sex offenders, not their victims.  It’s simply too long a stretch from crudely cleansing Sowell’s record of any mention of sex crime to accurate reporting.

First, you have to want to change.

The nauseating spectacle of AP editors rushing to make an unnecessary correction that turns into a literal denial of the facts of Sowell’s previous conviction is actually a perfect metaphor for what the media has become, and I don’t make this accusation lightly: the media has become a tool for denying the reality of crime.  And like all official deniers and court-propagandists, their ugliest excesses arise from the degree that they believe their own lies and omissions: exactly none of the newspapers that ran this AP “retraction” simultaneously bothered to explore its legal accuracy, or significance, or revisit the documents from the court case.

And so they all march lockstep, all trampling the experience of the woman who was brave enough to survive Sowell’s attack 20 years ago, denying her rape, treating her like human garbage, just as Sowell treated his victims.