Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Robert Kennedy, Camarillo CA

[Re issue #26:]

Cold Case Files
(A&E) presented the Michael Crowe case for at least the fourth and fifth times on April 27 and May 17. Then, also in May, I saw another case where police were so sure that the brother had killed his younger sister that they didn't bother looking into a much more obvious suspect. They couldn't prove the brother did it so the case went cold. Many years later another police officer looked into the case and read the girl's diary. What do you know? The most obvious suspect was the girl's boyfriend who treated her badly and apparently their relationship was unknown to the family. To make the story short, the boyfriend (now a Navy petty officer) was the killer. He claimed it was an accident. But, the evidence said otherwise and he was found guilty of murder. Of course, over the years the brother's life had been made miserable. The police apparently call situations like these to be tunnel vision. I call it incompetence. The Cold Case Files on A&E are the real thing, unlike on CBS.

There is a newly issued book on the Duke Lacrosse Case ­ Until Proven Innocent: Political Correctness and the Shameful Injustices of the Duke Lacrosse Rape Case by Stuart Taylor, Jr. and K C Johnson. Mike Nifong the scumbag Durham County (North Carolina) District Attorney involved in the phony rape case involving the Duke University lacrosse players resigned and has been disbarred. He may face lawsuits. I would think lawsuits against Durham County and Duke University itself might be in order. Nifong got what he deserved. But, what about the lacrosse players he tried to railroad? Of course Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton jumped in early and played the Race Card. (The case rather reminds me of Sharpton and Tawana Brawley. Either Sharpton has learned nothing or doesn't give a damn. Probably both.) Then there's the New York Times who had the boys pictures on its front page, but put Nifong's disbarment on page 16. What about the 88 Duke University faculty members who took out an ad denouncing and threatening the boys?

Knee-jerk political correctness is always stupid. I'm delighted that Duke has reinstated its lacrosse program, and I hope the mistreated students soak both county and university for long, long green.

Apparently, Nifong finally issued an apology. Better late than never I guess, but it's meaningless. (Isn't it interesting how so many people apologize and say that they are sorry for their actions­after they get caught [witness Michael Vick]?) It was reported (September 1) that Nifong was sentenced to one day in jail having been found in "criminal contempt … for lying to a judge when pursuing charges against" the Duke Lacrosse players. (He could have received 30 days. Lucky man and he isn't even a young Hollywood so-called celebrity. He should have received several years in prison for his actions.) I wonder if the other people and the New York Times will now render an apology. I also wonder if they all will offer to help reimburse the boys and their families for their legal expenses that I understand are in excess of $1 million. I will not hold my breath.

As a free-press nut I wouldn't chide the NYT too much -- the accusations against the lacrosse teams made for an attention-worthy news story. But those who automatically believed the crazy complainant for whatever reason -- because she was black, because she was female, because the accused were male, white, jocks, whatever -- did violence to all basic concepts of fair play. Contributing to the guys' legal expenses seems to me to be a fine way of doing penance (said the money-grubbing attorney).

Then there is the recent case of the two 13-year old boys in McMinnville, Oregon who were charged with sexual harassment, felony sex abuse and anything else the prosecutors could think of for slapping some girls on the butt. Basically, the students at their school had a slap the butt day so most everyone was slapping butts. (I know that sounds a bit silly. But, these were only 13-year olds.) For some reason the Assistant Principal called the police on these two boys. The boys were interrogated by a police officer, arrested, hauled off in handcuffs, strip-searched, and placed in juvenile jail for five days. If convicted they would be required to register as sex offenders for a lifetime. Like Nifong, the District Attorney Bradley Berry keep saying wait until you see the evidence. Each time they came into court another charge was dropped. The girls involved said they wanted all charges dropped. Finally all charges were dropped and the judge dismissed the case. Apparently the boys will have to go through some of the usual therapy crap. The Assistant District Attorney said that under the same circumstances they would bring the same charges. The Assistant Principal, District Attorney Berry, and the Assistant District Attorney are well deserving of the Nifong Award. The Assistant Principal should be fired. District Attorney Berry and the Assistant District Attorney should be fired and disbarred, just like the punishment of Nifong.

It would be interesting if a Nifong Award could be established. No limit on the number of awards that could be given in a year. The first award should go to Nifong himself. Awards could be given for the past and the prosecutors and therapists involved in the McMartin case should receive the award. Joe Major should be able to come up with an excellent list of other possible recipients of the Nifong Award.

The Nifong Award seems a great concept to me! Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, my old stompin' grounds, recently provided an astounding example of prosecutorial misconduct, one so egregious that even our increasingly right-radical Supreme Court was disgusted. The A.D.A. in the Allen Snyder case -- whom I won't name, since he's a friend -- excluded blacks without cause from Snyder's jury and openly invoked O.J. Simpson in his closing arguments. The Supremes bawled out the A.D.A., the trial court judge, and the Louisiana high court in such disparaging terms that the courtroom rocked with laughter. Ooh. I'm on the other side and that hurt me.

Judge Roy L. Pearson sued cleaners for $54 million because he claimed they lost a pair of his suit pants. The suit apparently went on for some two years. Finally, in June a judge decided the suit was frivolous, that Pearson was not entitled to any money, and that he owed the Chung family (the cleaners) some $1,000 in costs. Finally, a good outcome. Judge Pearson should be removed from office and disbarred.

" The suit was frivolous"?!? But what could be less frivolous than a suit without pants? Do people want judges to go around without trousers? I'm confused.

OK -- Enough of the rants.

As for #26, I did send a copy of "How I Escaped My Peruvian Kidnappers" by Gary Robe to a friend whose wife is from Peru.

[On to #27]

Another outstanding issue and may you finally win a HUGO. I read all 95 pages of it.

Especially enjoyed were "My World Tour with Guns 'n Roses -- Mexico City" by Gary Robe and "Music(als) of the Spheres" by Mike Resnick.

Mike Resnick: Incredible, you list some 63 shows. In your fine article you make mention of Carousel. I've seen the movie and despite my admiration and love for Shirley Jones I did not care for the movie. Magnificent songs, but the movie didn't do a thing for me. Then, Laura Turtledove (a.k.a. Frankos) added another some 47 bringing the total to 110.

Guy Lillian: Good point at the end of Mary Ann van Hartesveldt's letter­"Creationism, whatever its faults, doesn't kill people."

Chris Garcia: If a friend of yours is being railroaded for a crime he didn't commit by a DA who is also a friend of yours, why does the DA remain a friend? I first saw Mort Sahl at the Hungry I in San Francisco and sat through two shows. Also, I remember when Bart Litton (then the owner of Litton Savings & Loan which is long defunct) sponsored Mort Sahl on TV during the 1960 Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles. Sahl said that John F. Kennedy would be the presidential nominee because it was foretold in the Bible -- "A little child shall lead them." That so enraged Bart Litton (who, if I recall correctly, had ½ vote as a delegate) that he stormed onto the set and berated Sahl.


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