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McKeyFan
07-03-2011, 12:41 PM
I think the developments on the Strauss Kahn case make for interesting insights on the theory that if a New York prosecutor makes charges against someone (like Lance) you can plausibly assume the accused is guilty.

In a separate story, the New York Post says she also works as a prostitute. (http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/manhattan/maid_cleaning_up_as_hooker_0mMd759PLuYGYYJyA0RNbI)



http://www.cnbc.com/id/43617284

New York Times; Published: Saturday, 2 Jul 2011

Twenty-eight hours after a housekeeper at the Sofitel New York said she was sexually assaulted by Dominique Strauss-Kahn, she spoke by phone to a boyfriend in an immigration jail in Arizona.

Investigators with the Manhattan district attorney’s office learned the call had been recorded and had it translated from a “unique dialect of Fulani,” a language from the woman’s native country, Guinea, according to a well-placed law enforcement official.

When the conversation was translated — a job completed only this Wednesday — investigators were alarmed: “She says words to the effect of, ‘Don’t worry, this guy has a lot of money. I know what I’m doing,’ ” the official said.

It was another ground-shifting revelation in a continuing series of troubling statements, fabrications and associations that unraveled the case and upended prosecutors’ view of the woman. Once, in the hours after she said she was attacked on May 14, she’d been a “very pious, devout Muslim woman, shattered by this experience,” the official said — a seemingly ideal witness.

Little by little, her credibility as a witness crumbled — she had lied about her immigration, about being gang raped in Guinea, about her experiences in her homeland and about her finances, according to two law enforcement officials.

She had been linked to people suspected of crimes. She changed her account of what she did immediately after the encounter with Mr. Strauss-Kahn. Sit-downs with prosecutors became tense, even angry. Initially composed, she later collapsed in tears and got down on the floor during questioning. She became unavailable to investigators from the district attorney’s office for days at a time.

Now the phone call raised yet another problem: it seemed as if she hoped to profit from whatever occurred in Suite 2806.

The story of the woman’s six-week journey from seemingly credible victim, in the eyes of prosecutors, to a deeply unreliable witness, is drawn from interviews with law enforcement officials, statements from the woman’s lawyer and a letter from prosecutors to Mr. Strauss-Kahn’s defense team released in court on Friday.

Brad8888
07-03-2011, 12:53 PM
Wow, the Pacers best player, Lance Stephenson, is similar to a world leader! After all, being the best player ever from NYC would qualify him to be considered as such.

I just hope that the microphones in the apartment building caught Lance's girlfriend saying that she knew what she was doing!

Actually, I see what you are saying, but i couldn't resist due to the extreme level of hype and hyperbole that has always surrounded Stephenson.

Hicks
07-03-2011, 02:09 PM
Oh, boy. I'll leave this open, but I can't imagine it ending well. I hope I'm wrong.

Bball
07-03-2011, 02:28 PM
Higher profile case = higher level of investigation to make sure the got it right.
I don't draw any parallels at all.

mildlysane
07-03-2011, 02:56 PM
The parallel is that a woman accused each of them of something that further investigations proved to be false, or so it seems. (Did I even say that right?!). If you truly believe that each was innocent of the accusations, then you praise the investigators for a job well done. If you have your doubts about their innocence, then perhaps you believe the DA was bought off or that star power won the day. This is basically one of the arguments about Lance on here.

edit...I know lack of evidence to prosecute doesn't mean innocence, I was just helping to draw the parallel.

Bball
07-03-2011, 04:14 PM
I think I missed your point on first glance. I took it you were saying that had Lance's accuser made up the story the prosecutor would've figured it out eventually.

But, on second read, I think you're giving Lance the benefit of the doubt and showing it is possible an accuser could be motivated by something other than acting lawfully and could manipulate a prosecutor (and the system) in an attempt to cash in or even simply to 'get even' with someone.

judicata
07-03-2011, 04:27 PM
I wonder how many anecdotes we could trot out about NYC DAs getting it right? This is less about the credibility of NYC DAs and more about the credibility of this lady.

mildlysane
07-03-2011, 05:36 PM
I wonder how many anecdotes we could trot out about NYC DAs getting it right? This is less about the credibility of NYC DAs and more about the credibility of this lady.
I was assuming that it was the DA who found her credibility to be in question. I guess you could say that a less compentent DA may have not discovered the credibility issue. If I am wrong I am sorry.

graphic-er
07-03-2011, 09:00 PM
I've said it earlier in previous thread about lance when all this popped up. You can't take what a prosecutors says as anything more than spinning a story to get a conviction. They are not out for the truth, they are out for conviction. Thats a prosecutor's job. They don't care what happened, they only care about what happened that they can convince a jury to believe.

quinnthology
07-03-2011, 10:58 PM
Oh, boy. I'll leave this open, but I can't imagine it ending well. I hope I'm wrong.

Thank you so much. You're such a benevolent leader for allowing this freedom of speech. It looks as if you were tempted to flex an unnecessary censorship muscle but you resisted, permitting us to talk about an interesting topic and having faith in us to end it well. God bless!!!:usa:

judicata
07-03-2011, 11:11 PM
I've said it earlier in previous thread about lance when all this popped up. You can't take what a prosecutors says as anything more than spinning a story to get a conviction. They are not out for the truth, they are out for conviction. Thats a prosecutor's job. They don't care what happened, they only care about what happened that they can convince a jury to believe.

You are wrong. Prosecutors have, and use, enormous discretion in what they pursue.

Anthem
07-04-2011, 09:00 AM
Thank you so much. You're such a benevolent leader for allowing this freedom of speech. It looks as if you were tempted to flex an unnecessary censorship muscle but you resisted, permitting us to talk about an interesting topic and having faith in us to end it well. God bless!!!:usa:
Yeah, because THAT'S helpful.

90'sNBARocked
07-04-2011, 06:26 PM
Police are like every other profession in the country. You have good police and corrupt police

Only difference is corrupt police can wreak havoic on your life moreso than say a corrupt landscaper

Thats all

graphic-er
07-04-2011, 11:57 PM
You are wrong. Prosecutors have, and use, enormous discretion in what they pursue.

And you have said nothing here that disproves my statement.

Hicks
07-05-2011, 12:05 AM
And you have said nothing here that disproves my statement.

Do you personally know or work with/around any prosecutors?

graphic-er
07-05-2011, 12:55 AM
Do you personally know or work with/around any prosecutors?

No. My opinion is merely derived at a common sense interpretation of what a prosecutor does or what their role is. Police bring a case to the prosecutor, who then decides to take the case on. From that point on their only goal is to get a conviction, because that is their job. That in its self supports the idea that a prosecutor is open to fudging the facts in such a way that is more damning the defendant. If ones lively-hood is dependent on the successful convictions they achieve then how far would one go to secure that?

Additionally as a juror one should never just simply follow the instructions of the Judge who usually says find your verdict as based on the law I have provided to you. The power of Jury Nullification is something that most judges will never instruct or inform you on, but is your right as a jury none the less.

judicata
07-05-2011, 03:22 AM
And you have said nothing here that disproves my statement.

How about this then:

In 2006, 13% of all adult felony arrests in California were not pursued by the DA. Compare that to the fact that 14% of adult felony arrests that went to trial that were acquitted and it is clear that the DA is as interested in winnowing out innocent defendants (or bad cases) as the jury is.

Nationally, in 2010, 96.8 percent of all offenders plead guilty. That means no trial, no "fudging of the facts" to a jury. The Plea itself is a compromise by the DA. In other words, she is not doing everything she can to get the flashiest conviction.

The rules that govern the conduct of attorneys also proscribe "fudging the facts" to get convictions.

California Rules of Professional Conduct
Rule 5-110 Performing the Duty of Member in Government Service
A member in government service shall not institute or cause to be instituted criminal charges when the member knows or should know that the charges are not supported by probable cause. If, after the institution of criminal charges, the member in government service having responsibility for prosecuting the charges becomes aware that those charges are not supported by probable cause, the member shall promptly so advise the court in which the criminal matter is pending.

ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct:

The prosecutor in a criminal case shall:

(a) refrain from prosecuting a charge that the prosecutor knows is not supported by probable cause;

(b) make reasonable efforts to assure that the accused has been advised of the right to, and the procedure for obtaining, counsel and has been given reasonable opportunity to obtain counsel;

(c) not seek to obtain from an unrepresented accused a waiver of important pretrial rights, such as the right to a preliminary hearing;

(d) make timely disclosure to the defense of all evidence or information known to the prosecutor that tends to negate the guilt of the accused or mitigates the offense, and, in connection with sentencing, disclose to the defense and to the tribunal all unprivileged mitigating information known to the prosecutor, except when the prosecutor is relieved of this responsibility by a protective order of the tribunal;

I know DAs and I have taken classes taught by DAs. They are not in sales. They do not have quotas. Prosecutors are unique in that they, unlike most attorneys, do not have the single minded tunnel vision of zealous advocacy. They do not work for the victim, they work for the state.

There are certainly political pressures that come with the profession. That does not mean they are only interested in obtaining convictions. Frankly, the State is not all that interested in going to trial for many criminal cases, as evidenced by the statistics on dismissed complaints (declining to press charges) and plea bargaining. More so than earning political points within their office, an attorney's livelihood depends on their reputation with the judiciary and their continued good standing with the bar. Neither of those are going to last long if they are lying to obtain convictions.

http://ag.ca.gov/cjsc/statisticsdatatabs/dtabsarrests.php
http://www.ussc.gov/Data_and_Statistics/Annual_Reports_and_Sourcebooks/2010/ar10toc.htm

BKK
07-05-2011, 05:16 AM
To me this story above all shows how quickly the media can change sides depending on what the prosecutor's first take is... Look how Strauss Kahn was lynched by the NY media at first. Then when it became more and more obvious the girl was not all "clean" they started to drag her in the mud : "The maid was a whore" on a front page, really?

Much like for Lance at first the media as well as the public opinion were quick to jump on him and make him guilty despite the fact the investigation had barely started and he could not even really defend himself. I don't want to bring back bad memories but as Pacers fans we've all seen how the ESPN and likes changed their opinion overnight after the brawl and how we instantly we became the vilains in the public's and NBA's eyes...

All I'm saying is that justice needs minimum time to work effectively and people should refrain from making somebody guilty before the justice could even complete its work. But I admit it may be difficult when powerful media take sides on this type of story.

pacer4ever
07-05-2011, 05:50 AM
The NY prosecutors went hard on Plaxico Burress.

http://espn.go.com/espn/e60/index

Hicks
07-05-2011, 10:03 AM
No. My opinion is merely derived at a common sense interpretation of what a prosecutor does or what their role is. Police bring a case to the prosecutor, who then decides to take the case on. From that point on their only goal is to get a conviction, because that is their job. That in its self supports the idea that a prosecutor is open to fudging the facts in such a way that is more damning the defendant. If ones lively-hood is dependent on the successful convictions they achieve then how far would one go to secure that?

Additionally as a juror one should never just simply follow the instructions of the Judge who usually says find your verdict as based on the law I have provided to you. The power of Jury Nullification is something that most judges will never instruct or inform you on, but is your right as a jury none the less.

I guess my primary question is where are you getting this from? Do you have any personal experiences?

Secondly, we're in agreement, right, that a prosecutor, as you say decides to take a case on, meaning there are instances where they opt not to?

Thirdly, when you say "fudging the facts", do you mean fudging the interpretation of the facts? Because otherwise, that could read as if they literally tamper with evidence. But it's true that any attorney is going to highlight the facts that best support their case, and they will also try to find the most convenient angle from which to view the facts which gives them the best chance of convincing a judge or jury.

Where you lose me is the part about their livelihood depending on successful convictions. As far as I've ever known, that is not true. They are on salary, and the worst case scenario is they eventually don't get re-elected or if they're a deputy they may eventually be fired if the chief prosecutor feels they aren't performing well, but even in that event, there are almost always different opportunities available for an attorney to pursue (private practice, working for an entity, finding another public office). So unless I'm just not aware of something here, I don't think this part is accurate.

If I'm understanding correctly, jury nullification is the concept that a jury can find a defendant technically guilty but it's a situation where they feel the defendant does not deserve punishment, so they in fact acquit the defendant. Apparently this is for situations where the jury feels the law is generally or particularly unfair, whichever the given case may be.

I think it's pretty common sense and fair for a judge to instruct a jury to find a verdict based on the law. The vast majority of the time that's exactly how it should be. I would imagine if a case warranted jury nullification, you can bet your butt the defendant's attorney will make that point well known at the time.

graphic-er
07-05-2011, 10:28 AM
How about this then:

In 2006, 13% of all adult felony arrests in California were not pursued by the DA. Compare that to the fact that 14% of adult felony arrests that went to trial that were acquitted and it is clear that the DA is as interested in winnowing out innocent defendants (or bad cases) as the jury is.

Nationally, in 2010, 96.8 percent of all offenders plead guilty. That means no trial, no "fudging of the facts" to a jury. The Plea itself is a compromise by the DA. In other words, she is not doing everything she can to get the flashiest conviction.




California has the most overcrowded and expensive prison system in the country, they have to draw back the amount of cases they choose to go after. The state is bankrupt and simply can't afford to increase their prison population.

Here is an example of the type of DA's we have in this country , How can somebody get a fair trial when a charge of simple possession of MJ can lead to the severity of charges increased just by simply having too much MJ? You get charged with intent to distribute just because the amount you have. No actual proof needed for the "intent" part though. Its designed to increase conviction rates. The Jury hears the words "intent to distribute" and the prosecution hopes they interpret that as drug dealer.


I dont know what you are trying to prove with the 14% acquittal rate. That just means the prosecutor failed to get a conviction, it doesn't mean they are interested in winnowing out innocent defendants. They obviously tried to put them behind bars.

Plea bargains are offered for a variety of reasons - case work overload, crowded prisons, lack of a winnable case. But the end result is still the same as a guilty verdict in trial. Thats why so many are offered.

I hope your not some bastioned defender of our legal system. how can anyone in this country receive a fair trial when judges do not inform jurors of their rights?

Since86
07-05-2011, 10:47 AM
I think someone needs to take a trip to a different country and witness their judicial system.

Sure, the American legal process has it's flaws. Everyone/everything does.

But the idea that all prosectutors care only about a guilty verdict is one of the dumbest over-generalizations I've ever had the displeasure of reading.

I'll now start accepting bets on the over/under on the # of posts this thread makes it to, before it gets locked. The line is starting out at 40. Care to wager?

EDIT: And graphic, I don't think it needs to be pointed out, but you're arguing two completely seperate things.

Anyone who is found to be in possession of pot is breaking the law. Period. You're trying to blur the line between guilty/innocent and reasonable/unreasonable punishment.

Two completely different things.

judicata
07-05-2011, 11:08 AM
California has the most overcrowded and expensive prison system in the country, they have to draw back the amount of cases they choose to go after. The state is bankrupt and simply can't afford to increase their prison population.

I provided relevant evidence to support my claim. If you want to counter with another state's numbers feel free to do so. California's prison system is very expensive, but it is paid for at the State level where felony convictions are pursued at the county level.


Here is an example of the type of DA's we have in this country , How can somebody get a fair trial when a charge of simple possession of MJ can lead to the severity of charges increased just by simply having too much MJ? You get charged with intent to distribute just because the amount you have. No actual proof needed for the "intent" part though. Its designed to increase conviction rates. The Jury hears the words "intent to distribute" and the prosecution hopes they interpret that as drug dealer.

You can never prove intent, it is always shown through circumstantial evidence. If you have more drugs than you can use that its a conclusion a jury can come to. The jury is free to reject that as well.



I dont know what you are trying to prove with the 14% acquittal rate. That just means the prosecutor failed to get a conviction, it doesn't mean they are interested in winnowing out innocent defendants. They obviously tried to put them behind bars.

My point is simple: of the 28% or so adult felony arrestees in California that do not plea out or get convicted by a jury, half of them were let go by the DA.




Plea bargains are offered for a variety of reasons - case work overload, crowded prisons, lack of a winnable case. But the end result is still the same as a guilty verdict in trial. Thats why so many are offered.

If there is no winnable case, why do defendants (and their attorneys) accept plea bargains? The important thing isn't just that DAs offer pleas, but that defendants take them. That means (1) the defendant is guilty, or thinks they will be convicted at minimum, and (2) the DA is willing to forgo a harsher conviction for some reason. Both of these things are inconsistent with your theory of outlaw DAs trying everyone they can find and lying to get convictions.



I hope your not some bastioned defender of our legal system. how can anyone in this country receive a fair trial when judges do not inform jurors of their rights?

I am extremely aware of the many flaws in our legal system and prison system. Most of these problems arise from our legislative bodies, not the DAs office. Your problems with weed convictions come from foolish drug laws. We do not hire prosecutors to be one-person appraisers of the laws they enforce. We do not sit juries to ponder the appropriateness of the laws their duly appointed representatives have written.

graphic-er
07-05-2011, 11:31 AM
I think someone needs to take a trip to a different country and witness their judicial system.

Sure, the American legal process has it's flaws. Everyone/everything does.

But the idea that all prosectutors care only about a guilty verdict is one of the dumbest over-generalizations I've ever had the displeasure of reading.



How could it not any anything but achieving a guilty verdict, that is their job. What other motive do they have to bring a case to trial? There is only 2 outcomes there. Guilty and not Guilty. They take on cases they think they can win. They offer plea bargains to cases that are not worth the time and in some cases that they actually have no chance in winning.



I'll now start accepting bets on the over/under on the # of posts this thread makes it to, before it gets locked. The line is starting out at 40. Care to wager?

EDIT: And graphic, I don't think it needs to be pointed out, but you're arguing two completely seperate things.

Anyone who is found to be in possession of pot is breaking the law. Period. You're trying to blur the line between guilty/innocent and reasonable/unreasonable punishment.

Two completely different things.




Yes they are separate, but related I think. To me its just he overall unfairness of our legal system. It might be better than some other countries, but I'm am under the jurisdiction of this legal system so that is one that concerns me. The tacked on charge of "intent to distribute" is a very unjust. 1. It is designed to subtly attack the character of the defendant. 2. Its completely arbitrary in practice. How can a law determine intent? How can a arbitrary amount of a substance determine intent?

It can't.


Thomas Jefferson:
"But we all know that permanent judges acquire an Esprit de corps; that being known, they are liable to be tempted by bribery; that they are misled by favor, by relationship, by a spirit of party, by a devotion to the executive or legislative power... It is in the power, therefore of the juries... to judge the law as well as the fact."

And to bring this back around full circle, its more evident today the the NY DA in the Lance's case was just doing the typical pre-trial public smear campaign.

graphic-er
07-05-2011, 11:56 AM
I provided relevant evidence to support my claim. If you want to counter with another state's numbers feel free to do so. California's prison system is very expensive, but it is paid for at the State level where felony convictions are pursued at the county level.



You can never prove intent, it is always shown through circumstantial evidence. If you have more drugs than you can use that its a conclusion a jury can come to. The jury is free to reject that as well.




My point is simple: of the 28% or so adult felony arrestees in California that do not plea out or get convicted by a jury, half of them were let go by the DA.





If there is no winnable case, why do defendants (and their attorneys) accept plea bargains? The important thing isn't just that DAs offer pleas, but that defendants take them. That means (1) the defendant is guilty, or thinks they will be convicted at minimum, and (2) the DA is willing to forgo a harsher conviction for some reason. Both of these things are inconsistent with your theory of outlaw DAs trying everyone they can find and lying to get convictions.




I am extremely aware of the many flaws in our legal system and prison system. Most of these problems arise from our legislative bodies, not the DAs office. Your problems with weed convictions come from foolish drug laws. We do not hire prosecutors to be one-person appraisers of the laws they enforce. We do not sit juries to ponder the appropriateness of the laws their duly appointed representatives have written.

I could him and haw with you all day about everything you said above and I think in some instances we are saying the same thing but making different points that are both right. But this last paragraph is extremely troubling to me. It is the Jury's right and responsibility to determine the law as applied to the case and facts that are presented. Infact the jury is the final check and balance on the laws that the representatives have written.

Since86
07-05-2011, 12:01 PM
How could it not any anything but achieving a guilty verdict, that is their job. What other motive do they have to bring a case to trial? There is only 2 outcomes there. Guilty and not Guilty. They take on cases they think they can win. They offer plea bargains to cases that are not worth the time and in some cases that they actually have no chance in winning.

Obviously their ethics classes are just a waste of time. Along with the oath that they have to take before they get their liscense, and the fact that they could very well lose their job rather quickly if it turns out their just trying to convict people regardless if the defendants are guilty or not.

But then again, I try to judge people by their personal conduct rather than try to throw a wet blanket on an entire profession.

How stupid would I sound if I tried to say that all car mechanics just want money and don't care if they fix your car or not?

How stupid would I sound if I tried saying that all dentists want to make money and will say you have a cavity regardless if you do or not.

I can point to some DA's that fit your idea. I can also point to some that don't. But I think it's rather stupid to try to throw out a generalization that you know, as well as I know, that it's false.

DA's are going to prosectute cases that they think they can get a conviction with. Are there some that will manufacture evidence in order to get a conviction? Most certainly. But just because there are a few bad apples doesn't mean ALL of them are rotten.

Now let me take off my hood so I can spout off generalizations about other races.

Strummer
07-05-2011, 12:08 PM
If there is no winnable case, why do defendants (and their attorneys) accept plea bargains? The important thing isn't just that DAs offer pleas, but that defendants take them. That means (1) the defendant is guilty, or thinks they will be convicted at minimum, and (2) the DA is willing to forgo a harsher conviction for some reason. Both of these things are inconsistent with your theory of outlaw DAs trying everyone they can find and lying to get convictions.



Not that I want in the middle of this conversation, but what the heck.

I think you and graphic-er started out arguing two different issues. You took the stance that graphic-er was arguing about the DA having the discretion about whether or not to take a case. But I don't believe that point was raised at all in his original post. He was stating that after a DA decides to file charges, he goes all out for a conviction. I doubt that you two really disagree on discretion.

You left out one of the major problems with plea bargains. Sometimes innocent people take plea bargains. Why? Because *some* prosecutors believe in overcharging. They lay on the charges so that the accused is likely to plea to charges representing the actual crime. It gives them an advantage in the bargaining process. And when this happens to an innocent person, the risk of decades in jail sometimes causes them to take the plea rather than protest their innocence and risk losing the rest of their life. Innocent people are sometimes forced to choose the lesser of two evils.

One of the many charges brought against Martha Stewart was attempting to manipulate the price of her companies stock. How? By publicly stating that she was innocent. That's right, Eliot Spitzer and his crew charged her with a crime for saying she was innocent. The judge threw that charge out, but it made me suspicious of the prosecutors in that case. And we later found out that Mr. Spitzer wasn't a very honorable man.

There was a case here in town where a man robbed a Quickie Mart. He was charged not only with armed robbery but also with several counts of kidnapping because he held people against their will during the crime. Now I don't like armed robbers anymore than the next guy, but that's not how the kidnapping laws were meant to be applied.

I remember a case once when a man was accused of being in possession of a deadly weapon. The weapon? A concrete stair step! Seriously? Charges like that make me very suspicious of the motives of the prosecutors.

There ARE cases where prosecutors have invented a theory of a crime. They build a narrative to "sell" their theory to the jury. And the jury, in the absence of physical evidence, accepts the theory and convicts an innocent person. And sometimes the prosecutors even cross lines to get the conviction. I don't think you would argue that. I suspect your only real argument with graphic-er is the extent to which this happens.

Sorry for the interruption. Please continue your debate.

judicata
07-05-2011, 12:16 PM
I could him and haw with you all day about everything you said above and I think in some instances we are saying the same thing but making different points that are both right. But this last paragraph is extremely troubling to me. It is the Jury's right and responsibility to determine the law as applied to the case and facts that are presented. Infact the jury is the final check and balance on the laws that the representatives have written.

The final check and balance on the laws the representatives have written is the election. Judges decide questions of law because it creates certainty in jurisprudence and streamlines trials. Some questions of law are completely impracticable to allow juries to decide.

For example, if juries decide questions of law, who decides evidence motions? The point is to determine whether the jury gets to see this stuff at all, but the threshhold questions (relevance, prejudice) are questions of law.

If juries have no obligation to observe precedent then you get some whacky results. Last week shopkeepers had no duty to prevent their patrons from being robbed by third parties, but this week they do. In Arizona it is not a violation of the Fourth Amendment for police to search your house because the door was unlocked, but you're safe in California. In the city it takes 5 lbs of weed was enough to show you had intent to distribute, the yokels only need a dime bag.

naptownmenace
07-05-2011, 12:25 PM
No. My opinion is merely derived at a common sense interpretation of what a prosecutor does or what their role is. Police bring a case to the prosecutor, who then decides to take the case on. From that point on their only goal is to get a conviction, because that is their job. That in its self supports the idea that a prosecutor is open to fudging the facts in such a way that is more damning the defendant. If ones lively-hood is dependent on the successful convictions they achieve then how far would one go to secure that?

Additionally as a juror one should never just simply follow the instructions of the Judge who usually says find your verdict as based on the law I have provided to you. The power of Jury Nullification is something that most judges will never instruct or inform you on, but is your right as a jury none the less.

How is that different from a defense attorney? A Defense Attorney will select a case and then their goal is to help their client receive an acquittal or at the least a lesser sentence for a crime that they are accused of committing.

Unless the Defense Attorney is court appointed, that Attorney is actually being paid to defend an individual that often has committed a crime. Most of the time they still get paid whether or not they deliver a good defense.

Maybe DAs make mistakes in which cases they pursue but I bet Defense Attorneys equally make mistakes in which clients they choose to defend.

judicata
07-05-2011, 12:25 PM
Not that I want in the middle of this conversation, but what the heck.

I think you and graphic-er started out arguing two different issues. You took the stance that graphic-er was arguing about the DA having the discretion about whether or not to take a case. But I don't believe that point was raised at all in his original post. He was stating that after a DA decides to file charges, he goes all out for a conviction. I doubt that you two really disagree on discretion.

You left out one of the major problems with plea bargains. Sometimes innocent people take plea bargains. Why? Because *some* prosecutors believe in overcharging. They lay on the charges so that the accused is likely to plea to charges representing the actual crime. It gives them an advantage in the bargaining process. And when this happens to an innocent person, the risk of decades in jail sometimes causes them to take the plea rather than protest their innocence and risk losing the rest of their life. Innocent people are sometimes forced to choose the lesser of two evils.

One of the many charges brought against Martha Stewart was attempting to manipulate the price of her companies stock. How? By publicly stating that she was innocent. That's right, Eliot Spitzer and his crew charged her with a crime for saying she was innocent. The judge threw that charge out, but it made me suspicious of the prosecutors in that case. And we later found out that Mr. Spitzer wasn't a very honorable man.

There was a case here in town where a man robbed a Quickie Mart. He was charged not only with armed robbery but also with several counts of kidnapping because he held people against their will during the crime. Now I don't like armed robbers anymore than the next guy, but that's not how the kidnapping laws were meant to be applied.

I remember a case once when a man was accused of being in possession of a deadly weapon. The weapon? A concrete stair step! Seriously? Charges like that make me very suspicious of the motives of the prosecutors.

There ARE cases where prosecutors have invented a theory of a crime. They build a narrative to "sell" their theory to the jury. And the jury, in the absence of physical evidence, accepts the theory and convicts an innocent person. And sometimes the prosecutors even cross lines to get the conviction. I don't think you would argue that. I suspect your only real argument with graphic-er is the extent to which this happens.

Sorry for the interruption. Please continue your debate.

graphic-er started the festivities with: "You can't take what a prosecutors says as anything more than spinning a story to get a conviction. They are not out for the truth, they are out for conviction. Thats a prosecutor's job. They don't care what happened, they only care about what happened that they can convince a jury to believe."

Discretion and plea bargaining are both completely inconsistent with the characterization of DAs as conviction hounds who do not care about the truth. That is why I brought those things up. There is obviously more nuance in those devices than I mentioned, but none of those facets change the point.

graphic-er
07-05-2011, 12:29 PM
Obviously their ethics classes are just a waste of time. Along with the oath that they have to take before they get their liscense, and the fact that they could very well lose their job rather quickly if it turns out their just trying to convict people regardless if the defendants are guilty or not.

But then again, I try to judge people by their personal conduct rather than try to throw a wet blanket on an entire profession.

How stupid would I sound if I tried to say that all car mechanics just want money and don't care if they fix your car or not?

How stupid would I sound if I tried saying that all dentists want to make money and will say you have a cavity regardless if you do or not.

I can point to some DA's that fit your idea. I can also point to some that don't. But I think it's rather stupid to try to throw out a generalization that you know, as well as I know, that it's false.

DA's are going to prosectute cases that they think they can get a conviction with. Are there some that will manufacture evidence in order to get a conviction? Most certainly. But just because there are a few bad apples doesn't mean ALL of them are rotten.

Now let me take off my hood so I can spout off generalizations about other races.

Its not a generalization at all. If they are bringing a case to trial it is because they feel they can prove them guilty of the charges.

Bball
07-05-2011, 12:32 PM
An innocent person being charged with a crime better hope their jury is made up of people prepared to be skeptical of the prosecutor and police (and their witnesses and experts) rather than people who believe over-zealous prosecution is so rare that it would be a non-factor.

Over-zealous prosecution exists, therefore it's best to always be open-minded to that possibility. It doesn't matter how much it exists. That it exists at all is reason to be on your guard as a juror.

Duke Lacrosse incident should be all anyone needs to know...

Since86
07-05-2011, 12:34 PM
Which is totally different than saying that a DA will take a case to court that he thinks he can win all while thinking that the defendant is innocent.

Sure, they take the cases to court that they think they can win, but they also don't prosectute anyone and anything just to get a W next to their name.

Bball
07-05-2011, 12:37 PM
How is that different from a defense attorney? A Defense Attorney will select a case and then their goal is to help their client receive an acquittal or at the least a lesser sentence for a crime that they are accused of committing.

Unless the Defense Attorney is court appointed, that Attorney is actually being paid to defend an individual that often has committed a crime. Most of the time they still get paid whether or not they deliver a good defense.

Maybe DAs make mistakes in which cases they pursue but I bet Defense Attorneys equally make mistakes in which clients they choose to defend.

Defense attorneys can't really make mistakes in who they choose to defend. No matter who their client is sitting beside them it's really all of us they are defending. They are there to make sure the rights of the accused are preserved. To make sure the State follows due process. They are there to make sure the State proves it case beyond a reasonable doubt. They are protecting the rights granted to all of us via the Constitution.

judicata
07-05-2011, 12:46 PM
An innocent person being charged with a crime better hope their jury is made up of people prepared to be skeptical of the prosecutor and police (and their witnesses and experts) rather than people who believe over-zealous prosecution is so rare that it would be a non-factor.

Over-zealous prosecution exists, therefore it's best to always be open-minded to that possibility. It doesn't matter how much it exists. That it exists at all is reason to be on your guard as a juror.

Duke Lacrosse incident should be all anyone needs to know...

No one is arguing with you for the most part. No one came anywhere close to arguing that it is a non-factor. I disagree with the bolded part for a myriad of reasons.

graphic-er
07-05-2011, 12:59 PM
Which is totally different than saying that a DA will take a case to court that he thinks he can win all while thinking that the defendant is innocent.

Sure, they take the cases to court that they think they can win, but they also don't prosectute anyone and anything just to get a W next to their name.

You like to put things in either Column A or Column B. I've never said that they will prosecute anyone even if they think they are innocent. But they will compile the facts against an innocent person in order to prove them guilty, and the start of such an action maybe due to preconceived notions about a suspect that enables them to "build a case".

Bball
07-05-2011, 01:00 PM
I disagree with the bolded part for a myriad of reasons.

I'm not sure of why you disagree.... unless you missed my point.

Of course it matters how much it exists. It shouldn't exist at all. But you can't pretend it doesn't exist, or is too rare to be a consideration, and therefore you should always be on your guard to the possibility.

Since86
07-05-2011, 01:08 PM
You like to put things in either Column A or Column B. I've never said that they will prosecute anyone even if they think they are innocent. But they will compile the facts against an innocent person in order to prove them guilty, and the start of such an action maybe due to preconceived notions about a suspect that enables them to "build a case".

I might only have two columns to place them in, but you only have one.

And actually, I have multiple columns, I just didn't think I needed to explain the many shades of gray.


I've said it earlier in previous thread about lance when all this popped up. You can't take what a prosecutors says as anything more than spinning a story to get a conviction. They are not out for the truth, they are out for conviction. Thats a prosecutor's job. They don't care what happened, they only care about what happened that they can convince a jury to believe.

That's your original statement. You're talking about all prosectutors, are you not?

naptownmenace
07-05-2011, 01:08 PM
Defense attorneys can't really make mistakes in who they choose to defend. No matter who their client is sitting beside them it's really all of us they are defending. They are there to make sure the rights of the accused are preserved. To make sure the State follows due process. They are there to make sure the State proves it case beyond a reasonable doubt. They are protecting the rights granted to all of us via the Constitution.

Yes that's true... but are you saying that District Attorneys aren't protecting the rights granted to all of us via the Constitution?

Bball
07-05-2011, 02:04 PM
Yes that's true... but are you saying that District Attorneys aren't protecting the rights granted to all of us via the Constitution?


I'm saying over-zealous prosecution can happen. I'm saying rushes to judgment by police can happen. I'm saying someone in the system can get tunnel-vision or let prejudices cloud their judgment. I'm saying politics can come into play.

I'm not saying they come into play every time. I'm simply saying that one of more do come into play sometimes. We could debate for hours on how much sometimes might be. And ultimately that wouldn't matter because if it happens once, it's too much.

Our juries should be a check and balance against that... but they can only be a check and balance against it if they keep an open mind and don't assume just because someone sits accused it makes them automatically guilty.... or even likely guilty (regardless of what the statistics say each case is a standalone event). The State should have to prove its case on the merits and shouldn't resort to any type of shenanigans in getting there. No matter how guilty the police or prosecutor thinks someone is. The evidence should lead where the evidence leads. History has many examples of important evidence or tips being overlooked or not followed because it didn't fit a (wrong) theory of the crime.

The prosecutor is there to seek justice for the citizens of the state. ...while never forgetting the accused has rights as well...

IMHO Our system should err on the side of some guilty people getting off because otherwise innocent people will end up convicted of crimes they didn't commit. They system can never be perfect therefore the benefit of the doubt has to go to the accused.

graphic-er
07-05-2011, 02:17 PM
I might only have two columns to place them in, but you only have one.

And actually, I have multiple columns, I just didn't think I needed to explain the many shades of gray.



That's your original statement. You're talking about all prosectutors, are you not?

Heck yea, all prosecutors want to get a conviction or admission of guilt from a suspect. That's their goal. The prosecutor does not know the suspect from Adam or the victim for that matter as well. I don't think it matters to them if the person is innocent or not. If they can make the crime fit a suspect they will pursue it. Maybe it doesn't go to trial maybe it does, but I'm sure that many times the prosecutor has to throw some **** on the wall to if it sticks.

Edit: they would say that the verdict is supported by the evidence so their belief of innocence is in consequential.

Since86
07-05-2011, 02:33 PM
I don't know why you're thanking Bball's post, when he clearly doesn't agree with you.

graphic-er
07-05-2011, 02:43 PM
I don't know why you're thanking Bball's post, when he clearly doesn't agree with you.

LOL. I thanked him because its a good post.

and I don't think he is arguing against my point either.

He clearly thinks there are over zealous prosecutors who are capable of fudging the narrative to fit the crime. I've seen saying that all along too.

I appreciate the view points he is bringing to the discussion.

Since86
07-05-2011, 03:09 PM
He's giving the exact same argument I am....

That there are SOME prosectutors who are looking just to get a win, and who don't really care about guilty/innocence.

You're arguing ALL prosectutors think that way.

He's clearly differenciated between the two. You have not.

graphic-er
07-05-2011, 03:19 PM
He's giving the exact same argument I am....

That there are SOME prosectutors who are looking just to get a win, and who don't really care about guilty/innocence.

You're arguing ALL prosectutors think that way.

He's clearly differentiated between the two. You have not.

I think all prosecutors are looking to get a win, thats their job. Why would you say that a prosecutor doesn't want to get a guilty verdict at trial? It makes no sense. They would say the evidence leads to the prosecution, so they obviously think there is something there. Now they just have to prove it in court. Who knows at what lengths they will mold the narrative to fit the evidence they present.

Also I believe Bball said it best in his original statement that SOME maybe more apt to fudge the narrative, so as a juror one should assume that all prosecutors are capable of doing such. Paraphrasing of course.

Since86
07-05-2011, 03:32 PM
Once again, you're combining two completely seperate issues.

Yes, ALL prosectutors want to get a win. Not ALL prosectutors are willing to send a person they think is innocent to jail.

Are there SOME DA's that would railroad a suspect in order to get a conviction? Most certainly. But that's a far cry from saying that ALL would.

EDIT: And yes, a juror should be skeptical of the state. That's why it's up to the presecution to prove their case and why they have to prove it "beyond a reasonable doubt."

MnvrChvy
07-05-2011, 03:33 PM
Prosecutors attempt to prosecute. No surprise. A defense attorney is there to keep him honest.

This conversation shouldn't be about them doing their jobs so much as it should be about them doing things that are NOT part of their jobs... as in trying to sway public opinion through the media.

Tell me why on earth the prosecutors from either of these cases should be talking to media before the trial is completed? They are just trying to game the system. As someone pointed out earlier, it is all about getting leverage for the negotiating table. No one is going to believe you are innocent anyway so there is no point in defending your good name on principle.

graphic-er
07-05-2011, 03:42 PM
Once again, you're combining two completely seperate issues.

Yes, ALL prosectutors want to get a win. Not ALL prosectutors are willing to send a person they think is innocent to jail.

Are there SOME DA's that would railroad a suspect in order to get a conviction? Most certainly. But that's a far cry from saying that ALL would.

EDIT: And yes, a juror should be skeptical of the state. That's why it's up to the presecution to prove their case and why they have to prove it "beyond a reasonable doubt."

I just don't honestly see where innocence factors in to the equation. If they are bring a case to trial they obviously must believe the suspect is guilty. I think most prosecutors would say that its not about whether I think they are innocent or guilty, its what my evidence points to.

graphic-er
07-05-2011, 03:44 PM
Prosecutors attempt to prosecute. No surprise. A defense attorney is there to keep him honest.

This conversation shouldn't be about them doing their jobs so much as it should be about them doing things that are NOT part of their jobs... as in trying to sway public opinion through the media.

Tell me why on earth the prosecutors from either of these cases should be talking to media before the trial is completed? They are just trying to game the system. As someone pointed out earlier, it is all about getting leverage for the negotiating table. No one is going to believe you are innocent anyway so there is no point in defending your good name on principle.

I agree for the most part except I think in some cases the media can actually be a check and balance in these situations.

McKeyFan
07-05-2011, 10:53 PM
This thread has taken some different roads, but I just wanted to get back to the initial post and why I posted the article.

During many of the Lance threads it was stated by many that Lance may or may not get convicted, but simply the fact that he was hit with charges by the prosecutor was by and large proof that he was guilty of the crime. "People simply aren't charged unless the evidence is there," is what the reasoning seemed to be.

I'm not saying all prosecutors are corrupt. I'm not saying any are. I'm just pointing at this article to show that a guy can get charged with a crime, sit in jail for months with no bond, and prosecutors finally get around to learning that their one-source witness is a former (and current) prostitute who tells a friend "don't worry, this guy's rich, I know what I'm doing."

I would prefer a little more research be done before the charges are meted out. Likewise, we don't know exactly what went down in Lance's case. He may have been guilty of the things he was charged with. Or, he may have been the victim of lazy (or corrupt or incompetent) prosecutors.

Hicks
07-06-2011, 12:17 AM
My questions are:

1) If Lance did nothing wrong, what is the most likely scenario that happened which initiated the legal process?

2) If Lance did nothing wrong, where did the specific story of him pushing her down the stairs and slamming her head against a step come from?

Regardless, it sounds like a ****ed up relationship either way to me. If Lance did it, then she's in a terrible situation. If she tried to set him up with that story, then he's in a terrible situation.

As a fan of this team, I'd like nothing more than to truly believe he didn't do it and that it's all about hoping he matures and his talent blossoms so he becomes another core piece to the team, but I have to be honest, even though the legal part of this is done, I'm always going to tend to assume, in the back of my mind, that he did something wrong here. I could never prove it, and obviously the law couldn't either, but I just have always had a bad feeling here. I'd love to be wrong.

Bball
07-06-2011, 12:33 AM
My questions are:

1) If Lance did nothing wrong, what is the most likely scenario that happened which initiated the legal process?

2) If Lance did nothing wrong, where did the specific story of him pushing her down the stairs and slamming her head against a step come from?

Regardless, it sounds like a ****ed up relationship either way to me. If Lance did it, then she's in a terrible situation. If she tried to set him up with that story, then he's in a terrible situation.

As a fan of this team, I'd like nothing more than to truly believe he didn't do it and that it's all about hoping he matures and his talent blossoms so he becomes another core piece to the team, but I have to be honest, even though the legal part of this is done, I'm always going to tend to assume, in the back of my mind, that he did something wrong here. I could never prove it, and obviously the law couldn't either, but I just have always had a bad feeling here. I'd love to be wrong.

There's always at least a 3rd possibility- That it never was as bad as described. That she was also immature and wasn't innocent in the whole incident either. And maybe if Lance retaliated in any way her ultimate payback was to claim domestic violence.

And that still = an effed up relationship too...