Dependable Erection

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Blinders

I had a revelation earlier today, from a couple of things i read on Durham blogs. First, what i'll charitably describe as an unintentionally offensive comment on Michael's post on the lacrosse case. Here's the nub:
I fully believe that this could happen in other places. Which is one of the reasons I want to see Durham hit with a financial judgement that it will feel for decades - and that will make mayors, city councimen and police chiefs all over the country sit up and take notice. After all, one of the primary purposes of punitive damages is deterrence.

I agree that many previous miscarriages of justice have slid by with the wrongdoers getting a relative slap on the wrist. I'd like to see that change. I'm sorry Durham has to be first, but only in the sense that we can't go back in time and fix the others, too.


My initial response, which you can read at Michael's place, was pretty angry. (After all, for an enlightened and tolerant guy, i get pissed off pretty easy.) But i reread something at Kevin's place:
it seems that if you can’t see poverty, it really isn’t there. And so many of us do our best to live in isolated pockets at the demographic extremes.


See, it just occurred to me that for people like Ralph Phelan, the Duke lacrosse case is the first and only time they've ever encountered injustice like this. They really do live in a world where this kind of thing just doesn't happen; and if word of something like this does penetrate, then there's obviously a reason why it happened to say, Dwayne Allen Dail.

Which is why, i guess, Ralph Phelan is able to say, without any trace of irony, that he's sorry Durham has to be the first. For him, and i suppose for many of the commenters on this blog who have expressed similar sentiments, the world in which this kind of thing happens to many undeserving people just doesn't exist.

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5 Comments:

  • I knew some kind of weird fix was in for Durham when the players were declared "totally innocent" in Raleigh.

    "Not guilty" is the appropriate wording. Period.

    Going up to, and if you're a legal expert and/or lawyer, feel free to chime in--going up to "totally innocent" is unheard of in my limited experience with the law.

    This unfortunate choice of words from an authority in RALEIGH, puts Durham at a disadvantage in many ways. If you wrongly go after someone who is "not guilty", I believe it is within the bounds of reasonable error. If you wrongly go after someone who's been given a Mother Theresa-type pass of "totally innocent", just what the hell is your excuse?

    Ya know, if my tax bill goes up enough to pay for all these monkeyshines, it's just less money I'll spend on more frivolous things.

    I may also transfer my profound disappointment with the state-level Democratic organization and vote Republican for the next Governor. How do you like those politics?

    By Blogger Tony, at 11:02 PM  

  • You've completely mischaracterized my beliefs. Like Michael, I know full well that this kind of thing happens all the time, usually to people who can't afford decent legal representation. It could happen to me or my loved ones.

    I wish these kind of things didn't happen. Part of the reason they happen as often as they do is that those responsible for miscarriages of justice are almost never punished.

    I'd like to see that change.

    I'd like to see it change as soon as possible.

    As soon as possible happens to be the Durham/LAX case - sorry, sucks to be you.

    That's why I want to see the Durham government and police get slammed so hard it rattles cupboards from coast to coast, and puts the fear of God into every mayor and police chief in the country, including mine.

    By Anonymous Ralph Phelan, at 12:49 PM  

  • "They really do live in a world where this kind of thing just doesn't happen"

    On the contrary, I live in a world where LAPD detective Vannatter was never prosecuted and punished for obstruction of justice, or for indisputable acts of perjury far more injurious to society to any of Clinton's lies about sex.

    Law Enforcement/Prosecution always protect their own, to the point where a slimedog like Nifong gets more respectful treatment than US President because he's "one of ours."

    Any time I see a chance to have any of those people actually suffer some consequences for there misconduct for a change, I'm gonna jump on it.

    By Anonymous Ralph Phelan, at 1:02 PM  

  • Just a reminder that Mike Nifong was an employee of the State of North carolina, and elected by the citizens of Durham County.

    How does suing the city of Durham address the issue that you raise?

    Every year, dozens of innocent people are freed from prison after having been successfully prosecuted and convicted, often by crooked cops and/or prosecutors.

    You want to rattle their cages by having someone else sue Durham?

    I really don't care about your wants, to be quite honest. I suspect there's a personal vendetta hiding somewhere behind that illogic.

    there are plenty of ways to work for a more just society than ours, in which the mostly poor, mostly black, people who are the victims not only of the original crimes, but also of the state when the evidence to prosecute is particularly thin is finally put to rest.

    This lawsuit isn't going to do shit about making that system go away. you know that, i know that, and i've got a pretty strong suspicion that the plaintiffs know that as well.

    By Blogger Barry Ragin, at 1:09 PM  

  • Just a reminder that Mike Nifong was an employee of the State of North carolina, and elected by the citizens of Durham County.

    How does suing the city of Durham address the issue that you raise?


    Himan and Gottlieb - the guys who actually performed the blatantly rigged lineup - not only were but astonishingly still are Durham employees. Apparently rigging lineups to frame people is considered acceptable by the DPD. [I can't find the link right now, but not too long ago there was an article in the news about someone falsely convicted of rape, partly by use of the exact same no-fillers lineup procedures by the DPD. He didn't have the money for good lawyers, and spent quite a few years in jail. More evidence that in Durham rigged lineups are indeed considered "ok."]

    The departmental spokesmen who made false statements about the defendants' noncooperation are still employed by Durham. Apparently lying to the public is considered acceptable by the DPD.

    Ripberger, who it seems told his underlings to do whatever Nifong said whether it violated the law and the officers' oaths of office or not, is still employed by the DPD. Apparently total abdication of responsibility is acceptable to the DPD. Oh, yeah, that's right ... that's a pretty good description of Chief Chalmers' response to a crisis, isn't it? So you let him hang around a few more months doing nothing to up his pension. That rewarding incompetence is also DPD policy is no surprise.

    The DPD, like the LAPD's "Ramparts" division before it, is not just a threat to the safety of those in its own jurisdiction. If it is seen to prosper by other police departments, its corrupt practices will spread and become a threat to everyone everywhere. Unless you want to live in a third-world police state, misconduct this blatant just can't go unpunished.


    Also - Patrick Baker, who was closely involved in the "investigation" from the beginning got a smaller than expected raise, but is still employed by Durham. Apparently your (reelected) Mayor and (mostly reelected) City Council consider helping frame out-of-towners part of the City Manager's job responsibilities - making sure the water is safe and the dump doesn't burn down are not so important. So the guilt goes much higher in your city than just the DPD.


    Quoting from further above:

    This unfortunate choice of words from an authority in RALEIGH, puts Durham at a disadvantage in many ways.

    And rightly so.

    If you wrongly go after someone who is "not guilty", I believe it is within the bounds of reasonable error. If you wrongly go after someone who's been given a Mother Theresa-type pass of "totally innocent", just what the hell is your excuse?"

    There is no excuse for rigging lineups.

    There is no excuse for intimidating witnesses.

    There is no excuse for knowingly trying to put innocent people in jail in order to get a few votes - and no, I don't think Nifong's the only one that describes.

    You guys need to get hammered until you stop defending the indefensible.

    And the DPD needs to suffer sufficiently severe and public consequences that the next time an overambitious DA anywhere in the US tries to pressure a policeman into bending the rules, the cop will reply "No thanks, I want to keep my job."

    By Anonymous Ralph Phelan, at 2:12 PM  

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