Thursday, January 28, 2016

Off-topic: Thirty years ago today: a space tragedy that could have been avoided

That morning, thirty years ago today, I remember hearing on the radio about how icy conditions in Florida might again delay the launch of the space shuttle that day. I thought nothing of it--space launch delays were common, and the launch had been delayed the previous day. Then, a few hours later at the office, an attorney colleague of mine was in tears--she told me that Space Shuttle Challenger had exploded 73 second after liftoff killing all seven astronauts aboard. The culprit was a faulty O-ring seal. The mission was widely publicized because Christa McAuliffe would have been the first teacher in space.

It was a launch that never should have occurred. NASA was under pressure to launch when it shouldn't have. The launch was supposed to occur the previous day but got postponed, and the night before, CBS news anchor Dan Rather led off CBS’s evening news with these words: “Yet another costly, red-faces-all-around space shuttle-launch-delay. This time, a bad bolt on a hatch and a bad-weather bolt from the blue are being blamed.” The news broadcast painted NASA technicians as bumblers. The Washington Post later said that pressure from the news media may explain the imprudent decision. Public outcries, or perceived public outcries, often interfere with prudence and are responsible for all manner of bad decisions.

On that night in 1986, President Ronald Reagan postponed his State of the Union Address and instead spoke to the nation about the tragedy. It was among the greatest presidential speeches of our time--pitch perfect in tone and content. Reagan's reputation as "The Great Communicator" was well-deserved, never more so than that night when the nation needed to be consoled and assured. Reagan famously concluded his speech by talking about the crew of the Challenger: “We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for their journey and waved goodbye--and slipped the surly bonds of earth to touch the face of God.”

EDIT: I just saw this great article about the speech.



Wow.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Georgia lawmaker tells sexual grievance industry to go to hell

State Rep. Earl Ehrhart (R-District 36) told university presidents: “If you can’t provide the students of this state due process, don’t come looking for money.”

Read about it here.

So, you don't think there's a sexual grievance industry?

The Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights claims it needs to hire hundreds of new employees--hundreds--to handle its increasing backlog of nearly 200 unresolved cases.

Read about it here.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Scary thought for the day: the sexual grievance cartel makes Bernie Sanders look right-wing

Sanders' position on college sexual assault is far more reasonable than Hillary's and the rest of her ilk. See here and here.  That's how far gone the sexual grievance cartel is.

Not a safe place for young men

From the Atlanta Journal Constitution:
Georgia Tech has expelled or suspended nearly every student it has investigated for sexual misconduct in the past five years, according to reports viewed by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The school has also handed down stiff penalties to fraternities, including one in which members were accused last summer of hurling racial slurs at a black female student.
“We’re going to let the taxpayers of Georgia understand why there is not a safe place on the Georgia Tech campus for their sons to receive due process,” said state Rep. Earl Ehrhart, chairman of the House committee that allocates funding to Georgia’s colleges, who is hosting the hearing.
Read the article here.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Woman falsely accused boy of rape because 'she requires attention, even if it's negative'--but she won't go to jail

Sapphire Phillips, 21, who previously had made false claims of rape and robbery, falsely accused a 17-year-old boy of rape after they had a consensual sexual encounter.

Phillips lied because she felt "used" by the boy, because she felt guilty about cheating on her partner, and because she "requires attention, even if it's negative."

The boy was arrested and spent 20 hours in police custody. He was forced to undergo a forensic examination. It is not difficult to imagine that this was the worst experience in his young life.

Phillips eventually admitted she lied and that her encounter with the boy was consensual.

“It’s a strategy she uses when she can’t cope with a situation,” explained a probation officer. “She requires attention, even if it’s negative.”

Yet, Phillips was spared jail time. You read that correctly--she will not serve any jail time for trying to destroy the life of a boy, even though this was the third time she had made a false claim about a serious criminal matter.

This is not the first time we've seen cases like this. Remember the woman who sent a college student to jail for five years over a rape lie because "I've always seemed to need some drama in my life. Otherwise I get bored"?

In this post from 2014, we chronicled a few of the more outrageous "rationales" for false rape claims--don't read it on an empty stomach.

In most of the cases, as here, the false accusers serve no jail time. Two prominent examples of women who avoided spending time behind bars are the false accusers in the infamous Brian Banks and Hofstra false rape cases.

False rape claims are terrifying and destroy lives. Most of the cases are not motivated by revenge--the far more serious problem is that we have taught our daughters to treat consensual encounters as rape (see, e.g.here). Regardless of the motivation, if we want people to treat rape as a serious matter, we need to treat false rape claims as serious matters. When the law bows to political correctness and allows women to make false rape claims with impunity, it undermines confidence in the way rape claims are handled, and it makes people all the more wary about punishing even men and boys who deserve to be punished for rape. We do women no favors by refusing to treat the false rape problem as the serious social pathology it is.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Woman Who Plotted Her Third Child Father's Murder Receives No Jail Time

I have written about my experiences as a Court-martial defense attorney regarding Servicemembers who are falsely accused of physical and sexual abuse only after they file for divorce by women who are the actual abusers, here and here.  Like the District Attorney in Los Angeles in the Brian Banks case, some military prosecutors could not care less if a woman gets on the stand and lies under oath in order to gain custody of the parties child. I have yet to hear of a military dependent being indicted in Federal Court for making a false statement about her husband to military authorities.

While this is not a typical false allegation case, the facts of this case shows how the justice system is biased towards women.  Amy Corwin, a mother of four, plotted to kill the father of her third child who was attempting to gain custody of the child.  She  was indicted on charges of conspiracy to commit murder, a first-degree felony, and intimidation of a witness, a third-degree felony.

So, what did she plead to? A first-degree felony count of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity.  And her sentence?  The Court sentenced her to one year of community control and a rehabilitation program and probation.

I know nothing about the case other than what I have read in the article, but I wonder if the DA negotiated a plea deal because of an allegation that Corwin's intended victim abused her.  I noticed from the article that Corwin approached the father of her first two children to recruit him to kill the father of her third child.  I wonder what she told him to encourage him to commit murder.  And, I applaud the courage of this man who informed law enforcement about Corwin's intentions because he did the right thing in light of a woman who was willing leave her third child fatherless.

Think about what would have happened if she would have gone to the cops and falsely accused her third child's father of sexual assault.  Would the cops have charged the father?  Would the cops have asked the tough questions about her allegations in order to ascertain the truthfulness of her statements?  Or, would the cops have started by believing and never stopped believing, no matter how absurd her allegations had become? 

Knowing what I know from experience of representing the falsely accused, I believe this poor guy fared much better with a woman who was trying to kill him in today's system of justice.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Brian Banks Lawsuit Seeks $219,000.00 Against State of California

In a story here, wrongfully convicted high school football star Brian Banks is seeking $219,000.00 from the State of California for his imprisonment based on a wrongful conviction.  California passed a statute that permitted exonerated convicts to be paid a maximum of $100 for each day they were wrongfully convicted and confined.  You can read the horrific facts of his ordeal reported here.

What I find interesting is that the DA's office sought a conviction of Banks without any physical evidence except Wanetta Gibson's word.  You would think obtaining a rape conviction would be a tough case to prove, but the DA's office pursued charges against Brian Banks, whose defense attorney talked him into a plea deal out of fear that a jury would assume Banks was guilty because he was a big black teenager.

With regards to Wanetta Gibson's false statement in which she was paid $1.5 million?

Los Angeles prosecutors have said it is unlikely Gibson will be charged with making false accusations, saying it would be a tough case to prove.

Let that sink in.  The DA had no problem charging Brian Banks where there was no physical evidence in a he said/she said case where some of the things she was saying did not make sense.  For instance, no DNA was found in her rape kit because she said Banks "wiped the semen off with a towel."  Any DNA expert would say that makes no sense.  Sounds like a pretty difficult case, right?  But, when it comes to prosecuting a woman who admitted on tape that no rape or kidnapping occurred, the DA believes that is a "tough case to prove."  Therefore, they cannot bring charges against her.

So, there are two lessons the Los Angeles County DA's office is teaching based on their actions in regards to Banks and Gibson.  First, to the falsely accused:  Do not plead guilty to something you did not do.  There are decisions that the client makes, and there are decisions that the attorney makes.  Your choice of plea is a decision you make as a client.  No attorney can force their client into pleading guilty, even if the client is guilty.  If your defense attorney tries to talk you into pleading guilty where you are innocent, then maybe it is time to find or request a new defense attorney from the public defenders office.

Second, to false accusers:  You can lie about kidnapping and sexual assault that results in a man being confined for five years and two months, get paid $1.5 million dollars for injuries you did not suffer, admit on tape that there was no rape or kidnapping, and never face a criminal prosecution for lying to the police. 

If there is a statute of limitations issue with regards to a criminal offense of lying to the police, then I can understand why that would be a tough case to prove.  But, that would be the only reason.  Otherwise, the Los Angeles County's DA has shown that it will aggressively prosecute sexual offenses without definitive evidence of guilt, but let criminal liars off the hook where there is overwhelming evidence of guilt. They should be ashamed.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Off-topic: Politicians should not insult people based on where they live

When a political leader reduces people to vile caricature based on their address, he is out of line and, yes, he needs to apologize.

Today, Donald Trump and popular Democratic politicians from New York are calling for Senator Ted Cruz to apologize for doing nothing more than quoting Donald Trump. That's right, quoting. Last week while Cruz  was being interviewed, he quoted Trump from an interview Trump once gave to Tim Russert--Trump explained to Russert that his then-liberal bent reflects New York values. http://www.dailywire.com/news/2651/heres-video-proof-trumps-cynical-phony-new-york-ben-shapiro

Perhaps I missed something, but shouldn't these hyper-sensitive New York types be asking Trump for an apology? (By the way, Ted Cruz did apologize to New Yorkers--for having to put up with the failed leaders who are calling for him to apologize: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cszk3lmXLbw) New York media-types seem to be upset that because someone had the audacity to point out that New York doesn't dictate the values of the rest of the country. They apparently didn't know that.

But there is a politician who is actually guilty of the very thing I'm talking about--insulting people base on their address--and who really does need to apologize, but no one has ever demanded an apology from him because his media enablers think he is immune from criticism. I'm referring to comments made by a certain presidential candidate in 2008 who said this about people from "small towns in Pennsylvania": ". . . they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations." https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DTxXUufI3jA

What Ted Cruz said was not insulting. What Mr. Obama said was.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Claim: College tells suicidal male student accused of sexual assault he can't have counseling--because his accuser was using those resources

If true, the following is disturbing beyond words and illustrates everything that is wrong with the modern academy. A feminist student at Michigan State University claims that her boyfriend was wrongly accused of college sexual assault and expressed suicidal thoughts after the accusation, but he was told "to avoid the campus counseling center because his accuser 'was also using those resources' . . . .”

Given what we've seen on college campuses since the "Dear Colleague" letter was promulgated five years ago, it would not be surprising to hear that a university refused to help a male student--regardless of whether the student was having suicidal thoughts--if the university feared that counseling him would cause his accuser the slightest discomfort. After all, colleges have been instructed by their government that even before a finding of guilt, a school must give the complainant options to avoid contact with the accused and "should minimize the burden on the complainant," not the accused.

We don't know if MSU disputes this allegation. The university's associate director of student life "did not respond to a request by The Fix to explain the procedure for handling requests for counseling by opposing parties in a sexual-assault proceeding." If the allegation is false, why did the administrator not go on the record to correct it, or at least state, for example, that the university's policy's is to insure that all students, including those accused of sex offenses, are provided the counseling services they require? Do schools fear that if they assist men accused of sex offenses, they might be viewed by the Department of Education and the feminist community as aiding and abetting the enemy?

In incident after incident, colleges behave as if Title IX, the "Dear Colleague" letter, and political correctness itself trump the due process rights and, indeed, the well-being of men accused of sex offenses. Massive resources are devoted to accusers, none are devoted to the presumptively innocent who are accused despite the mental health issues that afflict many. It is well to remind our readers that the leader of what is aptly called the campus sexual grievance industry, Brett Sokolow, sees "case-after-case" where "overwhelming proof" shows the purported sexual assault never happened. Mr. Sokolow--an avowed feminist--recently told Newsweek the pendulum on campus has shifted too far in favor of accusers.

So, no, I would not be surprised if Michigan State University or any other school refused to counsel a male student who was accused of sexual assault--even if it knew he was thinking of killing himself. That's how far we've come.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Perception and Reality Collide in the UK Regarding Rape Prosecutions

In a recent post found at The News Hub, Sarah Cottingham laments the tendency for British prosecutors to refuse to take tough cases, which leads to the second order effect of actual victims of sexual assault not coming forward with their claims.  She discusses the horrors of a judge saying that rape statistics would improve when "women would stop getting so drunk," how a barrister stated, "It would be useful if they could sit down without showing their knickers," and the adverse effect statements such as these has on victims reporting sexual offenses. 

Because victims are so fragile, these statements prevent 80% of them from reporting sexual assault offenses out of fear that they will be asked difficult questions.  I must agree that advising women to not drink so much would more effectively prevent alcohol facilitated rape, than trying to train a sexual predator not to take advantage of a woman who was passed out due to alcohol.  As a former prosecutor, if a victim came to Court wearing an outfit that caused her panties to show when she sat down, I would probably advise her to wear something more conservative because I would want her to obtain justice if I truly believed that she was raped.  I often find it comical when writers attribute that a woman who serves in the military or  who can drink half her weight in liquor would close up, not cooperate, or not report because a prosecutor might have said something like this to them.

And,  what about the 20% who muster the courage to report?  Well only 56.9% of the cases actually tried result in a conviction.  And, the cases being referred to trial have dropped by 20% in some areas to over 50% in other areas due to evidentiary and public interest requirements:

Despite a 3% rise in reporting, in 2012-13 rape cases referred to the [Crown Prosecution Service] CPS fell by a third and the Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Martin Hewitt admitted, ‘There is still far too much variation in the way that forces move a complaint of rape through the system.’
 
One issue stemmed from the CPS itself. They provide a code for police and prosecutors explaining the evidential and public interest tests that should be satisfied before a case can continue its journey to trial.
 
The CPS changed the wording of the code and in 2014 eleven police forces said that when using the newly worded code, less cases were referred onwards.
 
So, Ms. Cottingham's theory is that cases that should be tried are not making it through the system in the UK based on these statistics and code for accessing the viability of cases.  I wonder if she has taken the time to look through the charging memorandums of each and every cases that was reported and not referred to trial to understand the reasons why the Crown Prosecution Service declined prosecution. I would be surprised if she has. 
 
Well, here is a anecdotal case from the UK yesterday, which makes me question her opinion.  It appears that the accuser continued to have sex with a man she was "in awe of" and sent racy texts discussing him spanking her after he allegedly raped her one night when she was "crazy drunk."  The CPS was really trying hard on this case because they found another female to accuse him of a previously unreported sexual assault from 2014.  He was acquitted of both charges. 
 
After the full acquittal, the CPS issued this statement:  “It was decided that there was sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction. We respect the court’s decision.”  I would imagine this analysis was based on the fact that they found two women to falsely accuse the accused in this case.
 
And, my point is simply this:  If this case made it all the way to a jury for a verdict based on the CPS's opinion that the facts of the case presented a realistic prospect for conviction, then I shudder to think what the facts are for the cases that are not being referred by the Crown Prosecution Service.  And, perhaps Sarah Cottingham should investigate the facts of the case above and reconsider her opinion that the CPS is sweeping rape allegations under the rug when they present too many evidentiary issues.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Meet Counterintuitive Victim Behavior Expert Dr. Veronique Valliere

For the past five years, the United States Army has employed counterintuitive victim behavior experts at a cost to taxpayers of roughly $2,000.00 per day to testify why complaining witnesses act illogically.  One of the premiere experts the US Army employs is Dr. Veronique Valliere, a forensic psychologist from Pennsylvania.  She has testified in approximately forty to fifty Courts-martial over the past few years.

Dr. Valliere made the news recently in Pennsylvania where an attorney filed a motion in limine to prevent her from testifying.  However, Pennsylvania passed a law to rule that this type of testimony was admissible. Juries are typically the factfinder in sexual assault cases, and there is a question whether this type of testimony invades their discretion to weigh the credibility of complaining witnesses.

In one recent Court-martial at Fort Benning, Georgia, the Government employed Dr. Valliere as a counterintuitive victim behavior expert presumably to explain why a woman who graduated from Princeton, was set to earn $150k per year in a contracting job in Afghanistan, who owned a home in a different state than the accused Servicemember, who was a former victim advocate for her unit, and who outranked the accused who she had known for less than a month, would fly to Las Vegas and marry a man who she says forcibly and anally sodomized her one week before in Charleston, South Carolina.  You can listen to her direct examination here, and you can listen to the civilian defense attorney's cross examination of Dr. Valliere here.

For the military, Dr. Valliere has testified in the past, as well as the Court-martial above, as a "blind" expert forensic psychologist, which means she knew none of the facts of the case for which she was testifying.  Little did she know that the defense attorney shared with the military panel (jury) during opening statements that his client was actually the victim of physical abuse by his wife who falsely accused him of a number of heinous crimes the day after he served her with his petition for divorce where his wife counterclaimed for sole physical custody of their one year old daughter.  Nor was she informed that he possessed recordings of her attempting to run him down with her car in their driveway, throwing and hitting him with a glass in the kitchen, threatening to kill his dog, and stating that she was going to his Commander and he was going to pay her a lot of money.

A defense expert, Dr. Kevin Richards, later testified that he reviewed her mental health history and she appeared to have traits consistent with a borderline personality disorder.  Listen to one of the last questions in the audio where the civilian defense attorney turns Dr. Valliere into a defense expert witness for false allegations made by persons afflicted with a borderline personality disorder during custody battles in divorce.

Once again, if anyone knows a Servicemember who is considering divorcing his wife who he married a little too quickly only to learn after it was too late that his life has become complete chaos, then they need to read this link and hire a civilian attorney who is experienced in divorce and military law.  Most military prosecutors would have seen the case above as a false allegation lodged in an attempt to gain sole custody of a child in a divorce, but the Special Victim Prosecutor, the Chief of Justice, the Staff Judge Advocate, and the Commanding General of Fort Benning, Georgia figured they could justify the prosecution by merely calling a counterintuitive victim behavior expert to explain the accuser's erratic and bizarre behavior.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

My favorite quote of 2015: "If we use proof in rape cases, we fall into the patterns of rape deniers.”

Emma Sulkowicz with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.)
Last April, Emma "Mattress Girl" Sulkowicz addressed a group of Brown University students during the so-called Sexual Assault Awareness Month. The speech was live-tweeted by students in attendance, and the live-tweets included what the National Review called "alarming, Jezebel-worthy taglines" like this one: "If we use proof in rape cases, we fall into the patterns of rape deniers.”

Read it again, because it sums up the sexual grievance industry's view of how rape claims ought to be handled. It is reminiscent of a quote by Julia Horowitz, a journalist at University of Virginia’s school newspaper, who wrote that "to let fact checking define the [sexual assault] narrative would be a huge mistake.” (You remember the University of Virginia, don't you? "Jackie"? Rolling Stone? Yeah, you remember.) It's the same impulse that prompted Ohio University students to declare due process for the accused as "bullshit." And that prompted Amanda Childress, Sexual Assault Awareness Program coordinator at Dartmouth College, to ask "why could we not expel a student based on an allegation" of sexual assault?" And that prompted Stanford sexual assault activist Elisabeth Dee to declare that "essentially burden of proof is a defense of the perpetrator.” And that prompted students at Berkeley to protest due process for men accused of sexual assault. And that prompts prominent feminist writers to brand anyone who calls for due process in rape proceedings rape apologists and victim blamers. I could go on and on, as regular readers know.

If you follow Emma Sulkowicz's advice and treat every accusation as a bona fide rape, what do end up with? You end up with the alleged college rape "epidemic"--it's not difficult to find women who will claim they've been sexually assaulted after decades of being fed misinformation about what constitutes "consent," and in a culture where, as the leader of the sexual grievance industry has said, colleges see "case-after-case" of accusers getting it wrong and many of them have "mental health" issues.

But on closer examination, it's not much of an "epidemic."  When the claims are actually tested against competing evidence proffered by the accused, a very significant percentage of them turn out to be false or very doubtful. Every high profile rape claim starts out the same way--with the vast majority of people believing the accuser because they've only heard the accuser's side of the story. But eventually the evidence is examined objectively, and virtually every one of those claims falls apart. There's only one way to "prove" the college rape epidemic when it comes to "he said-she said" rape claims--do what Emma Sulkowicz suggests, and what "The Hunting Ground" actually did--ignore the evidence that supports the "he said" side of the story. Or do what colleges are doing and treat even very doubtful claims as actual sexual assaults.

And that's where we are: we have a college rape "epidemic" that was manufactured out of whole cloth and that every fair-minded person knows simply doesn't exist.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Victims' advocate uses Cosby indictment to explain why rape victims often not believed by others

I have followed with interest the large number of women who allege they were victimized by Bill Cosby.  Many of them describe the same modus operandi:  Cosby invites them to his house or hotel room at night and gives them some wine and pills, which they consume.  He is a married man who is known to hang out at the Playboy mansion.

Many of them described how Cosby assisted them financial.  Some might say he paid them off to buy their silence.  So, Cosby was never arrested for sexual assault and, if these claims are true, was permitted to continue using alcohol and drugs to facilitate sexual assault on other women.

Julie Bornhoeft from WEAVE,  a Sacramento agency that supports victims of domestic violence and rape, laments that many victims do not report sexual assault when a person has a prominent position or a high profile in society because nobody believes them.  She uses a person's high position in society and the low rate of false allegations as proof that victims are to be believed.

Bornhoeft's assertion ignores the allegations that some of these women did report it, got paid off, then stopped pursuing charges.  So, Bornhoeft blames the system for not believing women who say they were sexually assaulted by a person who has a prominent position or a high profile in society. So, it's the cops fault when they receive a report of sexual assault and drop the case after the complaining witness is paid off and stops cooperating.  And, cops should never consider for a moment that a person is making a sexual assault complaint in order to be financially compensated because that notion would be absurd.

And, if people rarely lie about sexual assault, then why are victims being disbelieved?  Either the false allegation rate of 2-8% is inaccurate, the epidemic of victims not being believed by the cops and District Attorneys is inaccurate, or cops and District Attorneys are highly illogical when investigating sexual assault.  Why does the media always seem to indicate that studies show that the rate false allegations range between 2% and 8% when other studies indicate they are far higher? 

Could the reason why some complaints are not believed by law enforcement because there is a very high rate of false allegations?  If so, then perhaps more victims should advocate harsh punishments for those who make false allegations because they cause law enforcement to disbelieve actual victims.  Could the reason that some complaints are not believed by law enforcement because they see a high profile person as a target for unscrupulous people who extort money?  Then, advocates should condemn the practice of victims taking hush money from their rapist.

And, as a former prosecutor, I question the inferred widespread fragility of sexual assault victims who shrink away and stop cooperating when asked difficult questions.  I have worked with victims of sexual assault.  I have asked them tough questions prior to trial.  I preceded these questions with an explanation as to why I am asking the questions, which is that the defense attorney is certainly going to ask this question, so I would prefer to know what the answer is before I go into the courtroom.  I have NEVER had a victim give up and say they did not want to proceed because they perceived I didn't believe them.  Ever.