Book of the Month

Michael Maiello's picture

The Rights Of The Accused

Must be an awkward day for Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr.  His case against former IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn is reportedly collapsing and the most serious charges might be dropped.  Prosecutors are likely hoping to save face by getting Kahn to plead guilty on some misdemeanor charge but Strauss-Kahn has proven himself a fighter.

I'm under no illusion that false rape accusations are common.  I'm sure they're exceedingly rare.  But the treatment of Strauss-Kahn by police, prosecutors and the media was inexcusable.  He did himself no favors with a story that changed from "it never happened" to "it was consensual," but that's a pretty minor issue compared to what happened to him.

After Strauss-Kahn was arrested he was quickly sent to Riker's.  Degrading pictures of him in a disheveled state were leaked to the press and anonymous cops were quoted complaining that Strauss-Kahn claimed all sorts of privilege and demanded special treatment.  This created an unflattering picture of the man and was means to bias the public against him.  Nobody even considered that, if he knew he was innocent, he might well feel the the depredations of confinement in Riker's were, indeed, unfair and unacceptable.  Meanwhile, he had to quit running the IMF and watched his other political hopes disappear while he was powerless to do anything about it.

Prosecutors were very public about the credibility of the charges against Strauss-Kahn.  While it now seems that they were premature, they were also very loud and adamant.  Arguing that the merits of the case and the veracity of the accuser were likely strong enough to eventually win a conviction on serious charges, prosecutors pushed for absurdly high bail terms.  Strauss-Kahn had to put up $1 million, guaranty another $5 million, submit to electronic monitoring and pay a quarter million dollars a month for an armed guard service to monitor his house arrest.  This despite the fact that he repeatedly said that he had no intention of fleeing and, indeed, wanted to beat back the charges to clear his own name.  Just today, prosecutors agreed to return all of the bail money and that Strauss-Kahn should be released on his own word.  Quite a turnabout.

So... what if he wins?  I'm willing to bet that no one even apologizes.  What is Strauss-Kahn supposed to do to get back what he's lost?  Sue an immigrant hotel maid?  How would she ever pay him?  Will the city at least compensate him for the money he spent funding his home confinement?  I'll bet not.  The city will likely argue that he could have spent all of that time in Riker's at no expense to himself.  But, again, this doesn't acknowledge that people who haven't done anything wrong shouldn't be subjected to New York's prison system in the first place.  Or that being in Riker's would have hindered his ability to mount (heh) his defense.  When he appeared in court for the first time he was heckled by hotel workers.  Will they now apologize?  Will the court apologize for allowing a defendant to be subjected to such ridicule in the first place?

The personal injustices that Strauss-Kahn has endured are bad enough.  But he's wealthy and influential, so I hope he'll spend some serious time making his tormentors miserable.  He should definitely sue the city, the police and the Manhattan DA's office, if only to teach the system a lesson.

The police should not be leaking character damaging information about people who are merely accused of crimes.  Prosecutors should not be bragging about the strength of their cases or insulting the character of the accused in the press, as was done here.  Strauss-Kahn has the means to defend himself.  Most people accused of crimes are completely overwhelmed by a system that has unlimited resources to deploy against them.  Ordinary people can't fight and often have to cop pleas in lieu of seeking exoneration.

Great post, destor.  Having just witnessed a trial that was conducted as much via the media as the courtroom (the conviction of one Governor Rod Blagojevich) in my state, and being a lawyer myself, it infuriates me that those possessed of the awesome power of the state to deprive an individual of their freedom (or even their life) seek to game the system through media manipulation and cheap grandstanding and theatrics.

If you've got a case, bring it.  If DSK is guilty of rape, I want him right back in Riker's.  But don't try to win by biasing a potential juory via sensationalism and distortion of the facts in a forum where the rules of evidence don't apply.  Even a supposed "by the book" prosecutor like Patrick Fitzgerald now conducts most of his legal arguments in front of the bright lights and the TV cameras.  It's a disgusting abuse of prosecutorial power.  And it's become the norm.    

It was wrong when Spitzer did it too.  He fought his cases in public and cowed people into submitting to him.  When Richard Grasso fought him in court, he won.  But it took years, cost him the chairmanship of the New York Stock Exchange and cost him his reputation.  I'm not generally the type to shed tears over a guy like Grasso, but it exposes a flaw in the system: prosecutors suffer no negative consequences when they lose.

"I'm not generally the type to shed tears over a guy like Grasso, but it exposes a flaw in the system: prosecutors suffer no negative consequences when they lose."

Nor me over Blago.  As I kept telling my wife, if being a douchebag were a crime, Rod should get the chair.

But I don't agree that the fact that prosecutors don't suffer consequences for bringing a losing case is a flaw; I want them to bring any case where the evidence supports a strong suspicion of guilt. 

I do think they should be punished for prejudicial public pronouncements.  Most states' legal codes do have language intended to prevent overly prejudicial statements to the media; the next time I see those restrictions enforced against a prosecutor will be the first, unfortunately.  Since the media and the various state bar associations don't seem to find this conduct objectionable, notwithstanding that they cared enough to enact the restrictions in the first place, maybe it's up to a deep-pocketed, if unsympathetic, victim of trial by press conference like Grasso to bring an ethics complaint or a law suit against an overly zealous prosecutor.         

Seems the incestual infighting between political parties has morphed beyond control. Could it be the MSM is so sure of itself it has the ability to see thru the veneer of an altercation and discover facts to support their conclusions?

All teasing aside, I have been absent from this discussion simply because the MSM wasn't the sharpest tool in the shed when it came to observing there was way too much innuendo where there should have been silence. Also, they failed to question his harsh treatment ... far more harsher than for someone with a well known reputation for criminal behavior. They sacrificed his innocence before the courts could rule for a story to go viral and beef up the bottom line. News is a bread winner nowadays and any story with a a prominent, well-known figure is a prime candidate for a National Equirer expose by the leading MSM sources.

 

Paging Amadou Diallo ...

Strauss-Kahn doesn't really care about getting a prosecutorial apology, though I'm sure he'll demand one. Instead, he'll settle for being president of France.

With the impending collapse of the felony case against him, that possibility is back on the table. The prosecutors are reportedly hoping for a face-saving misdemeanor plea, but DSK has too much at stake to even consider such a deal, and his legal position looks strong. The sex was either consensual or non-consensual; if his accuser isn't credible, he walks.

Before his arrest, Strauss-Kahn was favored to defeat conservative incumbent president Nicholas Sarkozy. The French election isn't until April 2012, and the Socialist primary was scheduled for October. Some in the party are prepared to delay it until DSK is free to take part.

He can and will demand a speedy disposition of his case: either trial or withdrawal of all charges. If he's cleared, he'll return home to a hero's welcome. The French do not punish their politicians for consensual sex, and he actually gained sympathy over his Riker's Island "perp walk" (public humiliation of defendants being illegal in France).

Strauss-Kahn may have lost his prestigious IMF job, but he was going to have to begin full-time campaigning pretty soon anyway. So the arrest may not end up hurting him politically at all.

Just to be clear: even if he's innocent of rape, DSK is arguably the worst kind of horn dog. But if the choice comes down to either him or the rabid-right National Front's Marine Le Pen, I'd vote for the horn dog.

Daniel Dombey, U.S. diplomatic correspondent, Financial Times, made an interesting observation of the Diane Rehm show today.
He noted that the NYC prosecutor knew day one after the arrest of DSK, from phone taps of the maid, that she was talking about 'making money' on this rape accusation, with a man who was a known criminal, throwing obvious questions about her story of innocence as we know now.
Yet the information was withheld from the defense and the public until well after DSK was forced to resign his position at the IMF.
Now the Times is reporting the phone call was in the Fulani dialect of Guinea and wasn't translated until this week.....

Blackmail?

You're sure false rape accusations are exceedingly rare? You need to read the work of Frank Zepezauer, Charles McDowell or any other non-femisint researcher of this topic. It's been well known for over 20 years that more than half of rape accusations are false.

It was nice of you to vindicate Mr. Strauss-Kahn... If he is innocent he shoudl be. I hope he sues NYC and does not settle out of court. It would bring some long needed attention to the myth that women don't lie, cheat, steal and sometimes ruin innocent people's lives.   

Yikes! More than half you say?

Bwahahahahaha

That's nonsense.

I think Smithers has the ratio right but the relators wrong.  I'd be more inclined to believe that 50% of actual rapes are reported.

In which context, and having been ripped a new asshole over at FDL where I cross-posted my  tongue-in-cheek advice, I will reproduce a clarifying response lest I have been misconstrued here at my "local":

 Wow! Did I ever step in it.

I meant only #4 as a serious comment, that being to draw attention to the importance of the actual trial as a means of disambiguation.
I thought #3 would make that obvious.

That said, and for clarity (and particularly in response to Shekisses) the following:

1. I have enough information about DSK to say with firm certitude that he is a pig. He is reliably reported to jump any cute female within reach and start fumbling with her clothes. He may well have assaulted the housekeeper, and the listed credibility issues do not rule that out in any way. In fact, if you put a gun to my head and forced me to bet either way, I’d still bet on her. I don’t think he was set up. The point of the post is that we don’t know and only after the crucible of a trial (and even after that) we still may have reasonable doubt. That’s why “doubt” is the standard of proof that must be overcome.

2. Sexual assault is odious-it is a crime and inflicts on its victims damage that goes well beyond a physical maiming. Problematically, it is a crime around which there is an extra nimbus of ambiguity, since the same interaction which is pleasurable when voluntary is excruciating when not. Thus, the inner state of the participants is a crucial element requiring the adduction of evidence, and one on which evidence is particularly difficult to collect. My post was intended to use this nexus as a commentary on the criminal justice system and public reaction to an accusation.

3. I cross post from Dagblog, where my professional background is more explicitely understood than here. (see link for profile info) I have worked in both the law and sex industries. I fuck on camera, and consider the product artistically valuable. I was perhaps too facile in conflating these two streams of my life experience.

4. Parenthetically, I think the guy with the 400 pounds of marijuana is a saint, doing “the Lord’s work”. That said, we don’t (and can’t as things now stand) know for sure what happened in the hotel room…I certainly do not mean to imply that it is my considered opinion that the housekeeper came in and was so taken with that old fart that she immediatly jumped on his dick.

5. Nobody said anything about secret video–anyone who has been sexually involved with me on video was aware and consenting. I think one should live one’s life in full transparancy. No shame in my game.

Yeah, total nonsense, smithers. Any objective researcher would say it's impossible to pinpoint the percentage of sexual-assault accusations that are false. The cops, who are on the receiving end of these accusations, routinely put it somewhere in the single digits.

And we're just talking about accusations that get reported to the police. I normally discount anecdotal evidence, but I've talked to enough women in my long life to know with absolute certainty that the vast majority of sexual assaults never get reported at all; out of shame and embarrassment, most are kept hidden even from family members.

Of course, some women lie and some men lie. But anti-feminist crusaders like Zepezauer are simply making shit up to market their own myths. Sorry if you personally were falsely accused (it does happen). But what you've come to believe about rape accusations in general is BS.

The point of view of Smithers is why false accusations of sexual assault infuriate me beyond reason. Being a victim/survivor of sexual assualt is a lifelong struggle against those feelings you talk about (shame, embarrassment, even guilt). It took decades to make "she was asking for it" an unacceptable opinion in most circles. And just when it seems like progress is being made "she's lying for money/revenge/because she's a gigantic beyotch" appears to take its place.

I wish I could pull out the toenails of every one of the small number of woman who lies about being sexually assaulted. Whatever their motive for lying, they are doing damage--perhaps permanantly--to millions of women.

Canuck, You could not be more misguided (that, or you know better and you're lying). [insult instead of argument - d] This is not anecdotal evidence, but peer reviewed science:

http://antimisandry.com/facts-figures/false-accusations-scientific-evidence-4903.html

Note: Repeating an error often enough for prolonged periods of time does turn it into truth... such is the tripe called modern feminism. It's probably not too late for you to wise up. [insult instead of argument - d]

This peer review cited in Wikipedia was not supportive:

Criticism of Dr. Kanin's report include Dr. David Lisak, an associate professor of psychology, and director of the Men’s Sexual Trauma Research Project at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. In the September/October 2007 issue of the Sexual Assault Report he states “Kanin’s 1994 article on false allegations is a provocative opinion piece, but it is not a scientific study of the issue of false reporting of rape. It certainly should never be used to assert a scientific foundation for the frequency of false allegations.” He further states “[Dr. Kanin] simply reiterates the opinions of the police officers who concluded that the cases in question were ‘false allegations.’” Lisak cites page 13 of Investigating Sexual Assaults from the International Association of Chiefs of Police which says polygraph tests for sexual assault victims are contradicted in the investigation process and that their use is “based on the misperception that a significant percentage of sexual assault reports are false...It is noteworthy that the police department from which Kanin derived his data threatened to use the polygraph in every case...The fact that it was the standard procedure of this department provides a window on the biases of the officers who conducted the rape investigations, biases that were then echoed in Kanin’s unchallenged reporting of their findings.” Lisak later performed his own study, published in 2010 in Violence Against Women, which found a false allegation rate of 5.9%.

Regarding the antimisandry site, it is hard being a man and a father in today's society, but blaming all your disappointments on institutional misandry looks suspiciously like thinly-disguised misogyny.

Can you give me some demonstrations of misandry? Sure. Have a look at the second-wave feminist view of men for an example. Valerie Solanas, the radical feminist who shot Andy Warhol in 1968, provides a famous example of misandry in her self-published SCUM Manifesto. In case you're wondering, SCUM is an acronym for 'Society for Cutting Up Men', practically a call for gendercide, the culling of men. Quite literally, Solanas expressed her desire to "institute complete automation and destroy the male sex."

If Solanas is typical of women, who would be your typical man - Ted Bundy? 

Sorry Donal, Wikipedia is not peer reviewed science, it's the narrow concnesus of a handful of editors. All they know about science could probably be put on the head of a pin. The citation in that article that attempts to invalidate Kanin is weak, "Lasik perform HIS OWN study"? He also based a complete work on male sexual aggression and fathers... What axe is he grinding?Its surely not enough to invalidate the numerous other studies that point to the same thing: Women do often falsely accuse. Sometimes it's for vengeance. Other times it's for power. And the fact that they often do falsely accuse should be enough to convince any rational mind that the practice of detaining and incarceration men on the basis of one uncorroborated woman should be stopped. The system will be just when as many woman are in prison as men. It will come to pass when the world wises up and takes this issue for what it simpy is, it's that woman don't feel they have power (and unproven case if ever there was one) and in their envy to have what they think is missing they sometimes do horrible things to men. Inncoently, they want what men have, they need it for validation... they're goin about it the wrong way though, all they will do is alienate men until or unless they change their tack.

Smithers

Ps. I would point out that men are equally responsible, they want what women have and are often too weak to say no and do the right thing and not be given over to unreasonable demands of women in, usually in exchange for sex or companionship. So weak-willed men are equally at fault, I think.

Oh, give it up. You quoted a flawed study, and rather than admit it you continue digging.

I'm wondering if you were one of those supposed "best and brightest" young men at Yale who rioted against their fellow students, who happened to be female, by shouting "No means yes! Yes means anal!"

I wish there was instant Karma that would turn you into an attractive young woman at a Yale frat party. 

I'm not talking of a study, I'm tearing down your sacrad cows of feminism and PC. That policy and law which allows a man to be arrested at any time on the basis of one woman's unproven claim...? That invalidates due process, period. And doing this (or defending it like some in this thread have done) while knowing full well that a good number of those claims (whether it's 10% or 60%) are false is an unconscionable thing, it is some sort of cognitive dissonance. As I said above, it's either that or you know better and you're lying... [insult instead of argument -d] That would explain your nonsensical quips, you have no argument. Surprised [insult instead of argument -d]

 unproven claim...?

You appear to be experiencing some confusion around the concept of due process.

Here's how the process works:

Proof is accomplished at trial.

Trial follows  arrest. Arrest requires probable cause.

Probable cause is furnished by a sworn complaint

So the correct rendering of your whine is:

"at any time on he basis of one woman's *sworn complaint."

 

*(Do I have to do the penalty of perjury dance here, or do you get the point?)

Of course, if you are a person who casually commits perjury, I will not expect you to be impressed with the rewritten whine.  In such case consider that most people hesitate to be foresworn before the cops.

You aren't terribly well informed, are you.

CNN carried this story and it isn't all that old. Frankly, decent men and women all over were rather disgusted by this.

You have issues. Get help.

 

Was that the DEKES?  I can't tell if I'm remembering or just making an educated guess.

Well stab me and sink me if it isn't right there in the first paragraph:

The potential pledges of Delta Kappa Epsilon's Phi chapter are heard shouting rape-trivializing phrases such as "no means yes" and "yes means anal." 

Yep, Old W's Frat, even.

It was National News when the whole frat got suspended. Certainly, it's not exactly an obscure story.

You give smithers too much credit--as if were he but informed, he would be enlightened.

"as if..."

Sadly I must report a less charitable estimate of his intellectual honesty, and admit that I rather conceive of him successfully framing this odious story within his carefully (indeed, studiously by his search of the literature) crafted armor against cognitive dissidence.

But if you wish to cut him slack, so be it.  Better a putz than monster.

Is this the best argument...? Ditto-ing someone who claims to read minds...? The other statements falls flat DSK also_swore. He swore the rape didn't happen. Yet who was confined? Not the one with the burden of proof rather an arbitrary statement. But the one accused, despite swearing also (the one who just as fairly may be assumed FALSELY accused as rightly accused) loses freedom.

You made a good point (whether intending to or not, People who falsely accuse others, by sworn statements, which may be just as easily disproved as proved, should pay the penalty of perjury (and also restitution!) if /when their information is falsified. In reality, such crimes are far more serious than actually comitting the act that one is accused of. Because you're not just wronging someone for gain, you're taking away innocence. It's equal to child abuse to knowingly punish inncent people.

 

the one who just as fairly may be assumed FALSELY accused as rightly accused)

Not exactly.  Only those whose come was spit on the wall of the suite qualify in this instance to be falsely accused--a somewhat smaller sample than women capable of making the accusation.  Thus the statistical equivalency is inappositely suggested..

It lacks credulity for one to speak of other's intellectaul honesty or of what's statistically relevant while introducing rhetoric and characterizations designed for an emotional repsonse.

Little of what you've said has anything to do with the topic. You don't have a clue what happened in the hotel suite becauyse you weren't there. You've failed to refute even one study... though you alluded to there being just one... in fact, multiple corroborative studies that apply valid scientific methods exist, The one you chose to address (probably because you would not do the work of vlidating any others) returned one subjective conclusion of an individual who most likely is bent on the sexual aggression of his father. It takes gall for you to question someone's intellectual honesty when you apparently have not one iota of it.

I will limit my analysis to the events in the suite, as the rest is somewhat global.

We know that someone came in the woman's mouth because she was able to direct investigators to a sample on the wall of the suite.

This somewhat narrows the net of the potential falsely-accused.

This is called "physical evidence".  Sometimes there is an accusation of sexual assault where no p'hysical evidence is available or even possible. (The groper, the peeper...)  But this is not such case.

Your peroration might be more apposite were there no physical evidence making the maid's allegation of sexual contact entirely credible, and reducing the ambiguity to the issue of consent.

 "evidence making the maid's allegation of sexual contact entirely credible..."

The maid didn't allege sexual contact... in fact, consensual sexual contact was the position of the defense!

It's quite pointless discussing this. Do you read anything that doesn't bolster your certainty of guilt? I'm thankful no case rests on your opinion. But it mystifies me why you would continue to comment on "The Rights of The Accused" when you obviously don't care a whit about it. The term "troll" comes to mind.

Oh ho ho.

 

And a bottle of, er, cum

This is a family friendly site....

I hear voices in my head pontificating over some behavior and then attempt to remind myself that I have not read the entire file!

But if I recall, this fellow was seen running bare ass naked in the hall with a hard on or something.

I mean from what I read he was set up most probably but he could not have been set up if he lacked the inclination!

Of course I have not read the entire file!

a hard on or something.

I am fatally distracted by "or something".

What are the conditions giving rise to alternative descriptions ?

hahahahahahah

Once again you render me speechless!

Latest Comments