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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Weak Prosecutors

I want to draw your attention to a great post by Grits for Breakfast; It’s about SB 12, which would allow prosecutors to bring up unrelated, unproven accusations during criminal trials involving charges of sexual assault. I’m not going to talk about it here, because I really want you to head over to Grits and read his excellent description of this piss-poor piece of legislation.

Seriously, read it before you finish this post.

You done? Great. Did you read the comments?

If you did, you saw this gem from an anon @6:50:

“A good prosecutor attempts to convince the jury that the defendant should be convicted because he or she committed the crime in question.

A weak prosecutor attempts to convince the jury that the defendant should be convicted because he or she is a bad person.”

Eloquent in its simplicity, that quote describes so much of the testimony that we see in newspaper articles from the time, and Coy’s Habeas Corpus; how Coy was accused of...

...Killing Jane Doe’s Grandfather by proxy; they said he heard about the abuse, had a heart attack and died.

...Grooming his daughter for future sexual assaults; there was no proof offered, of course, only the ‘feelings’ of state-sanctioned experts.

...Naming his company Dope House Records.

...Being rude, doing drugs, and beating women according to Jane Doe’s mother who, as we know, had a near photographically-accurate memory for things that supported her case.

...and my personal favorite, that he had the audacity to pay money to a defense lawyer! Imagine!

They even tried to introduce the same type of testimony mentioned by Grits during the trial; The Houston Chronicle does not appear to have this article in their archive, but this article's been re-posted in multiple places:

“Prosecutors asked the judge to allow testimony from several other alleged victims who claimed Coy assaulted them. A decision is expected Thursday.
"It’s certainly not right and the judge is seeing their desperation of trying to try other cases in this case as exactly what it is — it’s a desperate effort to save a case they see failing before their eyes," Lewis said.”

When they failed to get unproven accusations admitted into his trial, they simply brought them up during the sentencing phase:

“Andrews and co-prosecutor Denise Oncken reminded the jury that there were seven other charges of sexual assault pending against Coy.

Lewis countered that the prosecution was basing its case on the quantity of evidence, rather than the quality.”

As Grits for Breakfast put it, “...it relieves the prosecutor from the burden of proving the charges they indicted the defendant on. More convictions in which prosecutors don't have to prove their case means more cases with a greater likelihood the evidence wasn't good enough on its own to sustain a conviction, but this bill provides another avenue to convict anyway.”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's getting way out of hand. Using past accusations as evidence? That's crazy. For one thing, hearsay should not be seen as strong evidence. People have to understand that alot of people will say and do anything to get their way with no remorse. The only way the system will get better is if it's completely restructured with balance.FREE SPM!!!-beanieman