Tag Archives: Justice

Still Waiting for the Evidence

CBS Sunday Morning this week covered the Cosby allegations again and again slanted their coverage under the assumption that Cosby committed the crimes of which he stands accused. I have avoided talking about the rigmarole surrounding Bill Cosby because I feel all the evidence has yet to be uncovered. It is folly to offer a judgment in absence of all the facts. This is a primary principle of our criminal justice system and has served us well for more than two hundred years. Yet the media and many in society keep trying to dodge the issue of innocent until proven guilty in an effort to prove themselves correct in their assumptions on any given issue. This happened in the Michael Brown case so badly there that even once the justice system did weigh in, the media and the masses rebelled, declaring their judgment more sound than the law. Now Bill Cosby is facing allegations of sexual abuse spanning his entire career. More than thirty women have come forward to accuse the man once referred to as America’s favorite dad of one of the most heinous of crimes.

Let me predicate the rest of this as saying I do not know if Cosby is guilty. There is not enough evidence to prove his guilt, therefore there is no way to know. All we have is the word of several women who have waited in some cases more than forty years to come forward with these charges. That fact alone makes the charges suspicious. Add that none of them came forward until this year and all of the sudden there are thirty accusers makes the whole scenario suspect.

If a woman wishes to charge someone with rape, that woman—via the state—must have proof beyond the shadow of a doubt that the crime did take place and that the accused committed that crime. Not one of these women has any proof. None. No evidence exists that any crime even occurred. Only one accusation claims the crime occurred within the statute of limitations, so even if the accusations were true, no prosecution can be filed.

All that exists is the word of thirty or so women. Now, for many people, that is enough. One person making an accusation in the absence of evidence can be dismissed. Thirty people making the same accusation gives the accusation more weight. Unfortunately, the multiple accusers are not referencing the same incident, therefore they are not corroborating each other’s testimony. They are all making their own accusations of actions on different occasions at different locations under different circumstances.

I find it difficult to believe that a man, no matter how famous, could be a serial rapist and not have been discovered at the time he commits the crimes. Everyone who hears the allegations automatically believes them, however, because in our modern politically correct society, everyone is expected to defer to the perceived victim in these cases. The Rolling Stone magazine published an account of a self-proclaimed rape victim without investigating the claims. This supported a narrative of “America’s Rape Culture” that is permeating the media, and was too juicy and too salacious to bother checking the facts. There are many men and boys who have their lives ruined by false accusations because of society’s rush to judgment concerning rape. The crime has risen above other crimes in that its very mention evokes anger and a rush to judgment that larceny, embezzling, blackmail, fraud and even murder to not engender. The only crimes that are on parity with rape for such automatic belief is parental kidnapping—which I do not view as a crime in most cases—where the accused is automatically presumed guilty.

I don’t know Bill Cosby. I’ve never met the man, even though I always thought I’d like to. He has always seemed so approachable. What I know of him comes from the media and his vast repertoire of work. He dropped out of school, attempted the military, went back to school and got a degree in physical education. He started his show business career as a standup comic and quickly amassed a following in a day and age when black artists found it all but impossible to break into the limelight. He made money. He garnered praise. He became famous. Now, call me misogynistic, but those three traits alone are enough to attract any number of women, especially in the 60’s with the drugs and sex that permeated the club scene.

Did he have sex with several women? Almost assuredly. Again, I don’t know, there is no proof, but it seems very likely. Did he have to drug the women? I seriously doubt it. Again, with all he had going for him, it seems unlikely he would have to resort to such nefarious tricks to get satisfaction. Did he anger the women he slept with? Again, almost assuredly; and again, I don’t know for sure. Many of the women who clustered in his orbit did so hoping to ride his coat tails into fame and fortune as well. When that didn’t happen, it is not a hard stretch to imagine they developed a grudge; a grudge that festered for almost forty years.

Whether or not he had sex with any of these women is not the issue. The question of whether the women were willing participants is the question for the courts. The real question is why wait forty years to file a complaint, when the statute of limitations has made a criminal case moot. The answer to that is easy, though. Criminal cases mean jail, while civil cases mean money. Which one will appeal to most of these “victims?”

Now Cosby is trying to make a living and finding an increasing challenge in doing so. His TV projects have been cancelled by the networks. He is trying to do the job that we as a nation have supported for more than forty years. Yet now his shows are picketed by rape activists. As if watching a comedian is supporting rape. Some patrons have reported being verbally assaulted by the picketers both going in and coming out of the theater. Media personalities have spoken out against Cosby as if they were a judge passing sentence. All of these actions are grossly unfair.

Even if the women are telling the truth and Bill Cosby is a serial rapist unlike the world has ever seen, or even if they are all liars and trying to carve a bit of cash out of a man whose career is almost over like a bunch of vultures picking over a wildebeest, the biggest crime is not either case. The biggest crime is how we as a nation are abandoning the principles upon which our nation was founded to engage in a media-driven frenzy. We are throwing out due process in a rush to judge a man without all the evidence. In the absence of evidence, we are compelled by justice to presume innocence, even if it galls us to do so.

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When Justice Isn’t Just

The greatest miscarriage of justice since the OJ Simpson case, according to some, has resulted in the acquittal of Casey Anthony on murder charges for the death of her daughter Cayley. In what has been one of the most watched trials since Simpson’s, prosecutors have tried to convince a jury that Casey Anthony, a 25-year-old single mother, was so frustrated with her lot in life that she smothered her child, hid the body and partied for a month before family members started asking questions about Cayley’s whereabouts. Defense attorneys maintained that the baby drowned in the family pool and Casey was so distraught that she followed her father’s recommendations to dispose of the body rather than call the police to report the accident. The media has devoted substantial amounts of airtime to covering the case and the trial; so much so that almost every American has at least heard of the case. After months of testimony in what many experts considered an open-and-shut case with guilty as the inevitable verdict, Casey was acquitted of the murder. America is outraged feeling that justice has failed.

Now, people are pointing fingers at the prosecution for its failure to get a conviction. They blame the jury for failing to render a just verdict and they blame the media for tainting the trial with excessive coverage. They blame everyone except the one responsible. There are only two people who really know what happened to little Cayley: Casey and her father George Anthony and neither one will tell the truth.

George Anthony is a retired police officer. If anyone knows how to ruin an investigation it would be an ex-cop. With the ping-pong like shifting of blame between George and Casey, the lack of any real physical evidence, and the lack of motive, prosecutors were pushing a cart uphill the whole way. Without proof of foul play—the smoking gun as it were—there is no evidence of murder. Certainly Cayley died and certainly her death is extremely suspicious. But there has never been any real evidence—proof beyond a shadow of a doubt—that her death was anything other than accidental.

The prosecution gathered all types of evidence in building their case from forensic reports about how hair follicles look during decomposition to IT forensics as they culled data from Casey’s computer that showed someone—they couldn’t prove who—researched how to make chloroform and other “suspicious” search terms. They interviewed friends, family and complete strangers to try to find some link between Casey and the death. They even interviewed people who shared a cell with Casey during the three times she was incarcerated during the investigation. Every shred of evidence they found, however, was circumstantial. None of it proved anything; at least not beyond a reasonable doubt.

The fact of the matter is that Casey was found “Not Guilty.” This is not the same as being innocent. To be found guilty requires that there be no reasonable doubt about guilt. If a doubt exists, then guilt is not proven. Without the smoking gun, without solid motive and without definitive proof, the only reasonable verdict in this case was not guilty. It may not be just, but it is our justice system.

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To protect And To Serve

“To protect and to serve” is emblazoned on many police cruisers across the nation. This message is not just a simple decoration; it is a mandate, a mission statement and a promise to the people. The people, however, don’t seem to understand this pledge—or at least they seem to think it doesn’t involve some risk. A family in Houston is suing the city because one the family members was injured when the car in which he was riding was rear-ended by a suspect fleeing the police. The family maintains that the police should have broken off pursuit when the individual ran.

The police have a dangerous job. They have to put their lives on the line to try to protect their communities from those who would threaten the peace or break the law. This does not mean just identifying those who are “bad guys” and letting them go. It means taking these people off the streets so they can’t continue to break the law or endanger society. Now, these people do not want to be taken off the street. In fact, they are quite opposed to the idea and will try everything in their power to avoid it, including running from the police.

When people run from the police, the police must give chase. You cannot catch someone who is running without chasing them. The police are trained on the safest procedure for chasing. They take driving training and can probably outdrive the average person. Not every bad guy is The Bandit or Elwood Blues and can outdrive an entire police force. But they try. They usually fail. It is these people who cause accidents, not the police who chase them.

It is unfortunate when an accident happens like the one that injured those two men in the car that was rear-ended. But it is not the fault of the police. It is clearly the fault of the individual running from the police. If the family truly wants justice for their loss, they should sue that person driving the car who hit them, not the police or the city.

They will sue the city, of course, because chances are that the bad guy has no assets to be able to pay a judgment and the city is believed to have deep pockets. This is untrue—the city is funded by our taxes so we end up paying out of our pockets—but the lawyers and plaintiffs don’t care. They want their payday.

It doesn’t matter that the police did nothing wrong. It was not their fault that the accident occurred. The plaintiffs will contend that if the police were not chasing the bad guy, then the bad guy would not have driven recklessly and would not have hit them. It is a sad “what if” game to play to second-guess a decision. Had they not pursued that suspect, then the suspect would have gotten away with a crime and would probably commit another. The police must be allowed to do their job. They must be allowed to protect and to serve, even if that means taking a risk. Our security demands it.

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