DBTProsecutor

Don’t be THAT prosecutor

Putting more men in jail is a feminist issue. Keeping innocent men out of jail is a men’s issue. It’s no surprise that these two opposing forces have finally met in a public train crash on the railroad of prosecutorial misconduct.

Mary Kellett, a Maine prosecutor, is facing disciplinary hearings for withholding exculpatory evidence to increase her conviction rates regardless of guilt or innocence. In Kellett’s predicament, whether it was a personal hatred of men or a distortion of priorities placing her career ambitions above her duty to uphold justice is something only she can understand but this is not an isolated incident of a singular, sick individual.

Prosecutors have more power than judges and less accountability because what they do is mostly hidden from public view. They decide which cases will be pursued, what sort of plea bargaining will be offered, and what sentencing to seek in each case. All of this happens before the accused gets his day in court and, often, prevents the falsely accused from even having a day in court. The prosecutor is both judge and jury in approximately 95% of criminal cases.

“The disproportionate power prosecutors have under our system means it is vital to have some policing mechanism to ensure they do their jobs fairly. Yet, this is where we fall far short. The system protects prosecutors from civil liability even when they knowingly mishandle cases. And the legal concept of “harmless error” allows convictions to stand unless the prosecutor’s improper actions affected the outcome of a trial.”

The Innocence Project has currently helped exonerate over 300 men who were wrongfully convicted, some of them on death row, for crimes they did not commit. One of the common reasons that innocent men are sent to prison is “government misconduct” which includes both law enforcement officials and prosecutors.

Concern over lack of accountability in the legal system has been ongoing yet the conversation keeps getting waylaid without action. Fifty years after the term “Brady Violation” was introduced, Lawrence S. Goldman notes that “[p]rosecutors who have committed Brady violations, even those which have been later demonstrated to have resulted in wrongful convictions and lengthy terms of imprisonment for persons later proven innocent, are rarely prosecuted.” A Brady violation describes cases, such as Kellett’s, where exculpatory evidence is suppressed when it may have proven the innocence of the accused. Brady violations occur on a regular basis.

If we were to gather up and put on trial “The Brady Bunch” of prosecutors there wouldn’t be a courtroom big enough to fit the guilty family. Such a trial would be most rewarding if the jury was composed of all the people sent to jail for the benefit of the these lawyer’s careers. The sentence, instead of just losing their licence to practice law, should be equivalent to the amount of time spent behind bars that their victims had to endure.

But there will be no such trial in the name of justice, and the concern of the media fizzles out every year without effecting an ounce of accountability. In February, 2012, The New York Times pointed out that instead of working towards greater accountability, the Brady law was instead weakened by adding a clause that it only applied to “material” evidence. The Pacific Standard reported in April of this year that “[e]ven when prosecutors engage in strikingly unethical behavior, they are rarely sanctioned for it, much less criminally charged.”

These are problems that arise when an industry is created that benefits from putting men in jail. And the prison industry is huge.

The question remains as to what truly motivates lawyers to subvert the justice they vowed to serve.

Just as lawyers, police, and judges have no job without crime, professional feminists have no job without “patriarchy” and “rape culture” theory. The efforts of groups like Edmonton’s SS-A with their “Don’t Be That Guy” campaign are the type of incentive given to people like Mary Kellett to bypass the law and convict as many men as possible. It impresses the public.

In 2007 The National District Attorneys Association (NDAA) produced a report on whether or not lower conviction rates were an indication of poor performance by a prosecutor. They made many observations including that “[p]ublic accountability has become paramount in a world of social interests competing for limited public resources” and that 90% of the media calls they receive relate to conviction rates as a measure of performance.

“Unfortunately, when the media, legislators, and county/city councils rely solely on conviction and plea bargain rates to define “success,” prosecutors may find it difficult to surmount negative public opinion, and worse yet, challenges to their funding needs.” The NDAA produced flow charts and guidelines that include recommendations to reduce the public’s fear of crime as well as promoting the “fair, impartial, and expeditious pursuit of justice.” The report both recognizes the external pressures to increase conviction rates and cautions prosecutors about their methods of collecting performance data.

Given that pressure from special interest groups and the media creates an acknowledged ethical problem for prosecutors, we should be very concerned when “rape culture” advocates create headlines demanding that more rapists go to jail.

In April 2013, The Guardian ran a story that pitted Keir Starmer from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) against Emily Thornberry, a Labour MP. Thornberry was demanding answers for low conviction rates in rape cases.

“’I am disappointed that the proportion of domestic violence cases where no action at all is taken remains stubbornly high,’ Thornberry said. ‘Given that the CPS has rightly made violence against women and girls a priority, I would have expected this proportion to fall.’”

When Starmer attempts to explain that “A case may fail for a whole host of evidential reasons” the discussion turned to funding issues. The faulty premise of Thornberry’s vehemence about increasing conviction rates is the same error made by Lise Gottell in her outrage at the transformation of her “Don’t Be That Guy” message: They assume that false accusations of rape are negligent and that the few who are convicted are always guilty.

In a Global News article on the subject Karen Smith, of Edmonton’s SS-A says of rape “people just don’t lie about that.” She is backed up by Sean Armstrong of the Edmonton Police who assures the public that false rape claims are “extremely rare.” Both of these assertions are not only impossible to maintain when proper analysis has never been conducted, they encourage more aggressive prosecution of all rape claims without concern for the presumption of innocence.

Not only are false rape claims a real problem, there are repeat offenders committing this crime. I offer a partial list of the recently guilty who have been in the news just since last June:

Leanne Black July 9th, 2013. Jailed after five false rape allegations.
Astria Berwick July 4th, 2013. Jailed for 16 months.
Sara Ylen trial set for July 9th, 2013. Also accused in another county of lying about having cancer.
Wanetta Gibson June 17th, 2013. In connection to the Brian Banks case was ordered to repay $2.6M of compensation money for a false rape claim.
Philippa Costello June 23rd, 2013. Jailed for false rape allegations against a soldier.
Linsey Attridge June 27th, 2013. Randomly chose her false rape accusation victim on facebook.
Jasmine Levanna Kurre July 5th, 2013. Convicted of assault after filing a false rape report.
Cierra N. Reyes-Benitez July 3rd, 2013. Plead guilty to filing a false rape report.

The problem with quoting a 2% false accusation rate is that more properly conducted studies result in compelling evidence that it’s closer to 40-60%. The above listed cases indicate that the higher statistic, based on more thorough investigations, is more accurate than what The Weekly Standard calls “The Noble Lie, Feminist Style.”

While the methods and “tone” of men’s right groups may be distasteful to some people, being “politically correct” is not going to stop the current boxcar full of innocent men trapped on the Railroad To Prison. Every time the media parrots agenda driven claims of feminists another Mary Kellett turns the men of her town into fodder for a political machine. Every campaign that characterizes men as inherently evil puts another innocent man behind bars. Every poster that claims men are solely responsible for “rape culture” releases another guilty woman from the jail cell to which she was gleefully sending her victim.

The myths perpetuated by campaigns like “Don’t Be That Guy” are demonstrably part of the motivation for prosecutors like Mary Kellett to convict innocent men. It’s not a problem of one woman in one town, it’s prosecutors everywhere who have no safety checks on their potential abuse of power and mostly enjoy immunity for their crimes when caught. The problem has been well known for decades and nothing has been done about it.

Sometimes justice is served by dropping a criminal investigation but a curious condition arises when people’s careers are put in jeopardy by doing their jobs well. While it is reasonable to assume that those who enter into legal professions do so out of a passion for justice, it is also reasonable to assume that they also care about getting promotions and keeping their jobs.

While some lawyers are more concerned with their careers than the ideal of justice, we should also appreciate the type of lawyers who have teamed up with The Innocence Project to help exonerate the wrongly accused. Decades of concern over Brady violations and prosecutorial misconduct hasn’t effected any changes yet but the court system is being given a chance to make a difference every time a Mary Kellett comes before their bench.

Feminists ask the public to presume defendants guilty until proven innocent then scream when such innocence is proven, declaring it to be poor performance of the justice system. Men’s Human Rights Advocates ask the public to presume innocence until proven guilty which is, not surprisingly, a human right.

It’s time for organizations like Edmonton’s SS-A to become socially accountable and show their professed morality by ceasing to persecute an entire gender while failing to hold the other gender responsible for their own crimes. It’s time for prosecutors to get a clear message that their job is not to appease lobbyists or politicians. It’s also time for the media to stop printing spin articles supporting the idea that defending wrongly accused men is somehow supporting the act of rape. You can’t be a “rape apologist” where no rape was actually committed.

Get the story straight.

When The Brady Bunch offers their defense before the courts, asking why they intentionally sent innocent men to prison, those prosecutors might start naming people like Emily Thornberry, Lise Gottell, Karen Smith, Sean Armstrong, and the media as their accomplices.

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  • http://feministlies.wordpress.com/ Theaverageman

    Great article Diana however I’d use extremely caution when quoting the Kanin study. Its been criticized extensively for its methodology. I do believe the false rape stat to be above 2% (based upon the larger more scientifically accepted studies around 5-8%) however I don’t believe it to be 40-60%

    Fale allegations are a real problem and we can no longer allow bigots to shut down the dialogue by saying that even mentioning the existance of these men is proof of “rape culture”

    • http://www.genderratic.com Typhonblue (Asha James)

      It’s been criticized by those with an agenda.

      Regardless, between 1860-1960 there were 5,000 lynchings. That means about 50 a year.

      Is anyone going to say lynchings weren’t a problem?

      • http://feministlies.wordpress.com/ Theaverageman

        It’s frequently criticized by feminist activists/academics however there remains a reasonable amount of evidence from people who don’t have agenda’s such as David Lisak.

        David Lisak criticizes the Kanin study claiming that 40-60% of rapes are false reports while rejecting the feminist claim that 2% of all reports are false with his own research which pins the number at around 5.9/6%.He also outright rejects the claim that telling men not to rape will somehow lead to less rapes.

        http://www.middlebury.edu/media/view/240951/original/

        But as i said,it doesn’t matter what percent of men are falsely accused nobody deserves to have their lives ruined.False accusations should be judged qualitatively,not quantitatively.

      • http://pinterest.com/zetapersei/male-privilege/ Perseus

        What was it, 20 people hung/murdered in the Salem witch trials? And it is a national horror story, rightfully so because of the injustice.

        Karen Smith-
        “Females don’t lie about rape, it just doesn’t happen. It would be absurd. Now, lie about people being witches and having them executed in order to profit from public attention? Well, sure, we all know females do that. But you see the difference there, right? I mean it’s very nuanced, but there is a difference.. you see it.. right?… ..”

        • theoutside

          Maybe an update of Miller’s play would be a good idea.

          any writers interested?

        • OneHundredPercentCotton

          Yep, 20 people 300 years ago and it’s still a National Horror Story, while 10% of men on death row in the state of Illinois were found to be the wrong guy by the new DNA technology – death penalty cases being the #1 highest standard of jurisprudence in The Greatest Justice System In The World.

          …and not a peep of protest.

      • OneHundredPercentCotton

        Lynchings are soooooooooo yesterday!

        Nobody is getting lynched anymore, just like nobody is getting drafted anymore.

        Forget all that ancient history stuff. Nada problem anymore!

    • Bev

      Just recently the Orlando Police Department made the public proclamation that false rape allegations
      have become an epidemic. Last June the Baltimore Sun reported that police claimed that more than 30%
      of rape accusations were deemed unfounded. Louisville and Pittsburgh reported similar numbers. A longitudinal study conducted by Professor Eugene Kanin concluded that over a period of nine years, 41% of rape allegations studied were fraudulent, concocted by the alleged victim to either create an alibi, seek attention and sympathy, or to seek revenge. And there is the McDowell Study cited by Warren Farrell in The Myth of Male Power, which concluded that of 1,218 reported rapes on Air Force Bases around the world, 45% were discovered to be fraudulent. This 45% of cases are not ones that could not be proven or for which a suspect could not be apprehended, but cases that were proven to be fabricated by the person filing the complaint.

      • theoutside

        These stats need to be publicized widely. Thank you.

    • OneHundredPercentCotton

      That’s like the DSK false accuser who falsely claimed gang rape to seek sanctuary in this country, then went on to more false accusations…

      I have only anecdotal stories to “verify” my belief that false rape accusations are NOT rare, but you ask any one in two, three or four men about false rape accusations and one of them will have had a friend it happened to, or a brother, or themselves.

      Everyone knows SOMEone it’s happened to.

      Just about every other woman I know has some sort of rape or molest story and it serves to verify the perception that vast numbers of women are raped.

      Men are far more reluctant to vomit that type of information out at you unsolicited, but it’s my contention that just as many men carry false rape accusation stories as women’s rape stories.

      I’d be interested in seeing the results of a “survey” of men, asking if they’d ever been threatened with a false rape accusation or had a girl spread ugly rumors to that effect.

      How many men have been attacked and beaten because of a false rape accusation that never progressed to a police report.

      Even among men, I suspect accusations of that caliber “don’t count” since it never escalated to a police report, but I never hear those type of stories without wide eyed fear by the person who experienced it.

    • Diana Davison

      Kanin and McDowell were the only two empirical studies, and both were in the 40-50% range. I’m not going to be “cautious” about citing them because it’s important that more empirical studies be conducted. I expect that the “hard work” of feminists to both expand the definition of rape until it’s meaningless and to force presumed guilt instead of presumed innocence has drastically increased the percentages of false accusations since any of the former studies were done.

      I said in the article that there is “compelling evidence that it’s closer” to the higher statistics for false reports. Not only is it compelling, I’d like to see research done in such detail that they look for correspondence between higher incidences of false reports and what was in the media at the time.

      I’d also like to see experiments to see if the number of women reporting that they’d been raped changes if they are first given pamphlets telling them how often rape happens and how likely it is that a woman can have been raped and not even know it, etc… vs… what the number claiming to have been raped are like when they are first given information about positive relationships and that people who love their partners live longer.

      I’m going to keep saying false accusations are possibly between 40-60% as loudly as I can until they conduct proper studies and correct their information gathering methods.

      • Jared Spencer

        I would like to see properly gathered and represented data become more common… but am also very certain that barring some form off legislation against or system of consequences for disseminating misrepresented and false figures that they will continue to dominate the main stream sources where most folks get their information.

      • theoutside

        “Kanin and McDowell were the only two empirical studies, and both were in the 40-50% range. I’m not going to be “cautious” about citing them because it’s important that more empirical studies be conducted. I expect that the “hard work” of feminists to both expand the definition of rape until it’s meaningless and to force presumed guilt instead of presumed innocence has drastically increased the percentages of false accusations since any of the former studies were done.”

        Good points.

    • Never Blue Again

      What about 8 proven in court false rape claim (possibly more) in just last 2 month ?

      (Heck July isn’t over yet… if we look into the distributions of dates…. it’s reasonable to assume that several are coming in this month alone …….. 8O )

  • http://fathers4fairness.blogspot.ca/ fathers4fairness

    Also I would like to add two odd cases that indicate the strange motivations of parties involved in rape cases and where “false allegations” played a part – but perhaps not as one would expect.

    Tawana Brawley, Nov 1987 claimed 6 white men raped her but despite being taken directly to a hospital after the supposed ordeal – there was no evidence to back up her story – especially a DNA sample – nor was her physical condition consistent with her story. She was successfully sued by one of her allegedly accused who was a state prosecutor at that time. He said he lost his job and his marriage failed as a result of her false allegations.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tawana_Brawley_rape_allegations

    Central Park Jogger: In April 1989, Investment Banker Trisha Meili was brutally attacked and raped while jogging in NYC. Five teens involved in “wilding” attacks were implicated and confessed but later mostly recanted after claiming they were tricked into confessing. It was not until 2002 that a sixth attacker Matias Reyes confessed that he had acted alone – that the police revealed their DNA evidence did not match any of the first five attackers. Reyes was identified by his DNA and was known to have committed multiple rapes and murders. This is a more interesting case due to it’s being complicated by false confessions.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Central_Park_jogger

    • OneHundredPercentCotton

      ALL false rape convictions are going to be “complicated” by false or FORCED confessions – it’s part of the “treatment”.

      When given the choice between a relatively short sentence plea bargain or a life long sentence of prison rape for the stubborn few without a sense of reality, about 98% will choose the plea because about 98% will be convicted wrongly if they don’t.

      THEN comes the “good news” that in order to EVER be free of “treatment” they MUST confess to the crime – or they will be revoked and returned to prison, where they will never get out of prison unless they comply with said “treatment”.

      It’s not enough to simply “confess” a crime they didn’t commit – the vast majority of those offered a plea would GLADLY confess to kidnapping the Lindbergh baby to avoid decades of prison rape.

      You MUST be able to pass a polygraph while making your confession in order to …make it “real”, I suppose.

      So a person forced to confess to a crime he didn’t commit can fail and fail and fail a polygraph, but the notion he is failing because he is innocent and being forced to confess a crime he didn’t commit is NEVER on the table.

      NEVER.

      Nooooo sir-eee, Bob. He is considered “in denial” and failing because he had more and more and more secret crimes he has yet to confess to.

      THAT’S how THAT game works.

      So you confess to more stuff you didn’t do and still it’s not good enough, or you refuse to confess to more things you didn’t do and that sure as HELL isn’t good enough – either way, you are still facing a return to prison, and the possibility of NEVER getting out of prison because you can’t pass a polygraph confessing to something you didn’t do.

      It’s the PERFECT CRIME…only the person being punished isn’t the criminal/s who perpetuated it…

  • Jared Spencer

    Well written. I do think that an enhanced system of check and balance – or quality assurance even – is desperately needed in many western legal systems. One with teeth to punish bad actors. I don’t know any off those systems intimately enough to make constructive suggestion, though.

    • feeriker

      The only way that will ever work is to take the administration of “justice” out of the hands of the State altogether and turn it over to a neutral third body without an agenda. That will of course NEVER happen, but it’s the only thing with a remote chance of ensuring that actual justice is done.

  • Stu

    One of your best articles yet Diana. But I think that each time I read a new one from you.

  • Diana Davison

    Found a great scholarly article that completely debunks the feminist 2% lie.
    http://ncfm.org/libraryfiles/Children/rape/greer.pdf

    • vanguard

      Very interesting study; thanks for the link :).

      Given that up to 25% of the internal FBI Cases (i.e. heavily pre screened) turn out to exonerate the primary suspect because of DNA testing, they’ll have a lot of explaining to do how they arrive at such a low number without pre screening. Certainly those FBI Agents must be very godlike at pre screening for false allegations in order to get 25% of false allegations out of the total 2%.

  • KeanoReeves

    Sorry guys,

    This 2% false rape accusation comes from an extensive survey done. When I P-E-R-S-O-N-A-L-L-Y calculated based on the same survey, the false rape cases came to 40%. Then I looked back at how they got 2%. They have committed an error of mathematical logic (basically used wrong formula). After this, I have come to believe that it is politically motivated.

    Here is the mathematical jugglery they have done – (I have taken sample figures, but you can do that with actual figures).

    They studied lots of cases and divided each case into one of three categories as follows –

    We are sure they are falsely accused – 4
    We are sure they are guikty – 6
    We do not know for sure – 190

    (figures only illustrative)

    The % of false rape is actuall 4/(4+6) = 40%.

    They have calculated itas 4/(4 + 6 + 190) = 2%.

    The entire “do not know” has been assumed as being guilty.

    There are 2 ways to solve the problem

    i) Ignore theose you donot know. This gives answer of 40%
    ii) Take those you do not know and divide them in same ration as the others. This also gives 40%

    I am stunned that they have done some mathematical jugglery from Govt figures to get the 2%.

  • http://fathers4fairness.blogspot.ca/ fathers4fairness

    On June 13, Statcan released Adult Criminal Court Case completion stats for 2012/12. Table 4 details total number of cases by offense and decision1.

    Of all 11 Violent Offense category’s – 47% of Sexual Assault cases failed (stayed/withdrawn or dismissed due to lack of evidence or other reasons unlikely to succeed) which is the 2nd highest rate besides Attempted Murder.

    It is impossible to say if these were all due to “false allegations” – it raises serious questions about an Edmonton Police Services Assistant Inspector’s comment that they are only about 1-2%. This attitude reflects the pressure on the Police to charge “anything that moves” and let the Crown Prosecutors and Court sort out the questionable cases. And given the low clearance rate – that much seems obvious.

    Radical feminists like Karen Smith, executive director of the Sexual Assault Centre of Edmonton would have us believe that:

    “Rape is so heinous a crime that even innocence should not be a defense2″.

    Notes/Links:
    1. Table 4, Adult criminal court statistics in Canada, 2011/2012 by Jillian Boyce. Pub 85-002x Juristat, Statistics Canada. June 13, 2012
    [http://goo.gl/RmoQw]

    2. Alan M. Dershowitz, Professor of Constitutional Law at Harvard quoting former President of Massachusetts Civil Liberties Union. [http://goo.gl/dcP7a]

  • Victor Zen

    This is huge. Documenting incentives for legal malpractice serves as a better asset than most any editorial. Thank you, Diana, for adding another calculated brush stroke to the big picture.

  • Theseus

    There is some thing reeeeally interesting happening after the Zimmerman verdict. Feminist supporting progressives ( no left/right bullshit here.. I am left leaning) are touting how “dangerous it is to be a young black MALE in this country” Well DUH! What teh hell do you idiots think we have been talking about? Hello, this is also a men’s rights issue!

    Many of them are actually quoting the lyrics of “Strange Fruit”. The irony of this is just too Bizarre. Do they actually know what that song is about, or are they hoping that no one else will know?

    Even more interesting, some women are publicly stating that they are glad their children are GIRLS, because it’s far less dangerous for them. Wow.

  • feeriker

    The question remains as to what truly motivates lawyers to subvert the justice they vowed to serve.

    Very simple answer to that: power. More specifically, unlimited and unaccountable power.

    The problem is best summarized by the old expression “scum and shit always float to the top.” In other words, when you create a position of authority that comes with unlimited (for all practical purposes) power, the only people such a position attracts are people addicted to such power – exactly the sort of people you DON’T want anywhere near such positions.

    It’s not a problem of one woman in one town, it’s prosecutors everywhere who have no safety checks on their potential abuse of power and mostly enjoy immunity for their crimes when caught. The problem has been well known for decades and nothing has been done about it.

    And nothing ever will be “done about it” from within the system. Indeed, the system is working now in exactly the way it was designed to function: as a means of setting in motion a Stalinist conviction machine that railroads political undesirables (a category that prominently includes men of certain socioeconomic religious, ethnic, and sexual orientations) into the maw of the prison-industrial complex. It goes without saying that in order to function properly, such a system relies on having in key positions certain people whose authoritah must be as close to limitless as possible.*

    (*Well, “limitless” in terms of its accountability to the mythical “[The] People.” This certainly doesn’t give the individuals occupying these positions unlimited power over the system itself, nor does it isolate them from the risk of being purged when they incur the displeasure of other key power figures within the reigning Politburo [think Genrikh Yagoda and Lavrenti Beria, to name just to historically prominent psychopathic, power-drunk functionaries eventually devoured by the system they worshiped and served.)

    • theoutside

      …Yagoda, Beria…

      Very apt references.

  • http://www.genderratic.com/ Jim Doyle

    Nice work, Diana. People are loving this on the Men’s Rights subreddit, where I posted this only two hours ago:
    http://www.reddit.com/r/MensRights/comments/1icj2o/dont_be_that_prosecutor_diana_dawson_rips_mary/

  • BenJames

    here’s an interesting bit of information on FBI statsitics on false accusations – (nb: I acknowledge the risk of evidence by citation here!) According to this quote the FBI say it is 9% of cases.

    http://www.menweb.org/ceaserap.htm