What happens to a justice system when it grants legal immunity to those in power for their malicious acts toward the innocent and vulnerable? A 6-year-old boy is charged with first-degree sexual assault for playing doctor with friends; the Class B felony can be punished by up to 60 years imprisonment.
PLAYING DOCTOR BECOMES A FELONY
Last fall, a six-year-old Wisconsin boy played doctor with another boy and girl, both of whom were 5. Depending on whose story is credited, some touching of the girl’s bare buttocks occurred and/or a finger was inserted into the girl’s anus. (The girl denied the penetration to police.)
On November 15, 2011, the parents of the boy filed a federal lawsuit against Wisconsin’s Grant County district attorney, a social worker and a now-retired Sheriff’s Office investigator. The reason? The boy, who is now merely known as “D”, was charged with first-degree sexual assault. He has been so vigorously pursued by Grant County officials that D’s attorney Christopher Cooper states, “I think his life has been ruined, and I think it’s been ruined by reckless conduct by the defendants without any regard for the little boy and his future.”
At 7 years old, D cannot currently be prosecuted or even named in court records. But the parents accuse county officials of using threats to force them to sign a Consent decree (a blanket permission to deal with their son). They claim officials harangued them and D to admit his guilt and to have him receive social and protective services. If a confession was not produced, then the parents were told that D could be listed as a sex offender when he turned 18. That would label him a second-class citizen, both legally and in life’s important opportunities such as career, education, and residency.
If accurate, the parents’ lawsuit reveals a tale of arrogant power, political favors, malice, and utter disregard for a child’s welfare. [Keep reading…]
Last Tuesday, Tonya Craft’s horrific ordeal at the hands of a morally bankrupt judicial system came to a merciful end, as a Catoosa County, Georgia, jury found her not guilty of multiple counts of child sexual abuse, including charges that she molested her own daughter. The case against Craft was a mountain of lies; virtually all of it was constructed from testimony by the alleged victims, all of whom were of preschool age at the time the assaults supposedly took place. It became clear during the trial that counselors at the Child Advocacy Center had pestered the children with questions until they offered up whatever “evidence” the state needed for its case. The prosecution’s inability to specify any details of the assaults, combined with ethically dubious behavior by the prosecutors and presiding judge (who did not recuse himself despite having represented the defendant’s ex-husband in their divorce proceedings), eventually led to an acquittal. Craft is free, although she has much to do to rebuild her life; she lost her job, her house and custody of her daughter following her arrest two years ago, and her family had to raise half a million dollars for her defense.
Now Catoosa County District Attorney Buzz Franklin blames not his spectacularly inept and unethical prosecution team for the case’s failure, but the jury, biased media coverage, and the internet(s):
I was disappointed with the verdict in the Tonya Craft case. The State presented a strong and compelling case to support a conviction, however, the jury chose to acquit her and we must accept this decision. Unlike a defendant, the State has no right of appeal. However, we need not agree with the verdict.
In most cases, the media strives to present their coverage of criminal trials in a fair and even-handed way that serves to inform the public. In this case, a number of local reporters openly took sides and heavily slanted their coverage in favor of the defense.
Combined with the dynamics of the internet blogosphere, it created an environment hostile to the State’s ability to receive a fair trial and portrayed the victims and their families in a false and negative light. This was an integral, purposeful and shameless part of the defense strategy.
The “dynamics of the internet blogosphere” appears to be a reference to bloggers who have covered the trial since its beginning, namely Bill Anderson who provided in-depth coverage on his blog, and Jacob Sullum who wrote for Reason‘s Hit & Run. Franklin’s statements would only make sense if the jurors had been reading media coverage, which of course they had sworn not to do. If he believes the jury was tainted, he needs to investigate immediately and not just whine about it to the public.