Crime Does Pay – if you work for the prosecution

If you think that crime doesn’t pay? Think again. The criminal justice system in America is perhaps the most well-financed institution of government anywhere in the world. In fact, to provide how well funded criminal justice inquiry alone is probably is to reflect on previous Presidential investigations ranging from Watergate to the Bill Clinton affair. There is no expense cap on how much money is spent. But take a moment and try to imagine how prosecutors in courts across America with sometimes unlimited resources don’t try to locate the truth? Instead, it seems to be to find the win. Many cases uncovered over past decades by advocacy organizations or third-party investigators have witnessed an alarming trend that prosecutors, despite evidence that could significantly deteriorate a case or allow an innocent person to be free, insists on plea bargains and continuing the cases all in the name of winning. It makes absolutely no sense. Or does it? Perhaps the art of winning a claim has no repercussions because the way policy and law protect prosecutors and the state.

Prosecutorial immunity is the absolute immunity that prosecutors in the United States have in initiating a prosecution and presenting the state’s case. “Firming up what had long been held as common practice, the U.S. Supreme Court in 1976 ruled in Imbler v. Pachtman that prosecutors cannot face civil lawsuits for prosecutorial abuses, no matter how severe.” Prosecutors have qualified immunity in other activities such as advising police and speaking to the press.

When the Duke Lacrosse case made headlines all across living rooms, we listened to Nancy Grace of CNN vilify a university rape culture of athletes taking advantage of a poor African American woman by violently raping her over and over. The news was enough to make anyone angry that such alleged activity would take place. However, as the evidence unfolded, there became significant cracks on both the police, the prosecution, and witness, and the overall method in which the case had been investigated from the start. Instantly, the news splashed released from police reports already created the most damaging evidence against the accused where they will be forever known as the “Duke Lacross players accused of rape”. In fact, there was no rape at all! To make matters worse; Nancy Grace never made a formal apology to the team, coach, or university for her brash and unfiltered scorn of something that didn’t happen. Nancy simply moved on to the next big story in her unapologetic manner. However, we do see the same tactics being used over and over each week in the news by prosecutors, police, and the media. The difference is maybe that there was a Lacrosse team whereas most rape or sexual assault cases involve only one on one allegations. Mostly, the team story was scripted. It was a validation of truth by a group of men with the same story backed with evidence, whereas one versus one in other cases does not have such luxuries. Therefore, prosecutors don’t really care if the truth is out there. It becomes an art of only finding a win for the prosecution.

The prosecutor is an administrator of justice, a zealous advocate, and an officer of the court. The prosecutor’s office should exercise sound discretion and independent judgment in the performance of the prosecution function.

There are naturally good people and good prosecutors. But there is a stigma all across America that prosecutors are elected people that need reelection to maintain and keep their jobs. Doesn’t it seem a bit odd that we never hear in the media where a prosecutor discover evidence that may set a person free and perhaps convict the false accuser? This never happened in the Duke Lacross case and didn’t seem that it will ever happen in other courtrooms across America. Doing so, by the voices of prosecutors and lawyers would place the judicial system in a tailspin. Perhaps that is what our nation requires? A pursuit of the truth – so help us, God. Justice reforms aren’t about tearing down the judicial system. Reforms are about the discovery of the truth to align the field evenly so that justice for all prevails.

Perhaps another issue regarding justice reforms may begin with how the media reports and could sway the public from a fair trail by disclosing too much information — reigning the press in a bit with regards to public records and judicial matters aren’t silencing the media. Instead, it allows a cooling period so that both sides are protected. Under the current system, the victims are ALWAYS protected while the accused is splattered across airwaves and social media in nanoseconds. We ought to change that system for the sake of justice reforms and perhaps restorative justice.

More than 90 percent of state and federal criminal convictions are the result of guilty pleas, often by people who say they didn’t commit a crime.

Again, the state and prosecution have an unlimited resource of funding at its disposal. Yet we have “backlogs” of DNA testing, cases where plea deals are often 85% or higher of most case settlements, decades later evidence discovered or unearthed in storage rooms long forgotten by police agencies, and advocacy groups without much funding at all uncovering questionable evidence that could have allowed a person to be free. It is disconcerting, especially in a country where parties are required to swear upon a bible or affirm, they are telling the truth before a court. However, this policy is not extended to prosecutors to affirm or swear they are telling the truth. They don’t have to because they will always have immunity. Doesn’t seem right, does it? But it is your system of government. So, what are you going to do about it?

Poor, Poor N.C. State University Basketball

For some of my blog readers, today’s blog may not be filled with political discourse or general policy overviews. Instead, I again will once again write about the North Carolina State University athletics program. When I attended N.C. State I wrote for The Technician about the University piss poor athletics programs. In fact, during that reporting period, the athletics department was headed by athletics director Lee Fowler. Shortly after my scathing, but honest, assessment Fowler retired from the University. He was replaced by Debbie Yow, which is the sister of the late N.C. State basketball coach legend, Kay Yow.

 

First, to understand a typical dedicated Wolfpack fan comes with a standard set of guidelines. 1. The program has an incredible history. 2. The entire athletics program seems focused on only beating Carolina. 3. Preseasons are filled with hype only to dissipate as the season progresses. In other words, the Wolfpack doesn’t have the caliber programs found at Notre Dame, UNC, Arizona or Florida. Instead, it will throw millions of dollars into a “Field of Dreams” style building project to build a reputable and loyal fan base to immediately fail on the field or on the court. Granted, its athletics facilities are some of the best on the planet. Any athletics coach would be in awe to have equal access to such services. In fact, the recruitment is on par with just about any other major university program. Coaching staff typically has some remarkable stats at the initial phase. But once at N.C. State all that falls apart. It’s a university filled with hopes of athletic excellence that consistently fails to deliver.

 

The last time N.C. State basketball program went to the NCAA Elite Eight was in 1986. That program was led by the late Jim Valvano. Les Robinson took over the program after Valvano was forced to leave under athletics misconduct allegations. Then came Herb Sendek which took the Pack to a tournament for 9 out of 10 seasons before his firing and departure to Arizona State University. Sidney Lowe, a former N.C. State player became the next coach that never had one appearance at the NCAA tournament. Now we come to the current Wolfpack basketball coach, Mark Gottfried which seated the Pack at a NCAA Sweet Sixteen position at his first season as coach. As a coach for five seasons, Gottfried has been to the NCAA tournament four times. This season his Wolfpack is struggling. But the Wolfpack apparently, once again, want change. It is highly rumored that Gottfried will be fired after the end of this season. Why the Wolfpack hired Gottfried after being fired from Alabama is perplexing. Perhaps it’s because N.C. State athletics has issues securing good coaching talent. After all, it’s a trainwreck in the making.

 

A problem for the Wolfpack is that its programs and fan base utilize the eligibility rule to secure a seat at playoffs. Nevermind about becoming a conference champion or a NCAA ranking. Instead, Pack fans and its program will ever endure the Cinderella syndrome of its only hope of being crowned Champion. The Cinderella method is fine for UTEP or Pepperdine but not N.C. State. The University is a Division 1 contender with Duke, UNC, and Virgina in its brackets. Yet, the Pack seems unconcerned or effortless in securing solid and robust wins against those adversaries. This is why the Wolfpack and all of its athletics won’t win championships. If the Wolfpack wants to begin winning, then its coaching staff must stop being a friend to its fan base and become autocratic, disciplined and focused leaders on the field and court. Until then, the Wolfpack athletic program will continue to be the hum-drum back pages issue filled with canned expectations and mediocre write-ups. After all, that has been the typical sports writing style since the departure of Valvano.

 

Mark my words, the Wolfpack will hire another coach, and you will hear the same canned commentary each and every time. “The new coach must be given several seasons to select his own players” or “the Wolfpack signed one of the best recruits for next season.”  The end result is that without a robust and disciplined coaching staff none of that will matter. The Wolfpack, in my opinion, will continue to rank between mediocre and below average regardless of what stellar facilities it builds. Go ahead and fire the Wolfpack basketball coach. It will only make it harder to find a better replacement. It only gives the university another poor excuse of additional time and recruiting to rebuild with same repeated insanity laced expectations that NC State fans have come to endure.

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