Thursday Evening: Crime and Books

mike112912Good morning…no, it’s evening!

I am really out of it today. Anyway, I just have a few links for you tonight, regarding crime…courts and books.

This first link was posted in the comments and I think it should get front page attention, since we have been covering this case from the very beginning.

Lawyer Says 11-Year-Old Gang Rape Victim Was a ‘Spider’ Luring Men Into Web

We cover a lot of depressing stuff on this site: rape, anti-abortion laws, more rape, etc. But this article on a defense attorney who likened an 11-year-old survivor of gang rape to a conniving spider who lured her rapists into a web might actually be the most soul-suckingly disheartening story I’ve ever read.

20-year-old Jared Len Cruse is accused of gang-raping an 11-year-old Cleveland, Texas girl along with twenty of his male friends over the course of four months; you may remember our coverage of the story last year. But because she said “yes” when defense attorney Steve Taylor asked if she had been a “willing participant” and acknowledged that she hadn’t made an “outcry” until questioned after sex tapes of the assault started circulating around Cleveland High School, Taylor argued that she was “the reason” that twenty teenagers and adult men raped a child on videotape.

“Like the spider and the fly. Wasn’t she saying, ‘Come into my parlor, said the spider to the fly?’” Taylor asked.

I actually feel nauseous.

I feel sick too, but it actually gets worse.

Former Cleveland Police Department Sgt. Chad Langdon, the lead investigator on the case and a much-much-MUCH-needed voice of reason, testified that an 11-year-old cannot legally give consent for a sexual encounter, because she is eleven years old.

Prosecutor Joe Warren asked Langdon what he would say if it had been his own sons involved in the case. “Oh, then it would have totes been the little girl’s fault,” he said. Just kidding! “I would not whitewash it or sweep it under the rug,” he responded.

Oh, by the way? Cruse is already serving an eight-year sentence on convictions for aggravated robbery and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. But that’s irrelevant, right? Given that the child he raped is a total devious slut.

According to the Houston Chronicle, he’s the second of the 20 male defendants who are being tried for sexually assaulting the girl; the first, Eric McGowen, was convicted and received a sentence of 99 years in prison, so at least that’s promising. Seven juveniles have received probation and six adults got 15 years in the slammer after pleading guilty in exchange for plea deals. Is there anyone in the area who wasn’t involved in assaulting this girl, I mean, anyone who wasn’t lured in to her whorish web?

[Houston Chronicle]

Let me say this again, for all the assholes out there who have been blaming the victim since the very first reporting of this disgusting crime…THE VICTIM HERE IS ELEVEN YEARS OLD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Oh yeah, the victim is a girl…which probably factors into the shit we have been seeing with this case.

In connection with the subject of rape, finally someone is doing something about the f’d up laws, that say a rapist has rights to custody/visitation of the child they “fathered.”

Bill Strips Rapists’ Parental Rights In Arkansas, Ends Custody, Visitation

A Democratic legislator in Arkansas wants to strip convicted rapists of their rights to children conceived during the rape.

State Rep. John Charles Edwards (D-Little Rock) has introduced legislation that would take away the parental rights of convicted rapists who father a child during the rape. He said the bill, which was inspired by a Georgetown Law Journal article , would prohibit men convicted of rape from seeking custody of or visitation rights with the child conceived. Edwards said this would allow the victim to sever a potential lifelong relationship with her rapist.

“We had no protection for a woman who had conceived a child through rape,” Edwards told HuffPost.

Read the rest at the link.

The ACLU had a post up on their blog that also touches on the subject of crime…this time the suspects are immigrants.

A Policy Gone Bad: What Happens When a County Enforces National Immigration Law

Banjoville has a cop that waits as the Spanish Mass is held at the Catholic Church, then he proceeds to pull over any “brown” skinned drivers…for reasons like busted tail light, or no signal used when turning right out of the church parking lot.

When I read this quick review below, I immediately thought of Boston Boomer, this looks right up her alley. Quick Reads: “The Injustice System” by Clive Stafford Smith

The Injustice System: A Murder in Miami and a Trial Gone Wrong

By Clive Stafford Smith

VIKING

Accused of a sensational double murder in 1986 Miami, Trinidadian millionaire Kris Maharaj seemed destined for death row, and ended up there thanks to a conviction-hungry prosecutor and a hapless defense attorney (now a circuit court judge). This memoir, which reads like a true-crime thriller, describes how defense lawyer Clive Stafford Smith got his client off death row by uncovering brazen misconduct, both judicial (one judge actually solicited a bribe from the defendant) and prosecutorial (withholding evidence). It also turned out that the murder victims, presented in court as upright businessmen, had been laundering cash for a drug cartel, and skimming off the top. Smith’s account leaves us utterly convinced of his client’s innocence and delivers a powerful indictment of the system we rely on for justice.

And since we are on the topic of books. Here is the yearly list for New York Times Book Review’s 100 Notable Books of 2012 – NYTimes.com

The year’s notable fiction, poetry and nonfiction, selected by the editors of The New York Times Book Review.

Take a look at the list…see if anything interest you.

This is an open thread.


Ezra Klein Reviews “Confidence Men,” and Finds it Sorely Lacking

Ezra Klein, AKA Beltway Bob

Ezra Klein (AKA Beltway Bob) is really coming up in the world. He somehow managed to get a gig writing a review of Ron Suskind’s book Confidence Men for the New York Review of Books. I’m impressed, I must admit.

As you probably guessed already, Klein is quite critical of the book. In fact he thinks Suskind should have written a completely different kind book instead–maybe even a couple of different kinds of books.

As I see it, Suskind set out to write an interesting and entertaining political book about Obama’s economic advisers, how they interacted with each other and the President, and how administration economic policy took shape over the first couple of years. The book is gossipy and very much focused on the people involved and their relationships with each other. As a psychologist, I found it fascinating to read Suskind’s insights.

Klein admits that

The work that went into Confidence Men cannot be denied. Suskind conducted hundreds of interviews. He spoke to almost every member of the Obama administration, including the President…He takes you inside…the Oval Office. He heads to Wall Street and back. He quotes memos no one else has published. He gives you scenes that no one else has managed to capture.

But that isn’t good enough. Klein disapproves of the gossipy, personality-centered tone of Confidence Men. He wants Suskind to provide evidence for his personal assessments of people. For example, Klein objects to Suskind’s description of Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner’s appearance at Obama’s announcement that Elizabeth Warren would be working with Geithner to set up a consumer agency that she had first conceived of and then fought for. Although Warren didn’t know it yet, she would never head the agency, because Geithner had already made a deal with the bankers: they would accept a consumer agency as long as Warren wasn’t put in charge.

Here’s the passage that Klein found offensive:

This has caused discomfort not only for the president, but also for his top lieutenants, including the boyish man in the too-long jacket at Obama’s right hip, bunched cuffs around his shoes, looking more than anything like a teenager who just grabbed a suit out of dad’s closet. That’s Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, looking sheepish.

Klein so objected to this paragraph that he felt he had to go watch the announcement again himself, to see if Suskind’s description was accurate.

I prefer to verify. So I went back to the tape. I rewatched the September 2010 press conference where Obama introduced Warren to the country. I paid special attention to Geithner. Suskind’s right: his suit is too big. But he doesn’t look sheepish or ashamed. He looks, by turns, bored and interested. He clasps his hands behind his back. He nods attentively. He tries not to fidget. He looks like every experienced bureaucrat looks when they’re asked to stand like a prop near the president. Blank, and trying not to make any news. He failed.

But Klein doesn’t offer any evidence for his observations either. How can he know what Geithner was thinking–that he tried “not to fidget” and tried “not to make any news?” He can’t. Klein has shared his own observations and interpretations, just as Suskind did.  But Klein finds it annoying. He didn’t want to read a book about people, based on the close observations and opinions of its author. No, Klein wanted a book about policy, and he felt that

…any account of what he [Obama] has done wrong, or what he could do right, needs to provide, first and foremost, a persuasive case of how the White House could have done more to promote an economic recovery over the last three years, or could do more to accelerate one now.

Klein wanted a wonky book, heavy on policy and light on human interest, and he can’t understand why Suskind wrote something different. Quite honestly, I think Klein should go right ahead and write a book like that if he wants to. It wouldn’t be as much fun to read as Suskind’s book, but it might make people like Matt Yglesias and Brad DeLong happy.
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