Thursday, March 15, 2012

Innocent men could have been convicted

I mentioned below the absurd case against the San Fran sheriff, and now he has agreed to a plea bargain:
While San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi on Monday ended the domestic violence case against him by pleading guilty to a misdemeanor charge, Mayor Ed Lee said today the sheriff's political future is anything but settled.

Mirkarimi, 50, pleaded guilty Monday to misdemeanor false imprisonment in a deal with prosecutors, who agreed to drop three other charges stemming from a Dec. 31 incident in which he allegedly grabbed the arm of his wife during an argument. Mirkarimi will be sentenced next Monday to three years' probation, 52 weeks of domestic violence classes, 100 hours of community service and a $400 domestic violence fine, and will be required to attend family counseling, prosecutors said. ...

Under the City Charter, the mayor has the option to suspend the sheriff for official misconduct.
I think that it is crazy to ruin the marriage and career of a man because "he allegedly grabbed the arm of his wife during an argument", even if the allegations are true. But he knows the system, and I can only assume that he had a serious chance of being convicted.

He is still forbidden to see his wife and child.

I also wrote about the bizarre and implausible rape accusations against the French banker DSK, and now a famous Harvard law professor tells Newsweek that a jury might have convicted DSK:
Before Dershowitz started with his mock-court lesson, though, he needed to set a few predicates for his students, now acting as the jurors. First, Dershowitz would tell the jury they had every right to doubt the accuser. Second, Dershowitz would seek to get entered into evidence a picture of Strauss-Kahn’s naked body, possibly from the police forensic exam after his arrest. If that failed, Dershowitz would have to help jurors picture in their imagination a naked 62-year-old DSK — overweight and slightly hunched, his chest sunken and his skin sagging from the natural progression of age. With the ground rules established, Dershowitz took center stage.

“Ladies and gentlemen of the jury,” he started, “we have enough evidence to convict this man beyond a reasonable doubt even if you don’t believe the accuser. In fact, we are prepared to concede that based on statements she’s made in other contexts, you would be within your right to have some suspicions about her credibility.”
If I were on the jury, the picture of a naked, short, fat, elderly, Jewish politician banker would make me doubt that he was capable of forcibly raping a 6-foot, 30-year-old, African hotel maid. But maybe that is just my prejudices. There is also evidence that DSK was framed by his political enemies.

I conclude from all this that men do not get fair trials when accused of some sex-related crimes.


Anonymous said...

What do you think if he'd been a Catholic politician banker ? Would your prejudices be any different ?

George said...

Catholic politician bankers do not go around raping black hotel maids either, as far as I know.

Anonymous said...

I recently read this story about a football player who was acquitted of all charges of domestic assault. Those charges are far worse than what Mirkarimi was accused of.

So I don't really think that ALL men are treated unfairly. Look at the Kobe Bryant case for example. Because his alleged victim wouldn't cooperate, the DA office eventually dropped the case. Also, the singer Chris Brown was able to plea bargain even though he was accused of a far worse crime than Mirkarimi.

George said...

You mention 3 cases. 2 of the men were innocent. All 3 suffered enormously in terms of money and reputation. Yes, I think that all 3 were treated unfairly.