Campaigns/Elections

Straining to Defend Martha Coakley

|

Commenting on Martha Coakley's role in the Gerald Amirault case, M. LeBlanc at Bitch, Ph.D. writes:

So, what's the moral status of advocating that someone who is likely innocent remain in prison? It's a tough question. As far as I known, it's something that's routinely done by prosecutors everywhere…

I don't have a major problem with prosecutors who lobby for people to serve more time in prison, whether it's at the indictment, sentencing, or parole stage. My main concern is with systems that are overly deferential to prosecutors, that disadvantage defendants, and that make it extremely difficult for convicts to make the case for their own parole. I do think the criminal justice world would be a lot more just if more prosecutors declined to prosecute more often. Particularly in high-profile or embattled cases, where it seems that all evidence points to innocence, but the prosecutors insist on, for example, re-trying a case after a trial has been thrown out years after the fact by a judge. You see this all the time: prosecutors' stubborn insistence that they've got the right guy in the face of overwhelming evidence.

Nevertheless, being a prosecutor who is stalwart when presented with evidence of innocence or prosecutorial misconduct is so common as to be banal. Which is why I think her lobbying for Amirault's continued incarceration isn't, in itself, enough to make her a morally suspect choice for senator…

A lot of the criticism of Coakley's involvement in the Amirault case seems to center on the fact that she was clearly stepping up the pressure on the governor for her own political gain. Being seen as a law-and-order sort is almost uniformly a political advantage, no matter where you hold office. Hardly anyone ever fails to be elected because they were too hard on criminals. Take, for example, Joe Arpaio (extremely popular!) vs. Michael Dukakis (Willie Horton!). But it's not really enough to blame politicians for exploiting this tendency of Americans to thirst for more and more justice-blood. And I'm not particularly moved by allegations that people are behaving in politicized ways. Justice is political, and the more we recognize and appreciate that, the better we can be honest with ourselves as a society and government about how we want to proceed.

I'm floored by this reaction. A leftist could make a respectable argument that even though Coakley was grievously out of bounds in the Amirault case the need for her vote on health care reform, filibuster prevention, and other issues is more important than the troubling decisions she made as a prosecutor. A leftist could also plausibly argue that when it comes to actually making criminal justice policy as a senator, Coakley isn't likely to be any worse than her opponent, and therefore she deserves support because she's more progressive on everything else.

But LeBlanc isn't arguing either of those positions. She's arguing something far more repugnant: She's conceding that the Amirault case was a travesty of justice, and that Coakley was wrong for her extraordinary efforts to keep Gerald Amiralut in prison. But she's then arguing that Coakley deserves a pass specifically for her actions in the Amirault case, anyway, because all prosecutors do it, and because it's what Coakley had to do to accumulate political power and move on to higher office.

That is one hellaciously disturbing statement of values. LeBlanc is either arguing that she believes the accumulation of power and advancement of one's career is more important than justice—more important than ensuring that innocent people don't rot behind bars—or that she's willing to give a pass to politicians who do.

Actually, not just a pass, but a promotion.

I'm also not convinced LeBlanc's assumptions about the political pressures Coakley faced in the Amirault case are accurate. The parole board voted 5-0 to free Gerald Amirault in 1999. That came three years after Dorothy Rabinowtiz won her Pulitzer Prize for commentary for her columns exposing the case against the Amiraults and other sex abuse injustices. Recovered memory therapy; the leading, repeated, and persistent questioning of children; and the various other tactics prosecutors used in the sex abuse hysteria cases of the 1980s and early 1990s had been exposed and debunked. Coakley had plenty of political cover to do the right thing in this case.

LeBlanc is right that generally speaking, prosecutors fight like hell to protect convictions, even when there's overwhelming evidence of innocence. But not all of them do. There are plenty of cases where prosecutors have dropped charges and freed the wrongly convicted. Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins is actively seeking out innocence cases, and he's doing it in a jurisdiction that's a hell of a lot more conservative than Middlesex, Massachusetts. Perhaps it's too much to expect Coakley to have Watkins' moral courage. But then, she isn't being criticized for not going as far as someone like Watkins. She's being criticized for going well above and beyond the call of duty the other way, including fighting outside the courtroom by orchestrating a PR campaign to persuade then-Gov. Jane Swift to keep Amirault in prison. Coakley wasn't bowing to political pressure, she was creating it.

Broadly speaking, LeBlanc's also right that "hardly anyone ever fails to be elected becasue they were too hard on criminals." But I don't know of a single incident in which a prosecutor suffered bad publicity or was attacked politically for failing to fight the release of an innocent person. "Tough on crime" positions on parole, sentencing, the death penalty, and so on are policy positions on which reasonable people can disagree. Obstinacy in the face of overwhelming evidence of someone's innocence is a moral failing, regardless of motivation.

Moreover, Coakley's also being criticized for failing to bring charges against a man who sexually assaulted his young niece with a curling iron. Coakley's successor put him away for two life terms. Why would Coakley—so aware of the political pressure to be tough on crime, so protective of her own ambition for higher office, and who carefully cultivated an image for herself as a defender of children—not throw the book at a man accused of raping a toddler with a curling iron? I'm just guessing here, but it may have something to do with the fact that Keith Winfield was also a police officer. That suggests a blind allegiance to law enforcement that we should find troubling in a U.S. Senator who will be making and voting on criminal justice policy.

There's a broader point here, too. Even the left—even the far left—seems to find it difficult to hold bad prosecutors accountable, at least when they happen to be Democrats. So long as prosecutors are rewarded for aggressiveness and never punished when they overstep, we'll continue to see the very sort of behavior LeBlanc claims to find troubling.

It's worth noting that the person who actually convicted the Amiraults was Coakley's predecessor in the Middlesex County DA's office, Scott Harshbarger. How was Harshbarger punished for his mistakes? For starters, like Coakley, he went on to become Massachusetts Attorney General. In 1998, well after the injustice in the Amirault case was well known both in and out of Massachusetts, he was the Democratic nominee for governor. He was later hired to head up the liberal interest group Common Cause. Of course, there's also Janet Reno, who went on to become U.S. attorney general, despite her own history of dubious sex abuse convictions.

I'm glad LeBlanc believes "the criminal justice world would be a lot more just if more prosecutors declined to prosecute more often," and that she's troubled by "prosecutors' stubborn insistence that they've got the right guy in the face of overwhelming evidence." But frankly, she's part of the problem. If even a leftist blogger like LeBlanc is unwilling to hold overly aggressive prosecutors accountable, is willing to overlook a grave injustices so long as they're committed out of political ambition, and can later support the same bad actors' election to higher office, how does she expect the criminal justice system's flawed incentive structure to change?

NEXT: Good Question

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. The stupid is strong here.

    I have to say that is one of the more disturbing rationalizations for a fucked up situation that I have ever read.

    1. Stupid is the wrong word. We need a new word for her.

      1. Flaming Cunt?

        I mean if you’re going to do it, do it right.

        1. Actually, that’s two words.

          1. Cuntisflaminugus

            1. I always felt that way about the Scottsboro boys. Shame to railroad anybody for a rape that didn’t happen, but it did some political good, so who really cares about some colored boys?

        2. How about Fascist?
          Does that fit?

      2. Such as the term, “to LeBlanc,” meaning to advance a position so ludicrous and over the top that one cannot tell if the advancee is morally depraved or just a dumb jackass.

        1. Or, “he sure got Coakleyed like a muthafucks, d00d!”

          Isn’t the way the English language is so open to growth exciting?

      3. We need a new word for her.

        No, we need a very old word for her: EVIL.

  2. Dictators like Hitler, Stalin, Mao, etc., did a lot of evil things. But they had to in order to become and remain dictators. So how can you hold it against them?

    1. Does the Left actually hold anything against Stalin and Mao?

    2. Well, noted liberal Oliver Stone is apparently making a movie or tv program with pretty much exactly that theme.

      OTOH, my Lefty friends get all agitated when I point out Stalinist tendencies in Lefties. Who knows?

  3. Which is why I think her lobbying for Amirault’s continued incarceration isn’t, in itself, enough to make her a morally suspect choice for senator…

    Go Team Blue! Beat Team Red!

    That is as morally bankrupt an opinion as I’ve read in a long time.

    If it’s OK to keep a innocent in prison, it follows that placing innocent people in prison is OK as well. After all, all prosecutors do it (not true in either case).

    This is sports bar politics at its worst. This player cheats but its OK because SHE’S ON OUR TEAM!

    1. The sports mentality of politics in the US is pretty funny.

      1. I didn’t originate with me. dhex came up with it and I’ve adopted it whenever it seem appropriate.

      2. It’s not unique to US politics, or even politics in general. Humans are tribal by nature, so it takes a LOT of conditioning and self-awareness to overcome such attitudes.

        1. It is rampant in US politics. It may not be solely a US phenomenon but, the US does it better than most.

          1. yeah but aren’t the left supposed to be explicitly anti-tribal?

            It was Joe who would scream bloody murder when you compared socialism to fascism despite their shared similarities and historic political and ideological roots. His main reason being that socialism unlike fascism was international and transcended “group”.

    2. You know, Team Red is making the same argument for Brown. Those who vote Kennedy out of principle are the worst sort of traitor. The merest suggestion that Brown isn’t the epitome of goodness gets you excommunicated in Team Red circles.

      1. Brown isn’t the epitome of goodness…but what you fail to see is that he is less bad than anyone who’s going to fill the Class I MA senate seat. A vote for Brown is a vote for divided govt, which is something pragmatic libertarians would value.

        1. I’ve always been very ambivalent towrads the “vote for the candidate whose views best match your own, even though he has no chance” versus “pick whichever of the two party candidates is least bad.” I see the logic behind both points and wouldn’t argue with anyone who did either.

          But everything I’ve read suggests that if you go the lesser of two evils route, it almost has to be Brown. Maybe we just don’t know Brown’s skeletons as well and maybe in the same situation he would have done worse, but we know what Coakley’s done and I can’t say I’m real impressed. Throw in the fact that the Democrats currently control all branches of government, and the lesser of two evils choice looks a lot clearer than it did for President in 2008.

          But were I an MA voter, I would seriously consider voting for Joe Kennedy. I might vote for Brown. Don’t think I’ve seen anything to get me to vote for Coakley. But I’m not an MA voter (worked for a business there for a while…)

      2. Since you are implying that this is the general view of Team Red, I’m sure you can cite numerous instances of this. Right?

        Or are ya just blowing smoke?

      3. In case it isn’t clear, my reply above is to BrandyBuck.

      4. Those who vote Kennedy out of principle are the worst sort of traitor.

        Only MNR or whatever his name is is saying that or something similar…and he is firmly in team left.

        Find me a team libertarian who is calling those who vote Kennedy a traitor and you can color me surprised. Hell find an actual Republican who says that and i would be surprised.

  4. In this case I think I’d take the name of the blog at face value.

  5. “So, what’s the moral status of advocating that someone who is likely innocent remain in prison? It’s a tough question.”
    Certainly doesn’t sound tough to me….

    1. Perhaps it would be tough if you were a political whore who was trying to decide which way would advance your career. If, on the other hand, you are a decent human being, the answer would of course be obvious.

      -jcr

    2. In “The Prophecy” two of the characters have a short exchange that I consider somewhat profound in its simplicity:

      Simon: Do you believe that you are a part of God’s plan?
      Thomas Daggett: That’s a complicated question.
      Simon: No it isn’t.

    3. That’s not a tough question at all. Here’s a tough question.

      What would be properly ironic justice for the writer of that piece? Raped by a giant Satanic robot, or thrown in jail for 30 years for some obviously absurd charge?

      1. Raped by a giant Satanic robot

        Robots that rape lefty hacks are cool…satanic ones even more so.

        How is this question tough?

        1. Well the 30 years in jail would give her plenty of time to think about what she’s done.

          I think that’s a good result for all “tough on crime” hacks, be they lefty or righty. I often think about how fitting it would be to have people grabbed off the street and sent to Gitmo with only the rights that they believe people should have in such situations.

  6. It’s not that Amirault was just languishing in jail and Coakley left him there. It’s that he had a chance to get out and she played the situation for leverage, his incarceration against his sister’s, to protect her own pathetic career. Simply put, EVIL.

    Please, Mass, vindicate yourself and the Amiraults by sending this woman packing – out of the senate and out of the AG slot. Do it for God’s glorious sake.

    1. There’s another part to this – she also wanted Amirault’s attorney off the case (which is usually only done when there is a strong case of on-going conspiracy). Not in this case – it was that the defense was too well prepared.

      1. Hmm.. That’s violating his right to a competent defense, isn’t it?

        -jcr

        1. …what a quaint notion!

      2. How much do you really have to prepare for something like that? I would have just repeated the charges, asked the jury if they were fucking retarded, and rested my case.

        Of course my logic is flawed in believing at least 1 out of the 12 would not be retarded.

        1. There are a lot of nuances to the legal system. The court is more about procedures than process sometimes. Even when someone has proof of his or her innocence, the procedures prevent justice. An incompetent can easily be taken advantage of by an aggressive and unethical attorney which Coakley appears to be.

  7. You have no grasp of nuance, Ron L.

    1. I’ll snark back:
      This’d be “nuance” like what you see from the wrong end of a gun?

  8. To an imperial city, nothing is inconsistent that is expedient. Euphemus of Athens

    Just apply it to this situation and everything will be explained.

    1. [swoon]
      You are so deep man!
      [/swoon]

    2. Spare me your Euphemisms!

      1. + over 9000!!!

  9. “So, what’s the moral status of advocating that someone who is likely innocent remain in prison? It’s a tough question.”

    No it is really not. You just do the right thing. If it costs you some career advancement so be it. It is called not being depraved.

    1. Exactly. I think that’s one attribute of so-called “intellectuals” that rankles us simple folk — in the guise of nuance and deeper analysis, they overcomplicate the facts that they don’t like.

      1. Whoa! Does that apply to reason & the commentariat too?

        P.S. I miss crayon.

  10. Even the left?even the far… leftIf even a leftist…

    It’s OK if the right people(particularly of the right gender) are in charge Radley.Why would you expect the left to make crazy wingnut “jack-booted thugs”-like denunciations of our criminal justice professionals?

    You seem to have them confused with those dangerous paranoid right wing anti-government reactionaries.

  11. “But it’s not really enough to blame politicians for exploiting this tendency of Americans to thirst for more and more justice-blood.”

    Since it is not enough to blame them, the answer clearly is to give one of the worst of them a Senate seat as a reward. This is like something out of the Onion.

  12. Shorter LeBlanc

    Coakley has important progressive stuff to do as a politician. If doing that stuff requires her to cravenly argue for the continued imprisonment of an obviously innocent person, so be it. A few eggs have to get broken on the way to progress.

    1. The Staliniest hack Melissa Lafsky
      actually thinks a dritbag prog’s political career is justifiess homicide.

  13. John, I think that, as Radley notes, she doesn’t even bother to make THAT bad excuse.

    1. He sort of does. But as Radley points out, it is worse than usual. He basically is saying that well, argueing for innocent people to remain in prison is just what prosecutors do. So, it is really just kind of a right of passage in LaBlanc’s view. Very disturbing.

  14. Is this the same M. LeBlanc that played a doofus on Friends? Odd career change for him . . . blogging at Bitch, Ph.D. The doofus gimmick remains the same, however.

    1. played a doofus, doofus gimmick?

      It isn’t a gimmick, he is a doofus. He did not play a doofus, he walked on as himself.

  15. 0

  16. So, what’s the moral status of advocating that someone who is likely innocent remain in prison? It’s a tough question.

    No, that’s not a tough question. Anyone who can’t see the perfectly plain moral answer to this question isn’t fit to live in human society.

    -jcr

    1. Pretty much.

    2. That quote caught my eye to. It is so pathetic. He is trying to be all thoughtful and nuanced. When in reality he is just being depraved.

    3. What is the moral status of advocating that LeBlanc have his toenails pulled out one by one before he is set on fire and burned alive?

      1. That would be wrong, too. Although, it would be very amusing to see LeBlanc try to make an argument against it.

        -jcr

        1. Let’s not jump to conclusions, Mr. Randolph. This is a complicated question.

  17. Fellow phallocrats, please go easy on the cunt from Bitch, M. LeBlanc…

    She has body issues

    1. I just read that linked piece for the first time, knowing nothing about “M. LeBlanc.”

      My god, what a breathtakingly shallow person.

      1. I figured it was Matt LeBlanc from Friends….

  18. Our system in this country, at least for the moment, is that prosecutors prosecute and defenders defend. Hopefully, the one whose position is factual will be able to muster better evidence and arguments, and they’ll win the contest. I don’t think it’s fair to let what is ultimately criticism of that system of justice become criticism of Coakley personally.

    There’s a certain kind of unproductive intransigence in these matters that I wish we could avoid in our discourse. That doesn’t mean that everyone is blameless for everything they were ordered to do by the government. Nazi guards who forced hundreds of Jews into a gas chamber should probably have refused, or even sabotaged the relevant equipment. On the other hand, it’s hard to blame the cop who writes you a ticket for 35 in a 25 anyway, despite the fact that he knows that 35 is perfectly safe on that particular road. It’s not really his job to be a civil engineer AND a cop. In between those two paradigm cases, there are a lot of levels of government fuck-ups, and I think reasonable people can disagree about where to draw the line.

    1. “and I think reasonable people can disagree about where to draw the line.”

      True. But wherever that line is, it is most certainly somewhere before you argue to keep an innocent man in jail for an additional three years and claim to the public that obviously rediculous evidence is clear and compelling.

    2. Godwin’s law strikes again. You just lost Edward.

      But to engage your argument, we’re not talking about the flunky with the gun to his head being ordered to push ’em in the oven. We’re talking about the camp commandant. Big difference, and if you can’t see that I have to wonder about whether you have anything that could be usefully called a moral compass.

    3. Our system in this country, at least for the moment, is that prosecutors prosecute and defenders defend. Hopefully, the one whose position is factual will be able to muster better evidence and arguments, and they’ll win the contest.

      You could not be more wrong. While defense attorneys are indeed supposed to seek acquittals at all costs, prosecutors are supposed to seek justice, not necessarily convictions. Hence the requirement that prosecutors turn over any exculpatory evidence they find to the defense, while the defense need not tell the prosecution about incriminating evidence they discover.

      If you are a prosecutor and you have, with knowledge of all the evidence, reasonable doubt as to the guilt of the defendant, you should end the prosecution. That’s not simply my opinion, that is the law.

      1. I mostly agree as to the “should” part, but what law is it that you’re referring to, that requires prosecutors to drop cases in which they personally believe there is reasonable doubt? Such a law seems problematic, in practice. What if someone really did do it, and the prosecutor happens to be a friend of his? The idea that a good prosecutor will take whatever run at a defendant the evidence can sustain, regardless of his or her personal beliefs about the case, seems to be consonant with the rule of law generally.

        Untermensch: in both cases, it’s someone carrying out orders. I’m not seeing the difference in kind you seem to be referring to, but only one of degree.

        1. The law requires a prosecutor who was a friend of the defendant to recuse himself and let another prosecutor handle the case. That example is just silly from the start.

    4. On the other hand, it’s hard to blame the cop who writes you a ticket for 35 in a 25 anyway, despite the fact that he knows that 35 is perfectly safe on that particular road.

      That’s a completely inapposite analogy. In the Amirault case, it’s not a matter of the prosecutor having to enforce a stupid law, it’s a matter of the prosecutor knowing that the law wasn’t broken and still seeking punishment. A better analogy would be a cop who knows you were doing 20 mph in the 25 mph speed zone, but writes you a ticket anyway.

    5. Bullshit.

      The prosecutor has nearly unlimited discretion in when, where, and how to apply the powers of the job.

      They are never bound to prosecute the innocent, nor to defend a conviction that was obtained in error, and to do so exhibits moral turpitude of breathtaking magnitude.

    6. “Nazi guards who forced hundreds of Jews into a gas chamber should probably have refused, or even sabotaged the relevant equipment.”

      “Probably”?!

      1. I hesitate to deliver unqualified judgment on someone who does something terrible under the implied threat of execution. Of course it would be nice if everyone were a selfless morality robot, but that’s not really a reasonable expectation.

        1. As a christian, that is the exact expectation I think God has.

          Fortunately there is grace because its totally impossible. You know, except for that one guy who pulled it off.

        2. Also, the case of the prosecutor isnt about morality, it is about ethics.

          In particular, as pointed out above, it is unethical to withhold evidence from the defense or to pursue a case in which you think the defendant is innocent. The legal profession may not always be moral, but it does have a historical ethical background.

  19. A leftist could make a respectable argument that even though Coakley was grievously out of bounds in the Amirault case the need for her vote on health care reform, filiibuster prevention, and other issues is more important than the troubling decisions she made as a prosecutor.

    But…but I thought whoever wins the special election for Senator could not be “certified” in time to vote for or against the healthcare bill. At least that’s what everyone was saying whenever someone raised the idea that Brown could vote against its passage. I’ve read several times that Brown, if he won, could not be seated in time to cast a vote. Am I to believe now that if Coakley wins, she will be?

    1. The red tape will part like a Biblical Sea as golden rays from the heavens bathe her boyish hair.

    2. Niki Tsongas was confirmed 48 hours after winning her special election, because it was important and stuff. She also has a ‘D’ after her name.

    3. Wait, wasn’t the whole point to have someone in place for this vote? Didn’t Teddy even write a weepy letter about MA needing to have two voices in this important debate when he was trying to get the succession law changed, or am I remembering that completely wrong?

      1. There is someone in place for the vote – his name is Kirk. As far as I know, he will fill the office of Senator until the new one can be seated.

    4. I’ve read several times that Brown, if he won, could not be seated in time to cast a vote. Am I to believe now that if Coakley wins, she will be?

      You miss the point. If a Dem looses a Senate seat in indigo blue Mass to a Republican who ran against health care reform every Democrat Senator and House rep all take a collective shit in their pants and run screaming from the health care bill.

      That is the theory anyway.

  20. So… it’s more important to elect a former prosecutor who gamed the system for her own advancement of power, keeping innocents in prison in the process.

    Gosh, using that logic, Trafficant should have never been in the big house, and William Jefferson had good reasons to hide thousands of bribe dollars in his office. Got it.

    I dare Chad or Tony to defend that seriously… but they will, somehow.

    1. See Edward above.

      1. Oh, I read that, and it made me choke down some bile in the process.

        Funny, no mention of the cop-raping-kid-with-hot-object incident in the above story…

  21. “So, what’s the moral status of advocating that someone who is likely innocent remain in prison? It’s a tough question.”

    No it’s not. There’s no easier question to answer: Only a fucked up asshole willing to destroy lives in the name of personal profit and advancement fights to keep the innocent locked for decades in prison.

  22. What Coakley did was an abomination.

    Come tuesday, we’re going to teach that bitch a lesson.

    Barney Frank? Ted Kennedy? Massachusett is soon going to do something moral for once!

    “There’s no need to fear. Underzog is here!”

    Global warming II/Vegetation pollution

  23. LeBlanc ate my balls. Twice.

  24. I suspect the Bitch was simply disingenuous. S/he doesn’t really believe the argument, but has other unstated reasons for favoring Coakley, and thinks there may be a few people who would be swayed by this far fetched and mean argument who would not be convinced by the other reasons.

    However, the larger point that Democrats — probably the grass roots too but especially those in high political positions — are particularly uncaring in cases like this is still valid and particularly scary. Break eggs, make omelet. No, don’t just break the eggs, torture them! Basically the Democrats realize that although something really shitty has been done in such cases, they affect only a tiny number of persons, while legislation and appeals court decisions could affect much greater numbers albeit not as severely. So they’re willing to sacrifice the few for the many. The problem is that these cases probably have affected the many by making professional child care harder to get. My father could not have been alone in advising persons for such reasons never to work with children.

  25. “Tough on crime” positions on parole, sentencing, the death penalty, and so on are policy positions on which reasonable people can disagree.

    Thank you, Radley, for agreeing with me that it’s possible to be a law-and-order libertarian.

  26. When the omnipotent aliens arrive and decide if we as a species survive, it will be the LeBlancs and Edwards, not the Maos and Hitlers, who seal our doom.

  27. The Tulpas will, of course, be the first to welcome our new alien overlords!

    1. Wow, what a courageous statement to make in these parts. Say, do you have a coherent answer to my question about China establishing dominance in the Gulf yet?

      1. Are you fucking drunk Tulpa? NTTAWWT, ‘ cause I certainly am.

        1. On second thought, Tulpa, maybe you’re just a humorless bitch (with, or without the Ph.D). NTTAWWT.

  28. The needs of the individual never outweigh the needs of the statist.

    1. That’s from Star Trek II, right? See, I’m down with you kids.

      1. Star Trek II? Kids? Dang.

        ST II came out shortly after the end of disco.

  29. So correct me if I’m wrong here but Le Blanc is saying:

    1. This kind of evil is so common it is a cliche.
    2. Cliches aren’t evil; not your actually evil exactly.
    3. So this evil isn’t evil and Coakley gets a pass.

    What. The. Fuck?

  30. Amirault was found guilty and this verdict was upheld several times by both political parties. There were physical findings of abuse in the children and the children showed signs of strong sexualized behaviors after the abuse. The children as adults continue to state they were abused.

    information on case: http://eassurvey.wordpress.com…..lls-acres-?-amirault-case/

    Letters to the Editor: The Real Darkness Is Child Abuse WALL STREET JOURNAL 02/24/95 Hardoon
    The three Amiraults ? Gerald, Violet and Cheryl ? were convicted after two trials before different judges and juries almost one year apart. They were represented by able and well-known defense counsel. The convictions were upheld after review by state and federal appellate courts?.in Amirault, the majority of the female children who testified had some relevant physical findings, as did several female children involved in the investigation who did not participate in the trial. The findings included labial adhesions and hymenal scarring of the sort present in avery small percentage of non-sexually abused children?.The victims and their families in these cases have been irrevocably harmed by what was done to them by the Amiraults. Every argument raised by Ms. Rabinowitz was ably presented by the defense at the trials. The juries, by their verdicts, rejected these arguments. Justice was done.
    http://web.archive.org/web/200…..ardoon.htm

    Witness praises Amirault decision By John Ellement, Globe Staff, 2/23/2002 Amirault supporters are focusing on 2 percent of the children’s claims that ”seem inexplicable and they are conveniently ignoring the 98 percent of the case that was overwhelming” against Amirault.

    1. Martha, shouldn’t you be out campaigning today?

      1. See, Citizen Nothing, Tulpa does have a sense of humor.

        Actually, to be fair, comprhensive and nuanced, of course you have a sense of humor. I think that you are humorless about some things, but that does not mean thar you are humorless.

        I’ll go one step further in defending you Tulpa. You have penned some things that have tickled my funny bone.

        1. Like God’s, my rain falls upon both the good and the bad.

  31. You are probably too young to remember it, but there was a county prosecutor who made his reputation by conducting an investigation exonerating an apparently guilty suspect who had confessed and who possessed a gun consistent with forensic evidence as a possible murder weapon. He went on to become Attorney General of the United States under Roosevelt.
    I am sure he did not do that for political advancement. (His name was Homer Cummings)

    1. This case was also the subject of the 1947 movie Boomerang!, one of several quite good docudramas 20th Century Fox made in the late 1940s and early 1950s.

    2. I might be old enough to remember; which Roosevelt you talkin’bout, sonny? 😉

  32. this verdict was upheld several times by both political parties

    Troll failure.

    Way too obvious.

    2.5/10

  33. Electing Brown will be the equivilent of destroying the Second Death Star. It will do more to disunite the Democrats than a million Hoffmans.

  34. Cliff Claven rules.

    That Other Hollywood: Cheers! [Kathryn Jean Lopez]

    I Tweeted a little Cliff Claven, but here’s some more from John Ratzenberger’s remarks at Brown rally earlier:

    This isn’t the Democratic party of our fathers and grandfathers. This is the party of Woodstock hippies. I was at Woodstock ? I built the stage. And when everything fell apart, and people were fighting for peanut-butter sandwiches, it was the National Guard who came in and saved the same people who were protesting them. So when Hillary Clinton a few years ago wanted to build a Woodstock memorial, I said it should be a statue of a National Guardsman feeding a crying hippie.”

  35. “Justice is political, and the more we recognize and appreciate that, the better we can be honest with ourselves as a society and government about how we want to proceed.”

    This may be the most grotesque line in that whole nasty exercise in rationalization. Justice which has become subservient to politics is no longer justice.

  36. Who IS this person? Hasn’t she got anyone (clergy, doctor, elder relative) to whom she can talk before publicly stating views this rank?

  37. Being a prosecutor should disqualify one from elective office. If you are interested in justice, become a prosecutor. If you are interested in a Senate seat, go marry a Kennedy.

  38. COMMONWEALTH vs. GERALD AMIRAULT. 404 Mass. 221 December 6, 1988 – March 6, 1989 The parents of the child witnesses testified about their children’s behavior while, or shortly after, attending Fells Acres. The children complained and cried about the school; they complained of stomachaches, headaches, pain in their genital areas, and bowel problems. They began bedwetting, lost their appetites, had nightmares, used baby talk, became fearful of lights, of men, and of being left alone. The children also displayed sexually explicit behavior; some began masturbating. Two of the boys tried to stick their tongues into their mothers’ mouths.

    Swift won’t free Tooky Swift said Amirault should be jailed at least until he’s up for parole in 2004 on his 30- to 40-year sentence. “She carefully analyzed every bit of information generated through the investigation and came to her decision that the verdict was just and the sentence was appropriate http://web.archive.org/web/200…..202002.htm

    Mass. Victims Fight Commutation Plea By Leslie Miller AP Victims in the Fells Acres child abuse case broke down Thursday as they described their pain publicly for the first time in hopes of keeping the last person convicted in the case behind bars. Victims urged her to keep Amirault in prison. “During counseling meetings as a child, I would speak of a tall man touching me and taking pictures of me,” Phaedra Hopkins, 20, said at an emotional news conference. “So many times, Mr. Amirault hovered over me, touched me and hurt me and committed many disgusting acts of abuse.” Those children, now adults, stood by their testimony Thursday. http://web.archive.org/web/200…..use_3.html

    1. “The alleged acts would have caused bodily fluids to be left on carpets, the children’s clothing and elsewhere, but none were ever found. The alleged acts would have been very painful to children, but no child ever complained about pain after day care, nor did parents ever notice any injuries..”
      http://www.examiner.com/x-1453…..as-Senator

  39. How convenient that there is not one mention of how Bush locked up and tortured hundreds of people who simply happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Instead, you just want to concentrate on how a prosecutor doing her job might have made an honest mistake. And, it is so funny how she is being viciously attacked by the right wing, simply because she is a woman. The Republican Party is against women’s rights and what they really don’t want is another woman senator, Just look at how they treat Hillary Clinton, Barbara Boxer, and Dianne Feinstein. It’s atrocious. If she were a man, you would call her a tough-on-crime prosecutor. When elected, Coakley will continue her long and distinguished servie in protection of the civil rights of women, minorities, and gays, and won’t be a shill for the imsurance companies and Wall Street like Brown would be.

  40. How convenient that there is not one mention of how Bush locked up and tortured hundreds of people who simply happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Instead, you just want to concentrate on how a prosecutor doing her job might have made an honest mistake. And, it is so funny how she is being viciously attacked by the right wing, simply because she is a woman. The Republican Party is against women’s rights and what they really don’t want is another woman senator, Just look at how they treat Hillary Clinton, Barbara Boxer, and Dianne Feinstein. It’s atrocious. If she were a man, you would call her a tough-on-crime prosecutor. When elected, Coakley will continue her long and distinguished servie in protection of the civil rights of women, minorities, and gays, and won’t be a shill for the imsurance companies and Wall Street like Brown would be.

  41. She’s a Chicago prosecutor.

    Now … are you surprised?

  42. It’s an “elite thing”, you peasants just wouldn’t understand …

  43. For the Left its always about power. Always.

    1. Come on…it’s not so for The Right?

  44. When you lose Daily Kos…..
    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2010/1/17/123520/473
    It’s the writer who says: “60 votes or not, I CANNOT support someone who kept a clearly innocent person in prison.”
    The commenters, of course, aren’t nearly as ‘picky’ about ethical issues, so long as the hated (R)s don’t get that seat.

    1. From the comments:

      If you were commenting during the primary … (1+ / 0-)

      Recommended by:
      N in Seattle

      ….when she was running against Mike Capuano and others, you would have reason. Not only the Amiraults, but some other cases (Melendez-Diaz, advertising, Louise Woodward, etc.) and her role in them would have left me supporting another candidate, if I were a Massachusetts resident.

      But she won her primary, our fellow Democrats had a chance to evaluate the candidates and found her worthy. And she has numerous other areas in political life where she does match-up with my viewpoints. And even if that weren’t as strong a reason: Scott Brown replacing Ted Kennedy is a deal-breaker. Game, set, match.

      “We should pay attention to that man behind the curtain.”

      by Ed Tracey on Sun Jan 17, 2010 at 11:33:41 AM PST

      Not to mention that 60% of the commenters think that because Amirault was convicted in such a bleeding-heart liberal state, he must have been guilty.

      1. I gotta love this:
        “And she has numerous other areas in political life where she does match-up with my viewpoints.”
        As if keeping an innocent person in jail is just a ‘viewpoint’.
        Sleaze-bag……….

      2. IOW, I will vote for any Democrat over any Republican, period, end of story, buh-bye.

  45. It’s hard for me to believe, but Brown has risen all the way up to 65 on InTrade.

    Obviously there are people out who really believe he’s going to win.

    1. At this stage, he really doesn’t need to win; the alarm bells are ringing loud and clear.
      It doesn’t take a poli-sci PHD to know there are a whole lot of Dem congress-critters now giving that boondoggle another *serious* look and wondering if Obama would show up for them, and that’d be a good idea anyhow.

  46. You guys dismiss me as a troll, but at least my alleged trollishness does not consist of calling for the lock up forever of people who are clearly innocent of child molestation charges.

    This website The Strange case of Martha Coakley explains the details of the Amirault case; the near laughable evidence against them; and the psychological problems of Martha Coakley.

    I know this website is done by an evil joo and zionist like myself, but she is a hot chick and she works tirelessly as a human rights activist.

    She is working now to keep Rifqa Bary from being killed by her parents (a case airily dismissed by Reason’s, Ekaterina Jung).

    “There’s no need to fear. Underzog is here!”

    1. No, I dismiss you as batshit insane.

      And I know you think I’m just saying that, but I actually mean it. You need help. Step one could be finally realizing that nobody around here, not even MNG, hates TEH JOOS.

      You play the anti-Semite card so blindly and so often that it loses whatever meaning it may have had. Your writing is inflammatory and semi-delirious most of the time. In tone and in substance you resemble nothing so much as one of the performing-arts variety of troll (Edward, Chad, that Neil character Caesar was doing) we get around here. Then, you claim bewilderment and oppression when nobody takes you seriously.

      And here I am, feeding you. Meh.

      1. You had to start this. Any criticism from The Child Molestor’s party has very little effect on me.

        I was hoping that you could put your hatred of me and other people who think a Jewish state should exist aside, but I was banking on an intelligence and maturity that you guys may not have.

        It is clear by your attempt to hurt my feelings and try to make me cry — I really mean it — that I am quite effective on this board.

        Whether, trying to get you guys to support something good such as a Scott Brown election or trying to put a wrench in the eliminationist anti-Semitism that so many of you have, I am pleased by my efforts here.

        Oh, and I get a laugh by you guys placing my music in those bondage and discipline sites that you fellows probably visit and maybe even own: HERE

        1. Are you forgetting that I actually gave you some props the other day on this issue?

        2. I was hoping that you could put your hatred of me and other people who think a Jewish state should exist aside

          FOR FUCK’S SAKE, YOU LUNATIC, WHAT THE FUCK DID I SAY ABOUT A FUCKING JEWISH STATE?

          Do you need me to go on the record supporting the existence of Israel here on H&R or something? Is that some sort of litmus test you apply to every person with whom you converse? Fine. Listen up, Undertard: I support the existence of Israel and the Jewish people IN Israel. That does not mean that if I disagree with something the government of Israel does that I am Hitler incarnate. Is that that fucking hard for you to understand?

          1. Aha! So you have something against the Jewish people outside of Israel, and the non-Jewish people inside of Israel!

            And when is it ever not after midnight, except exactly midnight?

      2. Step one could be finally realizing that nobody around here, not even MNG, hates TEH JOOS.

        Actually once in awhile a real anti-Semite does poke its ugly head in here.

        Plus i think Joe hated Jews.

  47. Yep, looks like the plans “B”, “C”, and “D” are getting close looks:
    “White House looks at passing health care without new Senate vote if GOP wins in Massachusetts”
    http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/s…..TE=DEFAULT

    1. If Brown actually pulls this thing out, I think there’s a 50-50 chance that the house will end up not voting to pass any health care bill at all.

      1. BTW, I took the headline, and missed a pull-quote that puts matters in a bit better focus:
        “A panicky White House and Democratic allies scrambled Sunday for a plan to salvage their hard-fought health care package…”

  48. Brown’s polls look better and better. But the ACORN/SEIU wing of the Democratic Party is going to pull out all the stops.

    Right now, I give him a 51% chance of beating the margin of cheat in this election. I hope his campaign is very well-stocked with lawyers and poll-watchers.

    Its not who votes than counts. Its who counts the votes.

  49. It’s a tough question.

    IT’S NOT A TOUGH QUESTION. Not in the least, you stupid evil bag of rotten meat.

  50. Has this been posted yet? It’s priceless

    http://www.washingtontimes.com…..n-winning/

    1. From Greg’s link:
      “MSNBC’s Ed Schultz mak[ing] a startling remark on his radio show yesterday about supporting voter fraud in Massachusetts, so Scott Brown would lose.”
      And I’m sure ACORN is taking him at his word.
      Plus Obama’s a windy-city ‘player’; vote early and often!

      1. Schultz is a prick. He thinks the only way to have competent TSA grope-monkeys is to have them join a government union.

    2. This is a common attitude among the left; after all the democrats have been blatantly stealing close elections for decades. But rarely does one have the stones to blatantly come right out and say it so openly.

  51. It’s not being tough on crime if the person is innocent. It is a crime.

  52. Since when did the right care about locking people up? This should be a + for a righty.

  53. For crying out loud: Le Blanc is full of crap on this, but the amount of sexist preening in response is also repulsive. This shouldn’t be hard to handle, and yet half of you have descended into mindless name calling. Smart libertarians my ass.

    1. What “sexist” anything are you on about? Or is this the usual “any criticism of a female liberal = sexism” tripe?

      1. Gee, it’s not hard to find. Have you tried reading the first five comments?

  54. Umm. A Republican AG would have had Amireault executed before anyone could have questioned the conviction.

  55. Amirault was found guilty and this verdict was upheld several times by both political parties. There were physical findings of abuse in the children and the children showed signs of strong sexualized behaviors after the abuse. The children as adults continue to state they were abused…

    Thank you. I continue to be amazed at how people who haven’t much more than read a single Wall Street Journal article on the case are utterly convinced they have a better handle on the facts than multiple juries of citizens.

    Now, it’s obviously possible these people were wrongly convicted, but:

    A) Coakley herself isn’t responsible for that conviction, and,

    B) Coakley may very well have thought in good faith that the cases pointed to guilt, and that lobbying the governor to keep these people locked up was the correct course of action from the perspective of public safety. Why are people so eager to believe the worst about her character? After all, as Balko points out, she had precious little political incentive to fight their release; for by the time Coakley because Middlesex D.A., there was widespread sympathy in Massachusetts and elsewhere for the Amiraults, and significant efforts being made on their behalf. Indeed, Coakley’s steadfastness in the case continues to cause her political problems to this day. I agree she would have to be a very evil person indeed to knowingly keep innocent people behind bars. But I strongly suspect she did not knowingly do this, and that the simplest explanation is that she regarded the Amiraults as having been correctly convicted by their peers of the crimes, and that the balance of interests therefore necessitated keeping them behind bars. (And again, Coakley may be incorrect in her assessment of the case; but that’s hardly the same as knowingly fighting to prolong the imprisonment of the innocent).

    If you don’t like her politics, or want to stop healthcare reform, or whatever, vote Brown, or urge others to do so. But the record shows Martha Coakley has been a smart, dedicated, honest and effective public servant. Not flashy. Or warm. And apparently she doesn’t know much about baseball, either. But she’s a capable, non-corrupt public official who has done a solid job from what I can see.

    1. “If you don’t like her politics, or want to stop healthcare reform, or whatever, vote Brown, or urge others to do so. But the record shows Martha Coakley has been a smart, dedicated, honest and effective public servant.”
      She’s been a bottom-feeding sleaze bag and your ‘spin’ doesn’t affect that one bit.
      Liar.

      1. Well, with a substantive response to my comment like the one you’ve offered, I’m convinced.

        NOT!

        1. Why would anyone take time to refute obvious lies?
          Substantive? How about something other than ‘well, she might, just maybe, have made a tiny mistake’?
          You want substantive? OK, read this:
          http://www.nowpublic.com/world…..rault-case
          And go away, sleaze-bag.

          1. Again, I don’t claim it’s impossible the Amiraults’ conviction was wrong. I just think there’s plenty of reason (eg multiple judges ruling against their appeals; multiple gubernatorial clemency refusals; the continued insistence of the victims; the presence — despite claims to the contrary — of physical evidence, etc.) to believe Martha Coakley honestly thought they might be guilty, and letting them go might be against the interest of safety. And I think there’s very little reason besides claims of being able to read her mind to think otherwise. Again, where was the political incentive for her? By the late 90s, the Amiraults were widely supposed by the public to be victims of rail-roading. And remember, a jury is supposed to convict only on an absence-of-reasonable-doubt basis. A D.A. is obviously not bound by this standard when it comes to post-conviction activities.

  56. Though it’s certainly consensus these days that the attention to child abuse in the 80’s was hysteria–i would bet there’s a sidebar in some journalism textbooks explaining as much–it’s crazy to suppose child abuse then as now was not widespread.

    This was a very dicey time in this country’s legal history. Google Alisha Owen. Around this time she was sentenced to and served many years in prison for claiming she was abused as a child. Compare this to a battered woman going to jail for claiming abuse against her husband.

    Some feel retrospectively there wasn’t much abuse after all. Now if only the alleged victims weren’t so clumsy.

    Coakley appears to have simply deferred to a previous judgment in a case she was marginally involved.

    1. You misrepresent the record. Coakley did not just defer. Coackley tried the case in public opinion and pushed the governor not to commute the sentence. This is not a situation of Coakley just doing her job. She went above and beyond in this situation. Unfortunately, her actions appear to be on the wrong side of justice.

    2. jojo|1.18.10 @ 10:55PM|#
      “….it’s crazy to suppose child abuse then as now was not widespread.”
      Cite, or did you pull that out of your butt?
      “Coakley appears to have simply deferred to a previous judgment in a case she was marginally involved.”
      Right. She just spent a good bit of her time ‘deferring’?
      Getting scared, are you?

  57. I trust the court record over one-sided opinions from those that ignore the victims’ stories.

    COMMONWEALTH vs. GERALD AMIRAULT. 404 Mass. 221 December 6, 1988 – March 6, 1989 The parents of the child witnesses testified about their children’s behavior while, or shortly after, attending Fells Acres. The children complained and cried about the school; they complained of stomachaches, headaches, pain in their genital areas, and bowel problems. They began bedwetting, lost their appetites, had nightmares, used baby talk, became fearful of lights, of men, and of being left alone. The children also displayed sexually explicit behavior; some began masturbating. Two of the boys tried to stick their tongues into their mothers’ mouths.

    COMMONWEALTH vs. GERALD AMIRAULT. 424 Mass. 618 October 9, 1996 – March 24, 1997 Middlesex County All nine children testified in a broadly consistent way. [Note 6] The children testified to numerous instances of sexual abuse….The children testified that the defendant threatened them and told them that their families would be harmed if they told anyone about the abuse.
    The Commonwealth also presented a pediatric gynecologist and pediatrician who examined five of the girls who testified against Gerald. She made findings consistent with abuse in four of the girls….The parents of several children testified that their children developed pronounced sexual behavior and regressed to infantile behaviors such as bedwetting and baby talk.

    1. And when they stopped laughing at that, why, they voted for Brown.
      I guess coached testimony is enough for Coakley trolls.

      1. Coached testimony 10 years on though?

        “[Amirault] is required to wear, at all times, an electronic tracking device; to report, in a notebook, each time he leaves the house and returns; to obey a curfew confining him to his home between 11:30 p.m. and 6 a.m. He may not travel at all through certain areas (presumably those where his alleged victims live). He can, under these circumstances, find no regular employment.”
        – Rabinowitz

        If this is the innocent man everyone agrees is innocent, why is he still being penalized for the crime? Coakley is not the only person to have stood between him and freedom.

        Also, she’s not running for Supreme Court.

  58. People forget there are two sides to this case that of the victims and the convicted.

    Some believe that most of the testimony was valid except for a few possible leading questions.

    Others believe that the victims, parents and prosecutors worked together for some evil purpose to convict an innocent man.

    The problem is that the media is presenting only one side. This does a grave injustice to the victims.

  59. One is surely entitled to ask questions about a person who would adopt any such monniker as “Bitch,Phd.”

  60. Continuing the theme from the debate where he attacked Coakley for supporting civilian trials for terrorism suspects, Scott Brown said in his victory speech:

    “Our tax dollars should go to weapons to defeat [terrorists] not lawyers to defend them.”

    “Raising taxes and giving new rights to terrorists is the wrong agenda for our country.”

    Yes, thank goodness MA voters sent a clear message that wrongful imprisonment and flouting human rights will not be tolerated.

  61. With many new announcement about the wizard of oz movies in the news, you might want to consider starting to obtain Wizard of Oz books series either as collectible or investment at http://www.RareOzBooks.com.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.