In Colorado, a young family man went to lie down on the couch after a long day. Up at 5:30 for work, then home to prepare the barbeque he and his wife were giving to celebrate their youngest daughter's first birthday with a few friends and neighbors. Rounding out their family is another daughter, 11, and a son, 9. A 14-year-old neighbor girl was spending the night with his older daughter, who was across the room on the other couch, asleep. The neighbor girl was lying on the floor near his couch, with his baby. The baby began to fuss and he groggily reached over to scoop her up, accidentally brushing against the girl's thigh. The baby settled down with her daddy and they both went back to sleep.
The next thing he knew, the neighbor girl's mother (who was "all over him" whenever her husband was out of town working, according to a source) was pounding on him - as he held his baby. The rest of the party came up from the patio below as deputies arrived to take the man in, holding a gun to his head while his horrified family and friends watched. The charge against him was sexual assault.
Just over the limit the man made to qualify for a public defender, he and his wife (who never thought twice of his innocence) frantically began their search for a good attorney specializing in defending sexual cases. They found M. P., who said she'd defend him for a $10,000 fee (others they spoke with wanted up to $20,000.) His family sold heirlooms and borrowed to scrape the money together. They were sure the charges would be dropped, as Ms. P told them the girl's deposition sounded completely rehearsed and she changed her story 3 times. A prosecutor would have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt he committed the act, plus it was his word against the girl's. Everyone who knew him knew the charges to be ludicrous. His out-of-state family had no doubt he'd be found innocent. One had been in law enforcement and could see many inconsistencies in the case. Surely a jury would, too. This is America, after all.
However, court dates and appearances dragged on - more than once the asstistant DA didn't bother showing up and they had to go looking for him. The man also watched as this prosecutor and his lawyer sat and giggled together during procedings. Throughout this time, he underwent psychological testing (which many experts believe to be flawed) and was offered plea bargains. He refused, confident a jury would see the girl and her mother were lying. His family began to get concerned, wondering why this was taking so long.
What they didn't know is Colorado law has some of the toughest penalties in the nation regarding sexual crimes (SC) and domestic violence (DV). The push for tougher sentencing on these kinds of crimes are led by the Federal Violence Against Women Act 3 (VAWA). These rabid, radical feminists and politicians concerned with being politically correct have turned this category of crime into an all-out war on men. An allegation by a woman or even hearsay is considered proof. Study after study has shown that at least 50% of rape and other sexual crime reports are false; 20-25% of DV crimes are men on women, 50-55% are mutual, while women on men are 25-30%. Up to 90% of DV cases are based on lies. No matter - the women are almost always believed and there are no penalties for making false reports. In only 3% of DV cases that go to court is the violence considered to be at a dangerous level. All government and private funds for curbing DV are for women's benefits or punishing men. In other words - it's a business now that needs to stay alive.
Once 911 is called - even for a loud fight - your life is essentially ruined. There's no choice in whether or not one wants to press charges. Police make a quick assessment to decide. It's out of your hands. If it's a DV case and children are involved, social workers and abuse counselors will urge the wife to divorce, even if everything goes back to normal in the relationship. They will go so far as to threaten to remove the children from the home, causing untold stress. Life isn't your own anymore.
As a date for jury trial neared, Ms. P informed the man his money had run out and she was hereafter charging $300 per hour. She then told him the judge was very biased and that a jury would probably find him guilty since he'd been drinking and "didn't remember what happened." The judge could then throw the book at him. She urged him to take a plea. He'd never been in trouble in his life and was somewhat naive - after all, he'd been taught that the courts and judges in this country were fair. If a jury did find him guilty of a felony and with sentencing soley at this 'biased' judge's discretion (with no probation recommendations), he could be looking at life in prison on a first offense! Backed into a corner, out of money, afraid of being taken away from his family, trusting his attorney, and probably somewhat intimidated by the whole thing, he felt he had no choice but to accept a plea. Although Colorado law prohibits coercion of a defendent to accept a plea, it happens all the time.
By all accounts, up to 95% of cases never make it to a jury trial, one of the rights accorded all citizens in the Constitution. In fact, once you take a plea bargain, all of your Constitutional rights are gone. You have incriminated yourself; you cannot face your accuser in court; right to a jury trial, etc. Plea bargains are the solution to an over-crowded court system. The accused are offered a plea to crimes many didn't commit or take their chances with a jury. Those who refuse can have more serious charges piled on top of original charges. Prosecutors have all kinds of dirty tricks to avoid jury trials and scare defendents and they use them.
What is especially troubling is judges and prosecutors have got to be aware of the damage this rush to 'justice' causes, the percentages of false reports, etc., yet they continue the practice. Guilt or innocence isn't a factor. Jury trials clog up the system, whereas plea bargains are win/win situations for prosecutors and defense counsel, as both can claim victory in a plea.
When the young man went to court for sentencing, he was ordered to register as a sex offender immediately; had to immediately move out of his home until such time all the doctors and other workers unanimously agree his own children are not in danger; cannot be around other children (including places like restaurants, but with all the fees and schooling he must attend, they won't be able to afford such luxuries anymore); cannot attend the birth of his new baby due soon; is on probation 4 years and must be a registered S/O at least 14 years. If he can't pay for the weekly visits with his probation officer, he can go to prison. If he tells anyone he is innocent, he can go to prison automatically - for life. The girl's mother laughed out loud in the courtroom during sentencing. These punishments are for a misdemeanor offense.
While he is away from the children he adores, he cannot ask their mother how they are and she cannot tell him anything whatsoever about them. He must pay for a motel room they can ill afford.
Real sex offenders and serious abusers should absolutely be punished - but every attempt should be made to ferret out the innocent. Will there be counseling for this man's young family - watching their daddy being taken away with a gun to his head and enduring an absence of who knows how long? No. How many families are ruined because of false accusations? Thousands. Thousands of families are torn apart. Thousands of men - many are hard-working, honest, tax-paying citizens - are embarrassed and humiliated for crimes they didn't commit. All because they couldn't afford the outrageous fees of good attorneys or get second-rate, over-worked counsel; plus, the justice system simply doesn't care.
If this true story doesn't make you think twice about our justice system, perhaps these statistics will. Paul Craig Roberts writes at Lew Rockwell:
"The US has the largest percentage of its citizens imprisoned of all countries in the world, including China. One of every 32 US adults is behind bars, on probation or on parole. Given a wrongful conviction rate, the larger the percentage of citizens in jails, the greater the number of wrongfully convicted.
According to the International Center for Prison Studies at King’s College in London, the US has 700,000 more of its citizens incarcerated than China, a country with a population four to five times larger than that of the US, and 1,330,000 more people in prison than crime-ridden Russia. The US has 5% of the world’s population and 25% of the world’s prisoners. The American incarceration rate is seven times higher than that of European countries. Either America is the land of criminals, or something is seriously wrong with the criminal justice (sic) system in 'the land of the free.'"
Sources and more reading:
/>click here />click here />click here />click here />http://www.slate.com/id/2075319/
/>click here />click here />http://www.gustafsonlaw.com/Resources-Research.htm
/>click here />click here />http://dcj.state.co.us/odvsom/Sex_Offender/
/>click here />http://falseallegations.com/free-medical-expert.htm
/>click here />click here />click here />click here />click here />http://www.justicedenied.org/