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June 22, 2012

Jerry Sandusky found guilty on 45 counts

and now seems all but certain to get a functional life sentence. My understanding is that he faces a 60-year minimum prison term based on certain counts of conviction, and he was taken immediately into custody following the reading of the verdict.

UPDATE: This AP article, headlined "What's next for Jerry Sandusky after the trial?," provides a road map concerning the legal process still to come. Here are how the piece begins:

The jury took less than two days to find Jerry Sandusky guilty of 45 of 48 counts of child sexual abuse, but the judge will need substantially more time to decide his punishment.

Judge John Cleland ordered a pre-sentencing report, which will take anywhere from one to two months to complete. During that time, Sandusky will be examined by the state Sexual Offenders Assessment Board to decide if he should be treated as a sexually violent predator, and prosecutors could ask the judge for a hearing.

The judge determines whether someone is a sexually violent predator — it carries stiffer reporting and treatment requirements once someone is out of prison — and can use information from the board's investigation in a sentencing decision.

If he's sentenced to state prison — which appears to be certain in this case — then Sandusky will be transferred to Camp Hill, in south-central Pennsylvania, which has 3,000 to 4,000 inmates, about 1,000 of whom are held temporarily for classification.

June 22, 2012 at 10:53 PM | Permalink

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Comments

He may have many more victims. He should be water boarded full time to solve all his crimes. They need not be prosecuted, since his sentence is likely a life sentence.

If typical, he began his serial child rape career in adolescence. The more important question is why did he live past age 18, to victimize possibly 100's of victims. Who were the lawyers and judges that protected him and his kind?

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Jun 23, 2012 5:27:05 AM

SC --

"Who were the lawyers and judges that protected him and his kind?"

His lawyer in this case was Joe Amendola, who, for his sincere efforts to put Sandusky back at home to continue his, uh, activities, is now a celebrity, sure to be feted at defense bar functions. I mean, really, who WOULDN'T want Coach Sandusky to be able to continue on his way, rather than cave in to a bunch of big government, deficit-exploding nanny-state prosecutors bent on adding one more poor old man to the roster of "incarceration nation."

And to think, we could have spent the money wasted on this glitzy government bonanza on cancer research instead. What has happened to our priorities? Have these publicity hound prosecutors no shame?

http://www.crimeandconsequences.com/crimblog/2012/06/least-surprising-headline-of-t.html

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jun 23, 2012 6:53:49 AM

Otis and Supremacy are conflating the lawyer and the defendant. I’ve had defense lawyers tell me that they detest individual clients but still represent the guilty scumbags to the very best of their ability because that’s what the Sixth Amendment and ethics rules demand. Given the evidence, I suspect Amendola and lots of other defense lawyers would have voted for conviction if they were on the jury.

Posted by: arfarf | Jun 23, 2012 9:14:05 AM

I doubt I would hire this defense lawyer. He suffered total defeat. This case is the place for a plea bargain, unless my aim is to get my name in the paper rather than serve my client's interest.

Personality disorder has never been a defense. Indeed, it implies stability of behavior, and predicts its repetition. Personality disorder is an aggravating factor, not a mitigating factor. It also implies a confession on the part of the defense. Now we are just looking for an excuse for admitted crimes.

I could not morally serve to defend such a defendant. However, the challenge is to produce a miracle. As an exercise in miraculous, Dream Team style tactics, I would have worked from the theory the police implanted false memories in all the victims. I would have used out of context snippets of recordings to make the point.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Jun 23, 2012 9:21:18 AM

arfarf --

You all but admit that Amendola did his best to put Sandusky back at home to continue his, uh, activities.

I'm not talking about procedure, in which the system is drowning. I'm talking about substantive results. Would you have put forth your best effort, or any effort, to achieve the substantive result of returning Sandusky to his prior interactions with boys? Do you think human beings bear any responsibility for the results they spend their waking hours trying to achieve, or do they get to just walk away and leave it to others -- say others who are all of 11 years old -- to deal with the outcome?

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jun 23, 2012 10:48:46 AM

Hey Bill,

You reasonably ask: "Do you think human beings bear any responsibility for the results they spend their waking hours trying to achieve, or do they get to just walk away and leave it to others ... to deal with the outcome?" But I genuinely wonder whether you apply this principle to prosecutors as well as defense attorneys.

In particular, I trust you say the recent USA Today piece detailing that dozens of persons in North Carolina are languishing in federal prison serving time for gun possession when, in fact, they did not in fact commit a federal crime. I suspect a number of these folks were prosecuted while you were working as a prosecutor for the DOJ. Do you feel any responsibility for (and to now seek to undo) their wrongful imprisonment, or have you just walked away and left it to others to deal with the outcome?

Posted by: Doug B. | Jun 23, 2012 11:04:23 AM

Otis -

I think that a criminal defense lawyer, or actually any lawyer, who puts his own feelings of repugnance above the interests of his client has a conflict of interest. The theory of the advocacy system is that each side puts out its best effort and from this the jury will perceive the truth. The only exception is for government lawyers, who have to see that justice is done rather than try to win. If you think this system is unsatisfactory, your remedy is to try to change it.

Posted by: arfarf | Jun 23, 2012 12:28:16 PM

Doug --

"You reasonably ask: 'Do you think human beings bear any responsibility for the results they spend their waking hours trying to achieve, or do they get to just walk away and leave it to others ... to deal with the outcome?'"

What is your answer to that question as respects criminal defense attorneys?

"But I genuinely wonder whether you apply this principle to prosecutors as well as defense attorneys.

Yes, I do, and unlike the majority of your commenters, I make my identity and background freely available so that anyone who cares to can check for himself.

"...when, in fact, [the defendants mentioned in the article] did not in fact commit a federal crime."

Actually, they did commit a federal crime, and were lawfully sentenced, under the law as it existed at the time of their convictions. Prosecutors are no more clairvoyant than anyone else.

"Do you feel any responsibility for (and to now seek to undo) their wrongful imprisonment, or have you just walked away and left it to others to deal with the outcome?"

Let me repeat the relevant portion of what I said (emphasis added): "Do you think human beings bear any responsibility for the results THEY spend THEIR waking hours TRYING TO ACHIEVE, or do they get to just walk away and leave it to others ... to deal with the outcome?"

When I was an AUSA for the Eastern District of Virginia (which job I left 13 years ago), I had absolutely nothing to do with prosecutions in any other state, nor even any knowledge of them. Since I had zero influence over those cases, I take zero responsibility for them. For me to lay claim to them would make even less sense than for me to lay claim to credit for the case of Zacarias Moussaoui, who was at least prosecuted in my District, but after I left.

I'll take the credit, and the blame, for what I do. I won't take credit or blame for what other people do when I don't know them, don't know their activities, and have no control over what they do or fail to do.

Maybe your question would be better directed to Janet Reno, or perhaps Eric Holder, who was the DAG when I left the USAO and who now, I believe, is very well situated to act.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jun 23, 2012 1:49:51 PM

arfarf --

"I think that a criminal defense lawyer, or actually any lawyer, who puts his own feelings of repugnance above the interests of his client has a conflict of interest."

I didn't ask about feelings and have little interest in them. I asked whether human beings bear any responsibility for the results they spend their waking hours trying to achieve.

Do they?

"If you think this [adversary] system is unsatisfactory, your remedy is to try to change it."

Why do you think I'm on this blog, do law school debates, teach at Georgetown, write op-eds, do podcasts, testify before Congress, publish articles and contribute to Crime & Consequences? Clue: It's not for the money.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jun 23, 2012 1:59:30 PM

Bill, I share you basic views about personal responsibility for consequences of one's behavior. But I am not sure this perspective means coming down on a defense attorney who stays within ethical and legal bounds in his advocacy.

In a case like Sandusky I can understand (and I hope you would, too) a reasonable effort by a lawyer to put the govt to its burden of proof if/when that is what the client requests. I doubt I would ever take on such a case myself, but I can still respect the commitments of those who do take on such cases and discharge their responsibilities within the bounds of the law. Were all lawyers unwilling to play this role, our adversarial system of justice would not be able to continue to operate if/when any serious and/or repugnant criminal activities take place.

Meanwhile, on the NC wrongful imprisonment front, you have been quick to assail AG Holder on other fronts. Why have you not been vocal here, too? Though you apparently played no role in these past prosecution, the failure of former prosecutors to be willing to speak out with their strong voices in this kind of setting gives considerable cover to those who choose to try to leave it to others to clean up their own mess.

Posted by: Doug B. | Jun 23, 2012 2:41:07 PM

Doug --

"Meanwhile, you have been quick to assail AG Holder on other fronts."

You bet, and with more on the way. He is, after all, the sitting Attorney General. A guy with that much power and visibility is going to take it from all sides. If I recall, some quite knowledgeable people have criticized him sharply for the actions, or inactions, of...................his Pardon Attorney.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jun 23, 2012 2:53:53 PM

Bill:

You, of all people, should understand that given the way our system works, the defense attorney is every bit as important as the prosecutor in ensuring that the correct individuals are put behind bars. Jerry Sandusky is guilty as hell, and honestly I don't know if you can call what Amendola did defending him so much as helping into some state issue prison garb.

Even still, I'd of defended Sandusky without flinching. If a guilty verdict is rendered after a defense attorney gives the state what-for, then you can at least be more reasonably assured that an innocent person isn't going to prison. Descriptions of exonerations are filled with lawyers who either didn't give a damn or who believed their client was guilty and didn't put up much of a fight.

It is better that ten guilty people go free than one innocent be sent to prison, or so goes the old canard. If I were defending someone like Sandusky, and he went free and then went on to molest more kids, would I feel that I shared some of the responsibility in that? Absolutely. How could you not? But my regret would not be that I worked so hard to defend him, but that the state didn't do a better job presenting their case.

To blame the defense attorney is easy and convenient. I understand it's a thankless job. You don't get to wrap yourself in the flag as an AUSA or a state's attorney does. But it's every bit as important a job in ensuring that justice is served, and served to the right people. I will never apologize for my part in it (or, should I get to take the bar, actually being one) but that doesn't mean that I'm not cognizant of the potential for fallout if I do my job exceptionally well.

Cheers,
Guy

Posted by: Guy | Jun 23, 2012 3:48:00 PM

And I forgot to add that the reason why I think that sending someone who is innocent to prison is so much worse than letting the guilty go free isn't just because I get to be the good guy in that story. The reason is when someone who is innocent is convicted, there's still a guilty person out there, doing their thing, whatever that thing is. And now, they know that they can get away with it and not only that, they can get other people to take the fall for them. And not only *that*, but also that as far as the cops and courts are concerned, justice has been served, so they're not exactly looking for the culprit anymore.

While it is certainly true that if I played a part in setting a guilty client free who then continued to commit crimes my conscience wouldn't be able to just let that go, that goes double for if I ever came to find out I played a part in sending an innocent man to prison while the actual culprit continued to victimize others. To me, the latter is so much more horrendous than the former, and is the reason I'd defend Sandusky and without reference to the Sixth Amendment or ethical standards or apologies.

Posted by: Guy | Jun 23, 2012 4:00:55 PM

It seems fairly evident that Sandusky is a foul pederast who deserves what he has coming.

Bill Otis, however, is in many ways more repugnant than Sandusky. Otis assails any attorney who would represent Sandusky. Without attorneys willing to represent the most reviled (e.g., John Adams representing the British soldiers involved in the Boston Massacre), the Sixth Amendment would have no meaning; due process for despised defendants would be unavailable. "Of all of the rights that an accused person has, the right to be represented by counsel is by far the most pervasive, for it affects his ability to assert any other rights he may have." United States v. Cronic, 466 U.S. 648, 654 (1984). Thus, Otis effectively advocates the denial of constitutional rights to those he deems really yucky and really guilty. In his pro-government "brain", Otis posits any attorney who would defend a really bad defendant as responsible for the future misdeeds the really bad defendant may commit if the attorney successfully beats back some of the government's charges. In our system, however, the government bears the burden of proof in criminal cases, at least in theory. So, if the bad guy gets out or beats some charges, blame is allocated to the government for its failings, not to defense counsel for his/her success, i.e., vindication of his client's procedural rights. Otis urges a system in which those he deems really bad and really nasty don't get a full measure of constitutional protection. Thus, by urging denial of cherished, fundamental safeguards of liberty that a revolutionary war was waged to secure, Otis renders himself more repugnant and dangerous, in certain respects, than a serial molester.

Posted by: Calif. Capital Defense Counsel | Jun 23, 2012 4:03:53 PM

Guy --

"If I were defending someone like Sandusky, and he went free and then went on to molest more kids, would I feel that I shared some of the responsibility in that? Absolutely. How could you not?"

A man with a conscience speaks. CCDC, are you listening?

Cheers.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jun 23, 2012 5:40:32 PM

:: DB:
::Help me out here re: the dozens languishing in NC:
::They don’t seem so innocent and wrongfully languishing to me.
::Am I misunderstanding something, or am I truly wrong not to be outraged?

{{from your earlier post}}

"Decades ago, Congress made it a federal crime for convicted felons to have a gun…
To make that law work in every state, Congress wrote one national definition of who cannot own a gun…Figuring out who fits that definition in North Carolina is not as simple as it sounds.

In 1993, state lawmakers adopted a unique system called "structured sentencing"…For years, federal courts in North Carolina said…in effect: If someone with a long record could have gone to prison for more than a year for the crime, then everyone who committed that crime is a felon, and all of them are legally barred from possessing a gun.

Last year, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit said federal courts (including itself) had been getting the law wrong. Only people who could have actually faced more than a year in prison for their crimes qualify as felons under federal law."

:: It seems to me that all involved were cognizant of the law as it stood and was adjudicated for years, so that convicts and their counsel knew that they were considered felons and were proscribed from possessing firearms Thus, the 4th ca is now cutting them a break essentially, akin to disorderly conduct being changed from a misdemeanour to a violation.

Am I amiss?

Posted by: Adamakis | Jun 23, 2012 5:58:52 PM

CCDC --

The mother of all ad hominems: Jerry Sandusky > Bill Otis.

That's just so far out, CCDC. If I didn't have you to illustrate just how deep down in the gutter some of you people are, I'd have to invent you.

Next: Joe Amendola = John Adams.

Let me guess. After that is:

CCDC = Clarence Darrow.

Keep postin', my man. There's no way I can describe the Looney Tune Left better than you can put it on display all by yourself.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jun 23, 2012 6:00:11 PM

A better and more rational take on this from the defense side is over at TalkLeft -- a real defense leaning blog.

Be sure to read the comments for some true American views. That is, if you tlhink the Bill of Rights are Traditional American Values.

You go, CCDC.

Posted by: George | Jun 23, 2012 6:23:21 PM

George --

Do you think it's a "true American value" to convict and imprison a thoroughly guilty serial child molester who's been at it for at least 15 years?

Who was trying to get that done? The prosecutor or the defense lawyer? Who was trying to kick up enough dust so that it wouldn't get done? The prosecutor or the defense lawyer?

Do you think it's a "true American value" falsely to attack child rape victims as liars who concocted their stories to get money?

Do you think adults bear any responsibility for what they intentionally seek to bring about?

Do you think that being a lawyer awards an exemption from the moral rules everyone else must obey?

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jun 23, 2012 7:09:02 PM

CCCP,

What percent of the American population would agree with you that Bill Otis is more repugnant that a serial child molester?

Now argument from popularity is a logical fallacy but shouldn't the fact that your viewpoint is in such an extreme minority at least give you pause?

Seriously, your views are on the extreme end of the bell curve and I am not talking about the Einstein end...

Posted by: TarlsQtr | Jun 23, 2012 9:10:56 PM

Bill,

I'm glad you like my sign off, but the fact that I surely would be troubled if that above hypothetical scenario ever came to pass isn't really my main point. My point is that's small potatoes compared to what else is at stake. Why not allocate some blame to the state, too? Perhaps they should have done a better job the first go round. Better why, why not blame the perpetrator for their own actions? Isn't that what the law & order folks normally like to talk about, while liberal criminal enabling scum like myself like to talk about how the system is broken?

I certainly can't speak for George, but I will say that I wholeheartedly believe in the role of defense counsel, and should I refuse to be ashamed of the work that I have done and hope to do. Sometimes I gather that means you're doing things that you don't relish, but that you don't blink at either, because it is in service to a much greater ideal -- the ideal of justice.

You may scoff and dismiss that belief -- that defense counsel are in service to justice every bit as much as prosecutors are -- but then I would ask that you consider why it is then, that for so many, and perhaps even yourself, that that love of justice seems so much and often to resemble the hatred of people?

Cheers.

Posted by: Guy | Jun 23, 2012 9:56:37 PM

Guy --

"Sometimes I gather that means you're doing things that you don't relish, but that you don't blink at either, because it is in service to a much greater ideal -- the ideal of justice."

Here's the problem: Justice means convicting the guilty and freeing the innocent. Of those indicted, the huge majority are guilty, as every experienced attorney knows. But to defense lawyers, guilt or innocence means zip (and right there you can tell there's trouble brewing). Thus, as you observe, they labor equally hard to free the blameless as the blameworthy, even knowing that the latter are vastly better represented among their clientele. Laboring to free the blameworthy is not the ideal of justice; it's the opposite. It simply won't do to cheer on the "process," while maintaining a snarling refusal to look at substantive results.

When the prosecutor fails to convict the guilty, that is correctly regarded as a screw-up. But when the defense lawyer wins an acquittal for that same guilty person, that is regarded, by the defense bar, not as a screw-up but as a cause for celebration -- a victory over the big, bad system. When Casey Anthony beat the rap for killing her daughter, the reception among the defense bar ranged from acceptance to joy. To me, and most of the rest of the country, it was a miscarriage of justice. It likewise would have been a miscarriage of justice had Mr. Amendola got what he wanted; seeking to put Jerry Sandusky back in the child molesting business cannot possibly be viewed as seeking justice. Amendola didn't spend last week working to achieve some abstract ideal. He spent last week working to get an acquittal for an actively dangerous and vile man.

I would find it a hall of mirrors to put forth all my effort for Mr. X, not caring whether Mr. X was guilty or innocent, and washing my hands of any interest in whether, as a result of my success (if I succeeded) Mr. X will do it again to the next victim. I could not possibly view myself as involved in something worthwhile if I took a moral holiday like that, and still less if I made my whole career a moral holiday.

Cheers.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jun 24, 2012 12:21:10 AM

Bill,

"Here's the problem: Justice means convicting the guilty and freeing the innocent."

No. Here's the problem: Justice is in the process. You can convict someone in a kangaroo court without due process of law, or by a lynch mob, and call it justice if you want to, but at that point it's really nothing more than whatever the mob says it is.

"...seeking to put Jerry Sandusky back in the child molesting business cannot possibly be viewed as seeking justice."

I don't see what Mr. Amendola did as that at all. I drive my car to the office, knowing full well that it's likely that I will expend some gasoline in the process, and that my tires will wear. Knowing that those are potential, or even likely outcomes of my actions, does not mean that is what my intention is. Likewise, knowing that clients could commit more crimes if they're acquitted is a probably outcome of me trying to get them an acquittal, sure. That's not the intent, however.

It may not simply do to cheer on the process without looking at the results, but it sure as hell won't do to simply cheer on the results without looking at the process either. It's funny, people got so worked up about Casey Anthony. A (probably) guilty person going free. There is, however, not one tenth the outrage for any of the thousands of people who have been exonerated after spending sometimes decades in prison. No one cares about them, because hey, they probably did something at some point to some one and so we can just tag them for that, right?

"I would find it a hall of mirrors to put forth all my effort for Mr. X, not caring whether Mr. X was guilty or innocent, and washing my hands of any interest in whether, as a result of my success (if I succeeded) Mr. X will do it again to the next victim. I could not possibly view myself as involved in something worthwhile if I took a moral holiday like that, and still less if I made my whole career a moral holiday."

I never said that. What I did say was of course I would be affected by any such outcome, but also that why, when the defense lawyer wins, do we all of a sudden convict the defense lawyer for the crimes committed by his former client? Why, with you given to this sudden propensity for blaming someone other than the perpetrator for their crimes, would you not blame society, and the system, and cops that hate, and teachers that don't care, and fathers that aren't there for the crimes that wound the defendant up there in the first place? In the end, I think it only fair to say that the Defendant bears some responsibility for their actions.

Cheerio!

Posted by: Guy | Jun 24, 2012 7:58:36 AM

Guy --

It is precisely because the defendant should bear the consequences of his behavior that I believe as I do. The prosecutor works to make that happen; defense counsel works to prevent it from happening.

The problem with the justice system today is not that it resembles a kangaroo court or a lynch mob. The problem is the opposite -- that it's overrun with procedure as never before in its history. Because of procedural overgrowth, cases take too long and cost too much, and that is the basic reason plea bargaining is pushing out trials.

No one likes this, each side for its own reasons. The way to push the system back toward trials is to shrink the costs continuously growing procedural requirements have imposed, and re-focus the system on its principal mission, to wit, getting reliable results.

"It's funny, people got so worked up about Casey Anthony. A (probably) guilty person going free."

When the system fumbles away its obligation to impose punishment on a mother who kills her two year-old so she can go back to party time, yes, that is something to be concerned about.

"There is, however, not one tenth the outrage for any of the thousands of people who have been exonerated after spending sometimes decades in prison. No one cares about them, because hey, they probably did something at some point to some one and so we can just tag them for that, right?"

As a factual matter, yes, they probably did commit some other crime, but I don't think that's the reason people don't go bonkers about these "exonerations." There are, instead, two other reasons.

First, often the "exonerations" are not about factual innocence. The story Doug put up from USA Today about the gun crimes in North Carolina is a perfect illustration. It's not that the government convicted any of those people for something they didn't do. It's that a subsequent change in how the courts (the Fourth Circuit in this instance) interpreted statutory law meant that their sentences were retroactively determined to be too long. One florid way to put this is that "innocent men are being held in jail," but most people would regard that as an off-the-beaten-path version of "innocence."

Second and even more important, these exoneration episodes, while they make for good table-pounding material, are, when you step back, merely expressions of the truism that any human system is going to produce error.

I think we knew that. The only two questions an adult would ask are (1) is the frequency of error tolerable, and (2) is there an alternative system that will produce significantly fewer errors without imposing even worse costs somewhere else.

It seems to me that the defense side comes up short in its attempts to address either question -- and that's when it deigns to address them at all instead of just throwing a tantrum. The number of errors is extremely small, if not tiny, when compared to the huge number of cases adjudicated. This should be a source of pride, not fury. But it never is.

In addition, the defense seldom suggests an alternative system that would do better without creating unacceptable costs. I'll give you two examples. First, we could ban eyewitness testimony, on the oft-stated defense grounds that such testimony is particularly unreliable. That will produce fewer erroneous convictions. The problem, which the defense simply refuses to mention, much less solve, is that it will also produce massively fewer perfectly valid convictions, allowing bunches of guilty people to go free. It would also be an insufferable injustice to, for example, rape victims, who would be disabled from pointing the finger at their tormentor.

Second, we could require juries of 100 members rather than 12. I guarantee you this will produce fewer erroneous convictions. Indeed, my guess is that is will produce hardly any convictions at all -- which is exactly the problem.

The problem is in getting to an adult conversation. There is a mindset among the ideological defense bar -- exemplified here by CCDC and George, among others -- who would rather snarl that I'm worse than Sandusky than have a serious conversation. This gutter-level stuff is bad enough in its own right, but is even worse because it dishonestly avoids the central questions of (1) what is the real scope of the erroneous convictions problem, viewed as it must be against the huge mass of cases that are correctly resolved; and (2) what alternative system do they propose that will not create the costs to substantive justice I have noted.

Cheers.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jun 24, 2012 9:10:57 AM

shame on you bill! Can't belive you said this!

"No one likes this, each side for its own reasons. The way to push the system back toward trials is to shrink the costs continuously growing procedural requirements have imposed, and re-focus the system on its principal mission, to wit, getting reliable results."

Funny i thought the criminal JUSTICE system was about getting to the TRUTH of the case. DID they or DIDN'T they comit the crime they were charged!

ANYTHING else is in fact a kangaroo court!

Posted by: rodsmith | Jun 24, 2012 10:54:51 AM

rodsmith --

Getting reliable results means getting the truth.

"DID they or DIDN'T they comit the crime they were charged!"

I could hardly agree more. That is why the procedural fog, delay and game-playing should be out.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jun 24, 2012 11:30:26 AM

Look at some of Blathering Bill's recent remarks:

"[T]o defense lawyers, guilt or innocence means zip...."

Blathering Bill: Barry Sheck and other defense attorneys founded and run the Innocence Network. Is the systemic problem of prosecutorial Brady violations a function of the concern of all prosecutors in fair and accurate guilt/innocence determinations?

"[T]he defendant should bear the consequences of his behavior.... The prosecutor works to make that happen; defense counsel works to prevent it from happening."

Blathering Bill: Really? Are you that stupid? Sure, knuckle-dragging morons like TarlsQtr will buy that crap, just like they accept everything stated on the Fox "News" Channel as gospel, but come on. Do you actually believe that all prosecutors are virtuous truth-seekers, and that all defense attorneys are evil obfuscators?

And, you say Casey Anthony was "probably" guilty. I don't know. I didn't follow the case closely. But, I do know that the prosecution's evidence of manner of death in that case was virtually non-existent, if not entirely non-existent. That being the case, why on earth were the prosecutors asking for a first degree verdict?

I'm a lot more certain that you're an idiot than I am of whether Casey Anthony killed her daughter.

Posted by: Calif. Capital Defense Counsel | Jun 24, 2012 12:10:04 PM

CCDC --

Since you don't know the difference between a guilty plea and a no contest plea, as you proved in your rousing defense of Grits's false assertions on the subject; and since you stand silent while your client lies to the court, as you have explicitly admitted; and since you refuse to give your name, background or identify a single case you have allegedly litigated, I have less than no interest in your opinion of me or anything else.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jun 24, 2012 2:01:51 PM

CCCP,

Just a guess but Roy Rogers never met you, correct?

Posted by: TarlsQtr | Jun 24, 2012 2:57:29 PM

Penn State,Pedophile Priest cleric enabler and Jehovah's Witnesses molestation big news same week.
Jehovah's Witnesses hit with $28 million sex abuse settlement Oakland,Calif.-Google it.

Many court documents and news events prove that Jehovah Witnesses require two witnesses when a child comes forward with allegations of molestation within the congregation.
It has also been shown that child molesters within the organization usually have not been identified to the congregation members or the public at large.
These people engage in a door to door ministry, possibly exposing children to pedophiles.
The Watchtower corporation has paid out millions in settlement money already.
--
Danny Haszard *tell the truth don't be afraid*

Posted by: Danny Haszard | Jun 24, 2012 4:44:06 PM

its definitely interesting to see the true colors of bill otis on full display here - apparently the esteemed bill otis does not believe in the rules of professional ethics or maybe that the rules of professional ethics do not apply to defense attorneys. after all, if a defendant is being hauled into court, she is obviously guilty of something - so defending them must mean only that you approve of the defendant's actions and want ot have more of them. really, even for bill otis it is rather riduculous to try to claim the defense attorneys are pro-child rape. in fact, one gets the distinct impression that bill otis would be more comfortable with a system that requires the defendant to prove their innocence than one which requires the prosecution to prove guilt.

now with a disgusting icky perv like sandusky, it is easy to question how any attorney could possibly represent him. there are very few defendants who are worse than icky perv serial child rapists. i couldn't represent him - quite simply, my only advice to him would be that he should be thankful that i am not in charge of deciding what his punishment would be since i believe that icky perv child rapists should be automatically castrated and have their penises chopped off immediately following conviction. but i do believe that even a disgusting icky perv child rapist like sandusky deserves a fair trial. hence, i'm glad that thre is someone willing to represent a digusting icky perv child rapist like sandusky.

erika :)

Posted by: Erika | Jun 24, 2012 6:07:14 PM

I just reread my post above. I obviously meant to reference Will Rogers.

Posted by: TarlsQtr | Jun 24, 2012 7:32:40 PM

When I was in law school ages ago, a prof told us that in the civil law system a lawyer’s loyalty is to the discovery of truth, not to his client. I don’t know if that’s true, and I don’t want to put words in Otis’ mouth, but it sounds like that’s what he has in mind. Of course the Founders did not adopt that kind of system.

Posted by: arfarf | Jun 24, 2012 8:28:42 PM

arfarf --

If you're waiting for me to denounce the quest for truth as supposedly inconsistent with the Framers' vision, or for any other reason, you'll be waiting a long time.

I would ask you to consider the logically necessary fact that, if a lawyer presenting a case is seeking something other than the truth, we are inviting legal outcomes to be based on fiction. Is that what the Framers wanted? If so, I must have missed that passage in the Federalist Papers.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jun 24, 2012 9:28:36 PM

@Bill Otis:

Of course Sandusky is obviously guilty; beyond obviously.

But I am confused by your position. Is he not entitled to put up a defense? Is he not entitled to counsel? What exactly did his counsel do, that you find unacceptable?

Posted by: Marc Shepherd | Jun 24, 2012 9:33:43 PM

'unlike the majority of your commenters, I make my identity and background freely available so that anyone who cares to can check for himself.'

so otis, who really gives a shit who you were, are or still think you are the point is we're all just voicing opinions here whether valid or not if you could just work more on getting your head out of your ass maybe you wouldn't come off sounding like such a jerkin asshole most of the time

Posted by: Anonymous Commenter | Jun 24, 2012 10:24:47 PM

Marc Shepherd --

"Is he not entitled to put up a defense?"

Yes he is, but he is not entitled, in my view, to put up an intentionally dishonest and misleading defense, such as by suggesting that the victims' stories were false and were being told only to pave the way for a civil suit. Sandusky knew full well the stories were not false. The legal profession is the handmaiden to way too much deceit, and I would like it to stop.

"Is he not entitled to counsel?"

Yup. But it won't be me (or, apparently, Prof. Berman, see Doug B. | Jun 23, 2012 2:41:07 PM). If I were going to live 1000 years, life would be too short to spend five minutes helping this man.

"What exactly did his counsel do, that you find unacceptable?"

Make the false and dishonorable suggestion about the victims' stories noted above, and call some fancy-sounding expert to talk about whatever "syndrome" got ginned up this time -- I think it was "histrionic personality disorder." This was just a diversion. Sandusky likes forcible sex with young boys, and it has beans to do with such a "disorder." I will concede, however, that he has a sickness. It's called pedophilia.

My general problems with criminal defense are set forth in my note to Guy, on this thread at Bill Otis | Jun 24, 2012 12:21:10 AM, and I would be happy to answer any questions you might have about it.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jun 24, 2012 10:39:42 PM

CCDC: Can you do me a favor? When you call Bill bad names or mock him, it makes you look cheap and totally detracts from your point. Can you be more lawyerly in your comments? I am using the word, lawyerly, as a compliment. And I am not being sarcastic here.

I want to prepare an abstract of new concepts in the death penalty debate for submission to an ABA meeting. Its organizers want it. I have several friends in the Cali DP defense appellate business, but could use any additional lawyerly criticism of the new points. Is there a way to get in touch with you, perhaps via Prof. Berman.

You can call me bad names in private. I enjoy them. My request is to make you look good, not to put you down in any way.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Jun 24, 2012 11:00:07 PM

Prof. Berman: I feel uncomfortable correcting such a learned person, but a small reminder about assumptions. You swim in a cult intellectual sewer. You have no awareness of the existence of the air above, and of the land. You once lived on them, in high school, and in college. But the toxins in the swamp have erased your memory of 10th Grade World History and Western Civ 101 from freshman year. You also got a topnotch philosophy major education, mostly gone now, including any critical thinking course. You have been kidnapped intellectually, and brought back to 1275 AD. I want you back with us, on the land, because you are so great an intellect.

"Were all lawyers unwilling to play this role, our adversarial system of justice would not be able to continue to operate if/when any serious and/or repugnant criminal activities take place."

The adversarial system came from the disputation method of answering difficult questions in Scholasticism. That system was taught by and to monks. It is prohibited in our secular nation, because of its church origin. Judges under Sharia have a different methodology. It would cause outrage were we to adopt it. A church based method should be just as outrageous to any patriot.

I know you are busy. Just read the first couple of sentences, and you will find your self quite at home. Except that home is church based and prohibited. Please note, "uncover and establish truths," "Fixed rules," "written authorities."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disputation

There is no evidence showing any advantage in accuracy from the adversarial system. Indeed, the Innocence project rate of exoneration is a rough estimate of its false positive rate (perhaps 20%), and the 90% of major crimes that go unanswered are an estimate of its false negative (90%). Such total failure is unacceptable.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Jun 24, 2012 11:23:42 PM

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