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June 29, 2016

Should more lenient treatment of alleged repeat Indiana University rapist garner even more national attention than Stanford swimmer sentencing?

The question in the title of this post is prompted by this remarkable new local story out of Indiana, headlined "Monroe County prosecutor frustrated in ex-IU student's plea deal in rape cases." Here are the basic troubling details:

The Monroe County Prosecutor’s Office admitted it was frustrated after a former IU student charged in two rape cases ended up spending one day in jail. John Enochs will serve one year of probation after pleading guilty to battery with moderate bodily injury as part of a plea agreement. Two rape charges against him were dismissed.

The most recent incident happened in April 2015.  According to court documents, a woman told police she’d been raped at the Delta Tau Delta fraternity house but didn’t know her alleged attacker.  She said she repeatedly told him to stop, but he held her down. Eventually she was able to leave the room and get away. Security video showed Enochs entering the room with the victim.  She left 24 minutes later; health officials said she suffered a laceration to her genitals.

While that case was under investigation, police found a similar alleged rape from 2013.  The woman involved in that case agreed to help investigators.  DNA evidence and witness statements led them to Enochs.

In a statement Monday, the Monroe County Prosecutor’s Office said the case presented a “very unusual” set of circumstances; law prevented a jury in either case from learning about the other allegation if the cases went to trial.

Prosecutors also said there were “evidentiary” problems with both cases. In the oldest allegation, the one from 2013, witnesses couldn’t recall some important details because so much time had passed and they’d been drinking. Photographs also existed that contradicted “the assertion that the complaining witness was incapable of engaging in consensual activity shortly before the alleged assault.” In the more recent case, prosecutors said DNA evidence was problematic; prosecutors also said video before and after the alleged assault did “not support the assertion of a forcible rape.” They said that made it impossible for them to prove that Enochs caused the woman’s injury.

“This turn of events was frustrating for us as prosecutors, due to the fact that there were two complaints against the defendant.  That fact is the reason we continued to pursue accountability on his part which led to this plea agreement,” Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Robert Miller wrote in a statement.  Miller said Enochs originally pleaded guilty to a felony; the battery charge was reduced to a misdemeanor at the court’s discretion....

Katharine Liell, who represented Encochs in the case, said Encochs was charged with crimes he didn’t commit. Liell pointed out that prosecutors dismissed both rape charges and blamed the lead investigators for presenting “false and misleading evidence” in the probable cause affidavit charging Encochs with rape. Liell called the charges “sensationalized and false,” adding that Enochs did indeed admit to a misdemeanor.  Liell said he was “profoundly sorry for his lack of judgment.”

Because I can only infer various details about this case from this press report, I am deeply disinclined to "attack" the attorneys or the judge for their handling of this case. Still, it seems in this case we have allegations of repeat rapist essentially getting away with his crimes because he only ended up with a misdemeanor conviction and thus not only will not serve any prison time, but will not have to be on a sex offender registry or suffer any other lifetime collateral consequences that go with a serious felony conviction.

I fully understand why a "perfect storm" of factors turned the Brock Turner case into the national sentencing scandal of 2016. But, relatively speaking, the ultimate (in)justice that seems to have taken place in this case out of Indiana seems to be even more scandalous and likely ought to be of even bigger concern for those deeply troubled by the problems of sexual assaults on college campuses.

June 29, 2016 at 09:31 AM | Permalink

Comments

I'm not defending anything here, but whoa whoa whoa. Doug are you really cool with using uncharged (and unrelated) alleged misconduct to identify an injustice? This has quite a bit of tension with your stated view that after a plea deal, and a sentence is up for review, we should really only look to what the guy was convicted of.

Perhaps you can explain the apparent inconsistency?

Posted by: federalist | Jun 29, 2016 10:02:14 AM

federalist, I am struggling with your description of these events here as involving "uncharged (and unrelated) alleged misconduct." As I understand these facts, DNA and other evidence connected this defendant to two forcible rapes, and he was formally charged with both. So, as I see this case (1) nothing went "uncharged" and (2) we have a (serial?) rapist with the same MO of sexually assaulting women after they refuse his advances.

This case thus uniquley concerns me because all the factors that seemingly have folks so upset about the Stanford case (e.g., a judge not affording the victim due respect for her harms and an elite college kid seeming to get off easy) are on steroids here. It is unclear if the victims were okay with this plea deal and why exactly did the judge lower the plea crime from a felony to a misdemeanor. I want more explanation so I can assess whether and why both the plea deal and judicial downgrade were done, and that is the main point of this post.

You are generally right, federalist, that I am troubled by excessive efforts to look behind plea deals years/decades later. But I always think we need to examine and judge these deals for their fairness and efficacy when first made. Do you understand this different?

Posted by: Doug B. | Jun 29, 2016 10:38:12 AM

I read too quickly--but the point is the same--the 2013 rape case (which apparently had some issues)--you think--ought to impact the sentence the guy got. Fair enough, and I am not disagreeing (or agreeing, as I don't know all the facts). Ok fine. But in cases where some criminal is getting a second bite at the sentencing apple after a plea deal, you think that the new sentence really only should take into consideration what he was convicted of. So in one case, unconvicted (and unrelated) conduct IS relevant, but in another case, it's not. It would seem to me that when a plea deal is being ripped open, limiting a prosecutor's response to the conviction alone,when it's highly likely that he/she forgoed (forwent?) proving up other bad stuff provides an opportunity for a serious windfall. So, for example, let's say a criminal is a drug-dealer and the prosecutor/defendant look at the case, and the plea deal is that he pleads to X, Y and Z and a couple of shootings are ignored because the prosecutor feels that 25 years (I am just making up numbers) is "enough"--along comes sentencing reform, and X, Y and Z only get 10 years (I know it's not that simple, but it explains the issue)---you seem to think that to use the shootings is dirty pool (and I get you have an issue with "leverage")---but if it is, then why are you so adamant that the 2013 case here (which has problems) should impact the sentence for the 2015 case?

You wanna see a ton of cases where there is way too much lenience--check out sentencing in Chicago. Pretty much every day there is a new outrage.

By the by, what's worse, the Olu Stevens sentence of probation for armed robbery or the Brock Turner sentence (keeping in mind that the victim didn't appear to want a long incarceration), and Turner gets to be on the SO registry for life).

Posted by: federalist | Jun 29, 2016 11:07:02 AM

federalist, as my post title and post prose is meant to highlight, my main point here is that all those who have given extraordinary time/energy/attention to express concern about Brock Turner getting off too easy might usefully seek to bring more scrutiny to this case. This case seems to involve two forcible campus rapes of two different women resulting in a single misdemeanor conviction.

This case could certainly be used as a springboard for a broad discussion about how plea deals may obscure more than they clarify or about whether undue leniency for armed burglary or for sexual assault is a bigger problem. But I would like you, federalist, or others to concur or contest my main point: those still worked up about the Turner case ought to do consider using their consternation energy to do some more digging into this case.

Posted by: Doug B. | Jun 29, 2016 11:56:02 AM

How is this guy getting a "second bite at the sentencing apple after a plea deal"? It looks like it's the first plea and first sentencing. Also, based on this article, it's unfair to say that evidence "connected this defendant to two rapes." The evidence linked him to two instances of sexual intercourse, and the prosecutor admitted that there's scant evidence of lack of consent (and some compelling evidence to the contrary).

This case could present an interesting issue of using conduct from dismissed cases as sentencing aggravators, but it doesn't look like the judge believed that rapes actually occurred. As a result, this looks like a typical sentence for an all-too-typical case of simple misdemeanor assault.

Posted by: Stephen Hardwick | Jun 29, 2016 12:10:12 PM

It is an interesting case, Doug. And I'm glad you highlighted it.

One of the things that made the Brock Turner case so unusual was that the assault was witnessed (and stopped) by two uninvolved bystanders. It was their testimony --- not the victim's testimony --- that led to Turner's conviction. I imagine that most campus rape cases resemble the Indiana case in that the victim is the only witness and that prosecutors are so concerned about the victim's credibility on the stand, that they offer favorable plea deals like this one.

If the prosecutors had credible evidence of this defendant's guilt --- and the video tape certainly seems to qualify as credible evidence --- then they should not have offered this plea deal. And if they didn't have credible evidence of guilt, then I am not concerned by the sentence. I'm instead concerned that prosecutors thought the judge should impose a harsh sentence based on charges that they couldn't prove.

Posted by: Carissa Byrne Hessick | Jun 29, 2016 12:16:24 PM

Doug: another pivot. You characterize this as a guy basically getting away with it--one of the facts you point to in that conclusion is the unconvicted conduct. Ok, fine. But you generally think that when sentences are re-examined, unconvicted conduct is irrelevant and we should only look at the judgment, even though the unconvicted conduct likely factored into what the prosecutor was willing to accept (see my example above). Try as you might--there is an incongruity here.

Stephen, I think you misunderstood--the second bite is a hypothetical criminal, not the IU defendant.

Posted by: federalist | Jun 29, 2016 12:40:45 PM

Why not conduct a public opinion poll on the fairness of a sentence in every controversial case and remove the judge from office if the public thinks the sentence is unfair?

Posted by: Andy | Jun 29, 2016 12:43:10 PM

I certainly get your point, Professor. But, because the sentence in the Turner case was imposed by the judge after conviction, there are fewer "moving parts" and blame targets than this case, where a plea involving prosecutors and defense attorneys is in place. I can't tell from the article whether the judge imposed the sentence or it was agreed to in the plea.

And that doesn't affect my deep-seated belief that unproven, unconvicted conduct should not enhance sentences.

In this case, as in all cases, if the government can't or won't indict, prosecute, and prove certain conduct, they're certainly not entitled to a sentence affected by it. If there's blame here, it's on "law enforcement" and not the judge.

Posted by: Fat Bastard | Jun 29, 2016 2:03:57 PM

According to the FBI a rape occurs once every six minutes in America.

https://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2011/crime-in-the-u.s.-2011/offenses-known-to-law-enforcement/standard-links/national-data

which works out to roughly 86K rapes a year.

While America is a big country that still is not a minor number. So the question becomes why do some rape stories make national news? I can't help but wonder when the press will report on a rapist who--in their view--is actually over-sentenced. I simply can't believe that all the rapists get more lenient treatment and that none of them ever get railroaded. So when is the investigate press going to report on those stories?

Posted by: Daniel | Jun 29, 2016 2:17:39 PM

"And that doesn't affect my deep-seated belief that unproven, unconvicted conduct should not enhance sentences."

Honestly, that is a ridiculous position that doesn't bear any scrutiny---do you really think that a sentence for say, murder, wouldn't pick up especially cruel means of inflicting it? Judges generally have choices within a range---the particulars of the defendant's crime (which go outside the four corners of the elements) in any rational sentencing scheme have to matter. And that's not even getting into character evidence, criminal history etc. . . . . which, yet again may be unproven/unconvicted etc.

Why do people continually say dumb things?

Posted by: federalist | Jun 29, 2016 2:24:21 PM

Uncharged, unproven criminal conduct federalist. You are quite disingenuous.

Posted by: Fat Bastard | Jun 29, 2016 2:33:50 PM

federalist, despite your effort to mischaracterize much, the fact remains that I am trying to stay on-topic, not pivot. As the post title and prose seek to make clear, I have highlighted this case, in the wak of the massive hullabaloo over the Turner case, to suggest those so critical of the Turner outcome ought also perhaps look deeper into this case. (And, FWIW while you try to take up off-topic, I do not think I have every categorically asserted that long-ago unconvicted conduct is "irrelevant" when reconsidering a past sentence. To give one (high-profile) of many possible examples, I think the Nevada parole board could and probably should consider OJ Simpson's (unconvicted) prior double-murder when deciding whether to parole him in the coming years.)

Carissa usefully highlights one factor that made the Turner case distinctive as a factual/proof matter, and I am certain the compelling victim-statement and the tone-deaf Turner dad statement made the Turner case a national story. I am not asserting that this Enochs case could or should be a national story, but I suspect and fear that the case might represent a more representative example of how alleged campus rapes get minimized through subsequent actions in court and elsewhere.

Of particular interest in this case, and a fact seemingly missed by Fat Bastard and perhaps others, was the apparent decision by the sentencing judge to downgrade the offense to a misdemeanor seemingly after the defendant agreed to plead guilty to a felony. I am not aware if judges even have the power to do this in many jurisdictions, and I especially wonder how the victims in this case (after they saw charges filed based on their rape allegations) feel about the sentencing judge given Enochs this extra downgrade.

Posted by: Doug B. | Jun 29, 2016 2:47:26 PM

Doug--your position here--that somehow the 2013 allegation should inform the sentencing for the 2015 crime--is in tension with your impatience with looking behind a judgment (usually the result of a plea) when there's a drug dealer. So, in other words, you don't like a sanitized input on sentencing in the rape/assault case, but do like that in a years after the fact determination of an appropriate sentence. And I didn't say you categorically stated that unconvicted conduct is irrelevant . . . .

Sorry, just calling out some inconsistency--just because that's not the point of your post doesn't mean that I'm mischaracterizing anything.

Posted by: federalist | Jun 29, 2016 3:58:01 PM

I did indeed miss the felony/misdemeanor thing. That seems rather bizarre.

Posted by: Fat Bastard | Jun 29, 2016 5:44:41 PM

federalist, the 2013 allegation was part of the investigation and prosecuting of this case now. As I understand matters, the 2013 rape allegation was made/discovered as investigators looked into the 2015 allegation and the DA thereafter believed he had sufficient evidence to bring two formal rape charges NOW.

If a college campus drug dealer caught in 2015 was accused, say, of raping one of his customers in 2013 as police were investigating the scope of his drug dealing AND prosecutors saw a sound basis for bringing formal charges NOW for rape and felony drug dealing, I would concerned and intrigued if a plea was entered for just felony drug possession and then a judge reduced that felony charge to a misdemeanor at sentencing. Wouldn't you wonder in such a case about why that happened?

The difference is between when the charge is brought/resolved, which I hope should seem obvious. As a general matter, I favor a sentencing system that looks at some real conduct when adjudicating and sentencing a case for the first time. Trying to figure out and assess real conduct gets much harder when lots of time has passed and we are now trying to unpack what lies behind a long-ago conviction, though I still general favor some effort to look behind the charges to any undisputed facts. Indeed, I do not think I have ever asserted or even suggested that the past should be "sanitized" at a future resentencing. Can you point me to prior statements that suggest as much?

Finally, federalist, beyond the fact they you seem strangely committed to mischaracterizing my positions to trump up some kind of inconsistency, you still havent engaged with the point of this post: namely that this case seems, at least based on the press account, to be the kind that should trouble those concerned about campus sexual assault as much if not more than the Turner case. After all your misdirection, I still do not know if you agree or disagree with this notion.

Posted by: Doug B. | Jun 29, 2016 7:06:44 PM

Professor,

Sorry but I absolutely see what Federalist is on about here. you have many times argued against the use of both acquitted and uncharged conduct in forming a sentence, yet here you do an about face and seem to claim that very information is relevant in coming to an informed outcome. Federalist is absolutely right to call you on the discrepancy.

As for differences between this case and Turner, the evidence here is extremely equivocal. Much less of a problem in Turner.

I do wonder about the judge reducing the agreed charge further, that seems more than a little odd to me.

Posted by: Soronel Haetir | Jun 29, 2016 7:43:10 PM

Doug--you can't wriggle out of this one--first, I don't know the facts here--so how can I form an opinion? At first glance, there are issues--but what do you want me to say?

Second, this is really tiresome. You're willing to give every benefit to a criminal seeking to undo his sentence years later by tossing out lots of things that influenced what the guy got--but here, where there are obvious issues with the 2013 crime, you seem to have a different view. That's fine---but you should admit that your view re: criminals getting a second bite is basically that all doubts should be resolved against them staying in prison.

Posted by: federalist | Jun 29, 2016 9:51:33 PM

The final statement by federalist can maybe allow us all to better understand each other. I readily will state that I think all offenders --- during the first sentencing "bite" or the second or third --- should have every doubt resolved away from a lengthy prison term. This is because prison strikes me as only effective as a means of incapacitation, and it is a costly means at that both in economic and human terms. I also think that a commitment at sentencing to the import of traditional trial processes shows respect for the jury system and for various constitutional rights.

One reason I have been a bit troubled by all the criticisms/concerns in the Brock Turner case is because a lot of my procedural values were honored in the case (including giving voice to both the victim and family/friends of the defendant) and because the PO and the judge obviously focused on the limited need to incarcerate Turner for a lengthy period of time.

Now this Enochs case, which has allegations and formal charges of 2 rapes and yet is resolved through an opaque process to result in only a misdemeanor conviction. My chief point in flagging this case is to suggest that those so troubled by the Turner case ought to look deeper into this one. Of particular concern/interest for me procedurally is whether the (alleged) victims had a chance to speak at the proceeding when the felony plea was reduced by the judge to a misdemeanor conviction. I bring this up because the eloquent public victim statement in Turner turned that case into a national scandal --- whereas here we have 2 victims whose voices we have not yet gotten to hear.

For the record, if both rape charges here went to trial, and a jury returned a verdict of guilt on just a single count of the lesser charge of battery, I would be quick to complain if the judge went behind this verdict to impose decades in prison because the judge decided that Ecochs was clearly a serial rapist despite a jury verdict to the contrary. But, again, if this did go to trial this way, would you not wonder if/when a judge further downgraded a felony verdict to a misdemeanor? Even more to the point, shouldn't / wouldn't the folks worked up about the Turner case be concerned?

Posted by: Doug B. | Jun 30, 2016 7:12:20 AM

"I readily will state that I think all offenders --- during the first sentencing "bite" or the second or third --- should have every doubt resolved away from a lengthy prison term."

Well, there you have it. So when President Hillary appoints a ninth Justice and government regulation of political speech is enacted and upheld, you'll be right there to say that the incarceration should be short. Amazing--you will trade institutionalized hooking up of criminals (by twisting the law/Constitution) for our freedoms. (And, of course, nothing says freedom like releasing dangerous criminals after not too long in the pokey).

"whereas here we have 2 victims whose voices we have not yet gotten to hear." One victim. You don't know that other is a victim,.

Posted by: federalist | Jun 30, 2016 10:24:50 AM

Yet again, federalist, you mischaraterize my position to continue your bizarre and foolhardly claims that my consistent support for the appointment of a former defense attorney (my preference for a ninth Justice) poses a huge threat to "our freedoms" because of the risk of reversing of CU and a wave of SCOTUS-upheld political speech prosecutions. Especially comical here is that you continue to express silly concerns about a Sean-Hannity-imagined leftist political prosecution dystopia in a post in which I was expressing concern about the lenient treatment of a allegedly dangerous repeat criminal (Enochs) without ANY time in the pokey and without even a felony conviction.

Moreover, and especially glaring here in the wake of recent actual rulings by SCOTUS, is your silence about the majority opinion in Voisine, which arguably lays the groundwork for allowing Congress and/or states to enact criminal prohibition on the exercise of fundamental constitutional rights to any and everyone who ever has a misdemeanor conviction for jaywalking or underage alcohol possession.

Indeed, especially in the wake of Trump's statements that he wants to change libel laws to allow him to go after the mainstream press (not to mention his religion-based proposals), the potential threats posed by President Trump to our First Amendment freedoms seem far more real and worrisome that your vision of the threats posed if Prez Hillary appoints the likes of Jane Kelly or Ketanji Brown-Jackson to the High Court.

Posted by: Doug B. | Jun 30, 2016 10:55:54 AM

There are parts of this story that I do not understand (perhaps someone from Indiana can clarify). According to the story, the plea agreement was for an open plea to a felony but a judge reduced it to a misdemeanor.

In my state (and as I understand the federal rules), a defendant either pleads guilty to a charge or doesn't plea guilty to a charge. If the facts stated during the plea do not provide a factual basis for the plea, the plea is rejected and the parties can either re-work the plea agreement to a charge that the judge will accept or go to trial on the original charges.

Do judges in Indiana have the power to accept a plea agreement and then reduce the charges without the prosecutor's consent? If that is the case, I would want more details about the charge to which the defendant pleaded guilty and the factual basis for the charges. If the prosecutor established a felony and this judge reduced it to a misdemeanor when there was any evidence suggesting a sexual assault, I would be very offended at the judge.

If there was a plea to a reduced charge because the evidence was iffy on rape, that is part of the way that the system works and a jury might have reached the same verdict.

Posted by: tmm | Jun 30, 2016 11:01:26 AM

Well stated, tmm, and helpfully getting to the very heart of the reason I flagged this case and suggested is should be of particular interest/concern to all those troubled by the work of the state judge in the Turner case. After the distractions from federalist, I am pleased to see that it is possible for others to understand exactly why this story/case drew my attention.

Posted by: Doug B. | Jun 30, 2016 12:36:28 PM

I know why it drew your attention. I was just calling you out on inconsistency.

What I am pointing out with respect to the ninth justice is that you don't seem to be worried about the threat to freedom that overturning CU represents.

Trump is a blowhard--he's not the threat to freedom that the Dem party platform is. They want to criminalize speech. And they will appoint justices who would allow them to.

Posted by: federalist | Jun 30, 2016 12:44:32 PM

I hear you, federalist, but I still find strange/troubling that you were so eager to assert I was being inconsistent even before, by your own admission, you had properly read/understood the basic facts of this case/post. Moreover, your (mistaken) assertion of an inconsistency seems based on false claims that I generally say "unconvicted conduct is irrelevant" (12:40 comment) or that I favor "sanitized input on sentencing" for some (3:58 comment). I know you seem to enjoy "gotcha games," but it is frustrating that you are so quick to distract/distort discussions by going after me for inconsistencies of your own creation before you even take the time to review the basics of my posting.

That all aside, right now I do view a Prez Trump, based on his own statements and his unpredictability, to be a greater threat to US freedoms than the threat posed by a possible reversal of CU (even though, as I think you know, I do not favor a reversal of CU). But this view is based, in part, on the belief/hope that Ds excessively talking about reversing CU is a "class warfare/get money out of politics" talking point rather than a "we need to criminalize some speech" commitment. At the same time, especially writing from a college campus where the left at times seems too quick to want to punish speech they dislike, I do understand the basis for your fears of a Sean-Hannity-imagined leftist political prosecution dystopia if/when Hillary becomes Prez.

Now, still trying to stay in the reality-based world, federalast, I still remain eager to know (1) if you share my (constitutional-freedoms-based) concerns about the potential michief of the majority opinion in Voisine, and/or (2) if you have at least a bit more respect for Justice Sotomayor for her decision to join part of Justice Thomas's dissent in Voisine.

Posted by: Doug B. | Jun 30, 2016 1:21:04 PM

The PO (perhaps it shouldn't matter, but it was written by a woman) pre-sentencing report in the Brock Turner is one complication there that from some of the most emotional responses does not get much attention from the reactions I have seen. It was covered, e.g., in a NYT commentary article and other places. I think one thing that stands out in that case is emotional laden things like some of the comments by the father and the victim impact statement that (unlike in most cases) was easily available for wide perusal. Likewise, I repeatedly saw the attacker's face in news accounts, including repeatedly as a lead item in the news page that comes up when I sign in to my email. Others surely did as well. This only increased him being a negative symbol.

As with symbols of police interactions that seem to have gone wrong, it's very well possible that other cases are more egregious, but get less treatment. It's helpful for blogs like this one to examine the news etc. to add perspective here.

Posted by: Joe | Jun 30, 2016 6:09:09 PM

Do I have more respect for Sotomayor? Nope. Anyone who links ethnicity or race to quality of judging is unfit for judicial office, and her ignorance about Ginsburg's opinion in the Ricci case (in prepared Senate testimony) is unbelievable.

The majority decision in Voisine is problematic.

Your agnosticism about the threat to criminalize speech is absolutely stunning. But you gave away the game--we resolve all doubts in favor of the criminal, even if, years later, after a plea deal, the criminal gets a second bite at the apple. It's all about hooking up criminals and yapping about our commitment to freedom, as if a commitment to freedom is demonstrated by lenience to criminals.

But of course, you won't ever answer the question about Olu Stevens? Aren't you troubled by a probation sentence for an armed home invasion robbery? And aren't you troubled by the racial overtones of that case---Stevens wrongly criticizing the victims in that case?

Posted by: federalist | Jul 1, 2016 9:54:37 AM

federalist: please explain what is "absolutely stunning" about not being overly concerned about federal criminal prosecutions for political speech unless/until we see some serious evidence of serious efforts to bring federal criminal prosecutions for political speech and indications that federal judges will not preclude such prosecutions on 1st A grounds. (Notably, federal judges have struck down recently limits on sex offender on-line activities based on 1st A grounds.) I continue to fail to see a serious basis for concerns about "criminalize speech" absent belief in forthcoming a Sean-Hannity-imagined leftist political prosecution dystopia.)

And, yes, federalist, I do think we demonstrate a commitment to individual freedom by limiting/checking the power of government to punish individuals and to restrict individual freedoms. Is that really a hard concept for you to understand?

I surmise you have a quirky vision of freedom that is based on enhancing government powers to punish; but I think my vision of freedom is more in keeping with the conceptions that the Framers put into the US Constitution given that the 1st, 2d, 4th, 5th, 6th and 8th Amendments all seek to advance individual freedom by limiting/checking the power of government to punish individuals and to restrict freedoms.

As for Olu Stevens, what questions have I failed to answer? I am, generally speaking, troubled by an overly lenient sentence for any violent crime with tangible victims and I am likewise troubled by any effort to criticize crime victims. Ergo, based on the press reports, I am concerned with how Judge Stevens conducted himself in that case. In addition, I see that he has been subject to a series of judicial misconduct complaints about his handling of that case and other public comments. That suggests to me that the court system is examining Judge Stevens' fitness for continued service, and I am not troubled to see such an inquiry afoot to ensure racial bias in not improperly impacting his judicial decision-making. Are there other questions you want me to address? (And do I need to worry anew that you are going to misread what I have said here to claim I am being inconsistent in some manner of your own creation?)

Posted by: Doug B. | Jul 1, 2016 7:11:46 PM

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