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A rape survivor's zigzag journey into the open
For many people their awareness of the pervasiveness of rape and other sex crimes is close to nil until they find out a registered sex offender lives near them or will be moving into their neighborhood. Beliefs in the same myths which result in people refusing to believe many rape allegations result in people reacting to registered sex offenders as if they are all monsters.
Starting next month, sex offenders released from prison will also have to wear satellite tracking devices if the new rules are upheld. Opponents of Jessica's Law said the new rules will only confuse the public and give Californians a false sense of security.
Sex offenders in California's biggest cities may not be able find any housing that's not within 2,000 feet of a school or park.
"We're concerned that offenders will be pushed out of those urban areas where they can be monitored and supervised into rural areas where there are less law enforcement and less supervisions and less ability to manage higher numbers of offenders," said Suzanne Brown McBride of the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault.
Prison officials said 350 sexual offenders are released from prison every month in California.
This difference between apparent consent and real, legal consent is what so many people can't seem to undertand.
A 16-year-old girl whose parents thought she had run away from home returned with a much different story: She had been repeatedly beaten and raped by a man for four years, one of which she spent captive in his basement. John Paule France Gonzales, 22, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to 142 counts, including lewd and lascivious acts on a child, sodomy and penetration with a foreign object.
Gonzales, a pharmacy technician, began molesting the girl when she was 12, while he was dating her aunt, authorities said. He initially molested her at her home, and after breaking up with the aunt, he abused the girl in cars and hotel rooms before forcing her to live with him, they said.
"In the beginning, she felt sorry for him and was trying to prevent him from killing himself," she said. "While there is an element of apparent consent, she was so psychologically abused by this guy. Our allegation is that essentially none of it was consensual. I mean, she was 12, for God's sake."
It had been no secret that nearly all sides in the Congo's complex civil war resorted to systematic rape among civilian populations, and estimates were as high as a quarter million victims of sexual assault during the four-year-long conflict. But once fighting died down, victims began coming out of the jungles and forests and their condition was worse than anyone had imagined. Thousands of women had been raped so brutally that they had fistulas.I don't have words for the magnitude of this atrocity.
UPDATE: Brian had his hearing on Tuesday and the Judge revolked his probation because of the positive results of a random drug test. The results were positive for marijuana, Diazepam (Valium) and trace amounts of cocaine. The level of valium in his blood (according to the probation officer who testified at the hearing) indicated that Brain had taken 5 to 10mg's approx. one hour before his schedueled monthly meeting with his probation officer. [omitted more details related to drugs]This is of particular interest when drug use is a precurser to offending. In the most effective probationary programs, the parole officers know what that offender does in the build up to reoffending and tailor the restrictions based accordingly.
No child pornography was found in his apartment or on his computer hard drive. A police officer testified the drive had recently been formated and no forensics could be done on either his personal computer or what was described as "an older laptop" because the laptop was missing the hard drive.If this was meant to show innocence, it does the opposite. A normal format doesn't wipe the hard disk so clean no old data can be retrieved.
He said they also found several hundred printed pictures of young girls and boys approx. 6 to 10 years old clipped mostly from catalogs and store circulars. He said the children appear to be mostly disabled and were fully clothed in the pictures or in bathing suits and are not illegal but the probation officer testified that "it demonstates Mr. Kastel's continueing interest in minor disabled childen" and he said it looked like some of the photo's were several years old and a number of them appear to have been folded as if to fit in a wallet.This is typical of sex offenders to collect what to most of us are innocent pictures and when collected like this, they are as significant as finding child porn.
He also said a pair of binoculars, rolls of duct tape and a telescope though not illegal also raises questions about their intended use. 3 digital camera's [more info on items belonging to offender]Again, depending on the sex offenders MO, duct tape should be on the banned list.
Brian did not testify but his public defender read a short note from a former landlord that basically said Brian was friendly and in the 4 months he rented from him he was always on time with the rent. The lady prosecuter asked to look at the letter. After comparing the dates she said to the judge that Brian's rent was paid for by a check from HRS sent directly to the landlord on the 3rd day of each month and Brian was never late paying the rent because he didn't pay rent, the state paid it for him. [...]With sex offenders who lure victims in, friendliness is meaningless to show that the offender is not a danger to others since they use their friendliness as a tool.
Anyone interested in donating to Brian's support fund is invited to visit [...]This is what really caught my eye. After reading about the failed drug test, the hard disk that had been wiped clean and all the pictures of children, I was expecting a call to keep this man from being released and instead discover that the comment was meant to convince people that this man had his parole denied unfairly.
And women have continued to have sex with men who have raped them, in their case having put the event on the same plane as borrowing the car without asking. Not every incident of rape is a life-altering event.A large part of this seeming lack of trauma is the denial of rape by the rapist and by society at large. The trauma is there but according to many it is self-manufactured. So the rape victim can start questioning the reality of what she experienced even before she’s gotten over the shock of being raped by someone she cared about or loved. In my case I got raped a second time before I realized the first time was no misunderstanding or accident.
The impact of adding treatment to the criminal justice system is no surprise to me. So many times we as a society ignore basic problems like addiction, illiteracy or mental health in the name of personal responsibility. We also ignore the outside contributors that must be addressed if the person who decides to change will have their efforts sabotaged and then say "I told you so" when the troubled person fails.
It is one of the least-told stories in American crime-fighting. New York, the safest big city in the nation, achieved its now-legendary 70-percent drop in homicides even as it locked up fewer and fewer of its citizens during the past decade. The number of prisoners in the city has dropped from 21,449 in 1993 to 14,129 this past week. That runs counter to the national trend, in which prison admissions have jumped 72 percent during that time. Nearly 2.2 million Americans now live behind bars, about eight times as many as in 1975 and the most per capita in the Western world.
Approximately 60 percent of U.S. convicts serve time for charges related to drug peddling and addiction. In California, 65,000 parolees fail drug tests each year and are recycled back to prison each year. They serve, on average, an additional four months, at a cost of $1 billion.
City and state prisons in New York also turned aggressively to drug treatment and mental health counseling. They did so as a matter of enlightened self-interest. The city prison system is the second-largest mental health provider in the nation; only the Los Angeles County system surpasses it.
A study which reveals many sexually assaulted women may have had too much to drink rather than been drugged has sparked a debate over how much the victims themselves are to blame. [...] And it is argued that these women are behaving irresponsibly and putting themselves at risk of being sexually assaulted or raped.Again while the intentions might be good (wanting fewer rapes), the message that comes across is that rapists of intoxicated women are not to blame for their decision to rape and that men who are around women who drink don't need to act responsibly.
If we truly want to empower women we must stop making them responsible for other people's actions directed at them and we must stop blaming them when their exploiters succeed at reaching their goal.
In court documents, prosecutors say the bride, identified as Jane Doe No. 4, objected to the marriage and later begged to be released. The Associated Press does not identify victims of sexual assault.
The ceremony at a Nevada motel in 2001 was "one of the most painful things I've ever been through. I just want to move on with my life and forget it happened," the woman testified.
She said she refused to say "I do," take her groom's hand or kiss him. Finally, she relented, submitting to a "peck" and then locking herself in the bathroom. "I felt completely trapped and defeated," she said.
I think it is good when a legal system is debated since that allows people to see what inequities have become entrenched. When it comes to rape the potential for needed changes is even greater when the legal system was designed by and for men.
AL-AWWAMIYA, Saudi Arabia Nov 21, 2006 (AP)— When the teenager went to the police a few months ago to report she was gang-raped by seven men, she never imagined the judge would punish her and that she would be sentenced to more lashes than one of her alleged rapists received.
The story of the Girl of Qatif, as the alleged rape victim has been called by the media here, has triggered a rare debate about Saudi Arabia's legal system, in which judges have wide discretion in punishing a criminal, rules of evidence are shaky and sometimes no defense lawyers are present.
I was asked what I meant by escape, but the exact definition doesn't matter. What matters is that if the potential victim doesn't feel that leaving is a viable option, for whatever reason, staying is still not legal consent.
But in BB’s scenario and other similar situations the rapist blocks her attempt to walk away and refuses to accept no for an answer. Refusing to accept no is not the same thing as merely asking for sex multiple times. The first ignores lack of consent, the second may be inappropriate but it is not a rape attempt.
Physical force is more than wielding a knife or a gun or threatening to kill someone. Physical force is involved when one person uses their body to control the other person. That could be stepping between the other person and the exit or it could be grabbing an arm or pinning the other person so they can’t move.
When coercion that on the surface isn’t violent is combined with subtle physical force, it can be as effective as a knife at the throat. If the victim doesn’t know how to get away that should never be seen as legal consent.
Maybe you would know how to get out of that situation and would recognize the danger in time to escape, but that doesn’t mean everyone in that situation does. If the only way to not have sex is to escape, how can that sex be anything but nonconsensual?
For anyone who wanted to know how he did it -- if he did it, I believe I have the answer based on an interview OJ gave a few years ago where he talked about Nicole.
After a firestorm of criticism, News. Corp. said Monday that it has canceled the O.J. Simpson book and TV special "If I Did It."
"I and senior management agree with the American public that this was an ill-considered project," said Rupert Murdoch, News Corp. chairman. "We are sorry for any pain that this has caused the families of Ron Goldman and Nicole Brown Simpson."
A dozen Fox affiliates had already said they would not air the two-part sweeps month special, planned for next week before the Nov. 30 publication of the book by ReganBooks. The publishing house is a HarperCollins imprint owned - like the Fox network - by News Corp.
Segregating female students from classes dominated by boys is not an effective method of rape prevention. In many ways it sends a message that boys can't help themselves and aren't to blame if they rape.
An Anderson County [Tennessee] teenager has filed a lawsuit over her temporary dismissal from a weightlifting class by a principal who feared male students might try to rape her.
Phillips' attorney, Roger L. Ridenour, said stress from the incident caused the student to become physically ill. He said the handling of the situation by then-principal Bob McCracken is part of a pattern of mishandled sex issues at the high school.
Phillips was an honor student and a track team member when she signed up for the class, where she eventually earned an A. She has since graduated and is in college. McCracken said in a deposition that he was afraid Phillips might be sexually assaulted in the class. "Having a female with 35 or so male students in an isolated area from the school, it sets a very liable situation in my opinion," McCracken said in the deposition. Three days after kicking Phillips out of the class, McCracken changed his mind and reinstated her.
Police said they shocked Tabatabainejad after he urged others to join his resistance and a crowd began to gather. Footage from another student's camera phone showed Tabatabainejad screaming on the floor of the computer lab.Since the tasered student was Iranian-American, the interaction which led up to the UCLA police tasering him multiple times for not obeying orders very likely felt like another instance of post 9/11 harrassment based on what he can be heard saying on the video. This would be especially true if the initial request for student id wasn't made of everyone in the UCLA library, only to those who didn't look like they belonged.
With the number of people who either have no insurance or are underinsured, this practice of patient dumping could affect people who think it could never happen to them. Practices like this and other less obvious efforts that harm patients but help the bottom line are key reasons I oppose industries regulating themselves.
In an unprecedented crackdown on a practice experts say is shamefully common around the country, a major hospital chain was accused by prosecutors Thursday of ridding itself of a homeless patient by dumping her on crime-plagued Skid Row.
A surveillance camera at a rescue mission recorded the demented 63-year-old woman wandering around the streets in a hospital gown and slippers last March.
In announcing the criminal and civil charges, City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo said a Kaiser Permanente hospital put the woman in a taxi and sent her to the neighborhood even though she had serious, untreated health problems.
This case is sickening and the only good thing is that it wasn't forgotten or written off as unsolvable. The man charged with this crime was 15 at the time of the crime and it's unknown whether he will be prosecuted under adult statutes.
In 1972, the body of a 6-year-old boy was found in the cab of a water truck at a construction site, nude and battered. He had been raped, stabbed and strangled. Thirty-four years later, the boy's brother has been charged with his murder, and on Tuesday, a third sibling, Michael Barbarino, called on his family to help investigators prosecute him.
County Prosecutor John Molinelli said Monday at a news conference announcing Joseph Barbarino's arrest that the teenager lured his younger brother to a construction site intending to sexually assault him. There was evidence of a struggle and the child's body was found in the cab of a water truck, he said. An autopsy indicated Vincent Barbarino had been stabbed numerous times and his skull had been fractured. Molinelli said the elder Barbarino had been raping the child for "quite some time."
Welcome to the Nov. 15, 2006 edition of the carnival against sexual violence.
Thank you to everyone who nominated a post or who wrote a post against sexual violence whether it was nominated/selected or not. Nominations that came in after Sunday night's deadline will be considered for the next edition of the carnival. If you support the purpose of the carnival, you can help get the word out about it and all of the posts included in the carnival.
Here are the selections for the 11th edition of the carnival against sexual violence:
In PAIN IN THE FACES BY LORI CULBERT VANCOUVER SUN ARTICLE! posted at Holly's Fight for Justice, we learn about the artist Pamela Masik who is painting the portaits of 69 women who disappeared from Vancouver BC's downtown eastside since 1978 including the 26 that Port Coquitlam pig farmer Robert (Willy) Pickton is suspected of murdering.
In Has it Really Been Five Years?!? posted at Of a Public Defender's Life, we get insight into why it's important for all of us that all defendants' rights are represented competently and how sometimes that can help reduce crime.
In my first beating....... remembering / feeling alone, blaming myself........ posted at Why Holly's Fight to Stop Violence, we get a poem about the pain of domestic abuse by Holly Desimone.
In FINDING DAWN SECOND SCREENING WITH NATIONAL FILM BOARD! posted at Missing and Murdered Women: Portraits inspired by Pain!, we learn about the first film in the history of the Amnesty International Film Festival that sold out in advance of the doors opening. This film by Metis filmmaker Christine Welsh, journeys into the dark heart of Native women's experience and also uncovers inspiring stories of strength, courage and resilience, as communities come together to stem the tide of violence.
In How To Become a Sexual Predator in Five Easy Lessons posted at Mind The Gap, we get a tongue in cheek article that highlight how some people can get away with being a predator because of who they are.
In Animal House posted at Shakespeare's Sister, we get a discussion of a recent hazing event which may have included sexual assault of pledges and how this type of hazing reinforces dangerous beliefs.
In Sexual consent in Maryland posted at Resonant Information, we get an analysis of what happened in the recent Maryland appellate court decision that resulted in affirmation of Maryland's refusal to acknowledge the existence of post-penetration rape.
In Withdrawn Consent and Line Drawing posted at Stone Court, we get an analysis of the Maryland ruling which disallows withdrawing consent after the beginning of sex and how the rationale for the decision goes back to a time when only the de-flowering mattered. The ruling may have a broader impact than the issues raised in the case being appealed.
In Female circumcision trial may be first in U.S. posted at Holly's Fight for Justice, we get information on a practice the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimated that 168,000 girls and women in the U.S. had undergone or were at risk of being subjected to.
In I Wish Jurors Knew....The WindyPundit recently b... and Proposed Jury InstructionMy last post proposed a... posted at Prosecutor Post-Script, we get a discussion of jury instructions and a follow up post which includes discussion of the difference between a defendant with no prior criminal convictions and a defendent with no prior criminal behavior and how a jury can confuse the two.
In False Guilty Pleas: DNA Clears Man in Carjacking Case posted at Bluhm Blog, we get a discussion of the first non-rape or murder case where DNA was used to exonerate a man. Since many people assume the problems that have been found in rape cases are unique to those types of crimes, this case is worth noting.
In RAPE TRAUMA posted at Why Holly's Fight to Stop Violence, we get information on a subject that can help rape survivors. Whether it was 10 days ago or 10 years ago, emotions and thoughts may seem overwhelming following a sexual assault. In learning the facts about rape and how to get help, women will discover that the symptoms they experience, while confusing, are to be expected given the trauma of such an attack.
In Reports of sexual assault, rape increase since 2005 posted at Why Holly's Fight to Stop Violence, we get information about the continuing problem of sexual assaults as reported by the Austin, Texas Police Dept. including the information that the number of rape reported more than doubled in the area including the University and parts of West Campus and downtown.
In Ex-prostitute shares story posted at Missing and Murdered Women: Portraits inspired by Pain!, we learn about how a woman who is now a court diversion counsellor talked to students at Fleming College about the realities of prostitution so those who will interact with those in the sex trade will do so with real knowledge and not stereotypes and myths.
In Facts for Survivors Who Choose to Press Charges in United States posted at Holly's Fight for Justice, we get a series of questions and answers for survivors considering pressing charges.
In American University College of Law Hosts Sexual Violence in Prison Discussion with Author T.J. Parsell posted at CrimProf Blog, we get information on a panel discussion including information on some of the experts in the field of sexual violence in prison.
In Update: Kansas A.G. Kline Ousted, Had Obtained Abortion Records of Girls and Teenagers posted at Women's Space/The Margins, we get information about the attorney general race which impacted women's privacy and safety.
Because this man contacted his victim while going through a Alcoholics Anonymous 12-step program, I'm sure some people think it's unfair that this man was prosecuted or that his victim contacted police.
A man who sexually assaulted a fellow University of Virginia student in 1984 and then apologized to her two decades later as part of the 12-step Alcoholics Anonymous program pleaded guilty to the crime Tuesday.
Prosecutor Claude Worrell told the court that one of the main reasons the prosecution agreed to a plea is because the investigation has revealed that more than one person may have sexually assaulted Seccuro.
Under the agreement, Beebe has agreed to cooperate with authorities as they continue their investigation into exactly what happened that night. Judge Edward Hogshire set formal sentencing for March 15. Beebe will remain free on bond until then.
"This began as an effort to make amends," Beebe said in a statement outside of court. "In pleading guilty today to a lesser charge I acknowledge formally what I tried to acknowledge in my letter.
"Twenty-two years ago I harmed another person and I have tried to set that right."
Like the portion of an iceberg that is underwater, issues like this are often not thought about when politicians or groups of citizens push for tighter control of offenders or longer sentences. Problems like this aren't intential, they just come down to money.
California prisons quietly halted what was supposed to be a sweeping review of employee safety spurred by a guard's stabbing death last year, officials said in response to a records request from The Associated Press. Just seven of the expected 41 evaluations were completed before the first-in-the-nation program was abruptly ended after Corrections Secretary Roderick Hickman resigned in frustration in February, officials said after months of inquiries.
The disclosure came in the past week as the prison system's new administration counters criticism from state lawmakers and federal judges who have complained that inmates often live in crowded and poorly staffed prisons and receive inadequate care.
With so many stories about stranger rapists and date rapists, it's easy to forget that for some the greatest danger comes from the very people who are supposed to look out for our best interests -- family.
COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho (AP) -- A 56-year-old mother and her 40-year-old son have been served with arrest warrants accusing them of plotting the death of the woman's 15-year-old granddaughter - a teen the son is accused of raping.
William Caldwell, who is the teen's uncle, and his mother Myra Caldwell, both of Pinehurst, are accused of trying to hire an undercover police officer to kill the girl, who now lives out of state.
According to court papers, the officer was told to "make sure she never showed up again."
The arrest warrants accuse the two of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder.
An informant told authorities the mother and son wanted to hire a hit man so the teen couldn't testify against her uncle in the rape case, Coeur d'Alene Police Sgt. Christie Wood said.
William Caldwell was served with the warrant Thursday in the Kootenai County Jail here, where he is awaiting trial on charges of felony rape and lewd conduct with a child under 16. Those charges were filed in August after a citizen found a duffel bag of personal letters in Post Falls that included details of the alleged crimes against the girl. The letters were turned over to Post Falls police.
This case, like domestic violence cases, illustrates why there is a need to include conflict resolution in school curriculums so students grow up having the practical skills they need when a dispute arises and will not go away on it's own. If people have learned to use negative patterns such as bullying their way through conflicts then they need to learn a better pattern in a positive way. It isn't enough to teach children not to bully, they need a replacement behavior that gets them through conflict.
SKIATOOK, Okla. (AP) -- Howard Hawthorne appeared calm when he complained to sheriff's deputies that his neighbors were damaging his fence. The deputies told him to take the matter to civil court and left. An hour later, officers got a report from the property north of Tulsa of shots fired. As they rolled up, they saw Hawthorne kill himself and found the bodies of neighbor Anthony Graham, Graham's 24-year-old son and a friend nearby, said Tulsa County Undersheriff Brian Edwards.
Graham, 44, was on a tractor and using it to pull up the fence posts when he was shot, Edwards said. The two neighbors were hotheads who had been arguing about that fence for years, said Harold Swift, 67, who lives nearby. He said Graham believed Hawthorne's fence blocked off about 10 feet of his own property.
A man convicted of raping an 11-year-old girl pleaded guilty Thursday to five other sexual assaults and to charges of escaping from jail last year.
Miami-Dade County Circuit Judge Barbara Areces sentenced Reynaldo E. Rapalo, 35, to between 15 and 45 years in prison for each of the five attacks, as well as the December escape. The sentences will run concurrently with the life term he was given last month for the attack on the girl.
As part of a plea agreement, prosecutors dropped charges against two people who had been accused of assisting Rapalo after his Dec. 20 jail escape, which triggered an extensive manhunt until his capture Dec. 26.
While it's great that this man will be in prison for a long time (preferably the rest of his life), I'm not sure what I think of dropping charges against people who helped a fugitive.Technorati tags: rape crime politics sexual violence sexual assault feminism
I find this father's assessment of this election and of Nifong questionable at best. The theory that this case was prosecuted only for political reasons fits into the mythology that the defendants and their supporters want to put forth, but Nifong wasn't facing an uphill battle for re-election when this case was brought to the grand jury.
The numbers of black votes shows Nifong "used this case to his advantage. Does he need the case anymore? I don't think so, [but] my guess is he won't drop it," [Kevin] Finnerty [father of Collin] said."He won, so he got what he was maneuvering for," he said. "But I think it's very telling that he couldn't even get a majority against someone who was not running and someone whose name was not on the ballot."
The Durham Chronicle, a campus newspaper, reported that some lacrosse players joined other students in an organized get-out-the-vote effort favoring Cheek.
This last part is what many of those who attack Nifong forget. The accusation needs to be taken seriously. This is also true if those accused are innocent. If Nifong lost and the charges were dropped many people would always suspect that the replacement caved into pressure from Duke students and alumni.
[A] UNC expert in political behavior said Nifong didn't create racial tensions with his handling of a case that involved gang rape accusations by a black N.C. Central University woman against three white lacrosse players from Duke. "Rifts are rarely created," said sociology professor Andrew Perrin. "They're just exposed." The issue, he said, reveals something about the way Durham works and the relationship between Duke and Durham. "It's a problem in all kinds of places where you have elite universities in the midst of working class cities," he said. Perrin said the overwhelming support Nifong got in majority black districts -- he swept them all -- is likely a matter of roots.
"People see the news and they see the world very differently based on the experiences they've had," Perrin said. "The understanding for those who think the accuser is mostly a victim is that she has been railroaded and been given a pounding by the white community and the media," he said. "And [they think] the right thing to do is to support her and to take her accusation seriously."
The Center for Women and Families unveiled a new clinic [in Louisville] Thursday designed to combine medical care, counseling and criminal investigation into one step for rape and sexual assault victims. “I hope police will bring people here,” said Leah, a rape victim who asked that her full name not be used. “You’ll have compassionate care.” For the past seven years, members of the medical, counseling and law enforcement communities have wanted a haven for victims so they can avoid the often chaotic experience of the emergency room. Now, instead of going to the hospital, where victims often have to wait in a public venue, they can go to the center and have the attention of nurses who have been specially trained in dealing with sexual assault victims. The nurses have special training in how to collect the necessary forensic evidence and can take the time to work slowly with a patient if needed.I'm thrilled to see this new clinic which addresses the various needs of rape victims. Programs like this do more than help their clients, they send a message to the entire community about appropriate ways to respond to rape victims.
This ruling makes absolute sense to me since well meaning restrictions can cause problems for those on sex offender registries without improving public safety. These types of restrictions can also have the effect of clustering registered sex offenders in the reduced number of areas where they are allowed to live.
One day after California voters overwhelmingly passed an initiative tightening legal restrictions on registered sex offenders, a federal judge has blocked local enforcement of a provision forbidding past offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a school or park.
U.S. District Judge Susan Illston in San Francisco issued the temporary restraining order today against the provision of Proposition 83 at the request of a Bay Area man who pleaded no contest to a sex crime more than 15 years ago, according to his lawsuit.
The suit claims that Prop. 83, approved Tuesday by a vote of 70 percent to 30 percent, would impose retroactive punishment by forcing the man to move immediately from the community where he has lived for more than 20 years.
(Washington, D.C.) – Today, with memories of past intimidation in the minds of voters, national Republican operatives are phoning voters at all hours of the night, especially at 2:00 a.m. and 3:00 a.m. to try and dampen Democratic turnout. Reports of these calls have come in from New Hampshire, where the GOP has been forced to stop the calls, and FCC complaints have been filed in Pennsylvania because of the calls. Republicans have spent $2.1 million on calls like these, targeting 46 Democrats in the last week alone.Actions designed to suppress the vote are anti-American because they do more than suppress individual votes. They attempt to suppress democracy itself.
So often when DNA is used to exonerate convicted rapists, those who dislike the current rape laws and their enforcement say that all of the problems which lead to wrongful imprisonment are specific to rape cases. But this case shows that the problems are not specific to rape and/or murder cases.
Last week (11/2) , in an article reported by H.G. Reza of the LA TIMES, James Ochoa was exonerated by DNA evidence in a carjacking case, the first such DNA exoneration in a non-rape or murder case.
At the time of trial, prosecutors knew that DNA found on the sweatband of a cap found in the stolen car was not Ochoa's. They also knew that his fingerprints did not match those found on the car. But two eyewitnesses identified him so they took the case to trial. Three days into the trial, Ochoa was offered a plea deal. Plead guilty and you'll get out in two years. The deal was too tempting, especially given that the judge told Ochoa, who had several priors, that if he was convicted, he would go away for life.
Over his attorney's advice, Ochoa pled guilty. The twenty year old spent 10 months in prison when the very same DNA that prosecutors ignored, exonerated him. The DNA at the crime scene was linked to another man, Jaymes T. McCollum, was in L.A. County jail on carjacking charges.