Sunday, February 03, 2008

Jerramy Stevens The Very Definition Of A Good Young Man

From the Seattle Times:
"He is a big, powerful, speedy tight end," said [Tampa Bay Buccaneers] general manager Bruce Allen. "He has had some off-the-field issues that have hampered him a bit. We had a very serious talk with him today. I think Jerramy Stevens is a good young man."
And what actions make Stevens "a good young man"?

The physical assault he committed when he was in high school, which broke his victim's jaw, which was originally charged as a felony but which was reduced to a misdeamenor and which saved his football scholarship to the University of Washington thanks at least in part to a letter from a Mormon bishop asking for the judge's leniency?

The alleged rape of a UW freshman in 2000 while she was incapacitated and which was reported by a concerned student because the woman didn't seem to be a full, willing participant?

From earlier in the article:

The next day, a deputy prosecutor told police an interview had been arranged, according to police reports. But, he said, the prosecutor's "front office" had agreed to certain conditions negotiated by Stevens' attorney, Mike Hunsinger. First, the interview had to be in Hunsinger's office. Second, Parker, the case's lead detective, could not ask questions. Only the prosecutor would be allowed to do that.

Parker protested to her sergeant. It was her case. She knew the evidence best. She didn't want to be cut out of the questioning. Parker's sergeant didn't like the deal, either. But if prosecutors considered the interview so crucial, the sergeant was willing to relent.

But, hours later, the deputy prosecutor told Parker of yet another condition: Maleng's office had agreed to give crucial police evidence — the victim and witness statements — to Stevens' lawyers before the interview.

The Seattle Police Department's standard operating procedures allowed no such thing. If a suspect enters an interview with police file in hand, he can tailor his story to the facts already gathered. Suspects get to see the evidence after being charged, not before.

I have seen disgust over the handling of this case, but I haven't seen the level of emotion which we see whenever a story comes out which shows a prosecutor violating standard operating procedures to the detriment of the suspect. Injustice against victims is seen by too many people as acceptable in the name of defendant rights.

Giving defendants extra rights is not a good thing for justice or for truly innocent suspects as it undermines the trust people have that a lack of a conviction has any relationship to the genuine innocence of the suspect or the defendant. The lasting taint that so many people complain about when it comes to rape suspects comes not from victim's advocates but from those who go soft on rapists.

How about multiple hit and run accidents?

Or maybe what makes Stevens a good young man is the fact that he helped his football teams win games, including the Jan. 1, 2001 Rose Bowl, and his current team believes he will continue to do so? This is bad news for Stevens because it turns him and other sports players into bad young men if they fail to deliver on the field. Eventually his value will be so low that nobody will step in to protect Stevens from accountability.

If that first crime in high school had been dealt with as a serious matter and he had faced serious consequences for breaking someone's jaw maybe his following crimes wouldn't have been committed because he would have understood that being a great football player wouldn't protect him from the consequences of his actions.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 10:03 AM   1 comments links to this post


At June 02, 2008 6:55 PM, Anonymous T. Diamond said...

As a father and a sports fan this man makes me sick. I remember being in college and the things guys do. His actions crossed the line. He has serious character flaws and is far from a "good young man." There is a movement afoot to run this guy out of Tampa as soon as possible. Kudos to your post.


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