Tag Archives: Dominique Strauss-Kahn

Strauss-Kahn Continues

As the specter of the Straus-Kahn case lumbers on under the radar for a few days, recent reports brought to mind a frequent expectation that I deal with in the practice of criminal law: get my case dismissed. The credibility problems for the primary victim do not automatically create a situation where the case MUST be dismissed.

Much of the prosecution process is discretionary. The prosecutor has the discretion, or the opportunity to decide whether the continue with the prosecution in the face of a discredited witness and a collapsing case.

When clients tell me “that witness lied” we must prove that as a fact like any other to a prosecutor or to a jury. The lie oftentimes comes down to my moma said her brother heard the witness say he’d refuse to testify for $2000.00. But when you ask the brother, the most important witness, he doesn’t recall, or reframes the context.

Criminal cases and criminal trials are a perilous matrix of decisions and moves and choices, somewhat like a game. Unfortunately, we do not all start out with an even playing field in the courtroom. This game affects lives. Like the Strauss-Kahn case, some allegations take on a life and story of their own. The gossip grapevine of the street can be just as merciless and the high profile media.

Strauss-Kahn will likely suffer the fate of many other alleged sex crime defendants, a trial based on discredited testimony before 12 regular folks. Guess we’ll see what happens. Perhaps the prosecutor has some evidence that’s not quite public yet.

Doesn’t look like this case is getting dismissed anytime so, or perhaps, at all.


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Random News: July 2, 2011

Stuff you might have missed that might be interesting…

Population control with incentives!? A drought stricken region of India is offering prizes for people who submit to sterilization. The government is worried that the country’s population will surpass China in less than 20 years. A car in exchange for future children? Is it worth it?

Outraged, anyone? Apparently the statute of limitations on felonies for Nike endorsements has passed. Nike and Michael Vick signed an endorsement deal. Please let me know if this really surprises anyone…

Bob Frith, the nicest guy you’ll meet. Bob Frith is a man of many talents. I worked with him in the Western Circuit DA’s office. Check him out Monday at 10 playing at Watkinsville’s Eagle Tavern. He’s treat.

Dope and cell phones in jail? You betcha! Apparently the enticements were too much or the hiring policy at Fulton Co. is so lax or perhaps the economy is so bad…one Fulton County Deputy and three jailers were arrested by the FBI after YEAR LONG investigation. Nothing can excuse the behavior. Perhaps now jail can return to being punishment again.

The NY Strauss-Kahn Drama continues. Our second day of trial practice focuses on witness credibility. A recorded phone call unraveled the entire case, maybe.  In particular, the alleged victim says on the recorded call “She says words to the effect of, ‘Don’t worry, this guy has a lot of money. I know what I’m doing,’ ” the official said. Gold digging is not what jurors want to hear. End of lesson.

And media criticism begins…Some pundit wonders what Vance’s odds of keeping his job are...He highlights some other failures by Vance’s office. But the Strauss-Kahn matter is a great leap quite frankly. Prosecutors using their discretion appropriately. The stigma of an arrest for a sex crime will always provide a splashy headline and the dismissal of such charge yields a scandal.

Hi-tech shoplifting. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Just read it. Necessity is the mother of invention. Ingenuity provides creative solutions…

Don’t believe the hotdog labels…Why do we keep the FDA? Apparently, the “no nitrite” hotdogs still have nitrites and no one’s telling us this. Seriously, what’s the point of all the labeling B.S. if the label can’t be trusted? Really.

The dog poop investigator, really?!? She’s a woman on a mission, a mission to hold dog owners responsible for their dog poop with canine DNA. Really? Apparently, peer pressure is no longer enough. DNA is necessary. Geez!

Spate of new laws take effect July 1. Here’s a survey of laws now in effect around the country.

“Laziness promotes Invention” Sounds like as good a justification for goofing off as any. Somebody’s study indicates that Americans are lazier than 4 years ago. Go figure!

E.coli from seeds. The world market food chain is highlighted following the investigation of the German E.coli outbreak. Egyptian seeds sold in 2009 and 2010 are believed to have caused the E.coli outbreak.

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The Trouble with Being a Prosecutor

This morning the New York Times is reporting problems, stunning problems, with the case against Dominique Strauss-Kahn. People commenting on the news page’s website range from: all that matters is whether she  was assaulted to those prosecutors were power hungry (I’m paraphrasing).

Whether the alleged victim was assaulted is an important question. The problems with her credibility make the case very difficult to prosecute. I have no knowledge of this case beyond the above-linked report. I have prosecuted and defended sexual assault cases.

A criminal case such as the one against Strauss-Kahn hinges on the credibility, reliability, and honesty of the alleged victim. A jury of 12 regular people must believe this alleged victim. The defense has the right to present her lies in this case and possibly lies or inconsistencies she’s made a prior sexual assaults (depending on state laws).

The jury must decide whether they believe this woman without the assistance of tabloid rhetoric. Hopefully the knee-jerk jurors who would automatically vote to convict or vote to acquit had been removed. Hopefully, the jury would be made up of people who will consider all the evidence.

Jurors, like anyone, will evaluated the alleged victim’s credibility, or ability to tell the truth. Just as anyone, if a person has a history of lying and lying about this particular type of incident, a juror, and any person, would find it more difficult to believe a witness or alleged victim who has an established history of lying.

Prosecutors MUST provide this information of a history of lying by the alleged victim or any other witness to defendants.

The prosecutor also carries a higher obligation. The prosecutor is sworn to find the truth and seek justice. If this alleged victim’s credibility is so damaged that the prosecutors do not have a good faith belief that she is telling the truth or that they cannot meet their burden of proof, then the prosecutors are OBLIGATED to dismiss the case.

The public believes that the prosecutors function as public attorneys. This perception fails to encompass the entire role of a prosecutor. Sometimes victims, usually property crime victims, and law enforcement push and press cases that cannot meet the burden of proof “beyond a reasonable.” The prosecutor SHOULD make difficult choices about whether a case can meet that burden.

Prosecutors in some cases fail to appreciate this enhanced obligation.

The prosecutors in smaller localities often pursue cases because of the public’s misapprehension of dismissing or reducing such cases creates sensational headlines that may hinder reelection. Tough choices made due to facts that are not necessarily available to general public make life more difficult for elected prosecutors.

Instead of vilifying the DA’s office in this case, the public should respect their good faith investigation. The public should honor this DA for doing what is right even when faced with the “egg on the face” that may come from abandoning this sensational, high profile, tabloid fiasco.

The tabloids and incendiary media should step back. If the case was prosecuted, the salacious details would be headlines and the prosecutor would skewered for pursuing the case all together. This prosecutor is making the best choices for the community.

I just hope people see the wisdom of the choices. These choices do not mean that Strauss-Kahn did not commit the acts charged. The choice means that the case cannot establish Strauss-Kahn’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. If the case can’t be proved, then the prosecution should not go forward.

But folks just don’t understand that.

Here’s a link to an outline of the problems with the case.


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Random News and Diatribes: June 17, 2011

News you may have missed or just need to see.

Ethics? Smethics? Well, Governor Nathan Deal’s appointees and office find  themselves with their toes into hot water again…the question is will anyone do ANYTHING about it. One would think in this day and age that the Governor’s office would steer clear of any investigations and not touch that with a 10 foot pole. Not our governor, no, despite of his years of experience as a lawyer and politician, his staff and friends (appointees) are behaving like there’s something to hide.

I hope that there’s nothing lurking behind the scenes, I hope that people are just making bad choices. If anyone in the governor’s office reads this, GROW UP. Stop acting like there’s something to hide. At some point, you’ll get bitten by this behavior. You will embarrass not only yourself but the entire State of Georgia.

Weiner resigns. Please stop the jokes. He’s resigned. Now, whether this resignation is a swan song or just the show’s climax before the intermission remains to be seen. (See, William Jefferson Clinton, Elliott Spitzer, et al.)

Miranda Rights, Expanded. Children, even if they’re not under arrest, are entitled to hear their Miranda rights. I’m not sure, really, what good it would do in this child’s situation when faced with 3 or 4 adults, many of whom are charged with acting in loco parentis, as parent, for the child. How many kids would challenge the school principle? Teach you kids, ask for a lawyer.

Timeless. Here’s a summary of Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s interview. Somethings are timeless and transcend class: “Do I need a lawyer?” Yes, they took you off a plane, disrupted your schedule. Yes, you moron, you need a lawyer.

Sports Rioting.I just don’t understand. Why? Canadians are so restrained.

Justice, at a price? For your consideration, “can justice be bought?

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