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View Diary: Today's NYT: Downplaying A Rape At Harvard (342 comments)

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  •  no, sorry... (15+ / 0-)

    would you accept a plea bargain that labeled you a rapist if you didn't think a trial would bring you a worse result?

    •  No, but (8+ / 0-)

      But the trial COULD bring a worse result, which means that your comment should read "would you acept a plea bargain that labeled you a a rpist if you DID think a trial would bring a worse result."  Do you have any proof that the maximum sentence imposed by a guilty verdict for the crimes he was charged with would have been equal to or less than the sentence he plea bargained for?  Most likely not, otherwise the plea bargain would have been a foolish mistake on his part.

      Anyway, the point of my comment is that we DONT KNOW what happend or what went through everyone's minds, so I'm not going to state definatively one way or the other what happened or why the defendent made the decisions he did.

      You, however, seem perfectly okay with definatively stating what happend when it is only logical that no one can do such a thing lacking omnipotence.

      I feel like a kid at a candy store with only $1... do I want an Obama? Edwards? Gore?!?! Too many choices!

      by Tetris on Sun Jan 14, 2007 at 01:37:30 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Will you, at least, agree with this? (13+ / 0-)

        The essay printed in today's NYT was, at a minimum, incomplete.

        •  Yes I agree the NYT was incomplete. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JSH26, MrHinkyDink

          In fact, my problem with this diary is it fails to cover the possible legitimacy of both sides-- the same flaw that the diary accuses the article of.

          I feel like a kid at a candy store with only $1... do I want an Obama? Edwards? Gore?!?! Too many choices!

          by Tetris on Sun Jan 14, 2007 at 03:04:01 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  okay... let me ratchet down a little (7+ / 0-)

        yes, the scenario as stated isn't proven by his allocution nor by his incriminating note; you're absolutely right about that and while I didn't say it explicitly, I did allow it to be there implicitly.

        that having been said, house arrest is a very minor sentence for a rape, regardless of the specifics of the scenario.  and the fact that he downplayed the events to his girlfriend suggests a lack of contrition.

        •  Might the minor sentence imply something (5+ / 0-)

          about the prosecution's case?  It sounds like they had a victim more than willing to press charges.  Why did they settle for so little?

          I don't think this is as cut and dry as it appears.  That doesn't absolve anyone of anything.  But there is a damn good reason we don't try people by blog.

          Congress has the choice between what is politically expedient and what is right. Finally, for one goddamn time, let them choose the latter! IMPEACH!

          by zephron on Sun Jan 14, 2007 at 02:09:03 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  no, we have nancy grace (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Leila

            to try them by pundit.

            we do eventually tend to get to the truth on blogland after all the researching fingers get going, but i think there's enough, here, to call the guy a rapist, to believe he's not particularly contrite and to wonder why the woman in the Times article was trying to hard to figure out a way to make this acceptable.

            •  See, and this is why Nancy Grace ... (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              jxg, Major Danby, Leila

              ... is an abysmal human being.

              He has accepted the title of "rapist" by virtue of his legal maneuvering.  But, again, I don't know what happend that night.  And if it were so clear, I think we wouldn't be talking about 18 months of house arrest.

              Regarding his defenders.  On a more general note, we all try to excuse and rationalize the behavior of those close to us.  To admit that they are bad people would be to, in part, admit we were also bad by association.  How many times have you heard "good people can do bad things?"  And are people who do bad things really bad people?  If only it were that simple.

              Congress has the choice between what is politically expedient and what is right. Finally, for one goddamn time, let them choose the latter! IMPEACH!

              by zephron on Sun Jan 14, 2007 at 02:18:17 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  he accepted the title of rapist (7+ / 0-)

                the moment he left a note under her door apologizing for forcing her to have sex.

                •  Did he? (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  JSH26

                  What did the letter say?  Did it say "I'm sorry for raping you."  Or perhaps "I'm sorry that you felt awkward last night," (non-apology apology).

                  Point is, we are all assuming a whole hell of a lot here.  We aren't privy to the actual facts of the case.  Without those, it's awfully hard to make an informed statement here.

                  Congress has the choice between what is politically expedient and what is right. Finally, for one goddamn time, let them choose the latter! IMPEACH!

                  by zephron on Sun Jan 14, 2007 at 02:27:53 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  see below (9+ / 0-)

                    The prosecutor said the woman assaulted by Douglas found a handwritten note under her door the next day apologizing "for pressuring her, forcing her to engage in these activities."

                    so, no, i don't know literally what the letter said, having not seen it myself.  the prosecution, according to the harvard crimson, said it used the word "forcing".

                    •  Tag, your it! :^) n/t (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      jmonch

                      Congress has the choice between what is politically expedient and what is right. Finally, for one goddamn time, let them choose the latter! IMPEACH!

                      by zephron on Sun Jan 14, 2007 at 02:32:18 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  Is there more to the letter than that? (0+ / 0-)

                      I haven't seen the whole letter.  It's possible that the quote is out of context... maybe the context is in regards to her "feelings."  

                      I'm just playing devil's advocate here... dont hate me.

                      I feel like a kid at a candy store with only $1... do I want an Obama? Edwards? Gore?!?! Too many choices!

                      by Tetris on Sun Jan 14, 2007 at 03:08:56 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  i don't hate anybody (0+ / 0-)

                        the full letter isn't reprinted in the harvard crimson piece, but i do recommend going over the the archive to take a look what it reports (link is in the diary) on the case as a matter of the record.

                      •  It may well be (0+ / 0-)

                        That the letter was ill advised being written when still drnk or with a hangover.  It would be easy to admit or asuggest more than what happend and guarantee a comnviction - thereby bringing on the plea bargain.

                        Like you asaid - playing devil's advocate.

                        But it seems damned odd he did not receive a custodial sentence were things as they have been portrayed.

                        Best Wishes, Demena

                        by Demena on Sun Jan 14, 2007 at 03:39:05 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  the prosecution said (0+ / 0-)

                          and he allocuted to having apologized to her again, in person, some weeks later.

                        •  Oh my god, do you just like to argue, or do (4+ / 0-)

                          you actually believe the crap you're saying??  He might have had a hangover, so he mistakenly wrote a note apologizing for forcing a woman to have sex with him the night before even though he hadn't actually forced her to have sex with him.  Then he pled guilty to rape.  But we should accept the possibility that he didn't really rape her because he might have been hung over when he wrote the note because he got off with a light sentence????  That's your argument?  How about he got off with a light sentence because the college age girl he raped didn't want to have to go through a trial and rape still is not considered a serious enough crime to give a serious sentence for unless there is serious physical injury or it's about the 18th rape the guy has committed?

    •  Sentences are a funny thing (9+ / 0-)

      The thing about being charged with a crime is that once it's happened, the prosecution doesn't give a shit whether you did it or not, they look bad and aren't doing their job unless they get a conviction. It's a rare prosecutor that cares what actually happened.

      If you're charged and go to trial, sitting down and figuring out the federal court's point system can be a very sobering thing, even if you're completely innocent. Weighing the costs and benefits of going to trial, where you know your guilt isn't actually the point, versus pleading out for something as easy as 18 months is a no-brainer.

      If you had a 100% of being under house arrest for 18 months versus a 75% chance of going to a federal penitentiary for 20 years, which would you pick?

      I'm not saying the guy was/is guitly or innocent, as I don't know the facts of the case. I'm saying that the "would you accept a plea bargain if you didn't do it" view is simplistic, especially if you've never sat on that side of the isle.

      Always be sincere, even if you don't mean it.

      by justinb on Sun Jan 14, 2007 at 01:47:40 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Of course, he thinks he didn't commit a crime.... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jmonch, neroden

        but he did plead guilty.  The woman and prosecutor think he committed a crime.  Question is, why is the apologist girl friend defending him?  Why is the paper printing this?  This could belong in the ethicist column.  

        You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad. Aldous Huxley

        by murrayewv on Sun Jan 14, 2007 at 01:50:51 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  The prosecutor's opinion is irrelvant (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          jxg, corndog, vcmvo2, The Strategist

          Much like defense counsel, the prosecutor isn't paid to have an opinion one way or the other, and if they do have one, it's completely irrelevant to their handling of the case. They will go after the harshest punishment available regardless of what they think you did or didn't do, because that's their job.

          As to why the paper is printing it, I can't say. It's not like it's an editorial or anything - it's in the "modern love" column of the fashion and style section, after all.

          Always be sincere, even if you don't mean it.

          by justinb on Sun Jan 14, 2007 at 01:55:29 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Not about guilt, innocense or facts of the case (0+ / 0-)

            This is about a political campaign being waged in a personal piece about, of all things, love.

            This is nothing less than grist for the culture wars, in this case, women and sexual politics.

            The NY Times should not be running decontextualized cultural propaganda in a personal column.

            Focus on the facts of the case etcetera is missing the point of why this is problemmatic.

      •  just one note (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        eugene, jmonch

        This wasn't federal.

        •  I know (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Karyn, The Strategist

          Strike "federal pen" ;)

          I stand by my general point, though.

          Always be sincere, even if you don't mean it.

          by justinb on Sun Jan 14, 2007 at 01:57:30 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  And as a general opponent of plea bargaining (8+ / 0-)

            I can agree with it in principle; I just have real trouble with applying it to this case, between (a) his incriminating letter and (b) her immediate trip to the hospital for a rape kit.

            •  What were the results of the kit? (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              MrHinkyDink, Natalie

              Look, I don't want to get into a game of blaming the vitim here, and I don't know anything but what you posted on the subject.  But don't you think there was a reason why he was allowed to plead out to such a light sentence?  Maybe his family is connected, maybe the evidence wasn't all there.

              Congress has the choice between what is politically expedient and what is right. Finally, for one goddamn time, let them choose the latter! IMPEACH!

              by zephron on Sun Jan 14, 2007 at 02:12:36 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I don't know. (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                bic momma, LynneK

                If I had to guess, it's that if they could demonstrate that the victim was "feeling the effects of alcohol" that night, as noted above, that it could make it harder to convict.

                His letter is plenty-good evidence.

                •  Is it? Did you know what it said? (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  The Strategist

                  Was it: "I'm sorry for raping you."  Or maybe: "I'm sorry for being an ass last night."  Probably something along the non-apology apology: "I'm sorry you felt uncomfortable last night."  But in any case, probably not the cut-and-dry admission of guilt the prosecution would like.  

                  Congress has the choice between what is politically expedient and what is right. Finally, for one goddamn time, let them choose the latter! IMPEACH!

                  by zephron on Sun Jan 14, 2007 at 02:22:51 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  according to the prosecution (see above) (0+ / 0-)

                    The prosecutor said the woman assaulted by Douglas found a handwritten note under her door the next day apologizing "for pressuring her, forcing her to engage in these activities."

                    •  I just replied to you above! (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Light Emitting Pickle

                      Is that a quote from the prosecuter?  Or a quote from the prosecuter quoting the letter?  This is vague, and I'm sure the letter was more than one sentence fragment.

                      Don't get me wrong, the guy sounds like a prick, and I have not interest in defending him.  So I think I'm going to stop now.

                      Congress has the choice between what is politically expedient and what is right. Finally, for one goddamn time, let them choose the latter! IMPEACH!

                      by zephron on Sun Jan 14, 2007 at 02:30:55 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  no, it sounds to me like (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        zephron, Light Emitting Pickle

                        you want to know the facts and are inclined to be a skeptic until you've assembled enough of them.  not a defense of him, just a hesitation to convict without enough evidence.

                        the harvard crimson article linked to in the body of the diary has a longer discussion of just what he allocuted to.  

                      •  The prosecutor is not going to misquote or (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Swordsmith, KathleenM1

                        imply the letter said more than it did during a plea taking or a sentence for a plea taking.  He has a duty of truth and he could and probably would be censured for doing so and the Court would never rely on anything he said again.  Your arguments and questioning of the facts that were established is bizarre, to say the least.

    •  Maybe. (6+ / 0-)

      Defense lawyer wants $50,000 to defend the case and does not guarantee you'll be found not guilty.

      Prosecutor offers you 18 months house arrest to fold.

      If the jury convicts, you go to prison with hard core criminals. If you're from Harvard, you're sheltered and you know about hard core prison only from TV.

      Reasonable people can differ, but I can see someone pleading to rape under those condiditons. And yeah, that means "confessing" in open court, whether you did it or not.

      I'd ask Americans to serve. I'd ask them to make other sacrifices, but I wouldn't want to raise their taxes just because we're in a war. --John McCain

      by AdmiralNaismith on Sun Jan 14, 2007 at 02:11:28 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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