Archive for January, 2011

NC Police get it right.

Monday, January 31st, 2011

An 11 year old girl filed a false police report saying that someone tried to rape her behind her house. They are charging her for it. Good! Filing a false police report is a waste of tax dollars and a waste of time of our men and women in uniform who could be spending that time fighting actual crime.

But we need to do more than that. Somewhere along the way, either this girl learned that making false claims of rape is OK or someone dropped the ball and did not inform her that telling such lies are worse than many other lies because they hurt actual victims of rape (by placing doubt in the minds of others about their claims) and the people that they falsely accuse (though, in this case there was no specific person accused).

We need to do a better job teaching people about how filing a false police report can hurt victims and innocent people. We also need to increase the punishment for filing false police reports to act as a deterrent .

What do you do?

Monday, January 17th, 2011

Say you are falsely accused of a crime. You have nothing to hide because you have done absolutely nothing wrong. The police ask you questions and you decide that you should just cooperate because that is the best way to get yourself clear. Right?

Wrong.

Remember the movie “My Cousin Vinny”? Bill Gambini offers to cooperate fully. Sheriff Farley is very happy to hear this. During the interview he asks Bill at what point he shot the clerk. Bill repeats, twice,  “I shot the clerk”. Bill just believes that he is asking a question. The Sheriff takes this as a confession and uses it in the trial (more specifically the arraignment).

Many people think that lawyering up will make you look guilty. Well, what you say without a lawyer can also be used to make you look guilty. And sometimes the quest to make someone look guilty can blind some in the criminal justice system to the quest for actual justice.

Look at the Duke Rape case.  Prosecutor Mike Nifong  did not have justice in mind, all he wanted to do was make a name for himself by manufacturing a case. He didn’t want to see someone guilty put in jail. He wanted someone put in jail to advance his political career. Nifong was disbarred, but the damage was done to the men charged. Would cooperating with Nifong have prevented the bad behavior of Nifong? Of course not.You can also read the story of this person who says he was falsely accused of child molestation. He describes the interrogation here. The only thing I disagree with is his lesson. He states that you should not speak to the authorities without an attorney once you have been Mirandized. I say that you should play it safe and just do not talk about anything without an attorney.

The police have a very important job to do. If that job includes investigating you for an allegation of any crime, it is not your responsibility to make that job easier and it is your right to shut up and say nothing. Anything said by you can be taken out of context and used against you.

My story, the short short version.

Sunday, January 16th, 2011

Day 1: Boy meets girl. Boy and girl are never alone. Girl always has a friend of hers in the same room.

Day 2: After a few hours apart, girl finds boy again and asks the friend of the boy to leave the room so they can be alone.

Day 3: Girl claims that boy sexually assaulted her on day 1.

I was fortunate. I was never actually charged with a crime. The police officer in the case stopped writing the report in the middle of a sentence. It is likely the next sentence was going to be that she went back to see me the next day.Why would someone who was raped go back to see her rapist the next day? And how could I have possibly sexually assaulted her if we were never alone and she always had friends with her. It makes no sense.

The days between the claim and the news that I would not be charged were some of the hardest days of my life. However, the experience has also impacted me for life. Whenever someone makes a false accusation of sexual assault, those memories come running back to me.

So, on top of all the other reasons to have this blog,  I hope that this blog helps me to finally get some healing over this issue and perhaps other people in the same situation can get some healing as well.