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View Full Version : 'Fair' doesn't always apply



reds44
07-10-2006, 07:56 PM
http://news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060710/COL03/607100373/1071


What if Brian Shackelford is innocent? He hasn't been charged. What if he never is? What then? The ex-Red - since demoted to Class AAA - met a woman through an online dating service. They had dinner in Milwaukee last Monday. Their evening continued in his hotel room. What happened next is being investigated.

Shackelford isn't suspected of running a red light or cheating on a Social Studies test. He's not being accused of wantonly tearing tags off new mattresses. A woman swore out a complaint against him, claiming third-degree sexual assault. It doesn't get much graver than that.

If Brian Shackelford is proven guilty, throw the book at him. Throw the library. Yet at the moment, Shackelford is guilty only of first- degree stupidity. If that were a crime, the world would be on permanent lock-down. The guilty-until-proven- innocent player has had his name in the prints and his face on the air for a week. His accuser is known by him, a few cops and whoever she decides to make aware of the incident.


Pardon the political incorrectness. Excuse the match to the gasoline. But ... is this fair?

A woman accuses Duke University lacrosse players of raping her, and the whole university is on trial. The innuendo flows. One of the country's best colleges is suddenly Party Central for a few thousand rich, spoiled white guys. Ten years from now, should someone Google "Colin Finnerty" the first item to appear likely will be the charge of rape he's facing. Even if he is judged innocent.

Fair?

"It's based on a long experience of guys coming back and doing it again," says Stan Chesley, a famous lawyer. "It's untoward. It's unfair. Life's unfair."

Let's try something unique in a case like this. Let's presume Shackelford's innocence. That is what we do in this country, right? Either he is acquitted, charges are dropped, or - if things remain as they are now - charges are never filed.

What happens? Shackelford has had his day in perception court. And he has lost. The words "sexual" and "assault" have been affixed to his name like flies on trash. Some will never assume his innocence, even after his innocence is established.

This is why lots of pro athletes frequent "gentlemen's clubs." It's why pro leagues advise their rookies on the potential pitfalls of being suddenly well-known and well off.

Having written about pro sports for 25 years, I'm not na´ve to what athletes do away from their games. The only thing as bad as a player violating a woman is the lame excuse his coach or manager will make on his behalf, or the reduced sentence he will get because of the slick work of his rich lawyer.

Nor am I blind to the violence that men can inflict on women. Rape is an act of cowardice; its victims take its consequences to their graves. If a pledge of anonymity helps one woman come forward who has been attacked, it's worthwhile.

"There are no easy answers," says Ann MacDonald, the executive director of the Rape Crisis & Abuse Center for Hamilton County. "For so long, perpetrators have not been held accountable. Sexual assaults have not been reported, because women feared they'd be blamed or nothing would happen."

The name of Brian Shackelford's accuser is on the police report. Most media outlets won't print it or air it. Fair enough. Why couldn't we exercise similar discretion when it comes to the name of the alleged perpetrator? Are his rights any less valid than hers?

Why should Brian Shackelford's name be out there before an investigation is even completed?

If Shackelford is cleared - if the Duke lacrosse players are not found guilty - when do we start talking more about the rights of the accused?

More importantly for women, when do we start taking their charges less seriously than we should?

If Shackelford is guilty, he will get what's coming to him. If he's innocent, or if charges are never filed, he'll already have gotten what shouldn't have come to him.

Is that fair? Not in this society.

penantboundreds
07-10-2006, 11:39 PM
we rip on columnists all the time....but this is a well thought out and well written article so im giving him 4 thumbs up and 8 stars

kheidg-
07-11-2006, 02:02 AM
Not very often that I like a Paul Daugherty article, but he's right on this one.

macro
07-11-2006, 02:42 AM
The ex-Red - since demoted to Class AAA - met a woman through an online dating service. They had dinner in Milwaukee last Monday. Their evening continued in his hotel room.

My question is: What exactly did this woman expect to happen in said hotel room? Was she there for the free HBO?

RosieRed
07-11-2006, 04:58 AM
My question is: What exactly did this woman expect to happen in said hotel room? Was she there for the free HBO?

I don't want to turn this thread on its head, but ...

Does it matter what she expected? No.

I hate "blame the victim" questions like that. I'm not saying she IS a victim. Just hypothetically speaking.

And, I disagree with the point of the column too.

Jpup
07-11-2006, 09:35 AM
good article. :thumbup: :thumbup:

zombie-a-go-go
07-11-2006, 09:40 AM
I don't want to turn this thread on its head, but ...

Does it matter what she expected? No.

I hate "blame the victim" questions like that. I'm not saying she IS a victim. Just hypothetically speaking.

And, I disagree with the point of the column too.

It doesn't matter what she expected; no argument there.

Yet one does wonder why, if there's an unspoken agreement amongst media outlets to keep the accuser's name out of the press, why does the same not apply for the accused?

Though in the case of the accused being a Shack, Kobe, Duke Lacrosse, etc. name, I expect the name would come out regardless of any supposed gentleman's agreement. If it bleeds, it leads.

REDREAD
07-11-2006, 10:39 AM
My question is: What exactly did this woman expect to happen in said hotel room? Was she there for the free HBO?

I guess she expected a night of nude tiddly winks or something.

Johnny Footstool
07-11-2006, 10:56 AM
Yet one does wonder why, if there's an unspoken agreement amongst media outlets to keep the accuser's name out of the press, why does the same not apply for the accused?

In a perfect world, the law would protect the anonymity of both the victim and the accused until the trial is completed and a verdict has been rendered.

RFS62
07-11-2006, 11:26 AM
I think they should have protected both identities until charges are filed.

None have been.

But if they were, it's news. And you HAVE to protect the accusers identity. It's bad enough what she'll have to go through in the way of character assassination if it ever came to trial.

remdog
07-11-2006, 11:55 AM
Does it matter what she expected? No.

Whoa! Whoa! Whoa!

It certainly does matter what she expected because it is part and parcel to the events that took place! If she expected to go to a hotel room with the intent of having a sexual relationship with the other person then she did so willingly and that implies consent. If she had no intent of having a sexual relationship then that implies (at least) coercion and possibly physical rape.

What she expected has a whole lot to do with whether or not she was a victim or a willing participant. And, if she was a willing participant then she has made the other person the true victim.

Rem

remdog
07-11-2006, 11:58 AM
And you HAVE to protect the accusers identity. It's bad enough what she'll have to go through in the way of character assassination if it ever came to trial.

Meanwhile, Shackelford goes through character assination without even the benefit of a trial. :thumbdown

Rem

LincolnparkRed
07-11-2006, 01:20 PM
In a perfect world, the law would protect the anonymity of both the victim and the accused until the trial is completed and a verdict has been rendered.

Here at home the Tribune actually kept his name out of their article specifically because they used the term accused not charged so they said they would not use his name since he was not charged with anything.

Rojo
07-11-2006, 01:35 PM
Implied consent - now there's a can of worms.

37red
07-11-2006, 02:55 PM
What did He expect at the Hotel Room? This is one of those things you teach your kids about cities, don't walk into alleys.

macro
07-12-2006, 03:03 AM
I hate "blame the victim" questions like that. I'm not saying she IS a victim. Just hypothetically speaking.


...and I'm not saying that he is innocent, Rosie. If she said no and he persisted and then...well, you know...then he is guilty and they should prosecute him as such. But the choice she made in the time leading up to that point means that she is not completely without blame, either. Just as "blaming the victim" without cause in not right, regarding her as 100% blameless is not right, either. She had the choice of staying at the dinner table or asking him to take her home, and she chose to go to a hotel room.

letsgojunior
07-12-2006, 09:29 AM
So, just to be clear then, under what circumstances would the accused's name be released in a perfect world?

Only if he is acquitted by a jury?
What if he takes a plea bargain at some point - should his name be released then?
What if there isn't enough evidence to get to the jury, but he proceeds to make a significant monetary settlement in a later civil suit - name released then?

And, while we're on the subject of ideal worlds, what sort of protection should he be entitled to? Should there be an absolute bar on obtaining his name? Because I know Kobe Bryant's accuser's name off the top of my head, and could get it if I searched on Google in about 5 seconds. I know all of her sexual history in the days preceeding and after the incident, and I know that she had a relationship with the bellboy.

I know that his accuser had a baby with another guy a year or so later and got married. I know an extensive amount about her psychological history including that she apparently thought about suicide sometimes, and was often trying to get an ex-boyfriend's attention. I know that her name was uttered in court over 5 times by Kobe Bryant's attorney despite the fact that she was a minor at the time.

I know all of this from mostly watching the news and studying the case in a Criminal Law class. All of this is on the public record, and is readily findable on numerous internet pages.

Correspondingly, I know little about Kobe's sexual history. I don't know about any psychiatric treatment he might have received. All I pretty much know is his account of the night, the fact that this wasn't the first time he cheated on his wife, and that he lied to and misled the cops.

So, in our ideal world, should we protect the accused at all costs and continue to leak the victim's name and put her on a little trial all our own? Rape is a very hard conviction to obtain - US law is much harsher than laws in foreign countries, in terms of requiring the element of force to convict, and setting the burden at reasonable doubt.

Provided that the prosecution can't prove that the victim's account of what happened (when it was a hotel room with only two people, both with conflicting accounts) is what actually happened beyond a reasonable doubt, are we okay with the potential implications of keeping the public unaware?

princeton
07-12-2006, 09:49 AM
Provided that the prosecution can't prove that the victim's account of what happened (when it was a hotel room with only two people, both with conflicting accounts) is what actually happened beyond a reasonable doubt, are we okay with the potential implications of keeping the public unaware?

yes, I'm OK with it

however, I expect that "conviction by press" will keep on keeping on. t's been going on for at least 350 years. But Google has made it into a true force that will live for lifetimes.

Can also get a lot of guilt by common names. mrs. princeton can google my roofer and find that five different people with the same name were accused in 17 states and can move on to the next guy (in spite of the fact that most of the accusations occurred years ago and the roofer's only 25). It's the half-a##d, do-it-yourself vetting. Next up: quickie name change services.

remdog
07-19-2006, 09:09 AM
Now that Shakelford has been cleared by the D.A. I hope that the woman involved is publicly identified and also charged with filing a false police report.

Rem

smith288
07-19-2006, 11:11 AM
I agree completely with your previous comments about Shack being screwed in the court of public opinion just for being accused but I dont agree with her being charged with a false police report if the fact was that she thought it was what she filed for and the DA simply said there is no way to prosecute him for he said/she said and wouldnt be worth her time and her own personal reputation to go forward (defense attorneys are pretty resourceful folks).

I don't know what went on but to blindly shoot back at her for false reports is the exact flip side of the argument that we also dont know anything about at this time.

M2
07-19-2006, 11:50 AM
There's actually a very good reason why it's public information as to who gets brought in by the police and it's to protect the arrestees.

If it weren't public knowledge that so-and-so had been arrested, then the police could haul people in willy-nilly for any reason whatsoever. If the courts could arraign in secrecy, it would only compound the police state problem.

That may be of little comfort to a guy like Shakelford, but it sure beats getting hauled in and thrown in a cell until they figure out what to do with you.

registerthis
07-19-2006, 11:55 AM
Just because no charges were filed does not necessarily mean that the accuser had a meritless claim. It could very well be that it lacked sufficient merit to press charges.

Deepred05
07-19-2006, 11:58 AM
Part II The lawsuit.:devil:

flyer85
07-19-2006, 12:21 PM
but it sure beats getting hauled in and thrown in a cell until they figure out what to do with you.that is the purpose of the writ of habeas corpus

M2
07-19-2006, 12:30 PM
that is the purpose of the writ of habeas corpus

Which you'd probably need to suspend in order to protect the anonymity of the accused. After all, if you were seeking bail or filing a writ of habeas corpus as part of some sort of open proceeding or public record then you'd be letting the cat out of the bag that you might have done something illegal.