[Editor’s note: this piece has been very difficult to write. I’ve been working on it for months, and have deliberated about publishing it at all; I think because the objective it advocates is so daunting. But I do think it goes to the heart of so much that is wrong with the justice system. I do not have hard data to support my position, and I doubt such data will ever exist, but I do have decades of study and careful observation. I only report what I observe. Please read it, and just think about it.]
This article will be both editorial and somewhat philosophical, at least to the extent that it expresses conclusions on my part, so please bear with me. But it does address an issue that I believe is one of the key flaws in the justice system – and one that seems to be universally overlooked, not recognized, or dismissed. My hypothesis is that having “prosecutor” be an elected political position has a very deleterious influence on their performance of that job, and that this circumstance is not merely a contributor, but a root cause contributor, to wrongful conviction. (Note: We are not considering federal prosecutors here, because they are not elected, and they need to be a whole separate subject.)
First, some personal background. I grew up in an intensely political family. I’ve seen politics at work “up close and personal.” My father was an elected official for over 30 years, until he retired. My mother was very active in both state and local politics, and had seriously considered running for Congress. We even used to have the Congressional Record delivered to our home. I have very clear memories of, as a youngster, being down in the basement stuffing “sample ballots” into envelopes for delivery to voters. My mother once told me about how intoxicating and addicting politics can be, and how easy it was to get caught up in it. And (in my opinion) this is not driven by an overwhelming and compelling desire to serve the public – it is driven by an overwhelming and compelling desire for power and personal gain. No politician would ever admit this – probably not even to themselves; but you just can’t convince me otherwise. My apologies to the politicians out there, but that’s how I see it. There may be some virtuous motives to start, but once you’re in it, you’re hooked. So what’s the point of all this? It’s that I have observed and learned throughout my life that political positions, by their very nature, create a set of pernicious personal motivations for the office holder that can be, and usually are, contrary to the intent and spirit of the office.
Prosecutors are political animals. They have to be. They hold elected political office, and run for office on a political party ticket. And, once elected, if they want to keep their job, they have to get re-elected. We all know that ‘Job 1‘ for any politician is to get re-elected. Despite all their protestations to the contrary, the constant specter of re-election must have to shade every decision they make. Prosecutors universally run for election on a platform of “tough on crime.” And how do you, as a prosecutor, demonstrate that you’re tough on crime? By getting lots and lots of convictions. In fact, it’s really the only way prosecutors are measured. They get no credit for deciding not to prosecute a case, or for losing a case. I even know of a prosecutor who’s decision to not prosecute a case got him voted out of office in the next election.
It’s common for the whole sad chain of events to begin with a faulty police investigation. Please see our previous posts on police tunnel vision here and here. This, in turn, leads to (grand jury) indictment, which then leads to (wrongful) conviction. We know that grand juries are a “set up” for the prosecutor. This quote from CNN legal analyst Mark O’Mara. “In a grand jury presentment, the standards of evidence are relaxed, and there are no defense attorneys to advocate for the accused. This means that prosecutors can, and often do, stack the evidence in favor of their case in order to ensure an indictment — often excluding details that would support the case for the accused.” If a prosecutor wants an indictment, he/she can get one. And once the prosecutor has an indictment, he/she’s locked in. They HAVE to win. Even though justice might have been well served, prosecutors get no credit when a defendant is found innocent at trial. In fact, it’s viewed as a failure. If you lose cases, the voters will think you’re incompetent, or not doing your job, and you won’t get re-elected, much less elected to a higher office. The incentive and motivation that’s built into the position is to win every case. This brings a “win at all cost” mentality to every case the prosecutor tries, and this absolutely trickles down to the prosecution staff. I’ve actually heard an assistant prosecutor say, “We will win at all cost.” But …. what if the defendant is actually innocent?
This “win at all cost” philosophy, coupled with the political need to build a record and appear infallible, can, and does, motivate unethical actions and behavior on the part of the prosecutors: withholding exculpatory evidence (Brady violation), badgering or threatening witnesses, using known perjurious testimony from snitches and informants, giving snitches sweetheart deals for their testimony, and stacking charges to coerce acceptance of a plea agreement. It also motivates behavior like keeping people who have been independently proven innocent in prison, because to admit that they’re actually innocent would be “inconvenient” for their career. I have to ask myself – why else would prosecutors viciously defend every conviction, no matter how wrongful it might be? Why would they doggedly deny DNA testing and access to evidence? You would think they don’t want to know the truth. Surely, someone acting as a “minister of justice” should want to know the truth all the time, no matter the circumstances.
And, of course the poster child for prosecutors who compromise ethics to get re-elected has to be Mike Nifong. Nifong was the Durham County, NC District Attorney who, faced with a tough re-election bid, prosecuted the now-infamous Duke lacrosse rape case in 2006. Nifong was ultimately disbarred, and even served jail time, albeit one day. Nifong’s misdeeds were exposed only because the defendants’ families had the necessary financial and legal resources (estimated at $3 million) to pursue the truth. The vast, vast majority of Americans would have merely wound up as another one of Nifong’s victims.
And judges (except for federal judges) are elected too. Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor has been strongly advocating to have judges appointed by an expert panel, based upon merit – rather than elected. Please see the Nov., 2009 Huffington Post article here.
I state this as an undeniable fact of human nature: give people power, and they will abuse it. The only question is to what degree, and that degree will depend upon the extent to which a person is subject to oversight and is accountable. Lord Acton wisely, and correctly, stated in 1887, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” I contend that prosecutors have the closest thing to absolute power of any elected official. In addition, they have essentially no oversight or accountability, and rarely, rarely face any sanctions for misconduct, so there is hardly any check on their power. And that abuse of power is invariably motivated by personal gain – status, position, money, image, reputation, and getting elected or re-elected. You see, here’s the thing – human nature is human nature. It always has been, and always will be, and we’re NOT going to be able to change it (at least not without evolving to some higher life form); so we’re stuck with that. And this power abuse problem applies not just to prosecutors, but also to police and judges. Industry (corporate America) has found a way to deal with the human frailties that can jeopardize achieving the desired result. It’s called PROCESS. [Please see our previous post on 6 Sigma here.] And please let us distinguish between a designed ‘process’ and blind ‘procedure,’ which is what rules the justice system today. Design the entire justice system process so that it minimizes the exposure to human error and the human temptations of self aggrandizement and less-than-ethically-driven self gain. And design in mechanisms for studying and understanding system failures (wrongful convictions) so as to make sure they are not repeated over and over again. Obviously, this design should NOT include exposing prosecutors to the seductive and pernicious motivations of elective office.
In Ohio (where I live) the statutory basis for “prosecutor” being an elected position is Ohio Revised Code 309.01. So, at least making a change such that prosecutor would not be an elected political position would not be as daunting as having to change the state constitution (I think), but it would require a major change to state law. There are lots of different ways that prosecutors could be selected without a political election, but I won’t attempt to go into that here. I have no delusions that this could ever happen in my lifetime, or even my grandchildren’s lifetime, but if you never plant the seed, the tree can never grow, and true justice should demand it.
Fortunately, the dynamics of politics and the criminal justice system may be changing. For example, several states have legalized medical and recreational marijuana. Last year, California passed Proposition 47 which reduced the penalties for several crimes. The Soros Foundation has provided a large grant to the American Civil Liberties Union political arm to bring to voters’ attention the problems and costs of mass incarceration. In my book, “80 Proposals to STOP Wrongful Convictions – Before the End of This Decade” is: “Proposal 15: That the Innocence Movement
participate in the election and judicial nomination processes at every governmental level to promote the goals of preventing and
correcting wrongful convictions.” Part of the answer to the problem Phil describes is an expanded political effort on behalf of justice. In late March, I will be formally announcing my candidacy for President of the United States and the FIRST goal of my platform will be “1. Justice: STOPPING and correcting Wrongful Convictions in the United States
Through improvements in the law enforcement and judicial systems, the U.S. must effectively correct and stop wrongful convictions by bringing them from the current level of approximately 2% to a level of .1% of convictions/inmates or fewer before the end of this decade. These improvements would reduce the number of innocent inmates from approximately 30,000 in the U.S. to 1,500, which would still be a number too large.” It will be a limited campaign, but a campaign nonetheless.
Reblogged this on FORENSICS in FOCUS @ CSIDDS | News and Trends and commented:
This perspective is produced after years of experience in Crim Law.
Reblogged this on Citizens, not serfs.
I agree that prosecutors have too much power and too little oversight. But so do sheriffs, who also are elected in all but a few states.
As I noted in my book Tin Star Tyrants, sheriffs have a long history of beating, torturing, framing and sometimes murdering those who get in their way. They also have far greater opportunity to steal, and many take advantage of it. Unlike prosecutors, sheriffs also have armed employees to carry out their wishes.
The only disadvantage they have is that their misconduct is often easier to prove. Prosecutors are able to bury their misconduct in case files or camouflage it in the courtroom with the aid of complicit judges, many of whom are former prosecutors.
Appointed by a merit committee can be just as political as influencing voters who are swayed by the “tough on crime” mantra. In South Carolina. a merit committee of the legislature appoints judges. It is the rare judge who is independent of political influence. Some go straight from being a member of the legislature to the bench. When state supreme court justice Beatty told a conference of solicitors (equivalent to district attorneys in other states) that their manipulation of criminal dockets has to stop, the reaction in the political community was heated anger and worse. The elected attorney general joined the call to prohibit Justice Beatty from hearing any criminal appeals.
If the merit committee is political, the problem is not solved, just given a face lift.
Thank you. Of course, you are correct. It is essential that any “merit committees” be independent, objective, and non-partisan.
Right on, Marty.
Good piece, Phil! And good points, Marty! When I wrote this story about reasons prosecutors and LEOs have a hard time admitting error, also thought that Santa Clara County, California, Special Assistant District Attorney David Angel hit on some other points relevant to your topic. He spoke of the need for a shift. <> Something to consider, perhaps. Thanks! Sue http://www.psmag.com/legal-affairs/why-cant-law-enforcement-admit-when-its-wrong-48329
Reblogged this on Sue Russell Writes and commented:
Good piece today by Phil Locke on Wrongful Convictions, and a good comment by fellow Wrongful Convictions Blog blogger Martin Yant. Made me think of a story I wrote a couple of years ago about reasons prosecutors and LEOs have a hard time admitting error. In it, Santa Clara County, California, Special Assistant District Attorney David Angel hit, I thought, on some other points relevant to Phil’s post. Angel spoke of the need for a shift “…it needs to really shift from this kind of highly moralistic, punitive view. Maybe it’s a cause for embarrassment, but it’s not a cause for shame.” He believes prosecutors have drawn the short straw in language, noting that defense attorneys who err are called “ineffective” and judges are “reversed” while prosecutorial error alone is labeled “misconduct,” with all the attendant negative connotations. Angel believes that most prosecutors are willing to admit to mistakes but that “people are very hesitant to admit to something that’s called ‘misconduct,’ because it makes you feel like you did something morally wrong.” Something else to consider. http://www.psmag.com/legal-affairs/why-cant-law-enforcement-admit-when-its-wrong-48329
Reblogged this on Trial by Media and commented:
I could not agree more. The cult of personality should be anathema to justice, and having elected prosecutors ( and judges ) is inviting that. In the UK, we have an attorney general who supervises the crown prosecution service. The attorney general answers to parliament, and his is not a political position.
This type of argument is a double edged sword. Everything mentioned about the political vulnerability to elections may indeed not be as distant as appeasing a bloodthirsty crowd in the Roman Coliseum. You are completely correct in stating that for the elected prosecutor priority number 1 is keeping your job. Justice is second place. A generous static accounting for selfless prosecutors of whom would sacrifice their paycheck (that their families need to live on) for an indigent innocent defendant would be less than 00.000000000000000000001%.
One of the great things about our own country is our government is a democratic republic and we the people elect and hold accountable those that work in it. We the people must retain the power to decide who has the privilege of out trust to serve in our government. I would fear living in a nation that did not have elections to ensure that the political leaders were accountable to the people. Even during the US Civil War in 1864, President Lincoln refused to consider postponing the election in fear of even appearing to be a dictatorial regime. The power of our government comes from the people and the people can take it back as King George III learned. Far better to live in the land of the free rather than the Soviet Union or China.
So what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object?
Thank you Lee. I absolutely understand your viewpoint. This, however, does not change the nature of politics or the nature of humans.
99% of the people I talk to – the electorate – have no clue what goes on in the justice system, don’t care, and don’t want to be bothered.
And how are Joe and Jane Citizen going to know who the heck would make an ethical prosecutor or judge? They don’t! All they could possibly
do is listen to campaign promises; and we know how truthful those are. People just basically vote a straight party ticket, and have no idea
who they’re voting for or what the issues are – if they even vote at all. And the one’s that do vote are mostly swayed by the media messages
they hear that are financed by special interest groups.
If we did not have elections for judges and prosecutors, by what method would they be held accountable for their actions. Obviously not the grand jury or the state bar.
The voters retain the power. The voters put them into office and can take them out of it just like within the legislative branch.
Can the voters put them in prison?
Ken Anderson? John Bradley?
Somebody needed to say what many of us have long suspected. Thank you for having the courage and eloquence to do the job so admirably. You are my hero!
G112210, I couldn’t agree more with you. Phil Locke is our hero, as well!
Of course prosecutors should not be elected; the politicisation of one of the most powerful positions in the justice system is a terrible idea, made infinitely worse by the absence of accountability in case of error or misconduct. Here in Australia the position is not an elected one, but the human nature factor is still very much in evidence. It’s not re-election motivating the few that flaunt the rules, but ego and self interest.
I am just writing an article about this very issue, citing a couple of examples; here is an extract from one – “…The appeal judges demolished the prosecution case in which Gordon Wood had been accused of hurling his girlfriend, model Caroline Byrne, to her death at The Gap, Sydney’s most notorious suicide spot. But the most savage criticism was reserved for Mr Tedeschi, the judges accusing the prosecutor of failing his most basic obligations to put the case fairly to the jury. Instead, they said, Mr Tedeschi had tried to bolster the Crown case by resorting to fiction, impermissible reasoning and innuendo …”
And from the Sue Neill-Fraser case: “The prosecutor then added that the injuries to the body would have been indicative of an attack by a friend not a stranger; to make such claims without any proper evidential basis is clearly contrary to law as was stated by the Chief Justice of NSW in the 2012 Gordon Wood appeal. All of this, in the total absence of any evidence about death, cause of death, nature of injuries – because there is no body – is extraordinary.”
So removing the politics of electing prosecutors would be a great start in significantly reducing the motivations for misconduct.
Thanks for the helpful insights, Sue Russell. You are right that not all mistakes by prosecutors are misconduct, although some of them certainly are. You are correct that toning down the rhetoric might help lead to a common ground. Some of this courtroom intensity is a byproduct of our adversarial system, which is sorely in need of reform.
Mr. Locke, Your title says it all. I have over a decade of research about Arizona that would support your hypothesis. Also, a must-watch award-winning documentary, WITCH HUNT, would show the public what it looks like when Kern County, Ed Jagels was running for DA.
CA, Kern County, DA Ed Jagels, Bakersfield, launched a witch-hunt during a campaign cycle, falsely accusing many working class parents of child molest of their children. He turned the tables on the people, rather than the town officials who were involved in child molest. John Stoll, an innocent man, spent 20 years in prison before he was exonerated. The other parents were exonerated, as well, years earlier.
This witch-hunt set the pattern for prosecutors across the nation to follow. How to win the vote, gain the money and power. He ushered in the failed three-strikes laws, truth-in-sentencing that turned California into a prison state with the taxpayers left holding the bag, as he moved on toward lucrative retirement pension, and was never punished for his many wrongful convictions. There are no words to describe the horror and destruction by this “top” prosecutor/DA.
Time to end this well-established pattern by prosecutors and hold them accountable. Solutions: Any prosecutor who wrongfully convicts an innocent person should be charged with a felony with prison time.
What other professions, does one wake up and go to work, to see how many lives and families they are going to destroy each day? Disbarred, ex-Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas bragged about his over 200,000 FELONY CASES in one term in office (2005-2010), when he ran in the GOP primary for AG. 1% could be wrongfully convicted = 2,000 innocent people!
The incoming Maricopa County DA failed to investigate those cases for possible wrongful convictions, like Dallas DA Craig Watkins and Brooklyn Ken Thompson did, instead he turned a blind eye. Later, he wrote to the Arizona Supreme Court judges in his reply (protesting the passage of R-11-0033 Petition to Amend ER 3.8 – Ethics responsibility of a prosecutor), that, “there are NO wrongful convictions in Arizona” and the AG wrote there are NO Brady violations! Really?
▶ CONVICTION- Kenny Waters (and AG Martha Coakley, politics before justice) story – Official Trailer – YouTube 2010
“CONVICTION is the inspirational true story of a sister’s unwavering devotion to her brother. When Betty Anne Waters’ (two-time Academy® Award winner Hilary Swank) older brother Kenny (Sam Rockwell) is arrested for murder and sentenced to life in 1983, Betty Anne, a Massachusetts wife and mother of two, dedicates her life to overturning the murder conviction.”
Reblogged this on Health Care Resilience.
Comment posted on my FB page by Elizabeth A. Benedetto: “Wrongful “prosecutions,” occur for a number of reasons. There are so many scenarios/personal stories. But from what I experienced and from what I have seen first hand, they happen intentionally and primarily because it is the quickest, easiest, and most economical way for states to push cases along and close them — at anyone’s expense but their own. It does not matter who the American citizen is who suffers at the hands of these evildoers. The problems are systemic. “Errors,” “mistakes,” “misconduct” are misnomers. The “process” is exactly how the states run their judicial operation. Everyone gets duped in the process (save the innocent and their families, of course) and, thus, believe justice was served.
Although the prosecutor does and could not possibly work alone in his deception, it is, indeed, the prosecutor who has the obligation, authority, and power to take or not to take a case. The process calls for him to take any and all of the cases that are “problematic” and require the state’s quick fix. That is… doing whatever is takes to push the case forward, get a conviction, and close it.
If a “defendant” refuses to “cooperate” and plead guilty, all the states’ “players” are then put in place (i.e., assigned) from the public pretender, the judge, state appointed agents, investigators, court reporters, et al. Many state employees (“flunkies”) engage in the process sometimes unwittingly because they simply do whatever they are told — or sometimes not told. Sometimes the flunkies know the truth but remain silent to remain employed. This is not rocket science. But all the fanfare keeps the judicial/legal industry at large engaged and employed. No one truly wants to upset the apple cart (it’s been rolling this way for decades — without accountability, without oversight, without consequences) except the innocent and their families, and other equally outraged, conscientious American citizens. It will be “We The People” who effectuate change. (And make no mistake about it, private attorneys operate in the same fashion… raking in exorbitant amounts of money and doing little work to no work whatsoever on behalf of the clients… self-serving, self-governing.)”
I agree wholeheartedly with your comments. I also have witnessed firsthand this misconduct and have suffered emotionally and financially to help someone close to me who has now been in prison for almost 2 years with no prior criminal record and was sentenced to 28-70 years with no physical evidence and no one was hurt or killed. It is a travesty what goes on in some courtrooms.
I love your article and urge others to sign petition on http://www.change.org titled Justice not Politics. I witnessed prosecutorial misconduct firsthand and am paying for the appeal in a case of someone close to me for a wrongful conviction. Thanks.
Reblogged this on THE INJUSTICE XHIBITION and commented:
Amazing perspective on prosecutorial accountability!
Yes, it is very true politics is a cause of wrongful “prosecutions.” But whether elected or appointed, the prosecutor’s position mandates that he act on behalf of his state…. and so he does, however necessary — as do all other cohorts, agents, and employees of the state (and cronies therein). It is down-right silly and naïve to believe that an ambitious, corrupt, depraved, self-serving prosecutor could possibly wield THAT much power and convict completely innocent American citizens (and scores of them, yet… year after year) without the cooperation and teamwork of his co-workers (i.e., other state employees, agents, assigns, and agencies — e.g., judges, assigned public pretenders, court-appointed agents, doctors, sheriffs, police, investigators, court reporters, corrections officers, bailiffs, clerks, hospitals, jails, et al, etc.). Private lawyers (and bar associations) are equally maniacal in their self-serving, self-governing business dealings. It’s no wonder approximately ninety-five percent (95%) of people “accused” of crimes plea out. They are coerced. Can you imagine if the states and attorneys had to do an honest day’s work for even one (1) case?! It’s not efficient. It’s not economical. It’s not practical. It’s bad business for them. Too much work. Too many cases. Too costly. Too labor intensive. So why bother… when they don’t have to? No oversight. No accountability. No consequences. And the communities?! The victims, their families?! They’ve just been duped and have no clue.
Double bravo! Elizabeth is a courageous.
It’s an America tragedy. Elizabeth, you and Phil should collaborate on a book. No one has described our reality better. It certainly describes our daughter, Courtney Bisbee’s case of manifest injustice and malicious prosecution and the destruction of innocence families.
America’s Sham. America’s Shame.
There is not any mention of child pornography wrongful convictions. In 2006 statsitics state 2,526 Child pornography(CP) matters accounted for 82% of the growth in sex exploitation matters referred to prosecutors from 1994 to 2006. Suspects were prosecuted at different rates depending on the sex offense involved. Sex transportation suspects had the highest prosecution rate 62%, followed by suspects charged with CP 59% and sex abuse 46% meaning people that actually abuse children are prosecuted LAST if at all. Now that’s a story; why haven’t we read about it?
Suspects in 30% of matters concluded in 2006 were declined due to weak or inadmissible evidence. 20% of matters concluded were declined due to lack of evidence of criminal intent (no crime established). 50% of the 2526 arrested for CP were never prosecuted. That means 1263 individuals had their lives destroyed, jobs lost, experienced huge financial losses, homes and cars credit cards taken away for lack of payment, friendships lost, relatives keeping their distance, vigilantes threatening them and all without going to trial because they were not properly investigated or should not have been investigated at all. Law enforcement choose to take the easy way out and just looked for low hanging fruit P2P file sharers and those that are curious. The media reports only the Gothic melodramas told to them by law enforcement without seeing the evidence. Jurisdictions still can’t agree on a definition of CP and without knowing what they are talking about reporters report hearsay and nothing more. The poor sap P2P filesharer who pose no real risk to the community let alone a child gets caught up in the madness. Now that’s a story; why haven’t read about it?
When someone searches on peer to peer (P2P) file sharing software it typically works as follows: initially, the user downloads a software program onto his own computer or Internet-enabled device that permits the individual to share and download files from the P2P network. Upon installation, the software typically creates two folders on the user’s computer by default: an “incomplete” folder, which contains pending downloads, and a “shared” folder, which contains fully downloaded files which are not readily available to the user as well as a folder for partial downloads totally hidden from the user. Unless the User knows how to search for the hidden files they remain HIDDEN to the user in the, “AppData” file. Any files downloaded to, or other files placed in, the shared folder are immediately made available for sharing with all other users on the P2P network. When someone searches for lets say the word “TEEN” they are flooded with images to download: however they don’t know if the images are what they asked for or if they are tagged law enforcement CP images and they won’t know until they open the file and by then its too late. Law enforcement software has already downloaded onto the usedr computer a TAGGED “TEEN” file to the hidden file on the victims computer so it can be re-uploaded identified by its tag with the Ip address of the downloader. Then law enforcement goes to a secret FISA court to obtain a search warrant for the IP address followed with a search warrant for the physical address of the IP leaser.
Even though Dr. David S. Finkelhor an American sociologist known for his research into child sexual abuse and related topics and Lisa Jones another leading experts on child sexual abuse who have tracked the trend state is contrary to what the child abuse industry states Child sexual abuse has fallen more than 60% from 1992 to present. The evidence for this decline comes from a variety of indicators, including national surveys of child abuse and crime victimization, crime statistics compiled by the F.B.I., analyses of data from the National Data Archive on Child Abuse and Neglect and annual surveys of grade school students in Minnesota, all pointing in the same direction.
“The ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY” and the “CHILD ABUSE INDUSTRY” lobbied congress to pass laws that were never intended to save children because the software used by Law Enforcement only goes after some P2P filesharer who happens to download intentionally or not images of the harm done by someone else and doesn’t rescue one child. The reason it’s that way is there is huge financial incentives.
Johan Schlüter, head of the Danish Anti-Piracy Group remarked, “Child pornography is great,” and he said enthusiastically. “Politicians do not understand file sharing, but they understand child pornography, and they want to filter that to score points with the public. Once we get them to filter child pornography, we can get them to extend the block to file sharing. We must filter the Internet to win over online file sharing. But politicians don’t understand that file sharing is bad, and this is a problem for us. Therefore, we must associate file sharing with child pornography. Because that’s something the politicians understand, and something they want to filter off the Internet. Child pornography is an issue they understand.” Schlüter grinned broadly. ” FOLLOW THE MONEY.
The money being made by private corporations such as, ” guidance software” and The National Center For Missing and Exploited children(NCFMEC) with regional offices in Florida and three other states is off the charts. Day in and day out automated bots detect and report millions of alleged CP images, which are processed by law enforcement software without a human ever looking at them. A UMass Amherst computer scientists created one program developed with taxpayer dollars and now sold by Guidance Software Inc. a public company (NASDAQ: GUID) founded in 1997 they call it RoundUp. The software allows law enforcement officers to observe and search open P2P networks on the Internet and gather evidence of criminal possession and sharing of CP images. The software was designed specifically for the alleged challenges posed by investigations of CP and it is exclusively used by law enforcement who pair it with a watch list of files of interest from the National Center for Missing and Exploited children database.
Professor Brian Levine and Research Scientist Marc Liberatore teamed up and received US grants in excess of two million to develop software now called RoundUp that was already available open source software invented to track computer bugs, but it has features that allow it to scan networks for specific kinds of code. It works just fine on Gnutella net and is now sold by Guidance Software a public company (NASDAQ: GUID) founded in 1997. Levine and Liberatore say the software does not allow law officers to hack into an individual”s private computer but what they failed to mention is their tagging of remote machines by investigators, to leave a record of an observation on the remote machine for later recovery during warranted search; that is a hack into an individuals computer. Levine and Liberatore also describe how they have exploited the exchange to implement tagging using a modified eMule client, they also state because user hashes are openly exchanged, it is easy for a knowledgeable user to impersonate another client by presenting a falsified user hash. When agents seize a system, the clients.met file can be recovered. Using tools that Levine and Liberatore developed, agents can output clients.met into a human-readable format, demonstrating that the investigator’s user hash and public key have been stored; how convenient. If tags were found on a computer during a forensic exam, it would be strong evidence that the computer corresponds to observations of a peer made over the network. There is an enclave of academics and institutions who perpetuate this agenda for personal gain via US grants and taxpayer funded programs that do nothing to save one child.
NCMEC is a private nonprofit as well as a government organization exempt from federal salary caps which has enabled the center’s former president, Ernie Allen, to command a salary among the highest in the nonprofit world. In 2008, the latest year for which NCMEC records are available, Allen made $511,069 as head of the center and its international affiliate. He also received $787,126 in deferred compensation and underfunded retirement benefits, as well as $46,382 in nontaxable benefits for a total of $1,344,567. Allen’s base salary was higher than that of the top executives of two other nonprofits, the American Red Cross and the Smithsonian Institution, that also get substantial funding from the U.S. government. Both have budgets many times greater than that of NCMEC who see children in a way you can’t,and never want to; they see children as perverted dollar signs and a way to exploit their sick thinking and the public at large in there public, private corporate endeavor. NCMEC is also deceptive where Journalists and pseudo- scientific researchers use patently false criminal accusations that have become an accepted weapon to advance a their political agenda. For years, reputable journalists as well as scholars have been refuting claims of a “child porn epidemic” and a “child porn culture.” The ideologues’ response is to conjure up ever more lurid scenarios, culminating in these preposterous fabrications. The money being made using the “children” as an excuse is in the BILLIONS.
In FACT there is a multi-BILLION dollar Child Sexual Abuse Industry but not what you think. It consists of THOUSANDS of ORGANIZATIONS with high-paid CEOs and staff, all full of nefarious individuals who must convince both us, as well as their victims ‘that’ everything is abuse. News media, therapists, prosecutors, judges, lawyers and sex police; THOUSANDS of jobs depend on MAXIMIZING claims of ABUSE. Child pornography has nothing to do with pedophiles because it is associated more on the lines of incest not from third parties but from bestial fathers and mothers of the children who do this to them. Its a world full of The witch-hunters, bogeyman blamers, and moral-panic enablers they are everywhere and the hysteria they milk is bigger than ever before.
The majority of people that do sexually abuse a child do not record that abuse and practically all the sexually explicit images of children circulating cybernetically except for sexting images are from a stack of yellowing pages found at the back of X-rated shops when it was legal now their digitized. These pictures from what I have read tend to twenty to fifty years old, made overseas, badly re-reproduced, and chaste. That’s why federal agents never show journalists the contraband. The last time journalist viewed CP images was when the national program manager for child pornography Don Huycke allowed them to see the contraband images at the U.S. Customs Service in 1995 and they were underwhelmed. Losing count after fifty photos, they put aside three that could be called pornographic; a couple of shots were of adolescents masturbating, half-dressed twelve-year-old spreading her legs in a position more like a gymnast’s split from a nudist camp photo than split beaver. The rest tended to be like older teens from the 1950’s.
Truthmovement: “”In FACT there is a multi-BILLION dollar Child Sexual Abuse Industry but not what you think. It consists of THOUSANDS of ORGANIZATIONS with high-paid CEOs and staff, all full of nefarious individuals who must convince both us, as well as their victims ‘that’ everything is abuse. News media, therapists, prosecutors, judges, lawyers and sex police; THOUSANDS of jobs depend on MAXIMIZING claims of ABUSE. Child pornography has nothing to do with pedophiles because it is associated more on the lines of incest not from third parties but from bestial fathers and mothers of the children who do this to them. Its a world full of The witch-hunters, bogeyman blamers, and moral-panic enablers they are everywhere and the hysteria they milk is bigger than ever before.”
You nailed it! The lucrative “grant” money for “faux” non-profits needs serious investigation and immediate change.
We’ve followed the growing patterns for over a decade, watched the moral panics and witch-hunts being driven by the 24/7/media: O’Reilly, Fox “news” driving Jessica’s Law / the Adam Walsh Act and threatening the Governors to pass it or they would be named on his show; MSNBC “To Catch a Predator”; “Law and Order” endless violent rape, and so many others, that have grown the criminal justice system “industry” with the “easiest” arrests and convictions in the system, while growing the lucrative mass industrial prison complex and private prison industry.
Driving the witch-hunts for BILLIONS. It’s heartbreaking to see the destruction of thousands of innocent men, women and children and their families – the self-destruction of America, “land of the free”, so a handful can enrich themselves. The jigsaw puzzle fits neatly together. Meanwhile, we work to free the innocent who have become their victims-for-$$$’s, with draconian mandatory minimum sentencing that guarantees defacto life sentencing and/or residuals. This should be a crime in itself!
Reblogged this on Top Cats Roar… and commented:
“Prosecutors are political animals. They have to be. They hold elected political office, and run for office on a political party ticket. And, once elected, if they want to keep their job, they have to get re-elected. We all know that ‘Job 1‘ for any politician is to get re-elected. Despite all their protestations to the contrary, the constant specter of re-election must have to shade every decision they make. Prosecutors universally run for election on a platform of “tough on crime.” And how do you, as a prosecutor, demonstrate that you’re tough on crime? By getting lots and lots of convictions. In fact, it’s really the only way prosecutors are measured. They get no credit for deciding not to prosecute a case, or for losing a case. I even know of a prosecutor who’s decision to not prosecute a case got him voted out of office in the next election.”
We have to end the dependency on the idea that society is somehow helped by most kinds of arrests and convictions. No one has been helped by a drug arrest or raid, or the subsequent convictions. Those are as political as it gets, too, and it’s too easy to win brownie points with some parties for drug arrests. At the same time it’s been tremendously corrupting to our legal system. This can be changed by ending the practice of arresting people for drug use and possession.
Depending on this kind of justice system is like depending on poison and thinking that it will make us healthier.