How A Kangaroo Court Works

The website study.com includes the following definition of exculpatory evidence:

In Brady v. Maryland (1963), the Supreme Court held that exculpatory evidence withheld in a criminal trial can result in a re-hearing of the case. In this case, Brady was convicted for murder, and the prosecutor failed to tell a jury that another defendant, who had committed the murder with Brady, had already confessed to the killing. The court stated that the jury needed to hear that evidence because it could assist them in their decision regarding Brady. From then on, any exculpatory evidence the prosecutor or law enforcement has is called Brady material, the requirement to turn Brady material over to the defense is called the Brady rule.

Any evidence from a crime scene is subject to the Brady rule.

But what other kind of evidence is exculpatory? The law says ‘any evidence’ that tends to show innocence of the defendant is included. This can include crime scene evidence, witness testimony, DNA results, and medical records.

…The Supreme Court said that without the rule, the defendant’s due process rights would be violated. Due process comes from the 5th and 14th Amendments to the Constitution, and means that before the government can take away your liberty, it must first give the person the rights and process due to him or her under the Constitution. If the government has evidence that says you might be innocent, it would violate the fairness and impartiality of the trial process by just ignoring it and not letting the jury see it.

The concept of exculpatory evidence is going to be in the spotlight as the case against General Michael Flynn moves forward.

Yesterday John Solomon reported the following at The Hill:

For nearly two years now, the intelligence community has kept secret evidence in the Russia collusion case that directly undercuts the portrayal of retired Army general and former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn as a Russian stooge.

That silence was maintained even when former acting Attorney General Sally Yates publicly claimed Flynn was possibly “compromised” by Moscow.

And when a Democratic senator, Al Franken of Minnesota, suggested the former Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) chief posed a “danger to this republic.”

And even when some media outlets opined about whether Flynn’s contacts with Russia were treasonous. 

Yes, the Pentagon did give a classified briefing to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) in May 2017, but then it declined the senator’s impassioned plea three months later to make some of that briefing information public.

“It appears the public release of this information would not pose any ongoing risk to national security. Moreover, the declassification would be in the public interest, and is in the interest of fairness to Lt. Gen. Flynn,” Grassley wrote in August 2017.

Please follow the link to the article at The Hill to see the details, but the bottom line here is simple.

The article explains:

Rather than a diplomatic embarrassment bordering on treason, Flynn’s conduct at the RT (Russia Today) event provided some modest benefit to the U.S. intelligence community, something that many former military and intelligence officers continue to offer their country after retirement when they keep security clearances.

It’s important to wind back many months to where the Russia collusion narrative started and the media frenzy–driven suggestion that Flynn may have been on a mission to compromise America’s security and endanger this great republic when he visited Moscow.

Would the central character in a Russian election hijack plot actually self-disclose his trip in advance? And then sit through a briefing on how to avoid being compromised by his foreign hosts? And then come back to America and be debriefed by U.S. intelligence officers about who and what he saw?

And would a prosecutor recommend little or no prison time for a former general if that former military leader truly had compromised national security?

Highly unlikely.

It really is time for the deep state to stop its attack on President Trump and those who have supported him. Unfortunately, now that the Democrats control the House of Representatives, we can expect to see more taxpayer dollars spent on trying to undo an election they didn’t like.

 

When Lawyers Are Willing To Disregard The Law

On Saturday, Townhall posted an article about a recent New York Times editorial. The editorial was written by former Obama White House lawyer Kate Shaw. Ms. Shaw argues that traditional due process protections such as “the burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt; the presumption of innocence; [and] the right to confront and respond to an accuser” are not necessary for the purposes of determining if Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted Christine Blasely Ford more than 35 years ago or whether he should serve on the Supreme Court. Seems as if she went to the same law school as Barack Obama–the law is whatever she decides it is.

The article at Townhall includes the following from the New York Times:

“It’s natural to place this sort of accusation within a criminal-justice framework: the burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt; the presumption of innocence; the right to confront and respond to an accuser. If Judge Kavanaugh stood criminally accused of attempted rape, all of that would apply with full force. But those concepts are a poor fit for Supreme Court confirmation hearings, where there’s no presumption of confirmation, and there’s certainly no burden that facts be established beyond a reasonable doubt.” emphasis added

…“What matters here isn’t law as much as politics — though not (or not just) partisan politics. Confirmation hearings are also about constitutional politics — the debate, involving both institutions of government and the polity, about what the Constitution means and requires.

“So what standard should the Senate use in evaluating the claims made by Dr. Blasey and in deciding how they bear on Judge Kavanaugh’s fitness for a seat on the Supreme Court? The Senate’s approach to its constitutional “advice and consent” obligation has always depended on context.A number of factors matter: the timing of the vacancy; the justice being replaced; the nominee’s likely impact on the ideological makeup of the court; even the popularity of the president (very popular presidents have always had more leeway when it comes to picking justices).” emphasis added

So what is this really about? The Democrats have used to courts for years to pass laws that Congress could not pass. Abortion never made it though Congress–it was decided by the courts. Gay marriage never made it through Congress–it was decided by the courts. Teenage boys in teenage girls’ locker rooms never made it through Congress–it was decided by the courts. So Judge Kavanaugh is a threat to that status quo. He would probably be the fifth vote on the Supreme Court who would bring common sense back into the picture. The fact that he believes in the Constitution is a major threat to the hold the liberal wing of the Democrat Party (is there any other wing?) has on the Supreme Court. That is what this is really about.

Is anyone taking odds as to whether Professor Ford is going to be present at her hearing on Thursday?

Bringing Justice Into The Legal Process At Colleges

We all remember the Duke lacrosse scandal in 2006 where three fraternity brothers were charged with rape. Obviously, hiring a stripper was not the smartest thing these fraternity brothers ever did, but it hardly rose to the level of a crime. A lot of outside forces got involved. It was labeled a ‘hate crime,’ and a racial element also came into play with the arrival of the professional racial complainers. After all was said and done, part of the lacrosse season was canceled and team members were put through various legal processes before their names were finally cleared. Three accused players were eventually paid millions of dollars by the University in exchange for nondisclosure agreements after they were found not guilty. Some of the players transferred to other schools in order to continue playing lacrosse. The players were definitely guilty of bad judgement, but were eventually cleared of any other charges. The damage done to their reputations, however, is incalculable. Enter Education Secretary Betsy DeVoss.

On Saturday, The Detroit News reported:

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is following through on her commitment to stand up for the due process rights of all students on U.S. college campuses. From what we’ve seen of a new framework, it would go a long way to restoring constitutional protection in campus sexual assault investigations.

That’s a long-overdue change. Last September, DeVos began this work, rescinding overzealous Obama-era guidelines that pushed university administrators to investigate and adjudicate serious accusations and even crimes.

Using the threat of withheld funding if schools didn’t comply, the former administration instructed universities to lower the burden of proof and create a framework to give alleged victims the upper hand. Title IX, the law preventing sex discrimination in schools that take federal funds, has been expanded greatly in recent years to apply to cases of sexual misconduct.

All this led to accused students with little recourse to defend themselves, with serious repercussions as a result, including expulsion.

…As reported by the Times, the new rules would allow both the accused and the complainant to request evidence and to cross-examine each other — something that was discouraged previously. Also, universities could apply other avenues for solving complaints such as mediation and restorative justice, as long as the individuals involved mutually agreed.

The Education Department also seeks to define sexual harassment in a much more specific way: “Unwelcome conduct on the basis of sex that is so severe, pervasive and objectively offensive that it denies a person access to the school’s education program or activity.”

Previously, universities were told to handle any unwelcome sexual conduct.

Obviously there are many aspects to this story. We have instances of male college students accused of rape because their dates woke up the next morning regretting foolish decisions made the night before, and we have genuine instances of rape that were not punished sufficiently.

On June 3, 2016, The Cut reported the following:

Brock Allen Turner, the former Stanford swimmer who was discovered raping an unconscious woman behind a dumpster on campus in January of last year, will be sentenced to six months in county jail and probation. Prosecutors had recommended that Turner receive a sentence of six years, but judge Aaron Persky determined that Turner’s age — 20 — and lack of criminal history warranted him a much shorter sentence.

To me, that is as unjust as what was done to the Duke lacrosse team. Both extremes need to be avoided.

A Backdoor Approach To Limiting The Right Of Veterans To Own Guns ?

For the past day of so, a number of ‘facebook friends’ have posted links to articles about veterans being denied the right to own guns. I waited to post this article until I saw the letter involved and was able to see who sent it.

The Blaze posted the story on Friday along with a copy of the relevant letter. The letter was written by the Oregon Department of Veteran’s Affairs.

One paragraph from the letter states:

“A determination of incompetency will prohibit you from purchasing, possessing, receiving, or transporting a firearm or ammunition. If you knowingly violate any of these prohibitions, you may be fined, imprisoned, or both pursuant to the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, Pub.L.No. 103-159, as implemented at 18, United States Code 924(a)(2).”?

An article at Red Flag News states:

The letter provides no specifics on the reasons for the proposed finding of incompetency; just that is based on a determination by someone in the VA. In every state in the United States no one can be declared incompetent to administer their own affairs without due process of law and that usually requires a judicial hearing with evidence being offered to prove to a judge that the person is indeed incompetent. This is a requirement of the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that states that no person shall “… be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law…”.

The writer at Red Flag News further asks:

“If you are receiving a Social Security check will you get one of these letters? Will the government declare that you are incompetent because of your age and therefore banned from firearm ownership?” Connelly wrote. “It certainly fits in with the philosophy and plans of the Obama administration. It is also certain that our military veterans don’t deserve this and neither do any other Americans.”

This bears watching.

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