New Trial Granted for Patrick Thompson

On April 24, 2007, Judge Harry Clem handed down a decision to grant a new trial to black activist Patrick Thompson. This could result in a third trial. Thompson’s supporters demand that Special Prosecutor Michael Vujovich drop all charges and not spend one more cent of taxpayer money on this flimsy case. In the downstate Illinois environment of sundown towns and law-and-order Republicans, the police are as brutal in Urbana-Champaign as in Chicago. The black community is kept segregated from the University of Illinois campus and is heavily policed. Starting a cop watch program in 2004, Thompson captured local police on videotape as they arrived in “arrest mode” when dealing with the black community. For his media activism, the local authorities have come down hard on Thompson. In July 2006, Thomspon was found guilty of home invasion and sexual abuse. A 2005 trial in which Thompson defended himself pro se had ended in a mistrial. The guilty verdict in the second trial carried a sentence of 6-30 years. Thompson’s supporters say the state never presented any evidence or witnesses, and that this case was retribution for his political activism. Patrick Thompson, along with Martel Miller, is co-founder of VEYA (Visionaries Educating Youth and Adults). The two currently have a $15 million law suit against the police departments of Champaign and Urbana, as well as the Sheriff’s Department and the administration of the previous State’s Attorney, for illegally pursuing charges of felony eavesdropping. In 2004, Thompson and Miller were videotaping police and out of their footage produced the documentary Citizen’s Watch. The day after the first eavesdropping charges were filed, on August 24, 2004, Thompson was accused of sexual abuse and home invasion by a white woman and arrested by Urbana police. After Thompson was found guilty in July 2006, attorneys Bob Kirchner and Ruth Wyman took up his case. They filed a 90 page motion for a new trial, backed up by 800 examples of case law. Additional witnesses also testified in two days of court hearings. The basis of the request for a new trial was ineffective counsel, contradictory statements made by the accuser, and additional evidence that has not been heard by a jury. Kirchner and Wyman are to be commended for their heroic efforts to save Thompson from the clutches of the Champaign County criminal justice system. The Thompson family is very happy with the decision. But they should not have to live one more day with the threat of a third trial. Special Prosecutor Vujovich should DROP ALL CHARGES! For coverage of the post-trial hearings see: http://www.ucimc.org/node/712 and http://www.ucimc.org/node/922 Justice has been served. BD

Ineffective Counsel by Harvey Welch

Judge Harry Clem entered a seven page document justifying his allowance for a new trial. The basis of the decision was ineffective counsel by attorney Harvey Welch, with two main reasons given: 1) “[T]he failure of Defendant’s trial counsel to object to Hediger’s and Mefford’s improper hearsay testimony and the Special Prosecutor’s improper final argument mischaracterizing that testimony as corroborative evidence constituted the ineffective assistance of counsel.” 2) “Attorney Welch’s failure to file a motion in limine in regard to Defendant’s prior convictions prevented Defendant from being able to make an informed decision as to whether he would testify at trial.” The next court date is May 22 at 11 a.m. in Courtroom A. BD

The Bias of "Objective" Journalism

The News-Gazette posted to its website a few weeks ago a one paragraph story about a shooting at the IMC. The News-Gazette did NOT post to its website, today, Mary Schenk's latest twist on the PT case, despite it being a large A-3 story.

Pro-police coverage in NG

Schenk writes that VEYA not only videotaped but "was critical of the actions of local police," revealing her conisistently pro-police position. Of course, she is suggesting that Thompson is guilty not just of the standing charges, but guilty for questioning the actions of the police. BD

an observer

It is really good that judge granted rights for a new trial and that it opened the possibility to dismiss all charges. It is the serious achievement of Wyman and Kirshner, but mostly the indicator of changes to the better in the social climate around. I hope that these changes would stay.

an observer

It would be also nice, if some volunteers (or specially appointed people) stop mingle with other people's, mine, for one, comments here and on other webs. Freedom of speech, or, at least, a little part of it is a sign of a better social climate, isn't it? So, censors, including local, should take, at least, short vacation, shouldn't they?

Beating the odds

95% of motions for a new trial are unsuccessful. Clem's decision is a major victory for Thomspon and the activist community. This comes within the same week as the 200th case is overturned due to DNA evidence. All sides of the legal community are thinking twice before they send yet another man to prison. We are turning the tide. BD

Clem's ruling

Can you post a copy of Judge Clem's ruling?

In Support of Women Everywhere

Living in a rape culture, I am not surprised to hear that many otherwise "sound-minded" community members have absolved Thompson from any crime committed. Thompson's supporters say they believe in social justice but have quick to marginalize victims and support perpetrators of sexual abuse. Here's ther other side: It is estimated that only 3 in 10 rapes are reported, and of that small number, an even smaller 1.6% of rape claims are false. Considering the reaction that's been demonstrated on this website alone, it is easy to understand why so many rapes go unreported. People who do report being sexually assaulted are likely to be blamed for it, ostracized, humiliated, shamed, probed both mentally and physically, not believed and revictimized by society and family members. Why would anybody want such a negative stigma attached to their name? It is extremely unlikely that someone would undergo such personal intrusions and disparagements for the sake of a false report. Additionally, PT's supporters say there were no witnesses or evidence to Thompson's crime. In fact, sexual abuse frequently leaves no physical traces--only emotional scars--and there are rarely any witnesses to an attack besides the victim and the perpetrator. I would like to think that America is much more forward-thinking than countries like Pakistan, which require that a woman have 4 male witnesses in order to bring charges against a perpetrator of sexual assault, this being Islamic Law. While you claim this to be a victory for activists, this is truly a defeat for all women in our community and across the country, as 1 in 4 of those women will be sexually assaulted in her lifetime. The Patrick Thompson case is a shining example of how the system and society revictimize survivors. Thanks to the community response to this case, it will be that much harder for otehr victims to come forward.

law and the constitution

are yousaying that peopel should be able to simply accuse others of crimes with no evidence to support it? what sort of justice would that be? maybe it would be the kind that the scottsboro boys received or the hyundreds of inmates across the country now being exonerated by DNA. I agree that rape and violence against females has to be addressed as well as violence against other sovereign nations, but not with accusations and allegations. Where are the physical scars or grab marks on this white female from someone who was manhandled her less than an hour ago, in other words where are those weapons if mass destruction you were crying wolf about that led to an invaiosn and thousands of lives lost? where is the proof of a crime that has turned the Thompson family upsice down for three years? would you like to go through such an ordeal with NO PROOF? youre not so naive that you believe that people are falsely accused are you?

lacrosse and stripper

should the state have kept teh charges on the duke boys?

Why vilify a possible victim?

I understand that people who think of themselves as social activists sensitive to the oppression of the disadvantaged in our society would be critical of the more vigorous prosecution of a black, police-annoying man for a crime than a white police officer might receive. I assume you know what I'm talking about. However, nothing in this case calls for or justifies vilification of the alleged and very possibly actual victim. The two issues -- equal protection under the law for perpetrators and the rights of victims -- are not two sides of the same coin...they are unrelated issues. The fact that many vocal IMCers have confused the two issues and chosen to vilify the possible victim and assume the innocence of Mr. Thompson just because his prosecution may be clouded by racial issues is confused and simple-minded. The members of the IMC community (otherwise admirable) who have joined in this witch-hunt attitude toward the possible victim in this case have reinforced each other in feelings of superiority and self-righteousness to a degree that is shocking and disappointing to an onlooker. To fight racism, it is not necessary or desirable to engage in every misogynistic rape myth known to man. Get a grip and put an end to your polarized, lockstep thinking. A person who fights against one social injustice can nevertheless perpetrate another. It has been known to happen. Don't just believe what it flatters your left-wing-posturing ego to believe. Put down your "Public I" and think for yourself. When was the last time you really did that rather than go along with this one-sided witch hunt in order to get the warm-fuzzies from your fellow fanatics? I've got news for you: Thinking in stereotypes is not solely a problem of the right wing.

Oh, come on.

Superiority and self-righteousness on the IMC? Never!

Making More Victims Helps No One

You're right. Making more victims helps no one. So why victimize Mr. Thompson? It's not fair to make him a victim to support some mistaken notion of justice, as if the legal lynching of a black man is supposed to somehow redeem the community. And I don't think you've even tried to think about the implications of assuming the guilt of a black man accused of a sexual crime in this society, even though words to that effect seem to be coming out of your mouth. They do not seem to have affected your mistaken conclusion that race is basically irrelevant here and trumped by the fact that a women has accused a man of sexual abuse. Guilty as charged. Hang 'em high. It's not justice you want, but a kangaroo court. After reading everything I can about this case, I'm surprised that he was ever prosecuted in the first place. If you're worried about any effect of this case on that of other women, then consider the enormous resources involved in pushing this flimsy mess of a case forward. I wonder how many cases with good, substantive evidence are languishing because money was repeatedly spent on the misguided injustice of continuing to prosecute Mr. Thompson after his initial acquittal? Anyone familiar with women's issues knows that most women don't lie about being sexually abused. But knowing this also mean that we know that, like all humans, women sometimes lie. And it is essentially a "he said, she said" case, whether or not the notable lack of evidence was the responsibility of the investigating officer who neglected to even attempt collecting physical evidence or because it just wasn't there in the first place. Fundamentally, it's not even about whether the "victim" lied or not. It's about whether the jury had a reasonable doubt about the evidence presented against Mr. Thompson. Given that, a jury declined to acquit Mr. Thompson the first time around. Clem's review of the case file in issuing a decision for a third trial indicates again the consistent weakness of the state's case. Finally, I know Ruth Wyman. I doubt if she would have taken the case if she didn't firmly believe in her client's innocence. Are you accusing Ms. Wyman of somehow victimizing women here, too? Because that is ridiculous.

If you will re-read my post,

If you will re-read my post, there is no mention of the accuser accept to mention she is white. Some things I have written in the past maybe should have been withheld, but I have reported on nothing but the facts of the case. As this case has developed, I have attempted to avoid vilifying the accuser and stick to the facts. Indeed, these issues are complicated. Activists can also commit violence against women. And some women do make false allegations. What about Maria Thompson? Can we support her too? We have said consistently, its not just that there was no evidence of this alleged crime, but that the Urbana police never even bothered to look for evidence. This is an issue of accountability we should work together to correct. Did Officer Hediger fail to collect evidence because he didn’t believe the accuser, a poor woman in a poor neighborhood? Did Hediger not enter the crime scene because he was involved in a cover up to frame Thompson for his activism? I am also interested in attacking a culture of violence against women. Check out my reporting in the Public i on Officer Hjort and Deputy Ryan Garrett. Look out for my upcoming article on local attorney Brian Silverman. The ARDC just suspended Silverman for nine months because he had extorted sexual favors from the girlfriend of a client. There are a total of six women on record who say they were victims of Silverman’s sexual misconduct. Silverman should have been disbarred a long time ago, but he will be back to work in 2008. Again, I invite anyone who would like to work together on these issues to come talk to us at C-U Citizens for Peace and Justice. We meet every Saturday at 4 p.m. at the IMC. BD

i don't see that

someone claimed that "Thompson's supporters" were "marginaliz[ing] victims and support[ing] perpetrators of sexual abuse." i never read anything like that. i did see plenty of evidence presented that placed a lot of doubt on the woman's story. the innocent tend to cite things that support their side of the story. that's all. get over it.

missing feminists

The arguments BD and others are putting forward (specifically: casting doubt on the alleged victim's credibility) are precisely the kinds of things that feminists get upset about when non-leftists say them. If the News Gazette had printed statements undermining the credibility of an alleged rape victim, do you honestly think the IMC would sit quietly by? I really am surprised by the near total silence of Champaign-Urbana feminists. BD and others can argue and justify all they like, but the hypocrisy is just too glaring. Now I happen to think that politically-motivated and vindictive false accusations do occur, and that an accuser's track record *may* be relevant. I also think some activists get a little carried away in their willingness to believe accusers and vilify the accused. Maybe Thompson is innocent. But I am simply astounded that BD and others are getting a free pass on this one. No argument, no debate, just a quick willingness to believe that a fellow activist isn't guilty. IMC feminists, where are you? Or will you sit down and shut up when you're told to "get over it"?

Just Maybe

It might just be that typically feminists are a bit more complicated and able to handle more complexity than the purely self-interested entity that you make them out to be? There is a long tradition in this country of those struggling against racism and those struggling against patriarchy working together. Do you really think your inane and clumsy trolling convinces anyone? You haven't put together one good argument yet in your campaign of intimidation against activists working for civilian review boards and against racial profiling and police abuse of force against the public. In fact, you sound rather like the typical conservative drone, who paints everything with a wide brush, in black and white, no grey areas, because you can't sell what little you have in the way of ideas if you can't cast the other side as some stereotypical Manichean, straw-woman for you to knock down to prove how evil and hypocritical the other side is -- and that you're not. You really are such a repetitive joke. Or is it a jerk? You have no business lecturing people here and no credibility.

Fun with stereotypes...

"In fact, you sound rather like the typical conservative drone, who paints everything with a wide brush, in black and white, no grey areas, because you can't sell what little you have in the way of ideas if you can't cast the other side as some stereotypical Manichean, straw-woman for you to knock down to prove how evil and hypocritical the other side is -- and that you're not. You really are such a repetitive joke. Or is it a jerk? You have no business lecturing people here and no credibility." Translation: "You sound like one of those OTHER people! The ones who always think in 'us against them' terms!". I swear, this page gets funnier by the week.

No Evidence?

It's wrong to say there there was no evidence of a crime. The testimony of the victim is evidence. The testimony of others who observed her is evidence. It's not CSI, and you may not choose to give it much weight (unless, of course, the testimony of the person who observed the victim cast doubt on her claim). It is, however, evidence.

Tested by a Jury and Rejected

That might be a convincing argument if Mr. Thompson had been found guilty at his first trial. Apparently, the jury hearing the case found it less than convincing. The "victim" had her day in court and so did the state. Then the state wanted a makeover. You'd think a makeover would be reserved for those with limited resources, rather than the unlimited resources that the state has. I suppose if I had a weak case, like the state does, I'd like to keep retrying it until it came out my way. It's time this travesty of justice ended. I'm tired of them wasting tax dollars on this. The conduct of the state discredits justice. A third trial is simply not warranted.

No verdict and guilty verdict

The first trial ended in a hung jury. The second jury trial ended with a guilty verdict. That's one no verdict and one guilty verdict. The evidence was never "tested by a jury and rejected" in this case. Although no jury ever acquitted Thompson, even an an aquittal wouldn't have meant that there was *no* evidence of a crime. It would have meant that the factfinder didn't think that there was sufficient evidence to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt.

Time line

A Timeline of the Patrick Thompson Case Spring 2003: Patrick Thompson released from a federal penitentiary after serving ten years for drug trafficking. Fall 2003: Visionaries Educating Youth and Adults (VEYA) formed by black community activists Patrick Thompson and Martel Miller. Beginning with mentoring programs, Thompson and Miller soon realize that constant confrontations with police impede the education of black youth. March 26, 2004: VEYA writes a letter to Champaign Police Chief, Mayor, and City Manager to notify them that they are starting to videotape police during routine traffic stops. April 2004: Citizen’s Watch videotaping begins. August 23, 2004: Martel Miller indicted on two counts of felony eavesdropping on Champaign Police. August 24, 2004: Patrick Thompson accused of sexual abuse and home invasion by his next door neighbor, a white woman. Bail for Thompson is set at $250,000 (04CF1571). August 25, 2006: Citizen’s Watch video documentary is seized by Urbana Police, they claim for use as evidence in eavesdropping charges. September 2, 2006: Thompson charged with felony eavesdropping. September 11 and 12, 2004: Citizen’s Watch documentary film is shown at Champaign Public Library and Boardman’s Art Theater to packed audiences. September 25, 2004: Eavesdropping charges are dropped against Miller, but not against Thompson. December 1, 2004: After running her campaign on Thompson’s case, new State’s Attorney Julia Rietz drops eavesdropping charges against Thompson, but charges of sexual abuse and home invasion remain. Rietz later withdraws from the case, which Presiding Judge Tom Difanis then gives to Special Prosecutor Michael Vujovich. After three months in jail, Thompson is released on his own recognizance. June 20, 2005: Thompson and Miller file a pro se federal civil law suit against Champaign, Urbana, and Champaign County claiming their civil rights were violated when police seized their video equipment. July 18-20, 2005: Thompson defends himself pro se in first trial before an all-white jury. Trial ends in a hung jury and is declared a mistrial. October 2005: Thompson hires Urbana attorney Harvey Welch for second trial. February 2006: Community Court Watch, a coalition of civil rights organizations, forms to support Thompson and address double standards in the criminal justice system. July 5-7, 2006: Second trial takes place. Prosecution brings six witnesses to the stand. Defense attorney Harvey Welch presents one witness. Jury arrives at guilty verdict for sexual abuse and home invasion. Thompson faces 6-30 years in prison. August 7, 2006: Thompson fires Welch and new attorneys Bob Kirchner and Ruth Wyman file a motion for re-trial. January 5, 2007 and February 7, 2007: Witnesses are heard in post-trial motion. April 24, 2007: Thompson granted a new trial. May 22, 2007: Next court date at 11 a.m. in Courtroom A.

Typical

Yeah, the anti-BD crowd of one or two is at it again. They can't wait to get the third chance to throw a black man in jail on flimsy evidence, but they don't have the time to comment on Silverman's victims. For them, a pattern of abusive behavior demonstrated repeatedly by a "respectable" white lawyer is sufficiently adjudicated when he's had his credentials temporarily suspended and maybe faces a few civil suits. But do they call out for criminal charges so that his victims get their day in court? Nah, that's too much trouble for them. That's only one of the hypocrisies I read between their lines in this discussion.

Sexism. racism, and the criminal injustice system

I'm kind of surprised, but shouldn't be, at the argument regarding Patrick's accuser. She makes serious accusations, but the police dropped the ball and did a minimal investigation. All we know for sure is that neither Patrick nor his accuser showed any bruises or scratches when they talked to the police officer. If the police had properly investigated the matter, we wouldn't be having this argument. It is an insult to women that the investigation was so flawed, but I fear this is no coincidence. Given that the police dropped the ball, the presumption of innocence should apply. But when a white woman accuses a black man, this is often not the case. So we have sexism, racism, and a broken criminal justice system all on display here. There is no doubt that the system is broken- half of the folks on Illinois death row being found to be innocent is all we need to consider. If this happened, it is safe to assume that more than half of the folks in prison for less serious crimes are also innocent. Bob Illyes

Innocence

Lest I created any doubt by speaking as a disinterested observer in my prior post, Patrick is innocent. I sat through both trials, went to the showing of Patrick and Martell's documentary at the Art, and have spent a lot of time going over the evidence. The jury did not have the benefit of either all of the evidence available or of the reasons for political retribution. Judge Clem was extremely fair throughout all of this. Ruth and Bob have done an extraordinary job. These folks have gone out of their way to stand by justice in a system that encourages the opposite. We owe all of them, Patrick, Martell, Judge Clem, Ruth and Bob, an effort to see to it that the system itself is repaired, as well as our thanks. Bob Illyes

Feminist Taxpayer

Any money spent on a third trial for Mr. Thompson seems like it would be much better spent on a FIRST trial for Mr. Silverman. He's a serial offender, at the least. Who will he prey on next, after the slap on the wrist he got? The wisdom of the decision to try the weak Thompson case in the interests of political expediency is something that falls politically on the shoulders of the prosecution, not the defendant. It's a conservative wet-dream to place women and black men to try to push them into an antagonistic position over such issues. Some of these comments are right out of the playbook where the white male hero is supposed to show up to rescue the white heroine and live happily ever after, while keeping the "others", male and female, in line so they can live happily ever after in the suburbs. Justice for each and every one of us -- not on your tired stereotypes -- is what's most important. Free Thompson! -- Try Silverman!

Fascinating comment....

One of the detractors in this thread may have summarized why the case didn't end on August 24, 2004 when it should have when they wrote: "....the more vigorous prosecution of a black, police-annoying man..." The Thompson case is pure retaliation for videotaping the police while they were on duty in the public way. Pure and simple. There is no victim of a sexual crime in this case because it never happened. Urbana Police officer Michael Hediger knows it, Special Prosecutor Michael Vujovich knows it, and so does the accuser whom they are using to frame Thompson. Now a real lawyer has stepped in and is willing to call the witnesses that exist to prove it. Perhaps Rietz will step in like she did in the eavesdropping case and do the right thing by dismissing the case. She's ignored her own claims of a conflict of interest before. Or maybe her allegiance is to the Difanis Gang Good Ol Boy Network now and doing the right thing is not on her agenda since it doesn't serve her interests as it did on the campaign trail.

Choose your heros with care

I am the author of the "fascinating comment," though I don't think it's especially fascinating. It's a banal fact that being a gadfly on the body of the establishment can lead to harsher prosecution (each of the 3 criminal trials on which I served as a juror gave me ample proof of this) or perhaps even to retaliation. However, if you take a good look at the PT time line above in this very discussion, there is evidence that the crime Thompson has been accused of is not a dramatic departure for him and he well may have committed it. Sorry but this is not the Dreyfus Affair or the murder of Emmett Till. Don't let ideology or justifiable social outrage blind you to the possibility that this woman may not be lying and that some heroes have feet of clay. One poster made the great comment "we have sexism, racism, and a broken criminal justice system all on display here." Yes, all that, and maybe also, sadly, a crime of sexual assault.

No Heroes

No one's a hero for asking for justice, expecting it for others, or expecting it from others. The fact that a certain element seems determined to deny someone the right a fair trial says a lot about their hypocritical invocation of feminism -- and a lot about their shallow commitment to human rights.

Let's all just calm down.

I don't know that anyone here wants to deny Mr Thompson a fair trial. I just wish people would wait until the trial happened before they declare automatically that he's either guilty or innocent. This is one of those cases, like the OJ trial, that people are going to think what they think, before the trial even happens, and, in many cases, even after. I mean, of course BD is going to take Thompson's side. Even if Thompson was found guilty with an air-tight case against him, BD would STILL take his side against the police. BD roots for the underdog, and this is a perfectly noble thing for him to do. Here, for example, is something he put up last summer, about the mistreatment of a convicted child molester in prison: http://archive.ucimc.org/feature/display/127599/index.php So BD would pretty much always defend Thompson. Regardless of whether or not he did this, his docmentary against the police was still a good one. The problem is, there are very few really impartial voices in this case. BD in particular (again, not trying to insult him or anything, but it's pretty clear where his sympathies are going to lie). Therefore, I just think it would be nice if we could have just one issue here on the IMC where people on both sides didn't just go around slanging the opposition and attributing the worst possible motives to them. Ah, but what am I saying? This is the IMC, after all.

Rooting for the underdog

But don't you see? It is quite likely that there are two underdogs here -- a more complex truth than some in this discussion seem willing to consider. Sometimes a person who is an underdog in one context is privileged in another. Sadly, it is often human nature to identify with, root for, and totally trust one side, while dehumanizing and distrusting the other, a position that is rarely justified or constructive.

calming down or not

I have to clarify, this article "put up by Brian" about the "mistreatment of a convicted child molester" -- http://archive.ucimc.org/feature/display/127599/index.php -- is not, as the anonymous comment above seems to imply, written by Brian Dolinar. The prisoner submitted it through the Books to Prisoners project at the IMC, and Brian seems to have gotten the crazy idea somewhere that anybody ought to be able to publish something on the IMC site, so he "put it up". I don't really see how it says anything about Brian's biases, unless you follow the guilt by association line. That said, I also have to say I have heard and read some comments in connection with this case, not from Brian but others of Patrick's supporters, about "hoes" or allegedly innocent play nowadays being deemed sexual assault, etc. These comments say nothing whatsoever about Patrick's innocence or guilt, of course, but it is true they do not deserve a pass. It can't be said often enough: sexual assault s a serious crime. If Patrick is guilty, his activism - valuable as it is - shouldn't get him off for it. However, because it is a serious crime, there needs to be serious evidence. True enough, as someone anonymously said, there is rarely much evidence in a case like this. That shouldn't stop the police from looking for it. The accuser in this case should probably be suing the police, too, in fact, for treating her accusations with such a cavalier attitude. I think we can all agree that CSI is a fantasy world, but short of that there are ways to gather evidence, if they want to. Personally, I think too much has been made about the accuser's previous accusations. Lack of convictions in prior cases, or even dropping charges, etc., essentially proves nothing. Do people who have in fact been victimized drop charges, fail to file charges, keep it to themselves for days on end or weeks or years? Absolutely. Even so, no system of justice worthy of the name would convict anyone of anything - least of all a serious crime - without more evidence than one person's word. We shouldn't say this lightly, but consider the alternative: you don't like someone, frame 'em. Easy as pie. Just won't work as a system of justice. Yes, that inevitably means some guilty people will go free. That's bad. But better that than sending another innocent to jail - we have plenty of those already. Time to drop the charges and set up civilian police review boards in Champaign and Urbana.

OK, fine.

I knew BD didn't write it, and I never said he did. Still, I'm pretty sure you knew exactly what I meant, didn't you? Was this, in fact, the ONLY submission BD ever received to have something put up on the IMC? He didn't have to agree to post it. What it says about his "biases" is that he sympathizes with people who he feels have been mistreated by the police. Nothing at all wrong with that. But, really, whether he received a hundred submissions, or just the one, the fact that he does the whole Books For Prisoners thing at all indicates that his sympathies tend to lie with those accused of crimes, which I don't think he'd find a particularly controversial statement. You may be right about one person's testimony not being enough to convict someone of a crime. That's a pretty complicated issue. However, what also seems to be forgotten is that the LACK of more evidence than that is also not enough evidence that he's totally innocent of the charges and the victim of a frame-up, and that the accuser is a lying "ho", the conclusion a lot of Thompson's supporters have jumped to. Remember, it's possible to be both guilty AND framed for a crime at the same time. Remember Mumia Abu-Jamal? But why just drop the charges automatically? If we really want to get to the bottom of this, why not go ahead and go to another trial? As far as the crazy idea that everyone has the right to post on IMC, well, if I had a dime for every comment of mine that's been deleted...

They Not Deciding Anyone's Innocence

You seem to be missing the point. A trial is not about whether or Mr. Thompson is innocent. It's about whether or not he's guilty. The standard of proof is NOT "what also seems to be forgotten is that the LACK of more evidence than that is also not enough evidence that he's totally innocent of the charges..." It's whether there is proof beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Thompson was guilty. Given the extraordinarily weak case presented by the prosecution, I am incredulous that the case was brought in the first place or that a jury would convict him. But we're talking about a black man and a Champaign County jury. I don't see where anyone called this woman a "ho." Your mean-spirited comment about Books 2 Prisoners says more about you than the volunteers of many faiths and beliefs who feel the public is better served by more humane prisons. Your insinuation that they somehow care about prisoners -- whether guilt of not, because you didn't specify and there is a difference -- and not about victims is crass and unworthy of decent conversation, besides being untrue. Perhaps your habit of lying and trolling comments is the source of your grief?

Read closer

The "ho" joke (and other derogatory, sexist comments) were made on 4/25 on the "Guilty Verdict Overturned" post. Similar comments have been made throughout the discussion of the PT trials on these boards. It's very dispiriting that persons who probably do want to promote social justice are so blind to their own misogyny that they enthusiastically embrace sexism as their weapon of choice against racism.

Mean-sprited?

What the hell are you talking about, mean-spirited? Listen. I have all the respect in the world for BD and his Books To Prisoners thing. I believe completely that prisoners should be treated with respect. All I was saying was that, in all honesty, everyone here on the IMC knows, for a fact, that BD writes with the perspective of someone who takes the side of people on the wrong end of the criminal justice system. I'm sure, if you asked him, that BD would admit to exactly this. Perhaps you ought to try to read what people say before you shoot your mout off. Not everyone who disagrees with you is Rush Limbaugh, you know. I'll grant you, of course, that understanding this takes a certain subtlety of thought, which, from what I've seen so far, is completely absent among the IMC crew. That's not my fault, though, is it?

You're Part of The "IMC crew"

There's a lot of anonymous posting here, You're one of them. Thus you're one of the "IMC crew". Are you criticizing yourself? If not, then I also see no need to paint EVERYONE at IMC as part of of something that one or two anonymous posters irritate you over. Besides, such statements of broad and even ridiculous generality are typical of patterns of trolling comments we've experienced before. Now we've had several such comments again posted here anonymously. I think it's time to go back to discussing the story, instead of your make-believe imagery of a mythically evil "IMC crew." Besides, we don't let anonymous people set our editorial policy. This is another off-topic area. If you want to comment on that, like the many times I've done this before without result, you're invited to attend a meeting and raise your concerns. Other than that, stew in your juices. Start your own website or blog. But stay on topic if you want to post here.

Broad and ridiculous generality.

"Your insinuation that they somehow care about prisoners -- whether guilt of not, because you didn't specify and there is a difference -- and not about victims is crass and unworthy of decent conversation, besides being untrue. Perhaps your habit of lying and trolling comments is the source of your grief?" This is what I consider an example of broad and ridiculous generality. I was merely responding to it. Trying to explain that I understand a little of the subtlety around here, which in fact, is something I've done before. Here's another example: "make-believe imagery of a mythically evil 'IMC crew.'" Never said anything about anyone being evil here, did I? In fact, if you look at pretty much everything I said, it boils down to "I sympathize with BD's concerns. I just wish everyone would stop the name-calling (for example, 'hos') and not assume too much one way or the other." But everytime I said ANYTHING around here, I got accused of being crass, of lying (which is an interesting accusation in itself, considering that I don't think I really made a single statement of fact that even COULD be a lie), and, possibly a racist. Still wondering why I don't want to cfome to one of your meetings?

Missing the point

You ALSO seem to be missing the point. Trial or no trial, whether or not it's possible to call him legally guilty or not, he still may, in fact, BE guilty. Being exonerated for a crime is no evidence that he did not, in fact, DO the crime. Not that I'm saying he did. This is another one of those "subtlety of thought" things. I don't expect you to get it.

What would have solved the "crime"...

...an honest investigation by the Urbana police. Those claiming to be the champions of victims of sexual assault should be appalled by the way the Thompson Retaliation case was handled by police. If you are truely interested in seeing perps of sex crimes being caught, you would be astonished at how poorly police defended and took seriously the accuser's claims. It serves no one's safety to prosecute innocent people just because, ahem,...the defendant happens to have embarrassed the police with a video documentary that proves the police act a whole lot different north of University Avenue. Prosecuting the innocent just because an overreaching State's Attorney, an obedient assistant State's Attorney, and a couple of police chiefs have exposed the County to an indefensible multi-million dollar civil lawsuit is no cure for the 70 sexual assaults a year on campus.The flagrant disregard for even the News-Gazette's and Channel 15's First Amendment Rights to record police behavior has given rise to County Authorities plotting a phoney prosecution, fraught with perjury and racist courtroom tricks, only to keep a citizen from collecting on a budget-breaking-no-new-jail-in-the-foreseeable-future lawsuit. The corruption of John Piland and Elizabeth Dobson was severe and the current State's Attorney, Julia Rietz, damn well knows it. Of course, what can we expect from Rietz?, who from jump street showed her true colors when she tried to pay off Michael Rich in the Sgt. Myers Torture Case and paid off Ray Hsieh to go away? While Rietz is willing to garner acclaim by dismissing Thompson's eavesdropping charges, she plays ball with the good-Ol Boy Difanis Gang Network by watching on the sidelines as Special Prosecutor Vujovich commits one prosecutorial misconduct after another, tricking juries with heresay puppet shows and old racial innuendos in the courtroom. A white woman with a history of accusing innocent people of sexual crimes (at her job) points a finger at a big black man, while the Accuser's legal problems mysteriously vanish. Please. Don't believe for a second the Eavesdropping Debacle, the prosecution that contributed to showing Piland and Dobson the door, isn't what's driving this deceitful theatre. The Thompson Retaliation Case is another disgusting piece of Champaign County legal work that law schools should teach everywhere so as to avoid this complete mockery of our criminal justice system in the future. Meanwhile, the Urbana Police Kurt Hjort Rape Case sparks no one's outrage.....

Kurt Hjort Rape Case

You know why there's no outrage here about Kurt Hjort? Because there's nobody here going on and on about how he must have been innocent. If there was, I guarantee you you'd see all the outrage you wanted. Nobody brought him up until now.

If You Just Joined Us from Icky Pundit

There was extensive coverage of the Hjort case on UC IMC -- unfortunately it was NOT a trial, even though it should have been, given the hard evidence of crime available against this Urbana officer. Search on the link to the old UC IMC site, too as most of it is probably in the archives there. IIRC, one of those who covered it was BD. There were outraged comments from feminists about the way the State let Hjort walk, only for him to to be quickly found trying to apply in a nearby town for another job in law enforcement afterwards. But I don't recall any AFAIK from the current crop of troll wannabee "feminists".

OK, fine then.

Go ahead if you don't believe me. Write up a whole huge story about how Kurt Hjort MUST be innocent. Post it right here on the IMC. I give you about half an hour before you receive indignant responses. This is the way it should be. People who are just absolutely dismissive of sexual assault charges get shouted down. So what? Who are you really arguing with?

Wow! Talk about a rock and a hard place

Sexual Assault is one of the worst things you can charge a person with. Even if the state dropped charges at this point Patrick Thompson is going to carry the stigma of this for the rest of his life. Based on the information that I have read including news reports and public records I have come to the conclusion that Thompson did not commit the crime he is accused of. That being said I do understand the passion that people express about the rights of victims. In an ideal universe one should be able to prove innocence or guilt without putting the alleged victim on trial. Unfortunately in this situation the only evidence the authorities have is Patricks word against the person who accused him. Like it or not our legal system does give Patrick the right to confront his accuser and her background and character is something that will be questioned as a result. The only constructive thing I can see being done is to perhaps try to find ways in which a defendant can fight for his rights while the alleged victims background remains private. I find it disturbing that men have served time in prison after being charged with rape and that DNA testing ultimately exonerated them. If anything this shows that there are flaws with our legal system and how can we protect the rights of victims when innocent men are being incarcerated? If anything situations like what has happened in the Thompson case and having DNA evidence exonerate the wrongfully convicted is by far more damaging to victims rights than a few ignorant comments on a message board. The bottom line for me is we are talking about the lives of human beings. Patrick Thompson is someones son, a husband, and a father. His accuser is a daughter and a mother. I can only imagine that these two individuals and their families have had their lives turned upside down as a result of this situation.

I agree.

I completely agree with you about men serving time for rapes they didn't do. But what about all those raped women who didn't come forward because they didn't have what was considered "enough" proof for what happened to them? Most of the time, there isn't CSI-quality proof, and in a he-said, she-said world, there's no way they're going to be taken seriously. It's a rough problem. One far too complex for the IMC to work out. Oh. And since I seem to have built up a presence here on the IMC, call me Xander.

Date Rape

I mean, have you never heard of date rape? The whole point of that crime is a "he-said, she-said" kind of thing. So what? Should we ignore the charges until there are stone-cold proofs of guilt? Or should we only do so when the potential perps are African-American activists? Because if so, I can dig it. Just make sure that's really the message you want to send.

Rape Is Irrelevant

Generally, rape or attempted rape leaves physical evidence. Not always, but generally it does. Once again, this is NOT about proving innocence, the system does not function that way. Can you PROVE you had nothing to do with this crime yourself? OK then, don't try to set an impossible and illegal standard as the yardstick against which to judge Mr. Thompson. If there were "stone cold proofs of guilt" in this case, no one would be defending Mr. Thompson, especially at UC IMC. In fact, it is the lack of ANY proof, other than the statement of the victim against Mr. Thompson, that brings us to this point. You're floating a big red herring by bringing up rape, considering that no one has alleged anything about rape and that a black man stands accused here. Are you really a racist or do you just sound like you might be one because of your clumsy logic?

Anonymous posting

Could you anonymous posters please make up pseudonyms for yourselves and end your comments with them? It is impossible to keep track of who is arguing what otherwise. Even anonymous 1, 2, 3... would be an improvement.

Re Ricky's comment, reasonable doubt

Ricky wrote "Even so, no system of justice worthy of the name would convict anyone of anything - least of all a serious crime - without more evidence than one person's word." That is precisely what I think. But when Vujovich was deciding which jurors to exclude, he asked each if they could convict someone with no evidence but another person's word. I found it astonishing that he could get away with this. Allowing this (as is apparently common) may largely explain why there are so many innocent folks in prison. It is said that prisoners are able to shorten their prison sentences by fingering someone else, who is often locked up on that person's word alone. Why would you take the word of a convicted felon who can gain by lying? Apparently reasonable doubt is passe. Bob Illyes

No Denial of the Charges

I have a couple of questions. Why has Patrick Thompson NEVER denied doing it? Why has he NEVER said, "I am innocent"? Not "others" denying it for him, why hasn't HE ever denied it?

To clear things up...

Just so everyone knows, none of these "anonymous"s are me. I've got a name now. :) Seriously, I really didn't have any idea how easy it was. To any further anonymous posters, I highly recommend getting a real name. I feel bad that I didn't for so long...

Denial

Patrick Thompson has denied doing it, to me and to many other people. I have no idea which anonymous you are, so I don't know what your position on anything is. Please do start using a pseudonym. Some of the anonymous folks appear to be suffering from rabies, and I doubt you want to be confused with them. Bob Illyes

Pled Innocent at Least Twice

Mr. Thompson pled innocent in court, under oath, twice so far. I think that anonymous 8:58 is just trying to throw out red herrings as a distraction from the manifest weaknesses of the state's case.

Defendants do not plead

Defendants do not plead "innocent" at arraignment, and defendants are not placed under oath when pleading "not guily" at arraignment Court. Interestingly, Thompson has NEVER taken the witness stand, under oath, and denied doing it. Mr. Illyes, maybe he has stated he didn't do it you and "many others", but it sure hasn't been stated to the public. Anon 8:58

You're Just Being Ridiculous

You're still fishing for red herrings, even if I fumbled the details. BFD. OK, his attorney (or perhaps himself in the first trial, I wasn't there for either) entered a plea of not guilty, TWICE. The anonymous pro-injustice system troll has been insisting that Thompson prove that he's innocent all along and this BS is just the latest version of this legal myth. That is not the way the system works and you know it. We'd also have to ask you if you can prove you're innocent of the alleged crime. I'll bet you can't prove that either, but likewise you shouldn't have to, just as Thompson is under no obligation to prove he's innocent. It's the persecutor's job to prove he's guilty. What is relevant is that the evidence in this case is astonishingly weak. A police officer or attorney would never be hauled into court on such flimsy evidence in this county, as illustrated by the Hjort and Silverman cases. Once again, if you can rely on your white privilege in Champaign County, you can get way with all kinds of criminal behavior, because of the wonders of prosecutorial discretion. If you're black, people can seemingly make practically anything up and a prosecutor will insist that a jury needs to decide.

Justice at Risk

No one's innocence is relevant if a case can be decided solely on the basis of "he said/she said" testimony. I can make up any sort of lie and, if sounds good enough, then it doesn't matter that you're innocent. Apparently, many jurors in Champaign County have spent too much time reading the half-truths about the local justice system in the News-Gazette and too little time considering what "beyond a reasonable doubt" means. Unquestioning belief that the justice system delivers real justice will do that to you. Jurors are there to critically and independently evaluate the evidence, not act as a fan club for anything a prosecutor decides to put in front of it. I don't know Mr. Thompson and can't actually recall ever meeting him. I doubt if the person obsessing about Thompson's supposed lack of declaration of innocence has been following him around 24/7. But I'm pretty sure that Mr. Thompson has expressed his innocence of the charges to those he knows a number of times or he wouldn't be getting the community support he's gained throughout this legal ordeal. But if you haven't been dogging his steps every hour of the day, I don't see how your claim has any merit, despite its legal irrelevance. Your claims about his lack of innocence remind me of the old strawman question "And exactly when did you stop beating your wife?"

Double standards in prosecutorial discretion

Patrick didn't take the stand at the second trial, Anon 8:58, due to a mistake on Welsh's part. At his first trial he denied knowing his accuser and denied having been in her apartment. If this isn't the same as denying having done it, I don't know what is, unless we are engaged in verbal nit-picking. The issues are 1) Why didn't the police investigate a serious charge adequately to establish innocence or guilt, which they could have done. 2) Why did Vujovich decide to presecute knowing that there was reasonable doubt regarding Patrick's guilt, due to the inadequate police investigation. And why did he decide to prosecute yet again? 3) Why were Hjort and Silverman not prosecuted, when there was much evidence to work with in their cases. Could it be that these guys were part of the criminal justice system, while Patrick is not? I don't know anyone who has looked at this double standard closely and not been completely grossed out. This sort of thing is not supposed to happen in America, right? Well, it isn't supposed to happen, but it clearly is happening right now in Champaign County. As I said earlier, reasonable doubt seems to be passe. If the standard of reasonable doubt is in fact dead, America is dead. We need to do something about this. Bob Illyes

Obssession with "Justice" in the Face of Obvious Injustice

Bob, Some people are so obsessed with what they call "justice" that they will tolerate any kind of injustice to obtain what they THINK is justice. We've seen the American public initially embrace laws that undermine the principles of justice, like the PATRIOT Act -- only to find that such laws simply invite abuse of the justice system by the government. Anyone who thinks our government is open enough that such abuses will always be caught is delusional. All we need to do is look at how the death penalty functioned in Illinois to see that rampant injustice. There's no reason to doubt that the same problems of racial disparity also function at lower levels in Illinois either -- and the relative merits of the Thompson, Hjort, and Silverman cases strongly reinforce the argument that the justice system is broken. AFAIK, reasonable doubt is still the operative standard. The problem is that the justice system needs public pressure or it will take every opportunity -- legitimate and illegitimate -- to undermine this standard in order to produce the kind of "law and order" statistics needed to persuade a gullible public to re-elect them in the future. Unfortunately, we know from the statistics showing systematic racial disparities in the justice system nearly across the board that this burden of supplying excuses to re-elect participants in this corrupt system falls most heavily on African-American men. But some people are totally insensitive to racial disparities in the justice system and are willing to believe almost any flimsy excuse for why they exist. It has always struck me how white privilege is so obviously at work in Champaign County, yet how so few white people are comfortable with discussing its implications -- let alone admitting that white privilege is the form that racism takes when it's no longer fashionable to wear KKK robes in public or use the "n" word.

More on reasonable doubt

Right, Mike, but I haven't seen any response to my comment from April 30. In it I noted that "when Vujovich was deciding which jurors to exclude, he asked each if they could convict someone with no evidence but another person's word", and kept people who said "yes". I commented on this to someone we both know and respect, and he said "Oh yeh, it's done all the time." Well, it shouldn't be. The people are, after all, sovereign, and need to and can do something about this. I submit that what is going on in court rooms is not what most Americans think is going on. This matter needs serious public scrutiny. Bob

Exactly My Point

Bob, Yes and that's exactly my point -- it's up to the people to keep the system honest. It can't be depended upon to supervise itself. As we've found, though, trying to keep the system honest really upsets some of the trolls around here. I didn't comment when you first brought up Vujovich's questioning of potential jurors, hoping that someone who knew more about what was in the decision to grant a new trial would clarify that. My take on it agrees with yours -- that this was prejudicial, because it undermines the presumption of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. I can see a person being convicted solely on the word of another happening in very rare cases, but I would argue that this would be the exception rather than the rule -- essentially that such testimony by the victim would have to overwhelmingly persuasive so as to establish guilt beyond a reasonable doubt against the accused. Even if I were present to see all the body language and tones of the second Thompson trial I simply can't believe that what is basically a near-equivalent of hearsay evidence (from what I saw reported on it) convicted Thompson. In fact, I can't even imagine an Academy Award level performance so good that it could straighten out all the obvious contradictions of the alleged victim's words recorded at various points and her words and actions witnessed by others after the time of the supposed incident. The conflicting stories and evidence, or lack of it -- both that allowed into the trial and that which the apparently ineffective representation did not cite -- in and of itself convinces me that no matter how convincingly the story is told, I would still have reasonable doubts about guilt if I was on a jury that could fairly hear all the evidence. As we also know, there were some issue with that jury involving, IIRC, pressures on the only person of color on it. Perhaps the failure to object to the line of Vujovich's jury questioning was one of the problems that eventually added up to Clem's decision that Thompson did not receive adequate representation. Does anyone with a copy of the ruling know? If somehow this line of jury questioning _is_ legally permissible, you're right, it's a major problem. People need to mobilize against such abusive instructions that build inherent biases into the system. Now, if the question was worded like, "Could you convict someone with no evidence but another person's word, IF you were convinced of their guilt beyond a reasonable doubt..." or the defense is allowed to ask "Do you consider one person's word against another's sufficient to establish guilt beyond a reasonable doubt in most cases?" and then be allowed to strike jurors who would do so, that would be different and a more level playing field. Recent research on eyewitness testimony, including that of victims, demonstrates that it is far more open to error than is commonly assumed. It is up to the justice system to establish standards that don't aggravate this tendency for victims to misidentify perpetrators or clarify things for jurors with appropriate instructions, who don't realize that memory and recall are far more unreliable than is commonly assumed. Otherwise, it's simply the prosecution being allowed to pack the jury with those inclined to believe the state, at the expense of the rights of the accused. In the absence of other evidence than that of the victim's word, along with fairly and fully admitting evidence that disputes her story, I think a reasonable doubt exists too big to overcome -- and it is most likely that at a third trial Thompson would be acquitted. The question is why a third trial against Thompson in light of the apparent unmet high standard to make a decision to NOT prosecute similar crimes by white males with far more substantive evidence? The fact is that even _IF_ Thompson did do the crime and was found guilty, pervasive injustice would still exist in Champaign County -- as injustice to the victims of white male participants or employees of the Champaign County justice system, victims whose interests were shoved under the rug to grant their abusers the fruits of white male privilege. If those who complain here about the coverage the Thompson trial receives are really on the side of victims as they claim, they would be best advised to pursue justice for the victims of white males. According to their point of view and their claims, Thompson need not worry about the justice he'll receive -- but there seems to be plenty of evidence that other victims do need your help, beyond BD's articles and the reporting of others here on Indymedia about those cases. The News-Gazette sure as hell isn't doing it. Why don't I see your angry letters to the editor there about their overlooking lots of other injustices to victims beyond your campaign to pillory Thompson on the flimsiest of evidence? This disparity in press criticism is just another example of how white privilege continues to operate in our community. It's obvious that those who excuse or simply prefer to overlook white privilege have no experience with or empathy for what it feels like to be on the receiving end of its negative effects.

I ask again: if Hjort and

I ask again: if Hjort and Silverman should be prosecuted based only on the victim's word, there is no physical evidence in either case, why not Mr. Thompson being prosecuted? Consistency in the belief of true justice would say: prosecute all of them or none of them. Which should it be?

Simple-Minded Consistency Is Often Unjust

It is my understanding that there was extensive evidence in the Hjort case of his violating the law for misuse of electronic data resources by using the METCAD-supported computers at his disposal to stalk his victim. Likewise, the electronic data on his location and status from his squad car while he committed his crimes on duty would likely have placed him fairly precisely, bith in time and location, at the scene of the crime. At a minimum, if I were a prosecutor, I'd think that having sex on duty -- even consensual sex as Hjort claimed it to be -- would be a fraud upon the city. But no, he's a white cop. Not enough evidence to trouble a jury with judging the evidence. In the Silverman case, it's not an isolated incident, it's a pattern of behavior. This is not to say that any single incident can't be a crime, in and of itself -- it certainly can be. The problem is proving it. As a juror, if it's "he said/she said" for a single incident, it's going to have to be an extremely persuasive testimony to establish "beyond a reasonable doubt" proof of guilt, as I noted previosuly. But when you get multiple incidents, in which the victims' stories are similar, then the standard of "beyond a reasonable doubt" is easier to make. But no, he's a white lawyer with close ties to the judiciary and the Republican establishment. Not enough evidence to trouble a jury with judging the evidence. Not even once. The issue isn't that there is the same level of evidence in all three cases. It's clear that there's substantially LESS evidence in the Thompson case. In fact, there is so little evidence in the Thompson case by comparison to the others -- and so much more evidence to corroborate that violations actually occurred in the case of the two white men -- that it seems prosecutorial discretion is clearly being abused in a way that it establishes at least some element of racial and class bias as a pattern that plagues the Champaign County justice system.

Hjort: the issue isn't was

Hjort: the issue isn't was he there, it is: was there nonconsenual sexual contact? (Consensual sex on duty would be grounds to fire him, but not criminally prosecute him.) Radio traffic etc shows he was there, the issue is only consent or no consent. Silverman: multiple similar allegations of nonconsenual sexual contact are still just allegations and cumulative evidence, when each is a he said/she said, is still a detemination to be made by the jury weighing the evidence. They might believe one of them, some of them, or all of them, and convict on one or more counts, or acquit. Again, the issue isn't was there contact, it is was there nonconsenual sexual contact. Thompson: the victim and he were neighbors in the same building. They passed each other from time to time. He was in the building at the time it was supposed to have happened. He said he was at his apartment, she said he was at her apartment. So again it's not any issue of contact, it is an issue of nonconsenual sexual contact. Again, it should be up to a jury to give whatever weight to whatever testimony, and if they believe beyond a reasonable doubt he did it, they should convict him, and if not convinced beyond a reasonable doubt the jury should acquit. And in every case there is no physical evidence. They should all be treated the same. To be consistent in a call for Justice, you cannot play favorites. No one, whether rich or poor, cop or citizen, black or white should be treated differently. The evidence (he said/she said) may be stronger in one case and weaker in another, but that is up to a jury to decide. Mr. Kirchner will do what he can to select the best jury for his case, but ultimately it should be up to a jury to decide. So if you believe Hjort and Silverman should be prosecuted, you must also believe Thompson should be fairly tried. Prosecute them all or none of them, or your version of "Justice" is not so. Anonymous from earlier

Official Misconduct

Compare the Danville police officer being prosecuted in Vermillion County to Champaign's handling of the Hjort case. Official Misconduct could have been easily leveled against Hjort for using his position as a police officer to leverage a personal gain (in this case, sex). His ability to access METCAD information and the victim's perception of his wearing a gun and a badge come under the elements needed to convict for a class 3 felony. But then, conflict of interest reigns supreme in Champaign Co. We had a judge whose daughter is a co-employee of the defendant assign his personal attorney who defended the judge in a past civil case, and was his former employee as assistant state's attorney, prosecuting a defendant who likely was a witness in one of the judge's old prosecutions when he was state's attorney. It's the Good Ol Boy Difanis Gang Network with Julia saying nothing in the media about victim's rights when it involves Daddy Difanis. Our lawyers in the Champaign County legal system have too many cowards and crooks.

Hjort vs. Thompson

In the Thompson case, he can't be placed at her apartment, and the only evidence that he was there is her word. Her testimony at the two trials has been inconsistent. No one heard the screams that she testified to at the first trial. Her word is it. In two trials, Patrick got a hung jury and a guilty (but with the judge taking the unusual action of granting him a new trial based on incompetent representation). Further trials look like a waste of public funds. In the case of Hjort, he can be placed in her apartment, we can verify his tracking her in what looks like stalking, we have physical evidence of sex with him, and the fact that she collected the evidence and took it to the hospital suggests that the sex was not consented to. Mary Shenk's detailed article a while back contains it all. The evidence suggests that Hjort would be locked up for a long time if he were tried. He deserves his day in court to see what a jury thinks, in my opinion. These two cases are so different that attempts to suggest they are comparable are bizarre. Bob

I have a Question

Since Martell Miller and Patrick Thompson were both charged with eavesdropping, and since Martell is certainly as much or more of an activist as Patrick, Patrick never got thrown out of a city council meeting like Martell has, how come the cops have never made trumped-up charges against Martell? Could it be that this claim of going after a Black community activist JUST BECAUSE he is a Black community activist is all smoke and mirrors?

Me, Too

I've got a question. Why do trolls set up ridiculous strawmen and expect people here to think it's a serious question? The cops have lots to hide in this county. You'll have to ask them why they went after Patrick and not Martell in this way (although I've heard Martell has had his own series of harassments to deal with), but didn't really bother to try to obtain any evidence against him much beyond taking the alleged victim's somewhat contradictory statements. Apparently, it takes no physical evidence to set a person up for a felony conviction in Champaign County. Unless you're a cop or jail guard, of which there are several recent examples. In that case, abundant physical evidence is simply ignored, because it wouldn't be fair to treat them like they treat the rest of us.

You say, "Apparently, it

You say, "Apparently, it takes no physical evidence to set a person up for a felony conviction in Champaign County." Consider this. Six people, a professor, a community activist, a minister, a cop, a student, and a single mother all SEE a man standing naked in a window. They confront him, but not before he has put on clothes. There is, therefore, NO physical evidence, just word against word. If you think 6 is enough, why not 5? 4? 3? 2? or even one person? Yes, it is possible, and it is often irrefutable, that something has happened, based on one's word. The ONLY question is: who do you believe? Which one do you believe? Sometimes it quite properly takes NO physical evidence to convict someone. She has a right to make a complaint and he has a right to defend, but to claim it is trumped-up conspiracy BECAUSE Patrick Thompson is a community activist, a Black community activist, is ridiculous, because NO OTHER community activists, Black or White, have been charged with offenses. That is not a strawman argument.

interesting scenario judge

BE, peace. it's one thing to say that several different witnesses from several different locations who have never met each other all saw the same, or VERY similar, things. But to just take a group of ssocially acceptable citizens word just because they are deemed credible by the system still doesn't PROVE guilt. ONLY ACTUAL HARD EVIDENCE CAN PROVE GUILT: Semen, blood (except in OJ's case), skin, taped confessions (uncoerced) or video footage (maybe that's why they don't want Thompson taping; Rodney king) fingerprints, etc..these things are irrefutable and almost always lead to convictions or in the case of the Innocence project, exoneration. six people can easily agree to lie on someone and if a persons word is enough, hell I know a group of people who will all say the same thing about anyone I ask them to say it about, is that all it takes to send people to the pen for life? hey didn't the Pentagon, the President and a bunch of other SOB's just sentence thousands of young poor peope to die based on a lie that a group of them told? Doesnt' the question still remain? Where is the PROOF of the weapons of Mass Destruction? My point is just that the consequences of trusting a group of folks that we deem trustworthy can, has, and will cause mass destruction if we let it go unchecked by not demanding hard evidence. B, just I am Aaron Ammons and how do i prevent being listed as anonymous?

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Fundraising

We have successfully raised over $4,000 for Patrick Thompson's legal defense!! Thanks to everyone who contributed. BD

CAN SOMEONE OUT THERE HELP ????

I AM NOT ASKING FOR SYMPATHY!! ALL THAT I AM ASKING FOR IS TO STATE MY SIDE OF THIS CASE. MY NAME IS ONIS M. KELLEY CURRENTLY IN JcJ/cF PINE BLUFF UNIT Bks2 . I HAVE ALREADY DONE 7yrs OF A 10yr SENTENCE , SO YOU SEE I HAVE ALREADY DONE THE TIME. I AM UP FOR PAROLE JULY 17, 2007 , BUT THEY WILL PROBALLY DENIE MY RELEASE, BECAUSE THEY WANT ME TO GO THROUGH RSVP PROGRAM, AND SIGN A FORM TO ADMIT THAT I DONE THE CRIME, I CAN'T ADMIT TO SOMETHING THAT I DID'NT DO. DON'T GET ME WRONG, I AM NOT KNOCKING THE LAW, WITHOUT THE LAW SYSTEM JUST IMAGINE WHAT KIND OF WORLD WOULD WE LIVE IN. OUR LAW MAKES MISTAKES. DNA IS 99.9% ACCURATE , WITH EXPERTS IN THAT FIELD WILL TELL YOU THAT IF A RAPE HAS ACCURED THERE WOULD BE DNA EVIDENCE TO PROVE THAT A CRIME HAS BEEN COMMITTED. THEY STATED IN MY CASE , THE LAW USES DNA TO PROSECUTE PEOPLE FOR CRIME. THEY REFUSED TO USE THE DNA TO FREE ME, THE RAPE KIT AND TEST PROVED THAT NOTHING HAPPENED, JUST AS I HAD TOLD THEM . THESE ARE EXPERTS IN DNA, AND DOCTORS THAT RAN THESE TEST, AND READ THE RESULTS, NOTHING FOUND. MY CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS WERE VIOLATED , AMMENDMENTS 14, 6 OF THE BILL OF RIGHTS IN OUR CONSTITUTION. In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.THIS IS JUST ONE OF MY RIGHTS THAT WAS VIOLATED. I WAS PICKED UP ON AUGUST 22, 1999 IN MONTICELLO , AR FOR THE CRIME OF RAPE, THEY ASKED ME WHY THIS GIRL WOULD STATE THIS IF IT DID'NT HAPPEN, MY STATEMENT WAS I DON'T KNOW, MAYBE SHE WAS MAD, OR EVEN PAID TO LIE, I JUST DON'T KNOW. MY QUESTION WAS ( WHY DO KIDS TAKE GUN'S TO SCHOOL AND KILL OTHER KIDS, OR PEOPLE BLOW UP TALL BUILDING'S), MY POINT IS , IF I COULD ANSWER THE WORLDS WHY'S , " I WOULD BE A VERY SMART MAN ". ANYWAY, SHE STATED THAT THIS SO CALLED RAPE WAS SUPPOSE TO HAVE TAKEN PLACE IN MONROE , LA , SHE THEN CHANGED IT TO BASTROP , LA AND THEN FINALLY TO ARKANSAS , DO YOU SEE THE WAY THINGS BEGAN!!! SHE WAS MOST LIKELY DRUNK. POLICE SGT. MIKE WHITE OF MOREHOUSE PARISH ( BASTROP , LA ) CAME TO MONTICELLO , AR TO PICK ME UP. I WAS ARRESTED BY HIM ( SGT. MIKE WHITE ) IN MONTICELLO , AR ( BY HIS OWN ADMISSION IN THE COURT TRANSCRIPT ). THIS IS A VIOLATION OF MY CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS. ( I WAS ARRESTED BY A LOUISANA POLICE OFFICER IN ARKANSAS ). I COOPERATED WITH THE POLICE, TELLING THEM EVERYTHING THAT I KNEW ABOUT THE DAY IN QUESTION. I SIGNED AN AFFIDAVIT TO GO TO ARKANSAS WHEN THEY ASKED , BECAUSE I WANTED TO GET THIS MATTER CLEARED UP. I AM THE ONE THAT ASKED FOR A DNA TEST TO PROVE MY INNOCENCE. ALSO, ON AUGUST 22, 1999 THERE WAS A RAPE KIT TEST DONE ON THIS GIRL, ( MOREHOUSE MEMORIAL HOSPITAL ) IN BASTROP , LA 4 TO 8 HOURS AFTER SHE CLAIMED THIS RAPE HAD OCCURED. A CERTIFIED DOCTOR ASKED HER QUESTIONS, AND DONE THE RAPE KIT. ( EXPERT MIND YOU ) NOTHING WAS FOUND ON THIS TEST TO INDICATE A RAPE HAD OCCURED , NO BRUISES, ABRAISIONS, OR FORCED ENTRY. ANOTHER DOCTOR ( EXPERT ) READ THIS TEST AND TESTIFIED TO THE SAME THING (NOTHING FOUND). REMEMBER NOW, I TOLD THEM THE RESULTS BEFORE THE TEST WAS TAKEN. THEY TRANSFERED ME TO (ASHLEY COUNTY) HAMBURG , AR . Sgt. WHITE FOOLED AROUND WITH THE RAPE KIT TEST, AND THEN SENT IT TO THE CRIME LAB. HE WENT BACK AND GOT IT WHEN THEY TRANSFERED ME TO ( ASHLEY COUNTY ) , AND THEN FOOLED WITH IT SOMEMORE, AND THEN GAVE IT TO JOHNNY OLIVER ( ASHLEY COUNTY DEPUTY) . THIS IS A CLEAR CASE OF TAMPERING WITH THE EVIDENCE. FEBUARY 10-11, 2000 A KANGAROO COURT WAS HELD , THE PROSECUTOR ( DAVID CHAMBERS ) STOOD UP IN FRONT OF THE JURY AND MY SO CALLED ATTORNEY ( DAVID HARROD ) AND STATED THAT HIMSELF AND THE JURORS HAD ALL BEEN FRIENDS FOR ALONG TIME, AND THAT THIS GIRLS WORD ALONE WOULD BE SUFFICIENT ENOUGH TO GET A GUILTY VERDICT FROM THE JURY. NOW COME ON NOTHING THIS GIRL HAS SAID WAS BACKED UP , THE RAPE KIT PROVED THAT NOTHING HAPPENED, EXPERTS TESTIFIED TO THAT FACT. HOW IS ANYONE'S WORD BETTER THAN EXPERT TESTIMONY , EVEN SO, I HAVE DONE 7 YEARS ON A 10 YEAR SENTENCE BECAUSE THE PROSECUTOR WAS FRIENDS WITH THE JURORS, AND A GIRLS WORD TAKEN , ( POSSIBLY DRUNK ) WAS BETTER THAN THE EXPERTS TESTIMONY. DURING THIS KANGAROO COURT TRIAL, I ASKED MY STATE APPOINTED ATTORNEY ABOUT MY WITNESSES TO THE TIME IT TAKES TO DRIVE FROM BASTROP , LA TO MONTICELLO , AR, THERE WERE WITNESSES TO THE TIME WE LEFT AND TO THE TIME THAT WE ARRIVED ( HER STATEMENT WAS THAT SHE WAS RAPED 4 TIMES WITHIN AN HOUR, ON A GRAVEL ROAD, GET REAL , IT WOULD TAKE SUPERMAN TO GO THAT MUCH.( IM NO SUPERMAN ). IT IS EXACTLY 76 MILES FROM THE OLD SPORTSMANS LOUNGE IN BASTROP, LA TO THE Jr. FOOD MART IN MONTICELLO , AR . THE PLACE CLOSED AT 4 AM , WE ALL STOPPED 2 TIMES BEFORE LEAVEING BASTROP , LA . WE ACTUALLY LEFT BASTROP , LA AROUND 4:20 - 4:30 AM AND WAS IN MONTICELLO , AR AT 6:00 AM . HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO DRIVE 76 MILES?? (DAVID HARROD) MY STATE APPOINTED ATTORNEY SAID THAT WE DIDN'T NEED THESE WITNESSES FOR THE TIME IT TOOK TO MAKE THE TRIP FROM BASTROP , LA TO MONTICELLO , AR ( BECAUSE THE DNA ALONG WITH THE RAPE KIT WOULD CLEAR ME). THE LAST DAY OF THIS SO CALLED COURT (FEBUARY 11, 2000) WHEN THE JUDGE ORDERED THE JURY TO THE JURY ROOM, HE EXPLAINED TO THEM ( DON GLOVER) THEY WERE NOT TO COME OUT OF THAT ROOM UNTIL THE BAILIFF CAME FOR THEM, SOME OF THEM DID'NT LISTEN . THEY WERE SEEN BY MYSELF AND MY SO CALLED ATTORNEY AND THE BAILIFF ( TED RIALS) , AND IF THE PROSECUTOR (DAVID CAMBERS) WOULD ADMIT IT, HE SEEN THEM TOO!!! THERE WERE SEVERAL CAUGHT OUTSIDE SMOKING, AND DISCUSSING THEIR DECISSION. THIS WAS GROUNDS FOR AN IMMEDIATE MISTRIAL. AGAIN, MY CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS WERE VIOLATED. EVERYONE IGNORED AND SAID THAT IT DID'NT MATTER. HOW IS IT THAT MY RIGHTS DON'T MATTER , BUT EVERYONE ELSE'S DOES. ( DAVID HARROD ) SAID THAT HE WOULD FILE FOR AN APPEAL, ( I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW WHAT WAS THE GROUNDS FOR THE APPEAL). PROBABLY NOTHING TO DO WITH THIS CASE!!! I (ONIS M. KELLEY) HAVE FOUGHT THIS CASE FOR THE PAST 7 YEARS TO THE BEST OF MY ABILITY. I HAVE A FRIEND THAT HAS HELPED ME GET TO THE SUPREME COURT, WHICH THEY ( REVERSED AND REMANDED ) MY CASE BACK TO THE LOWER COURTS, ( SO THEY KNEW THAT THE LOWER COURTS WERE WRONG ) , OR THEY WOULD'NT HAVE DONE THAT. THE LOWER COURTS DENIED MY BRIEF, SO MY FRIEND AND I CARRIED IT BACK TO THE SUPREME COURT, IN WHICH THEY DENIED IT THEMSELVES THIS TIME. WE THEN DONE A WRIT OF " HABEAS CORPUS" FOR THE FERERAL COURTS, THE ATTORNEY GENERAL QUOTED " THAT IT DOES'NT MATTER ABOUT THE EVIDENCE OR THAT IM INNOCENT OR NOT, THEY CLAIM THE BRIEF WAS'NT DONE IN A TIMELY MANNER". SOMETHING WAS SAID ABOUT "RULE 37" , I DIDN'T COMPLETE THE 9TH GRADE IN SCHOOL , BUT PEOPLE IN MY POSSITION ARE SUPPOSE TO KNOW WHAT THE LAW READS . THE FEDERAL JUDGE WENT ALONG WITH WHAT THE ATTORNEY GENERAL SAID, AND NOT THE ACTUAL INNOCENCE OF THE CASE. HE ALSO STATED THAT IGNORANCE OF THE LAW DIDN'T MATTER, LIKE I HAVE SAID , I DID'NT COMPLETE THE 9TH GRADE, AND NEVER SEEN A LAW BOOK UNTIL I WAS RAILROADED INTO PRISON. ALSO, STATE APPOINTED LAWYERS DON'T TELL ANYONE ABOUT THINGS LIKE ( RULE 37 ), OR ANY OTHER BRIEF , BUT THEY EXPECT EVERYONE TO KNOW THESE THINGS. THIS IS JUST ANOTHER WAY FOR THEM TO RAILROAD THE LITTLE MAN. MY CASE ALONE , PROVEN FACT . THE LAWYERS, AND THE JUDGES OF THE STATE OF ARKANSAS DON'T CARE ABOUT JUSTICE , OR INNOCENCE AS LONG AS THEY GET THEIR CONVICTION. FROM THE WAY IT LOOKS THE GOVERNMENT TOO!! MY NAME IS RUINED NOW!!! HELL, MY WHOLE LIFE HAS BEEN RUINED . SO I DON'T HAVE ANYTHING TO LOOSE BY STATEING THE TRUTH !!! MAYBE , SOMEONE CAN LOOK AT MY CASE AND SEE THE WAY THAT THE STATE OF ARKANSAS HAS DONE ME, AND BENEFIT FROM IT. IF ARKANSAS WOULD COME OUT OF THE 1960'S AND MOVE INTO MODERN TIMES, MAYBE THE JAILS AND THE PRISONS WOULD'NT BE OVER CROWED. EVERYTHING IS IN BLACK AND WHITE , DON'T TAKE MY WORD FOR IT , SEE IT FOR YOURSELF, ( PURE FACT ). IF ARKANSAS OR ASHLEY COUNTY WILL LET YOU SEE THE DOCUMENTS, BUT THEY PROBABLY WON'T , BECAUSE THEY ARE ASSHAMED OF THE SYSTEM THAT THEY WORK FOR, EVEN SO YOU HAVE MY PERMESSION!!!!!! AS FOR INEFFECTIVE COUNCEL, MAKING MISTAKES COST PEOPLE THEIR FREEDOM, THE LAWYERS TURN THEIR HEADS, OR JUST DON'T DO AS THEY ARE SUPPOSE TO FOR THEIR CLIENTS , THE SUPREME COURT SAY'S IT'S JUST A MISTAKE. LAWYERS ARE SUPPOSE TO BE PROFESSIONALS, WHEN THEY MAKE MISTAKES , THAT IS HOW AN INNOCENT MAN GETS 10, 20 TO LIFE, FOR A CRIME HE DID'NT COMMIT. HUMAN LIFE IS NOTHING TO PLAY WITH, WE ALL HAVE RIGHTS AND MINE HAS BEEN VIOLATED , I WANT THE WHOLE WORLD TO KNOW . PROSECUTING ATTORNEY ( DAVID CHAMBERS ) WAS MY ATTORNEY IN 1990-91 FOR A LAWSUIT AGAINST GEORGIA PACIFIC CORP. , HE SOLD ME OUT TO THEM , AND I CONFRONTED HIM BACK THEN, AND HE GOT ALL UPSET. 1999 -2000 I TOLD MY STATE APPOINTED ATTORNEY , HE SAID THAT IT DID'NT MATTER. ( I GUESS HE GOT HIS REVENGE FOR ME CONFRONTING HIM ABOUT SELLING ME OUT). IT IS MY FEELING THAT THE LAW SYSTEM OF ARKANSAS HAS DONE ME WRONG, AND IT IS FACT. THE FEDERAL LAW IS IN IT TO, THEY DENIED MY BRIEF, BECAUSE OF ( RULE 37) , SOMETHING THAT I DIDN'T KNOW ABOUT, AND BECAUSE THE BRIEF WAS'NT PRESENTED IN A TIMELY MANNER, AND IGNORANCE OF THE LAW IS NO EXCUSE. GET REAL WE ARE NOT ALL LAWYERS, MOST LIKE MYSELF DIDN'T EVEN PASS THE 9TH GRADE. THANK YOU ONIS M. KELLEY jfdye33

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