What Happens When Women Seek Justice In Champaign County: The Case of Brian Silverman

On April 9, 2007, local Urbana attorney Brian Silverman began a nine month suspension handed down by the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission (ARDC) in Springfield. They found credible the allegations made by a girlfriend of one of Silverman’s clients that he had extorted her for money and sexual favors. This was in exchange for getting the State’s Attorney, who was a friend and “will do just about anything I say,” to go easy on her boyfriend. The State’s Attorney was Tom Difanis, now Presiding Judge of the entire Champaign County criminal justice system. According to the woman, she was not only forced into sexual relations with Silverman against her will, but she was asked to provide $5000 “under the table” for Difanis and find someone to “be good” to him. This is the second incident in recent years when a well-connected member of the “good old boys club” in Urbana-Champaign has gotten off lightly for allegations of sexual misconduct. In 2005, Urbana officer Kurt Hjort was forced to resign after having sex with a 25 year-old woman while on duty. The woman claimed she was raped and filed a civil suit claiming officials knew of Hjort’s record of repeated sexual harassment. The civil suit was settled for at least $100,000. Criminal charges were considered, but State’s Attorney Julia Rietz claimed a conflict of interest because her husband was also an Urbana cop and she knew Hjort personally. The case was ruled on by Presiding Judge Tom Difanis, who gave the case to a Special Prosecutor, James Dedman, incidentally a good friend of Silverman’s and an attorney in his law firm. Hjort’s defense was that the woman consented to having sex with him. Dedman investigated criminal charges against Hjort but decided he could not prove the case “beyond a reasonable doubt” and never even pressed charges. Of course, these men have been in the legal community for 20 to 30 years and have a working relationship. But after the latest revelations about Silverman’s sexual misconduct, several questions arise: Why did Difanis never press criminal charges against Silverman while he was State’s Attorney? If, today, the ARDC finds the girlfriend of one of Silverman’s clients credible, why was her story not taken seriously in 1993 when it occurred? Was Silverman exaggerating about his relationship with Difanis or were they close friends? Are members of the local criminal justice system covering up the perverse sexual pleasures of their peers? Silverman made a career from defending the indigent as a Public Defender and by serving as counsel for many women as a divorce lawyer. What is most disturbing about Silverman is that he was hired to protect these people, and yet he further victimized and mistreated them when they were already in a difficult situation. Silverman came to town when he was hired as the first full-time Public Defender in Champaign County. One woman who was a member of the County Board that hired Silverman in 1979 told me that in his first week on the job he made sexual advances toward her. She was in his new office when he closed the door, pinned her up against the wall, and kissed her without her consent. If this was how he would treat one of his bosses, how was Silverman treating the poor women he was defending? Silverman remains defiant and still accepts no wrongdoing. He even had the nerve to appeal the ARDC decision, which was rejected. A nine-month suspension is light punishment for years of Silverman taking advantage of his clients. This is yet another sign of how low the standards are for individuals in the Champaign County criminal justice system. Justice For Sale In Champaign County. At least six women have come forward to say they were sexually harassed by attorney Brian Silverman. On September 23, 2004, a complaint was filed with the Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission. It claims that Silverman engaged in improper sexual misconduct with four women: a client, a prospective client, and the girlfriends of two clients. It also includes two counts of improper communication with individuals without their lawyers present. Outside of the ARDC complaint, two other women – a local attorney and a Champaign County Board member – have said that they were also sexually harassed by Silverman. One of the counts in the ARDC complaint was filed on behalf of a female client who hired Silverman to litigate a small claims case in 2004. She alleges that Silverman told her he would take her case for free if she would let him “flirt” with her, if she would “dress nice,” and if she would discuss additional “conditions.” The woman says she asked Silverman if he was married and he responded, “what [his wife] didn't know won't hurt her.” A second count involves a 2002 case with one of Silverman’s clients who alleges that he made several sexual advances towards her. She claims that during one of their phone conversations she broke down crying and Silverman attempted to console her by telling her the “only problem” was that she needed to have sex and then he began making licking noises over the phone. A third count was filed regarding a client in a 1991 divorce case. This woman felt like she had been abused twice over: “I was getting a divorce from somebody that was mentally abusive towards me, and then I expected [Silverman] to help me. Instead it ended up being sexual harassment… throughout the whole time.” Yet she also felt further victimized because she was poor. She would have fired Silverman and hired another lawyer but says, “I didn’t have the money to get another lawyer.” Like many women who are sexually abused, she did not know whom to report the incident to. She explains her regret, “It just makes you like… you have to do what they tell you to do… I didn’t know who to go report it to… I didn’t feel like I had anybody to go [to]… I didn’t know who to go say anything to, so I didn’t. And I – I have regretted that from day one that I didn’t say something.” The ARDC found this woman to be a “credible and believable witness.” But the most egregious offense committed by Silverman was toward the girlfriend of a client who says that in 1994 she was extorted for $5000 and sexual favors in order to get her boyfriend’s sentence reduced. The ARDC found her testimony to be the most credible and this was largely the basis for Silverman’s suspension. This misconduct, in the words of the ARDC, “tended to bring the administration of justice and the legal profession into disrepute.” They cited the testimony of this woman who said she felt as if “justice was for sale in Champaign County.” No Defense For This Kind Of Defense Brian Silverman became a licensed attorney in 1971. He has been a member of the local legal community since 1979 when he was appointed as the first full-time Public Defender in Champaign County. He held that position until 1987 when he opened his own private practice, now called Silverman and Associates at Main and Broadway in downtown Urbana. In almost 30 years of working in Champaign county, he has become known as a criminal defense lawyer, a divorce lawyer, and an entrenched member of the legal community. On June 18, 1993, Ray Rowan was busted for drugs by “Task Force X” who was well-known for its aggressive tactics. While it is undeniable that Rowan was dealing drugs, he said his case was one of entrapment by undercover agents who pressured him into buying drugs. Rowan hired Silverman as his attorney, but his girlfriend helped raise money to bail him out of jail and pay for Silverman’s counsel. Rowan’s girlfriend spoke to Silverman several times on the phone and also met him personally to talk about the case. According to an affidavit by Rowan’s girlfriend, Silverman invited her out to lunch to discuss Ray’s case. Silverman told her that then State’s Attorney Difanis “does not like Ray” but that the two men were good friends and that Difanis “will do just about anything I say.” Silverman asked her out to lunch to discuss the case further. When she agreed and asked what he wanted to eat, he responded, “I want to eat you.” Rowan’s girlfriend, who lived in Chicago, took a bus to Champaign and was picked up at the station by Silverman. She recalled that he was driving a burgundy Lexus with his name on his license plate (his Illinois plates still read “BRIAN”). According to her affidavit, she says that Silverman told her the State’s Attorney was “still trying to get a lot of time” for her boyfriend. Silverman told her he could get it down to two years, but it was going to cost $5000 “under the table,” and she would “have to be good to him.” Yet according to this woman, besides getting his own favors, Silverman was also asking for $5000 to give to Difanis and to find a sexual partner for his friend. Silverman told her that “Mr. Difanis was in the middle of a divorce and if you can find someone to be good to him we can probably get the 2 years I stated.” Difanis was, in fact, in the middle of divorce proceedings in 1993. According to the woman’s affidavit, Silverman said that Difanis was coming over to his house for a cocktail and they would talk about the case. Silverman then rubbed her leg and asked when he could see her again. After raising the money, Rowan’s girlfriend says she called Silverman at his home. Silverman’s wife answered the phone and she asked to talk to her husband. According to testimony, Silverman’s wife called out Difanis’ name, then excused herself and said there was company at the house. Silverman’s wife told the ARDC that Difanis had, in fact, been to their home on several occasions. According to Rowan’s girlfriend, when Silverman got on the phone, he asked how she was doing and if he could “eat my pussy.” When she questioned him about his marriage, Silverman said his wife was in the other room. Rowan’s girlfriend said she would be back in Champaign the following Monday and Silverman offered to pick her up at the bus station. If You Do Me, I’ll Do You. On August 16, 1993, Rowan’s girlfriend says she went to Silverman’s office. She gave him $5,000 in cash. Silverman took it and said, “what about the other thing.” According to the woman, Silverman then started rubbing her leg, stuck his hands up her dress and said, “Come on. It’s for Ray. Don’t worry about it.” He asked her to perform oral sex but she started crying and told him “no.” She then describes Silverman taking off his pants and stripping down to a pair of white boxer shorts, black socks, and a t-shirt. She specifically remembered he was wearing a walking device on his legs. Silverman has a debilitating disease, Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, a form of muscular dystrophy, and before his suspension he could be seen going to and from the courthouse in a motorized wheel chair. Silverman allegedly said to her, “If you do me, I’ll do you,” meaning if she performed sexual acts, he would take care of Ray Rowan’s case. He asked her to, “play with [his] penis” and then ejaculated on Lewis’ buttocks. After he was done, he gave her a tissue and said, “don’t tell anybody.” She did not tell Ray Rowan until just days before his pleading guilty on September 2, 2003 to case 93-CF-500. State’s Attorney Tom Difanis had agreed to a plea bargain for a nine-year sentence to run concurrently with 15 months that Rowan still had to serve in prison because he had broken parole from a 1989 case. But Judge Delamar revoked the concurrent sentence and ruled that the sentences would run consecutively. Rowan faced over ten years in prison and felt betrayed by Silverman and Difanis. Rowan’s girlfriend confronted Silverman at the courthouse because he “told me it was gonna be two years.” She said Silverman replied, “Well, I lied” and told her, “so sue me.” Both she and Ray Rowan did sue Silverman. A civil suit for $15,000 and punitive damages was filed by Rowan’s girlfriend in 1994, with Ora J. Baer, II as her attorney (94-L-1050). It went to trial in 2000 and ended in a hung jury. In that trial, the woman gave her account of the incident on August 16, 1993 and the events that led up to it. She said that Silverman’s conduct made her feel “sick, hurt, mostly ashamed that men in his business took an oath to help us, and he didn’t.” In 1995, Ray Rowan filed a civil suit pro se in federal court against Difanis, Silverman, and several others involved in his 1993 drug bust. Coincidentally, Difanis’ lawyer was James Dedman, now Silverman’s law partner (and Special Prosecutor in the Hjort case). Silverman defended himself. After six months, Rowan dropped his civil suit. He said his girlfriend’s case “was more important than my case.” He was concerned more about what had happened to her, as he said in a 2000 deposition, “from how I look at it, Brian had raped a friend of mine.” Silverman fought for nearly a decade to get the case of Rowan’s girlfriend dismissed, even stepping beyond his bounds as an attorney, so the ARDC found. Silverman filed a motion to dismiss the civil suit in 1995 on the basis that the plaintiff had consented to her actions, an implicit admission of having sexual relations with her. This same strategy got Urbana Officer Kurt Hjort off on allegations of rape in 2005. Indeed, in Silverman’s case, Judge Stephen H. Peters ruled that it be dismissed. But on May 21, 1996, an Illinois appellate court reversed the decision and the civil suit moved forward. Rowan’s girlfriend later admitted that she was not physically forced into the situation, but says “mentally I was afraid because I knew he could either hurt [Ray] or help him.” On October 2, 1996, Rowan’s girlfriend took out an order of protection against Silverman. She said that Silverman called her on the phone and tried to convince her to dismiss her case. Of course, he spoke to her without her attorney present. She also claimed Silverman had contacted Ray Rowan and offered to provide him free legal services for a federal case against him, in exchange for his girlfriend dropping her civil suit. Rowan also took out an order of protection against Silverman. In September 2000, the civil suit finally went before a jury but ended in a 6-6 split decision and was declared a mistrial. Just days before a second jury trial in 2002, the parties reached a settlement, the terms of which are confidential. Sleazy Sexual Proclivities In 1999, despite these allegations, Brian Silverman had the arrogance to announce he was running for judgeship and basing his campaign on “family values.” A Republican candidate, Silverman released news of his bid for judgeship on conservative talk radio host Jim Turpin’s show, and in the News-Gazette. In an article published by the News-Gazette on September 22, 1999, he said, “I think the core of my campaign philosophy will be that I share the family values of the people of Champaign County, and I want to bring those family values to the bench with me and exercise discretion and make decisions based on the family values I was raised with.” The next day, another woman, also a local attorney, was prompted to write a letter to the News-Gazette. She alleged that in August 1994 Silverman solicited her for oral sex. More specifically, she writes, “he suggested that he lie down on the floor of my law office and I then ‘suck him off.’ At the time, Brian Silverman was married and living with his wife and children.” She said his family values were “non-existent.” Referring to the pending civil suit against Silverman, she writes, “with this letter, at least two women have gone public with respect to Brian Silverman’s sleazy sexual proclivities.” The letter was never published in the News-Gazette and the allegations were never pursued by the newspaper. In a 2000 poll held by the Illinois Bar Association, only 27% of lawyers felt Silverman was qualified to be a judge. He admitted he was not a popular person in the eyes of his fellow attorneys. Silverman’s campaign for judgeship did not make it past the primary, getting only 19% of the vote. Despite his not being liked, Silverman and Associates is still a functioning law firm. It is doubtful that the nine month suspension will put Silverman out of business. His colleague James Dedman is still occupying the office. That Silverman is still practicing law at all should provoke outrage. Why Silverman was never prosecuted on criminal charges remains a mystery. The ARDC found more than one of his accusers credible and said that he had clearly committed “criminal battery of a sexual nature” against one of them. Does his relationship with Difanis have anything to do with it? Judge Difanis would not return my phone calls to confirm or deny his knowledge of Silverman’s indiscretions. Champaign-Urbana Citizens for Peace and Justice has filed a formal complaint against Judge Difanis with the Judicial Inquiry Board for his rulings in the Kurt Hjort case and in the Patrick Thompson trial. The complaint also cites Difanis for injudicious remarks he made in 2004 about one woman who was a drug addict, “She is a hopeless and useless junkie whose only accomplishment is that she’s fertile and able to bring children into this world.” In another case, he referred to a male defendant as an “undereducated, underemployed bum.” If Judge Difanis is going to make such unkind comments about defendants, many of whom are poor and minorities, he should take a closer look at his own colleagues in the legal system. Judge Difanis is up for re-election in 2008. C-U Citizens for Peace and Justice is waging a “Dump Difanis” campaign to oust the Presiding Judge for his many indiscretions and his tyrannical rule over the Champaign County courthouse. This article is based on public documents included in the 1994 civil law suit against Silverman (94-L-1050) and decisions published by the ARDC (http://www.iardc.org/).

"In a 2000 poll held by the

"In a 2000 poll held by the Illinois Bar Association, only 27% of lawyers felt Silverman was qualified to be a judge. He admitted he was not a popular person in the eyes of his fellow attorneys. Silverman’s campaign for judgeship did not make it past the primary, getting only 19% of the vote." I don't think anybody likes the man...

Letter to the News-Gazette

September 23, 1999 The News-Gazette P.O. Box 677 Champaign, IL 61820 To the Editor: Reference please the Champaign-Urbana News-Gazette article entitled “Attorney [Brian] Silverman says he’s running for judgeship,” subtitled “Republican will base campaign on family values.” Attorney Brian Silverman is not, in my opinion, fit to be a judge. Brian Silverman is certainly not, in my opinion, fit to be a judge based on “family values.” Brian Silverman has now publicly stated that the “core of [his] campaign philosophy “ will be family values that he “want[s] to bring those family values to the bench with [him].” Thus, his non-existent family values and the horrible thought that he just might in fact get to the bench with those non-existent family values intact are a matter of great public concern. In August, 1994, Brian Silverman solicited me for an act of oral sex. More graphically, he suggested that he lie down on the floor of my law office and I then ‘suck him off.’ At the time, Brian Silverman was married and living with his wife and children. Brian Silverman has also been sued for soliciting the same or similar oral sex from the girlfriend of a client. Brian Silverman expressed, in my presence, a concern that that girlfriend might have had a tape recorder during the office conference at which his offer of a reduced fee in exchange for oral sex was allegedly made. At the time of this alleged money for sex exchange, Brian Silverman was married and living with his wife and children. Thus, with this letter, at least two women have gone public with respect to Brian Silverman’s sleazy sexual proclivities. Neither female attorneys nor female litigants should ever be subjected to Brian Silverman’s obviously Neanderthal and totally disrespectful attitude toward women and especially should never be subjected to such an attitude, whether overt or covert, in a judge deciding any case no matter what the topic. The thought of such a total ‘pig’ on the bench ruling on such topics as sexual harassment, domestic violence, child custody, rape and other such matters requires, in the interest of an informed electorate, that I (and any others similarly situated) speak out loud and clear and often. I apologize to Brian Silverman’s wife for this necessarily public disclosure. I very much wish Brian had given greater consideration to you and his children, that is, I wish he had exercised some real family values, prior to once again stroking his massive and perverted male ego. I have been an active Democrat; thus, Brian Silverman may suggest that this letter is just a partisan attack. Therefore, I note, in closing, that I would not ever vote, in either a primary or general election, for Catherine Barbercheck, the only declared Democratic candidate.

See, this is what I mean when I say things are complicated.

This guy sounds like a pretty rotten guy. He almost certainly deserves more than a nine-month suspension, in my opinion. But if anyone reading this wants to look back to a couple of posts ago, there were a couple of comments about taking one person's word against another's. Ricky Baldwin 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." But doesn't that seem to be what happened here? I'll grant you that there may be more evidence that wasn't revealed in the original post, and there is evidence of a pattern here, but the fact remains that, as far as I can tell, in each incident, the only evidence against him was just "one person's word". So, no, it's not fair that Patrick Thompson gets charges pressed against him and Silverman doesn't. All I'm trying to say here is that this case highlights the complexity behind the argument that people should NEVER be convicted just on the basis of one person's testimony.

Yes it is complex and there are no simple answers

If the argument you are making is the allegations against Silverman are not different than the Patrick Thompson case then I would beg to differ. If Thompson had a history of engaging in abusive behavior towards women then that certainly would have been brought up in trial. In the reports that I have followed there is no indication that this was the case. Additionally at the time of the alleged assault Thompson had a splint on one of his hands and it could be argued that he did not have the capacity to commit the crime for which he stood accused. In the case of Silverman he and his colleagues have a long history of abusing their positions and taking advantage of people. I personally find it appalling that a supposedly well educated community that usually represents the makeup of a college town would be so willing to turn a blind eye to these things. Rietz ran for office on the platform of change and I'm sorry to say that I voted for her. So far I have found her performance to be lacking and unless she does something to merit a more favorable opinion then I will be more than happy to express my displeasure with her in the voting booth. Now I personally don't believe there is enough evidence to file criminal charges against Silverman. The amount of time that has passed along with the lack of DNA evidence does not, in my opinion, support such an action being taken at this point. I do however find it mind boggling that he is still allowed to practice law. Having character issues in the treatment of individuals who are marginalized in this culture is a factor that the state will consider before granting a license to practice law. For example Matt Hale passed the bar exam, but was denied a law license to his white supremacist activities. I had the opportunity to read an article about a judge named John P. Coady. The Chicago Daily Law Bulletin pointed to him as an example of the kind of character we need to see in a judge. According to this article even defendents in criminal cases and their attorneys had respect for him. Below I have pasted a statement that is attributed to Coady and I believe he sums up the human and professional qualities that is so sorely lacking here. "Judges should be fearless in deciding cases based on the law, without regard to the winds of public opinion. Judges should apply and interpret the law, and not enact law from the bench. Judges should be courteous to all who come before the court, regardless of station in life. Judges should be humble and never forget that they are public servants."

There aren't any simple answers. Finally someone admits it.

First of all, I wasn't really trying to say that the situation here is the same as the charges against Thompson. Of course, it's my understanding that Thompson had a splint on his finger, and "inappropriately fondled" the woman in the case. I'm not sure how having a splint on his finger would make that impossible. I mean, he's got two hands, right? But, you said: "If Thompson had a history of engaging in abusive behavior towards women then that certainly would have been brought up in trial. In the reports that I have followed there is no indication that this was the case." First of all, if the case had gone to trial in 1993, Silverman wouldn't have appeared to either. At least according to what BD posted, the 1993 incident was the first one mentioned. There was what BD calls a "third report" filed involving a case in 1991, but he doesn't say that it was filed IN 1991, and he mentions it after the "second" report, involving a case in 2002, so I'm guessing it was filed afterwards (could be wrong, I know, but that's a pretty odd way of presenting the evidence if it was filed BEFORE the 2002 incident). BD asks: "But after the latest revelations about Silverman’s sexual misconduct, several questions arise: Why did Difanis never press criminal charges against Silverman while he was State’s Attorney? If, today, the ARDC finds the girlfriend of one of Silverman’s clients credible, why was her story not taken seriously in 1993 when it occurred?" Possibly, the reason the woman in question was declared credible NOW is that all these other accusations have come to light since, and the pattern has been established. Back then, none of the other reports had apparently been filed, so all they had was the proverbial "his word against hers". Which, essentially, IS what we've got with Patrick Thompson. In fact, regardless of when ANY of these reports were filed, that's all any of them are. The accuser's word against Silverman's. There's no DNA involved in any of them (which is a pretty weird thing to suggest, really, considering that a couple of them were just abusive comments, one of which apparently even took place over the telephone). Even if you tried to bring up Silverman's history of sexual harrassment, that history itself is just based on several incidents where you have to take the accuser at her word. And that's really all my point was. Sometimes, the accuser's word is all you have. In the Patrick Thompson case, I've seen people asserting flatly that he did not do it, just because the only evidence against him is his accuser's testimony. All I was doing was pointing out that this isn't CSI, and sometimes, that's all you're really going to be able to get. Now. If I was the kind of guy who liked engaging in baseless speculation, I could point out this about, at least, the case of Ray Rowan's girlfriend. According to BD: "State’s Attorney Tom Difanis had agreed to a plea bargain for a nine-year sentence to run concurrently with 15 months that Rowan still had to serve in prison because he had broken parole from a 1989 case. But Judge Delamar revoked the concurrent sentence and ruled that the sentences would run consecutively. Rowan faced over ten years in prison and felt betrayed by Silverman and Difanis. Rowan’s girlfriend confronted Silverman at the courthouse because he 'told me it was gonna be two years.' She said Silverman replied, 'Well, I lied' and told her, 'so sue me.'". So, in other words, Silverman told her boyfriend he'd get out of prison in two years. He ends up being sentenced to ten years. Do you think it's at least POSSIBLE someone might make up a claim like this as retaliation? Sure! Is there any evidence of it? No, not so much, is there? But I'm sure if someone was of a conspiratorial mindset, and determined to make Silverman seem innocent, it wouldn't be that hard for them to make the case that someone was just "out to get" him. My point is this. Sometimes, even when a particular person has every reason in the world to want to retaliate against someone, and even when the case against that person is just one person's testimony against another, that doesn't mean you should just jump to the conclusion that that person is innocent. Things are a lot more complex than that.

"If Thompson had a history

"If Thompson had a history of engaging in abusive behavior towards women then that certainly would have been brought up in trial..." - Marti Wilkinson – May 2, 2007 – 11:13pm Actually, that is not necessarily the truth. There are a number of instances where a defendant's previous conduct/convictions do not get to the jury precisely because they are prejudicial. Take for example drug dealing. If a guy is on trial for dealing drugs a second time, the jury doesn't hear about the first time he was convicted for the same conduct.

How to weave a tangled web

I haven't gotten the impression here that anyone considers these matters to be simplistic in nature. Then again I have also attended meetings at the IMC in conjunction with CU Citizens and the work that is being done by the group expands far beyond the scope of the Thompson trial. I can certainly understand why you would get the impression that people are jumping to conclusions, yet I've also observed some very well thought out ideas being expressed. What a social worker or a counselor might consider to be sexual abuse may not be recognized as such in a legal context. Some of the criterias such as inability to consent or being coerced within a marriage are fairly recent developments in the legal system in dealing with issues of assault and rape. I can understand why you believe that people have jumped to conclusions regarding the Thompson case. On the flip side I find it somewhat troublesome that supporters of Thompson end up being accused of being anti-woman or of making snap judgments. I wonder how many people simply jumped to the conclusion that Thompson is guilty of the crime he is accused of just because charges were filed. It's my understanding that this coming Saturday there will be a potluck instead of the regular meeting for CU Citizens. Aside from the the group meets at 4pm on most Saturdays at the IMC and if anyone really wants to see what this organization is doing the best way would be to attend a meeting. One thing I will say is I've heard it expressed many times at meetings that no one will condone the commision of a crime or suggest that people not face the consquences of their actions. However fair and equal representation in court along with fair treatment by police are valid concerns. While a forum such as this can be a way to move beyond boundaries of space and time it lacks many of the things we would experience in a face to face encounter. Additionally the ability of posters to be able to effectively articulate their concerns via written word is a skill set that differs amongst individuals. My suggestion would be to take that into consideration as well. Right now I'm dealing with a lack of sleep from being busy with work and school and goodness knows my own writing can reflect that quite well. Peace, Marti

Ain't goin' to meeting this week.

"I wonder how many people simply jumped to the conclusion that Thompson is guilty of the crime he is accused of just because charges were filed." I don't know the answer to that. I wonder how many people have simply jumped to the conclusion that Silverman is guilty of the crime he is accused of simply because someone accused him of it. I know of at least one. "It's my understanding that this coming Saturday there will be a potluck instead of the regular meeting for CU Citizens. Aside from the the group meets at 4pm on most Saturdays at the IMC and if anyone really wants to see what this organization is doing the best way would be to attend a meeting." Well, let's see. In the past week alone here at good ol' UCIMC.org, I've been accused of: 1) Being a liar (even though I don't remember making any statements of fact at all...). 2) Being a racist. 3) Having the same mindset as that guy in Virginia who shot all those people (You can't see it now. Someone hid the whole discussion.). 4) Being a member of some weird good ol' boys' club whose financial and social standing hinges upon a not guilty verdict for Silverman. 5) Advocating the perversion of justice. Yeah, your meeting sounds like a totally worthwhile experience there, Marti. Thanks, but I think I have to water my plants or something.

IMC is not CUCPJ

all are welcome to the CUCPJ meetings and everyone will be treated with respect! your post here suggests that whomever refered to you as such or made broad sweeping statements about you, do not represent the IMC or CUCPJ as a whole. Aaron Ammons

Good news.

Well, that's good news, for once. Whether they represent the IMC or not, I think is open to debate. I mean, I didn't see ML or BD or any of the other UCIMC regulars telling the people who said that kind of stuff to clam up. Yet these people seem to have all the time in the world to tell ME that I'M full of you-know-what. The CIA has a term for this kind of thing. "Plausible deniability". But oh well. So when does the CUCPJ meet?

CUCPJ meetings

We meet every Saturday at 4p.m. on the main floor of the IMC building. As for telling people to "clam up" we don't do that. We want people to express thmeselves and we also want them to do so respectfully. We are a very tight group and injuries and errors occur when people work together but that is never enought to stop us. your views and ideas are as valuable as anyone else's and CUCPJ gives you an oppurtunity to express them openly.

Xander "seems" reasonable

Are you saying that you agree that Thompson should not have been arrested, jailed and tried twice based solely on allegations, or, are you saying that you agree with double standards? BD your investigative journalism is being overlooked! The article you posted form the NG is VERY DAMAGING yet it is being swept under the rug. What was said in the Thompson case is that accusations without corroboration does not equal proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Since testimony is considered evidence then there is plenty of corroboration in the "Sliverman" case. He doesn't just have a history of rumors, he has paid out lawsuits (why pay), been on tape: females have described his body and repeated staments about his unethical relationship with the then SA (Difanis) that only Sliverman or someone VERY close to him could have told them ("drinks at my house") and Mrs. Silverman later confirmed that Difanis had been to their house numerous times and what about that letter to the editor written by another attorney, is she not credible?! People choose to compare apples to oranges because they want to protect tradition and closed mindedness rather than embrace modern times and openness, this would jeopardize their financial and social status. Hey folks, Ive heard him say things to my girlfriend and sisters that were not germane to our discussion at the time. On a visit to his office for a case he was handling for me he said to me, about my then girlfriend, "She's soo beautiful", to my dad he said "....you have such a beautiful wife and daughters". What do these statements have to do with the cases? I know people say such things about babies and small children in the childs presence but you don't typically say such things about a persons spouse or older daughters in the presence of the spouse or older daughters without intending to make the wife or daughter feel enchanted. I've dealt with plenty of lawyers and he's the only one to say such things. How about, it's a pleasure to meet you, you TWO make a lovely couple, or you have a beautiful FAMILY, now, how can I help you? What I'm saying here is that a real investigation would turn up some more damaging evidence FOR SURE and as the old saying goes "if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it's a duck". However, in the Thompson case you don't have any eyewitnesses or physical marks so we don't know what it looks like, no one heard anything so we don't know what it sounds like, the alleged victim has committed perjury and had pending felony charges dropped so it has no legs to walk, and thus what you're left with is just some quacking that doesn't prove that it is actually a duck. If need be I will give my name but rest assured I am not some troll, other anonymous or person afraid to say my name!! My sister has a civil lawsuit pending and guess who's handling it?

Oh, "jeez".

I'll take this point-by-point, just for fun. "Are you saying that you agree that Thompson should not have been arrested, jailed and tried twice based solely on allegations, or, are you saying that you agree with double standards?" I don't really think I was saying either one. In fact, with regards to the double standards, I think that's pretty much the opposite of what I actually said. To quote myself: "This guy sounds like a pretty rotten guy. He almost certainly deserves more than a nine-month suspension, in my opinion." And: "So, no, it's not fair that Patrick Thompson gets charges pressed against him and Silverman doesn't. All I'm trying to say here is that this case highlights the complexity behind the argument that people should NEVER be convicted just on the basis of one person's testimony." "he has paid out lawsuits (why pay)" Who knows? I'm not even sure he did pay, since it says the terms of the settlement were confidential. But, maybe he just thought it would be faster, easier, and in the long run cheaper, than going through a trial? Hard to say with the settlement being confidential. "been on tape" Now, that I didn't realize. Was some of this caught on tape? I didn't see that in BD's article. If he was caught on tape doing something improper, that's different. "females have described his body" I'm assuming you're referring to the walking device on his legs BD mentioned? According to BD, "Silverman has a debilitating disease, Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, a form of muscular dystrophy, and before his suspension he could be seen going to and from the courthouse in a motorized wheel chair." So it doesn't sound like it was much of a secret that he might have problems walking, and needed some kind of mechanical aid. "repeated staments about his unethical relationship with the then SA (Difanis) that only Sliverman or someone VERY close to him could have told them ("drinks at my house") and Mrs. Silverman later confirmed that Difanis had been to their house numerous times" So, you've established that Silverman's client knew him. I didn't know that was a secret. However, don't you suppose it's possible that that information could have come out in a non-sexual context? Say, for example, might Silverman not have been bragging to her, when she was still just a prospective client, about his buddy-buddy relationship with the presiding judge, to convince her to hire him? "what about that letter to the editor written by another attorney, is she not credible?!" I don't know. Unlike Patrick Thompson's accuser, BD didn't see fit to tell us the name of this female attorney. The way you guys make the legal profession in this town sound, it's practically the Wild West. It's already been stated that the members of the bar association don't like Silverman. Maybe she had some kind of beef with him. Or, maybe it really IS a partisan attack, like she goes out of her way to deny. Who knows? Either way, it's only her word against his, which, as I mentioned before, has been described as not enough evidence to convict anyone of anything. "People choose to compare apples to oranges because they want to protect tradition and closed mindedness rather than embrace modern times and openness, this would jeopardize their financial and social status." Yeah, that's right. I tell people to think carefully about things and not jump to conclusions because I want to protect closed-mindedness. I'll grant you, it's sort of a paradoxical strategy, but i think if I just give it a BIT more time... I'm not sure what you think my financial and social status are. "Shaky at best" and "Almost none that I'm aware of" is how I'd describe them, respectively. I'm also unsure how you think that whatever happens to either Silverman or Thompson could possibly affect them, either. Even in theory, what kind of job could I really have that would be jeopardized by either Thompson walking or Silverman going to prison? Keep in mind, also, that I don't really think Silverman IS innocent. It sounds like he probably did it. Just pointing out, to all those people who say that people should never be considered guilty just because the alleged victim says they are, that that's the same thing going on here, really. And that, if someone WANTED to make him seem like the victim of a frame-job, it could be done. The reason I like the statement I quoted above is that, in two simple sentences, you've managed to: 1) Completely misrepresent my position. 2) Make assumptions about me with absolutely no foundation. 3) Attribute my comments to the basest of motivations. That's the hat trick! To continue. "On a visit to his office for a case he was handling for me he said to me, about my then girlfriend, 'She's soo beautiful', to my dad he said '....you have such a beautiful wife and daughters'. What do these statements have to do with the cases?" Creepy? Sure. But not QUITE on the same level as suggesting that he lay on the floor of his law office and then they "suck him off", now is it? "However, in the Thompson case you don't have any eyewitnesses or physical marks" There any eyewitnesses or physical marks in the case of Rowan's girlfriend? No? Well then. "no one heard anything so we don't know what it sounds like" Anyone besides Rowan's girlfriend hear anything in her case? "the alleged victim has committed perjury and had pending felony charges dropped so it has no legs to walk" The pending felony charges is an interesting point. So what are you suggesting here? That the prospect that felony charges might be dropped is sufficient to make women lie about being sexually assaulted? Well, you do realize that Rowan was convicted of felony charges, because he pled guilty at the advice of Silverman. If his girlfriend could convince the court that Silverman assaulted her, handled the case badly, and had an inappropriate relationship with the judge, don't you imagine that that might make an appeal a little easier? Now, do I have any actual EVIDENCE that that's what motivated her to file her suit? Not really, but when has that every mattered before? What kind of evidence is there that that's what motivated Thompson's accuser? Not much more. Look. I'm not saying that SIlverman is innocent. Nor am I saying that Thompson is guilty. All I was doing all along was, like I said, saying that you shouldn't just say that Thompson is innocent because the only testimony against him is that of his accuser, and that you shouldn't jump to conclusions quite as easily as a lot of people do around here. You can take it however you want, though.

your logic is opinionated

Mr. Xander, you said "he sounds like a pretty rotten guy......" If you don't believe in a person being convicted or even labeled as ?, then how can you come to a conclusion that Silverman "certainly deserves a sentence longer than nine months"? Please not the "in my opinion crap", how does a person dealing in facts have an opinion and expect to be taken seriously? Is it only when it's convenient for your perspective? My point is in relationship to the fact that Hjort and Silverman were allowed to walk away without so much as being arrested and charged, why didn't Mr. Thompson receive the same ,or, why weren't they arrested, charged and prosecuted to the fullest like Thompson? (twice if necessary) Lastly, am i suggesting that felony charges is enough to make a person lie in court? No! I am saying that without a doubt people lie in court for less than that, so a little motivation like a "death sentence" (Ex States Attorney John Piland's feelings about felonies) if you don't lie can certainly have an effect on your decision and that information was, by law, supposed to be shared with the defense attorney and possibly the jury. Not to mention the history of her accusing others (mainly African American males) of very similar things really sets in place the issue of REASONABLE DOUBT.

"Please not the "in my

"Please not the "in my opinion crap", how does a person dealing in facts have an opinion and expect to be taken seriously? Is it only when it's convenient for your perspective?" In all fairness to myself, I never really EXPECTED to be taken seriously on the IMC. In most places, though, admitting that your opinion is ONLY an opinion usually gets you taken more seriously than someone who flatly says "HE DID IT!", when really, they don't know. I admit that I don't know. I still form opinions, though. Everyone does. And when that's all you've got, admitting it is a good thing. It's like that new Spiderman movie. Every time I see a commercial for it, I think "Boy, that sure looks stupid!". Now, obviously, I can't say for sure, because I haven't seen it, and don't know all the facts. Therefore, if I categorically stated "Spiderman 3 is stupid!", most people would probably wonder what gave me any kind of right to say that, having never seen it. "My point is in relationship to the fact that Hjort and Silverman were allowed to walk away without so much as being arrested and charged, why didn't Mr. Thompson receive the same ,or, why weren't they arrested, charged and prosecuted to the fullest like Thompson? (twice if necessary)" Because life isn't fair. I know that, and I know that it sucks. I never really denied that, did I? In fact, if you look an inch or two above my original comment about my opinion, you can see the first time I said it. Later on, I quoted myself saying it. I can do it again if you need me to. However, that really doesn't have anything to do with whether or not Silverman is actually guilty. "Lastly, am i suggesting that felony charges is enough to make a person lie in court? No! I am saying that without a doubt people lie in court for less than that, so a little motivation like a "death sentence" (Ex States Attorney John Piland's feelings about felonies) if you don't lie can certainly have an effect on your decision" OK. I'm glad we're on the same page here. So you agree that Rowan's girlfriend had a pretty good motivation to lie? "Not to mention the history of her accusing others (mainly African American males) of very similar things really sets in place the issue of REASONABLE DOUBT." See, that's a good point. The only problem is, how do we know Silverman's accuser didn't make similar accusations about men before? I think this is really a good time for BD to start doing that investigative journalism stuff again. I think he should dig up all the dirt on this woman he can. You know, criminal history, any history of charges filed and then dropped. History of sparatic parenting. That sort of thing. Or, better yet, he could paste her name up all over UCIMC like he did with Thompson's accuser, so we can check it out for ourselves. I wonder why he didn't do that already, actually. Anyway. I don't know why I'm even arguing about this. Honestly, I'm not exactly trying to defend SIlverman here. People just keep arguing with me, though. Oh well.

I don't know why I just now thought of this.

"My point is in relationship to the fact that Hjort and Silverman were allowed to walk away without so much as being arrested and charged, why didn't Mr. Thompson receive the same ,or, why weren't they arrested, charged and prosecuted to the fullest like Thompson? (twice if necessary)" Did his accuser actually file a police report? Or even attempt to press criminal charges against him? If not, then I suppose that would be one pretty good reason why he wasn't arrested.

Consequences of Racial and Class Disparity

Yes, one of the unfortunate consequences of egregious racial and class disparities in the justice system is that victims often feel their complaints will not get a fair hearing, that those in power can and will silence them. And seeing this sort of thing played out in Champaign County -- that cases with a great deal of evidence against white men in positions of authority see them walking free, even unindicted, while a black man with nothing but the victim's word against him as evidence is prosecuted repeatedly -- reinforces this paradigm of disparity.

That doesn't make an ounce of sense, you know.

"Yes, one of the unfortunate consequences of egregious racial and class disparities in the justice system is that victims often feel their complaints will not get a fair hearing, that those in power can and will silence them." All right, so then how did she manage to gather up the courage to sue him in civil court? Hmm? I mean, she managed to pursue the civil case for like, eight years, and at no point in time did it seem like a good idea to press criminal charges? She has the courage for one and not the other? Give me a break, OK?

Of course,

Of course, the decision to press criminal charges is the responsibility of the State's Attorney, not the victim. This is why we must ask the question, why did then State's Attorney Difanis not pursue criminal charges against Silverman in the mid-90s? Again, the ARDC found Ray Rowan's girlfriend credible - why didn't Difanis? As to how many other victims there are, we can only speculate. Those who need Public Defenders do not have the money to file a civil suit when PD's violate them. BD

Sure.

"Of course, the decision to press criminal charges is the responsibility of the State's Attorney, not the victim." True, but if she'd ever filed a police report, wouldn't that make it a lot more likely that he'd have been arrested a long time ago? Did she ever? Now, it seems like a lot too much time has passed. I admit I don't know exactly how it works, though. People can also choose not to press charges, if they don't want to. I really don't know what happened here. Would you ever consider writing another article to clear some of this up? "Again, the ARDC found Ray Rowan's girlfriend credible - why didn't Difanis?" Don't know. But, like I said, at the time she made her original complaint, the other alleged victims hadn't come forward yet. Now they have. The pattern of charges would seem to back up the statement of Rowan's girlfriend. Unfortunately, at the time, it wasn't there.

Specificfities and Generalities

I was referring to the effect of the injustices in the Silverman and Hjort cases on others who might be abused. But if you want to talk about the Silverman case specifically, if the civil suit took eight years to settle (or isn't settled yet) that will only further discourage victims from stepping forward. Justice delayed is often justice denied. Eight years seems like an inordinate amount of time for even a civil case. Besides, the standard of proof is generally less in a civil case than in a criminal case. If you're conscious of how race and class privilege works and you know you're going to what might very well be a kangaroo court in Champaign County, then you or your attorney might decide pursuing a civil case was the best course of action. Then there's the situation that, because of the silencing and intimidation that might cause other victims to remain silent, the pattern of abuse may not have been so clear when the allegations were first made against Silverman. Perhaps that, the passage of time, or factors worked against the possibility of being able to get the state's attorney to file criminal charges Class and race privilege are relevant here, but many people in this community remain in denial about how they affect justice and are a factor in racial disparities in legal outcomes in Champaign County. They might even accuse someone who brings up the subject of not having "an ounce of sense." Whatever.

OK.

"I was referring to the effect of the injustices in the Silverman and Hjort cases on others who might be abused." OK, I understand. I'm sorry I misunderstood you the first time. I thought you were trying to say that Rowan's girlfriend didn't tell the police because she was afraid to come forward. It seemed strange anyone would think that, when she went to all the trouble of filing a civil suit. My mistake. "Besides, the standard of proof is generally less in a civil case than in a criminal case. If you're conscious of how race and class privilege works and you know you're going to what might very well be a kangaroo court in Champaign County, then you or your attorney might decide pursuing a civil case was the best course of action." True about the standard of proof. That's kind of what I was thinking was the reasoning behind her decision to pursue civil rather than criminal charges against the guy. Again, this goes back to what I thought you meant about her being scared to come forward with one set of charges, and not another. But there's really no reason you can't do both, you know. However, in your original comment, you say "that cases with a great deal of evidence against white men in positions of authority see them walking free, even unindicted," Well, no matter what happens in a civil case, the defendant is going to walk free, right? I mean, you can't really go to jail for a civil charge where the plaintiff only asks for 15,000 dollars. "Class and race privilege are relevant here, but many people in this community remain in denial about how they affect justice and are a factor in racial disparities in legal outcomes in Champaign County. " Well, I'm not really in denial about anything. I suppose class and race factor into almost everything that happens, in one way or another. They're not the ONLY thing, though. "They might even accuse someone who brings up the subject of not having 'an ounce of sense.' Whatever." I accused you of not making an ounce of sense because I thought you were saying that the reason she didn't make a police report or attempt to pursue a criminal trial because she was scared to, yet spent eight years on her civil suit. That still doesn't make an ounce of sense, but since I guess it's not what you were saying, it doesn't really apply. I'm sorry about that. But still. DID she file a police report? I don't see anywhere that it said she did. If not, then I really do think that might have something to do with why he wasn't arrested back then. Here's the thing. Maybe Patrick Thompson was prosecuted too aggressively. Maybe this was because of racial injustice. However, I don't see why that would lead to Silverman being let off the hook. Imagine a racist cop. This cop would probably aggressively pursue black defendants, and maybe even fabricate evidence against them. However, would this racist cop really want actual white criminals walking around in the streets? I don't think being a racist automatically means condoning crimes committed by whites, at least if the victims are white too. And that would be interesting to know, by the way. BD, if you're reading this, do you know what the racial/ethnic background of the alleged victims in this case were?

Dang it.

I forgot to put this in my last post. " that will only further discourage victims from stepping forward." Something else that would discourage victims from stepping forward is having their names put up on websites where there are frequent comments spewing vitriol at them. Or, say, being greeted outside the courthouse by dozens of protestors calling you a liar. And who knows? Maybe Thompson's accuser really did lie. But think about it, if you were a woman who'd been victimized in this way, would seeing that, like, ENCOURAGE you to step forward? Somehow I doubt it.

Thanks, But No Thanks

You have a weird idea of fun. And even stranger ideas about what the standards are the public expectations for their use in the American justice system. Innocent until proven guilty. It's that simple. For all your long-winded explanation about how your not saying Thompson is guilty, it's sure evident you'd prefer that people think of it that way, rather than - Innocent until proven guilty. If it's good enough for the judge, it's good enough for me. But some people have a weird idea of fun. Maybe the perversion of justice you propose is yours.

I suppose.

Yeah, I do have a weird idea of fun. I'm hanging around here, aren't I? Innocent until proven guilty is just fine in my book. If you think both Patrick Thompson should go free and the lawyer should go free, hey, go for it. At least you're being consistent. That's a good thing. I don't really care that much if people think Thompson is guilty or innocent, as long as they're willing to apply the same standards universally. What I DON'T like is when people say things like "He didn't do it!" when, really, since they weren't there, the best they can really say is "She didn't prove he did it!". What bothers me even more (and, to be honest, what started this at all), is when supporters of Patrick call the woman who accused him a "ho". Which you could have seen a couple of entries ago, for about four or five days, until ML finally took it down. It's not the first time I've heard people just blatantly insulting this woman, either. Maybe their idea of fun is insulting someone who might just be the victim of a crime. Who knows? I do like the way you take the moral high ground with your courageous "innocent until proven guilty" remark. Do you know a lot of people who really disagree with that? The question is, how much proof of guilt is enough? Is the statement of the victim enough? If so, then the people you really ought to be arguing with are the ones who say it's not. Is the statement of the victim NOT enough? Well, then what do you do in those types of crimes where that's the only kind of evidence you're going to be able to get? Now. Would you care to enlighten me as to just what perversion of justice it is I'm advocating? Or were you just trying for a snappy comeback there?

You're Clutching at Straws -- or Strawmen

How exactly do you know that "supporters of Patrick call the woman who accused him a 'ho'"? We've removed a few of those comments made over the past few months. We have no way of telling whether it is "Thompson supporters" posting such BS or someone just trying to stir the pot. This is Indymedia. We've seen plenty of that stuff before. That's one very good reason why readers should always be suspicious about the credibility of anonymous postings, evaluating each such post on its own merits, and why we urge people to register if they intend to post here regularly. There's little tolerance for trolls and trolling behavior, with its repeated drive-bys offering the same tired putdowns of the people who legitimately use this site. I took the comment down when I received an email request to take it down. I don't take requests from anonymous trolls posting here or just anyone could walk through the door and determine what our readers see. You can email imc-web@ucimc.org any time, just like I've stated repeatedly when people start whining about why they can't discuss editorial policy here. Do you know who requested that I take it down? BD. I'm sure you have strong opinions about this. So do others. Whose to say whose is more accurate? We have a commitment to let people express their opinion. We have a policy of not checking credentials at the door. And we have a policy for how we deal with abusive postings. It does not involve editors taking things into their own hands or people trying to bully others with their comments about how contemptible they find them. I also found the posting offensive, but I generally don't count my opinion on what appears on Indymedia to be the determining one. I am willing to abide by the consensus policy arrived at through long discussion. We recently had an editor who felt the opposite way. S/he is gone, based on their abusive and unethical practices in trying to evade the consensus that our editorial policy is based on. We adopted a policy after recent discussion on the issue of such comments that if a complaint was received, we would look at the post and evaluate if in our judgment it was a violation. On second look and with an email complaint from a member of the IMC collective, I hid the post. Where were you? Sitting on your hands, thinking up more crap to unfairly accuse Indymedia of? Maybe you decided to let it fester and then complain later here about how slow we were in taking it down? Apparently something like that. I don't have much reasonable doubt what your motivations really are, though, since I've seen the MO so many times before. That was your one chance for a freebie as an exception from being hidden as a violation of our policy against having discussion on UC IMC editorial policy here. Future excursions into this all too familiar turf wherein trolls be found are over. Now the rest of us can return to discussing the racial disparities in the Champaign County Justice system. And so can you.

I suppose, theoretically, that you might be right.

I know BD is the one who suggested you take it down. I commend him for that. I have always thought that BD's heart is in absolutely the right place. But as to: "How exactly do you know that "supporters of Patrick call the woman who accused him a 'ho''?" Well, the answer to that is, because I've met some of them in person. Believe me or not, I really don't care too much. "Where were you? Sitting on your hands, thinking up more crap to unfairly accuse Indymedia of? Maybe you decided to let it fester and then complain later here about how slow we were in taking it down? Apparently something like that. I don't have much reasonable doubt what your motivations really are, though, since I've seen the MO so many times before." Yeah, thanks. Accusing me of bad motivations. You're one for three. My "motivation" was to let people speak their mind. I think you should have left it up. Personally, I'm not in favor of deleting any posts at all (except for obvious spam). Let people say what they want and the chips can fall where they may. "We have no way of telling whether it is "Thompson supporters" posting such BS or someone just trying to stir the pot." Well. I read the comment. It seemed pretty obvious to me where the guy's sympathies lay. I could be wrong, though. I doubt this comment is really going to stay up very long...

Indymedia Is NOT Responsible for Anyone's Opinion

I'm glad you at least admitted that Indymedia is not responsible for going around and policing everyone's opinion that posts here. It's not fair to blame us for that and frankly it's not fair to blame Thompson and the rest of his supporters because a few of them are jerks. I'm far more positive that the associates of Hjort and Silverman are jerks, at least percentage wise compared to Thompson supporters, and you seem not in the least bit bothered by any of that. I'm sure there are lots of people who think Bush is an absolute schmuck that I would otherwise not agree with on much of anything...and the list goes on for miles about the strange bedfellows that politics often has no control over. It's nothing but cheap shots to endlessly repeat such memes as the "abusively sexist Thompson supporter." I've never met anyone that supports him who's said such a thing. YMMV But if you want to come here repeatedly beating a dead horse about what's proper to say and not say and then to blame it on Indymedia, you're just being totally disingenuous about what the hell you really want. Or passive-aggressive. Or just confused. Listen, in my seven years of helping edit Indymedia, we've never lacked someone who wanted to spend their time here telling us the "wrong" people are posting. Well, that's fine and good and only just your opinion. And it became tiresome so many years ago that it was among the very first of our editorial policies -- take it to a F2F meeting. We think that such constant repetition of the same tired arguments is pointless, because we operate on consensus -- not on polls from trolls. Unless you're willing to become part of the consensus on editorial policy and operate within it in terms of editing, if you're an editor, then we've found it's mostly a distraction from having an effective discussion as comments here on the website. There is only one way to change what policy is here and that it to be an active participant in the IMC Web group, not here. Comments are for discussing the topic at hand. Now we really are returning to a discussion about racial disparity in the Champaign County justice system. The slack has just run out.

Another point.

You say: "You can email imc-web@ucimc.org any time, just like I've stated repeatedly when people start whining about why they can't discuss editorial policy here." True enough. But doesn't that go to the mailing list that gets archived publicly on the internet? I must admit, I'm not too keen on the idea that the e-mail address I've associated with this account will be put up on the internet for anyone to see. That happened to a guy about a month and a half ago. Is that what would happen to me if I sent an e-mail to that address?

It's Our Policy

Since you ask and seem so concerned about it. We have a tradition of not making anonymous editing decisions. You have the privilege of anonymously (at least now that a certain ex-editor is gone) posting here within the scope of our policies. That's our policy, by consensus. In fact, we generally prefer F2F meetings for web editing discussions, although we welcome your email inquiry. The web is the sort of medium that causes people to act out in ways they normally refrain from in public, mostly for the reasons trolls do anywhere else on the web. It's a fact of life, especially so for a website that offers those who don't have a voice the ability to speak against the powerful. This upsets people sometimes, and then these once-offended, perpetually irrirtable personalities proceed to blame all the other users of the site because they, too, are just like Mr. X (but let's just substitute BD, in this case, to keep things simple for you), then they spend most of their time trying to test the editorial policies, rather than say, discussing the article, like the one about Brian Silverman and racial inequities in the Champaign County justice system at the top of this thread.

Jesus Christ.

"then they spend most of their time trying to test the editorial policies, rather than say, discussing the article, like the one about Brian Silverman and racial inequities in the Champaign County justice system at the top of this thread." I've BEEN discussing that for almost a week now! All I'm saying is, will my e-mail address be posted publicly? Are you capable of answering a simple question, or are you afraid most of the people reading this just won't like the answer?

So now I'm a maniac.

Totally open-minded. I love the IMC! Did you even bother to read anything I've said up until now? Oh, what am I saying? This is the IMC. I DO like Poppy Z Brite, though. I've always liked vampire stories. Better be on the lookout, though. ML might swoop down from his aerie and tell you that what you've said is "off-topic". That only seems to happen to guys like me, though. Weird, huh?

Just for fun

From your "right-wing maniac" nonsense: "RWM trolls grind one or more of the following axes: US Evangelical Fundamentalist Christianity; Ayn Rand; militia/New World Order paranoia; anti-feminist paranoia; general American Know-Nothingism, nativism, etc.; libertarianism." Tell me then. Which of those have I ever espoused? Go on. I'm dying to hear it. I'm pretty sure I've never said anything about Christianity. Nor the New World Order. Anti-feminist? Well, the only thing even related to feminism I've said is worrying about what might make women decide not to come forward to report abuse. Know-Nothingism? Never said that I didn't realize racism was a problem. Nativism? I can't remember immigration ever coming up. Libertarianism? Again, I don't remember any political advocacy coming up. Verdict? You're an idiot. Sorry.

contact

Anon - please feel free to contact me @ your sister, her civil suit, et al. I'd love to hear more. Contact me at: briandolinar@gmail.com BD

Mr. xander

First all Mr. Xander who ever you are you know nothing about me and for the zillion time again I did not attempt to committ a home inasion or sexually abuse toward this lady or anyone. Especially attacking some one from a different a race is not my style. To use this lady to retaliate against me is African American underrpresentation in the legal system. You don't know what you are talking about! PDT

Maybe this is just me being

Maybe this is just me being paranoid but that last post kinda didn't sound like PDT. Too many typos and such...I think someone is trying to talk for him.

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There's recent evidence that some of the content that has caused certain individuals to spend lots of time complaining about UC IMC editorial content may have been just such a false flag exercise. To avoid people trying to assume the identities of others is one reason we highly recommend registration here at UC IMC. It's easy and quick and requires only a working email address. In cases like this, though, the editors will not take action unless the impersonation is blatantly obvious on the face if it -- which is not the case here -- or when we receive an email of complaint that seems credible. The recent campaign of intimidation of authors and attempts to change UC IMC editorial policy by posting anonymous comments simply reinforces why we established this policy in the first place.

Get the Whole Difanis Family Out!!!

I HAVE BEEN WORKING ON A SIMPLE SMALL CLAIMS CASE RESULTING FROM A FAILED REAL ESTATE TRANSACTION THAT FELL THROUGH BACK IN JANUARY 2007. AFTER BEING BULLIED BY THE SELLER'S REALTOR, MATT DIFANIS, TO FORCE ME TO PURCHASE THIS DEFAULTED AND UNINHABITABLE HOUSE I DROPPED THE CONTRACT. I CITED THAT THE SELLER WAS NOT READY TO SELL AND THAT THE HOUSE DID NOT MEET THE REQUIREMENTS SUITABLE TO MAKE A SALE. TO THIS DAY COLDWELL BANKER, THE BROKER I HAD WORKED WITH, REFUSES TO RELEASE MY EARNEST MONEY BACK TO ME. THEY CLAIM THAT I HAVE TO HAVE THE SELLER SIGN A RELEASE FORM. SINCE THE SELLER REFUSES TO SIGN THE FORM I HAVE TO GO TO COURT AND LET THEM DECIDE.

AFTER A YEAR AND A HALF OF COURT PROCEEDINGS I HAVE STILL NOT HAD A FIRST APPEARANCE! MY CASE MIRACULOUSLY GOT DISMISSED TWICE PRIOR TO THE SCHEDULED COURT DATES, AND FORMS THAT I HAVE FILED HAVE MYSTERIOUSLY GONE MISSING. I SUSPECT THAT THE DEFENDANT, TERRY MASAR, IS USING HIS AGENT, MATT DIFANIS WHO IS THE SON OF THOMAS DIFANIS, THE PRESIDING JUDGE OF THE COURTHOUSE, TO SABOTAGE MY CASE ANYTIME I START TO MAKE HEADWAY. I AM ON MY SIXTH ALIAS SUMMONS TO TRY AND SERVE MR. MASAR AND STILL NO LUCK. THE DEFENDANT JUST KEEPS EVADING SERVICE. I REQUESTED TO HAVE AN URBANA RESIDENT SERVE HIM AND FILED A MOTION TO DO SO. SOMEHOW MY MOTION WAS THROWN OUT. LITERALLY, IT DISAPPEARED FROM THE CASE FILE. AS A RESULT JUDGE CHASE DID NOT ACCEPT THIS PAST SUMMONS AS BEING SERVED. AND I AM STUCK BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HARD PLACE.

I HAVE TRIED THE SHERIFF'S OFFICE AND AFTER FOUR SUMMONS AND SUPPOSEDLY 16 ATTMEPTS. THEY NEVER SERVED THE DEFENDANT. HE HAS BEEN EVADING SERVICE. SO NOW I AM STUCK BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HARD PLACE WITH NO ONE IN THIS WHOLE DAMN COUNTY TO HELP ME.

DOES ANYONE KNOW HOW MATT DIFANIS GOT INTO THE UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS COLLEGE OF LAW? WAS HIS DAD INVOLVED IN THAT CLOUT LIST TOO TRYING TO BUY HIS SON'S WAY IN?

I SMELL A RAT IN THE CHAMPAIGN COUNTY COURTHOUSE AND I'LL SPEND MY LIFE UNCOVERING IT!!!

Mr. Dolinar seems to have a

Mr. Dolinar seems to have a strong vendetta against Mr. Silverman.  I'm not sure what the history is, but if anyone is still reading this thread, I was hoping to add something.  First of all, MANY of the "facts" mentioned have been proven in court as false, and some I have never heard relating to these cases (i.e. "Rowan's girlfriend" testified about many specific dates and incidents that were proven to be impossible; a woman coming forward from 1979 who was his boss and was assaulted by him after one week on the job? I'm shocked that no one would hear about this until 30 years later)

I don't want to continue about semantics, because this matter is over.  Mr. Silverman has been on trial, has been punished and his name has been dragged through the Champaign news.  A woman quoted in a News Gazette article, and I may be mistaken, but there is a very graphic sentence that I don't remember from that article, and I also don't think the News Gazette would publish.  The woman was kind enough to apologize to his wife and children for publically bashing him and his "family values." The author of this article wasn't even kind enough to check the facts. Publishing someone's license plate number, and hearsay is damaging and unnecessary.

I am not his wife, but I know her.  And she and her children have been through enough.  Mr. Silverman is in extremely poor health, and during the precedings was actually hospitalized and near death.  Despite what may or may not have happened, he is too physically incapacitated to be a threat to anyone at this point.  Think for a moment what this would be like if your spouse or father was never even proven guilty, but accused so publically and graphically by an author who obviously doesn't even know the full story. 

Publishing articles that are so vile and hateful towards another person is just another way to be cruel and hurtful to society and people in it.  If you really think these things are true, at least have some class presenting them.

 

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