Posts Tagged ‘child abuse’

“It was our lives that were taken away”

The San Antonio Four, women released after more than a decade of imprisonment over child-abuse crimes they say they never committed, talk to NBC News. “Plea deals were offered, but they refused to accept them on the grounds that they were innocent.” One of the two accusers (pre-teens at the time) has recanted, the other sticks by her story.

Martha Coakley runs for governor in Massachusetts

The Massachusetts attorney general is now running for governor of the state after losing a Senate run three and a half years ago, so this makes a good occasion to revamp a 2010 post slightly so as to remind readers of Coakley’s central role in the Amirault travesty of justice, described so well by Dorothy Rabinowitz here. Earlier on the Amirault case here and here; on Coakley’s prosecutorial record here.  More: John Stossel and (via Memeorandum): Bronwyn’s Harbor, No Quarter (citing views of Jeralyn Merritt/TalkLeft); Dan McLaughlin, RedStateDan Riehl (Woodward, Souza cases). Yet more: on Coakley’s offer to a deal to one defendant on condition that the experienced defense counsel handling the deal agree not to represent a second defendant in future, see Scott Greenfield (characterizing the move as “a deliberate effort to undermine the constitutional right to counsel”), Kenneth Anderson/Volokh, and John Steele/Legal Ethics Forum. In 2010 we wondered whether Coakley’s Senate-race nosedive under critical public and press scrutiny amounted to the first time a Massachusetts prosecutor had paid a price for being wrong in the Amirault episode.

A life blighted, a wrist slapped

In Hopewell, Va., Mr. Montgomery spent four years behind bars after Ms. Coast falsely accused him of a rape eight years earlier, when he was 14. Eventually she admitted she’d made it up. “Coast however was sentenced by Hampton Circuit Court Judge Bonnie L. Jones to just two months in jail and ordered to make $90,000 in restitution for perjury. Jones suspended the rest of the five-year sentence and even allowed Coast to serve the remainder on weekends so not to disrupt her life.” [Jonathan Turley via Amy Alkon, Richmond Times-Dispatch]

Prosecution and police roundup

  • “‘Stand Your Ground’ task force offers no big changes to Florida law” [Orlando Sentinel, Tampa Bay Times]
  • “Statutes of Limitations Apply Especially to Government Agencies” [Ilya Shapiro on Cato Institute amicus brief in Gabelli/SEC case] “The rule of lenity is violated when people go to prison for breaking ambiguous laws/regulations.” [Roger Marzulla, Federalist Society “Engage”]
  • Sen. Rand Paul on the Missouri rabbit breeder case [Daily Caller]
  • Mondale Act of 1974 (CAPTA) laid down basis for child abuse witch hunts [William Anderson, Agitator]
  • Sententiousness vs. due process, plus a window into comments moderation at BoingBoing [Popehat] Background on State v. Fourtin [Gideon’s Trumpet first, second post]
  • Massachusetts: “State’s Chemist Admits ‘Testing’ Drug Samples by Looking at Them” [Lowering the Bar]
  • Plea bargaining: For Scott Greenfield, a showdown for justice at high noon turns into one of life’s little compromises [Simple Justice]

Accuser recants in case that sent four women to prison

Four Texas women have been serving long prison terms since a 7-year-old and 9-year-old girl, nieces of one of them, accused them in a lurid tale of assault. Now, the younger accuser has grown up and recanted [Michelle Mondo, My San Antonio]:

“I want my aunt and her friends out of prison,” Stephanie, 25, said by phone last week. “Whatever it takes to get them out I’m going to do. I can’t live my life knowing that four women are sleeping in a cage because of me.”…

On and off the witness stand, the sisters changed their accounts of the timing, the use of weapons, the perpetrators and other basic details of the assault every time they told it to authorities, records show.

P.S. And another Texas recantation, of charges lodged during a bitter custody fight, the defendant has served more than 12 years of a 20-year sentence.

Law enforcement and prosecution roundup

December 30 roundup

Medical roundup

  • Talking back to the “malpractice litigation is no big deal, docs should grin and bear it” theorists [David Sack, ACP via White Coat] “Worst states for medical malpractice risk” [White Coat]
  • Jury awards $25 million against hospital that didn’t file abuse report after boy came in with broken wrist [Fayetteville, N.C. Observer]
  • “Doctors Question Disability Decisions as Agency Moves to Speed Up Process” [WSJ via Walter Russell Mead]
  • New “Federalist Society equivalents” in medicine (Benjamin Rush Society), business, foreign affairs [John J. Miller, Philanthropy]
  • Fieger wins $144 million verdict blaming hospital for newborn’s cerebral palsy [suburban Detroit Tribune]
  • Feds force birth control coverage on Catholic organizations, and free association suffers [Roger Pilon, Cato]
  • Phone call from doc to patient’s home did not establish subsequent jurisdiction to sue there [Madison County Record] NY steps up program to streamline courts’ handling of med-mal claims [WSJ]