Crooked City

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Filtering by Tag: Central Park Five

Zorn Censors, Ridicules...

Chicago Tribune Columnist Eric Zorn, a main supporter of Northwestern University in their wrongful conviction claims, particularly the Anthony Porter case, now censors his blog. In response to any criticism from a Chicago Police Officer, he can only ridicule, then censor their comments. This is Zorn's blog about the Central Park Five Case and Zorn's coverage of wrongful convictions.

Outraged Blogger, named Jake, who cannot fathom anyone claiming the original offenders in the Central Park Five Case were guilty:

Martin, so your theory is that a psychopathic serial rapist/murderer who always worked alone, including once before in Central Park, decided that night to team up with five total strangers he met in the park to rape the jogger, that somehow that serial solo rapist is the only person among this improvised pack of six to leave any physical evidence behind whatsoever (in the form of DNA), and that each of the other five, for some unknown reason, declined to mention the existence of that sixth rapist in any of their statements to police. The bases of this damned stupid theory are your belief that her injuries are consistent with multiple attackers, your assertion that, despite the presence of knife injuries, Reyes (the "sixth" rapist) didn't mention using a sharp instrument in his statement, even though he used sharp instruments (a knife, an ice-pick) in other attacks, and your faith-like belief in the confessions of scared kids who didn't realize they could never take it back that implicated everyone *but* the one person whom we know was actually was there. I don't have the facts to dispute the snippets of information you post on your blog -- I frankly don't trust them, because you obviously never met a confession that wasn't true, or a police theory that wasn't correct, and you generally seem motivated by a single-minded whackadoo agenda -- but it doesn't matter, because your snippets aren't nearly enough to demonstrate even a possibility, much less a probability, much less proof beyond a reasonable doubt, that any of the five convicted of that crime actually did it.

If you want to get on your high horse on behalf of victims, I'd do it for the five women he attacked after April 1989 one of whom, a pregnant mother, was murdered while her children were in the next room, another of whom was almost blinded (using sharp instruments) by Reyes, after he didn't get caught for the Central Park rape, even though he was already in police crosshairs and could have been caught.

Police are, for the most part I'm sure, hard-working and well-meaning, but everyone makes mistakes. Like doctors, police have an awesome responsibility not to f up -- their mistakes can cost a lot. A good person tries to learn from past mistakes so they don't happen again. Only a prick blusters on that they never happened in the first place.

My Response:

Over the past few months a top prosecutor signed an affidavit saying he thought the release of Anthony Porter was wrong. He had doubts about Alstory Simon being the killer and had grave doubts about his confession. 

Front Page story on the Sun Times.

The Tribune and Zorn?

Silence. 

Lawyers for Simon submit a letter saying Simon's lawyer engaged in provable misconduct and cite a pattern of coercive conduct in other cases. 

Sun Time coverage, Zorn and Tribune silent.

A man convicted of raping and killing a three-year-old girl is exonerated by Northwestern's Law School in 2012. Last month, he is accused of slitting the throat of a man over a dice game. 

Coverage all over the world. 

Zorn and Tribune silent. 

A new documentary played last month by filmmakers in the Porter case who did something Zorn would never dream of doing: They talked to everyone involved, all the witnesses, the investigating cops, the journalists.

They invited Zorn. Maybe he would be interested in seeing how badly he screwed up the biggest wrongful conviction case in the state's history. There were also witnesses in the documentary describing coercive tactics by Northwestern in other cases. This is called a pattern of behavior, or a modus operandi, something Zorn and the Tribune refuse to acknowledge. 

Most of all, Zorn could have confronted some of the detectives whose lives he has ruined over the years and they could have sat down with him and showed him how badly he got it. 

But I guess he had plans that night. 

Zorn's technique, along with his other wrongful conviction activists, is to take a case out of the courtroom where a jury has heard all the evidence, then try it in the press room, where journalists like Zorn can pick some evidence and testimony and ignore others. They can also out and out lie. 

It is also a tactic of these advocates to say people made claims they never made. You are an example, Jake.

My snippets. You might want to take your dazzled eyes off the Burn documentary and review the case clearly. There is a large collection of lawyers, journalists, detectives and politicians who know these kids were guilty, having made admissions that only someone who had been at the crime scene could have made. 

http://www.nypost.com/p/news/opinion/editorials/the_central_park_five_again_ypsXFhzI4mhhLz0EEKF9kO

The youths told police that a man named Tony raped the woman. Tony was Reyes’ nickname. 

The allegation in the CPF is not that the cops made a mistake. It's that they engaged in a frame up, just like the allegations in the Porter case. 

Like so many fraudulent wrongful conviction claims, the story of these allegations are compelling. The poor innocent youth who were running around the park terrorizing people never made claims of police coercion until after they obtained civil rights lawyers and learned that this element was essential to recover a settlement. What a coincidence. 

The original trial judge reviewed for several months the possibility of police coercion in the original trial to determine if the confessions were legitimate, painstakingly reviewing the entire investigation and found nothing even remotely close to coercion. One of the little innocents made statements about the attack before the police even knew about it. Fairstein, a nationally renowned expert on sex crimes, overheard the youths making incriminating statements. 

Then, of course, the personal attacks begin. The prosecutor, an accomplished writer, can’t even hold a book signing without the mob attacking her. In true grace and dignity, she invites the agitators to discuss the case and no one takes her up on it. I could see Zorn in this crowd, then going home and writing a toast to them.

http://www.nypost.com/p/pagesix/fairstein_booed_at_signing_fjkmD4mPmKZvvrNxR65A9L

If only this case had gone to civil trial like the Porter case, which humiliated Zorn and compelled him to hang the lawyer who had just shown the public what a travesty it truly was, then perhaps the public could see. But the CPF activists, including that renowned truth seeker Al Sharpton, knew they only had to wait until a Democrat got elected and shazam, they got the settlement they wanted. 

Another connection between the CPF and other wrongful conviction scams is the willingness, the eagerness of activists to believe wholeheartedly the statements of a sociopathic killer, not under oath and not subject to cross examination, over the large body of evidence reviewed at trial by a jury and by appeals court judges. They cite in the CPF case the fact that Reyes has a modus operendi. He always acted alone. Review his criminal history and you will see very little clear modus operendi. He is a crazed predator who seized on all kinds of opportunities to attack and kill. He raped his own mother, committed robberies, burglaries. When the desire for mayhem arose, Reyes acted. It doesn’t matter whether he was alone or not. This is a pathetic attempt by people who actually know little to nothing about the criminal mind to present themselves as if they do. 

It’s hardly different than the claim by Northwestern that Porter was innocent because witnesses said he fired with his left hand and he was right handed, as if robberies that end up becoming double homicides follow some script. There are million reasons why Porter would move the gun to his left, including grabbing the loot from his victims. 

The activists refuse to look at the evidence that the prosecutor’s decision to vacate the convictions was controversial in his own office. Senior members in the department were furious at this decision, just as they were in the Porter case. 

Physical evidence? What physical evidence exists against Alstory Simon? Yet there he sits in prison compliments of Northwestern University. The confessions of these youths, who were already in the park wilding at the same time, are overwhelmingly indicative of guilt. Each legal proceeding that reviewed arrived at the same conclusion, as if some young woman with a political agenda can see what all these detectives, proseuctors, juries, judges and appeals judges couldn’t, not unlike the image of kids in their 20’s suddenly finding evidence in the Porter case. The offenders made statements implicating each other, trying to minimize their own conduct. Many rapes the attackers are unable to ejaculate. There is nothing unusual about it. In fact, this is exactly what police and prosecutors argued from the first moment of the case: there were other offenders than the one who left DNA. 

How telling that the City attorneys never even bothered to interview the medical staff, just as the state’s attorney released Porter based on a “confession” video they hadn’t even looked at. 

Like so many wrongful condition claims, the CPF falls apart under any scrutiny. Sarah Burns addressed this fact by simply leaving out the interviews from people who contradicted her mythology, including attorney Michael Armstrong. If you’re really interested in justice in this case, you might want to talk to him for several hours about his investigations and his dealings with Burns and her father. 

Fairstein and the detectives unfortunately fall into the same fate as the detectives in the Madison Hobley case in Chicago. They desperately wanted to get to civil trial, where they knew their investigation would hold up and Hobley would be shown to be the killer, just as the civil trial did in the Porter case. But alas, they were all sold out by the Democratic Machine. 

"It was a huge disappointment," Fairstein said before the settlement, "but litigation is ongoing and we think it will make clear their participation in the attacks."

Many of these issues were covered in a recent reading on my book, Crooked City, and my article Crossing Lines in New City, at the Chicago Public Library. The Tribune, and Eric Zorn’s behavior were a central talking point. 

As for your name calling, right back at ya, brother.  Right back at ya.

Zorn deleted the comments with this:

ZORN REPLY -- My apologies. Posts by this monomaniac are supposed to go directly to the spam filter where I can make sure he's staying on topic (which he almost never does).

How badly the lead detective in the Porter wants to sit down with Zorn and go over the Porter case. He's been waiting 30 years to talk to a Tribune writer. One wonders if Zorn will take him up on it. 

Central Park Five Settlement Leaves Victim Desperate For Justice

If there is any image that conveys the horror of the recent Central Park Five settlement, it is the attempts by Patricia Meili, the victim of a 1989 brutal attack and gang rape in Central Park, to call up medical staff who treated her and ask them to make public their opinion that she was attacked by more than one offender. 

Ms. Meili, who has no memory of the night she was attacked while jogging in Central Park, has been abandoned by the criminal justice system that was supposed to bring her attackers to justice. Now, these thugs are rich beyond their wildest dreams, as if they just won the lottery. The new Democratic mayor of New York, de Blasio, is selling out this poor woman, prosecutors, and police who investigated the crime, and the people of New York who he's supposed to represent. 

Meili's attackers obtained an exoneration and sought compensation based on the statements of a serial rapist and killer Matias Reyes. Reyes emerged in the case because his DNA was tied to the crime, years after the five offenders had been convicted. Wrongful conviction activists claimed the DNA exonerated the youths, but police and prosecutors had always maintained Meili had been attacked by several offenders. The presence of Reyes' DNA only proved he was another offender. Reyes, who had much to gain by saying so, announced he was the sole offender in the case.

Police, prosecutors, and a smattering of journalists who looked at the crime scene and confessions of the youths knew the claim was ludicrous. The evidence of multiple attackers was vast and the evidence against the five youths rock solid, including their confessions and statements, many of which could only have been made by someone at the scene. 

For years, former Republican Mayor Bloomberg refused to settle the case, standing fast on the findings of the two trials and appeals that convicted the five youths, who had attacked other people the same night in the park.

It's a massive settlement for the city and a sign that the wrongful conviction movement that got its start in Chicago has spread throughout the country. 

With this settlement, victim Patricia Meili gropes desperately for justice in the case. 

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Ms. Meili said she suffered amnesia as a result of the attack and has no memory of it. She said that over the years she has discussed her injuries with her doctors and they shared their opinions that some of the wounds weren't consistent with Mr. Reyes' description of the attack. Ms. Meili, who said she hasn't been contacted by city attorneys negotiating the settlement, said she gave the doctors permission to discuss her injuries and medical treatment.

"I will never know what happened that horrible night," Ms. Meili said. "But I am determined to give voice to this information that people just seem to gloss over and ignore."

From the gunshot victims in the Anthony Porter case to the burn victims in the Madison Hobley arsons, the plight of victims and their families are often glossed over and ignored in the wrongful conviction movement, as is the clear evidence that refutes the wrongful conviction claims. 

In order to bolster their theory that the youths were innocent, despite the fact that they all confessed with their parents in the room, on video, a confession that survived numerous court challenges, attorneys for the thugs claimed--what else?-- a conspiracy by police and prosecutors. The claim is that a dozen detectives and prosecutors working the case could have come up with a common story, agreed to stick with it, knowing they were incarcerating the wrong offenders and the real one was getting away because, after all, cops and prosecutors are all bunch of racists anyway, right?

But now, with at least a few journalists willing to look at the facts of the investigation and interview central witnesses, this claim, like many wrongful conviction theories, quickly unravels. A journalist for the Wall Street Journal interviewed the medical staff who treated Meili. 

Dr. Kurtz said Ms. Meili, then a 28-year-old investment banker, nearly bled to death from five lacerations to her head.

Three of those injuries were blunt wounds that could have been caused by the tree limb and rock that Mr. Reyes, now 43, said he used in the attack, Dr. Kurtz said. But two other wounds were caused by a cutting instrument, such as a knife or razorblade, he said. In the portions of his confessions made public, Mr. Reyes didn't mention using sharp weapons.

"There had to be another individual or a group who inflicted injuries with a sharp-edged instrument if he only used a blunt object," Dr. Kurtz said.

He was called by the government and testified at the trials of the five men. But lawyers didn't ask what weapons could have caused the lacerations, Dr. Kurtz said.

Jane Haher, the former chief of plastic surgery at Metropolitan, said she examined Ms. Meili the day after the attack. Dr. Haher said what she saw on Ms. Meili's legs, which were swollen with fluids, was something "I'll never forget as long as I live."

There were several sets of handprints, as if left on clay, indented on Ms. Meili's thighs, calves, ankles and behind her knees, Dr. Haher said. That indicated to her that "people held her legs down while somebody did this horrible act."

Dr. Haher said the hand marks weren't technically injuries and she didn't record them on her medical chart. "I was not thinking of the legal case," she said.

Dr. Kurtz is in possession of Ms. Meili's medical records. He said he remembered speaking with Dr. Haher about the handprints. But he said the marks didn't strike him as unusual because media reports at the time said there were multiple people involved in the attack.

Dr. Haher said she was questioned by city attorneys fighting the men's lawsuit about six years ago. She said she hasn't been contacted by the current administration.

The lawyers representing the thugs response to these statements? Well, the doctors and medical staff are part of the conspiracy too! l That's right, the detectives somehow called the doctors and nurses at some point and asked them to jump on the bandwagon.

"Hey Doc, listen, you don't know me. I'm a New York city detective. I was wondering if you would be willing to join in on a conspiracy with me, my colleagues, and some prosecutors. There is nothing in it for you and you could ruin your reputation and be prosecuted and lose everything you have, but we'd really appreciate your help."

From the article:

Jonathan Moore, an attorney who represents three of the five plaintiffs in their lawsuit, said there is "absolutely no evidence," including medical records, supporting the doctors' claims.

The doctors coming forward at this point, he said, appears to him to be part of a conspiracy that stretches from former detectives, prosecutors and others "responsible for this terrible injustice." It is a desperate attempt, he said, to scuttle the settlement talks to protect their reputations.

"You're talking about someone who said it's not in the [medical] records but he just remembers it from 25 years ago?" Mr. Moore said.

Both doctors denied that they are part of any conspiracy. Dr. Kurtz said his information consists of "medical facts." Dr. Haher said she is "just telling the truth about what I saw that day."

Mr. Moore is correct that Ms. Meili's medical records lack specificity, Dr. Kurtz said. The records only list the size and location of the lacerations, which he said is standard. "I watched those wounds as they healed," he said. "I know what they looked like."

Thought lawyers were disgusting before...now they are assailing the trauma staff who saved Meili's life when many thought she would not survive the attack.

And the city attorneys?

The doctor, now 72, said city lawyers litigating the case have never contacted him. He said he thought it was important that city officials are aware of his information after Mr. de Blasio said he wanted to settle the case. A spokesman for Mr. de Blasio did not return a message seeking comment.

Why listen to the medical staff who treated the victim and observed her wounds when you have the solemn word of a serial rapist and killer?

Meantime, Ms. Meili fights to find out what truly happened to her, wondering if the men who raped and nearly killed her are now multimillionaires compliments of New York City...