Sunday, November 22, 2009

Massachusetts Superior Court judge Daniel Ford is one of those people,

who if he actually had any honor left, or sense of shame, would not show his face in public anymore.
Baran was convicted in January 1985 of molesting six children at a pre-kindergarten day care facility in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. He was released on bond in 2006 after an appeals court determined that his trial attorney had been incompetent and that the prosecution may have withheld key exculpatory evidence. Baran says that during his jail term he was raped and beaten more than 30 times, necessitating six different transfers to new correctional institutions. Such is the cost the prison system exacts on an openly gay man convicted of molesting children.
In this case, prosecutor Daniel Ford, now a judge on the Massachusetts Superior Court, showed the grand jury that indicted Baran an edited video interview with the children. According to court documents, the video shows several kids alleging that Baran had sexually abused them. Edited out was footage in which some of the children denied any abuse by Baran, interviewees accused other members of the day care faculty of abuse or of witnessing abuse, and, most important, interrogators asked the same questions over and over—even after repeated denials—until a child gave them an affirmative answer. Some children were even given rewards for their answers.

Withholding the unedited video from the grand jury was itself an act of misconduct. An appeals court suggested that prosecutor Ford may also have withheld it from Baran’s trial attorney. We can only say “may” because there has never been a hearing on the issue, and Baran’s trial attorney was far from competent. (Judge Ford did not respond to multiple requests for comment.) In granting Baran a new trial in 2006, Massachusetts Superior Court Judge Francis Fecteau never moved beyond the inadequacy of Baran’s lawyer. When the case reached the state appeals court, the justices not only upheld Fecteau’s ruling; they looked more closely at Ford’s possible misconduct. “While the record does not settle the question whether the unedited videotapes were deliberately withheld by the prosecution,” the ruling said, “there are indications in the trial transcript consistent with that contention.”

I can't call this simply 'misconduct'; this should be 'tampering with evidence', this should be- Hell, what would you call this kind of crap?

When that child later tested positive for gonorrhea of the throat, Ford used the test against Baran at trial, even though a) the child never accused Baran of forcing him to perform oral sex, b) the child, in fact, specifically denied having sexual contact with Baran on the witness stand, c) Baran tested negative for gonorrhea, d) the boy had told his mother two months prior that his stepfather had orally raped him, and e) on the very day Baran was convicted, charges against the stepfather were turned over to the district attorney’s office for possible prosecution. Baran’s counsel was never informed of the allegation against the stepfather. Addressing the gonorrhea issue in his closing arguments, Ford implied that Baran’s “lifestyle” made it probable that he contracted gonorrhea at other times and knew how to quickly eradicate it to cover his tracks.
Can you believe this shit? I know, rhetorical question; there's far too many examples of prosecutors and police screwing with evidence and hiding stuff from the defense for this to be too surprising. And it really, truly pisses me off.
In upholding the ruling that granted Baran a new trial, the appeals court added in a footnote that if the state wanted to retry him, Baran could file a motion for a hearing on Ford’s alleged misconduct. By dropping the charges, the D.A. avoided that hearing. “In my opinion,” says Boston civil liberties attorney Harvey Silverglate, “ the possibility of an embarrassing hearing into misconduct by a former prosecutor and now sitting Superior Court judge was the main reason, if not the reason, they decided to drop the charges. The appeals court opinion cut a bit too close to the bone for them.”

So while Bernard Baran is free after 22 years of incarceration, there are no plans to look into the actions of the prosecutor, now a sitting judge, responsible for his conviction. Ford’s career trajectory indicates the backward incentive structure that prosecutors face: Convictions produce rewards, while abuse rarely comes with a penalty
Which has to change; there has to be some actual penalty for this kind of crap. It should include disbarment and go from there.
One Ford defender told the publication that it’s unfair to hold the judge accountable for something he did a quarter century ago.
Bull-effing- etc. A man spent more than two decades in prison because of this corrupt man Daniel Ford; his life was destroyed. And it took years to get the current minions of the law to do anything about it, and I'll bet you some of the discussion had nothing to do with right or wrong, it had to do with "Do we want to upset the judge by releasing this?" Which translates to "Screw that the law demands we do this, can we get away with not doing it, and keep the judge happy?" Which is further misconduct, and violation of law.

And, by the way, there's another question: since as prosecutor Daniel Ford did this crap here, are there any other cases in which he broke the law and tampered with evidence to get a conviction, quite possibly of someone innocent of the crime? How many times may he have done it, and how much harm did he do, to people wrongly jailed and the Law he swore to uphold? Should we ignore that because 'it was years ago' too?

What Wolfwalker said about the released documents on the global-warming 'scientists' holds just as true here: these people abused their position, violated ethics and have now provided one more example for people to point to and say "I'm supposed to trust you cops? Prosecutors? Judges? Look what you clowns were caught at AGAIN!"

A while back Rodger posted this, and I finally got around to watching it: Never, Ever, Talk To The Police. One of the interesting things is after the lawyer finishes, the cop gets up to have his say, and begins with "I agree with everything he said, don't talk to the police because anything you say WILL be used against you."(not exact words). Years ago that would have driven me nuts, and I still don't like it; but I think it's the right thing to do. Because history has shown that far too many of police and prosecutors both cannot be trusted to care more about the law and justice than about getting another arrest or conviction in their "See how wonderful I am?" record. And when they get caught, rarely does anything actually happen to them for screwing an innocent over(see 'crooked prosecutor becomes judge' and 'authorities don't want to trouble judge over past misconduct' above).

Damn, reading this is a sorry way to start the day.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

ck out the allegations against one of pittsfields finest
carmin the sheriff