Josh Lueke's Fate: From Ethics and Philosophy to Morality

She's over-bored and self-assured

I know, I know - A dirty word

- Teen Spirit, Nirvana


Sandy writes:

To interject a "possible" shift in perspective for Matt to ponder.

Your interpretation of Geoff's piece and defense is that you view him as lacking a moral foundation (to some degree).

However - I could EASILY see Geoff's piece viewed as being *OVERLY* moralistic.

To distance ourselves from the case in point to try and look at the 'general' topic. Let's say, (as an example), I were to write a piece on a kid given the exact same punishment that Lueke received - but for a DWI-related crime - (hit someone with a car while drunk - but the person didn't die).

If *MY* personal morality is one that puts an extremely high value on personal responsiblity - and I believe that drunk drivers are treated FAR too leniently by our judicial system, then it could easily be a moral imperative *TO ME* to write a serious piece that might slam the kid, the courts, and the club for not punishing the kid further.  My motivation could be completely morally based -- yet, the implementation of that foundation could easily appear to be an attack piece seemingly devoid of any concern over the impact it might have on the lives of others.  (In my example, the over-riding intent of the piece might actually be a belief that in the long run, writing the piece might change behaviors and save lives).

That said -- I also completely understand and appreciate the concerns in regards to the power of the press in general to destroy lives (either by intent - or as "collateral damage").  The line between informing the public and damaging individuals is often very blurry.  I got to show the film "Absence of Malice" about 40 times when I was in college to all the jouralism classes.  The moral and ethical questions the press face on a daily basis are rarely clear and easy.

Christians during the Crusades - KKK members in the previous century - and Islamic Radicals today have all operated under what THEY believed to be moral imperatives.  The sad reality is that one man's moral act is often another man's atrocity.


=== You Go San-Man, Dept. ===

Agree with Sandy here.

If morality is the judgment of human behavior according to ANY GIVEN set of standards of Right and Wrong ...

An a-moral set of articles would have said, or implied, that Lueke did nothing "objectively" Wrong -- that he should be excluded from the Mariners organization because of expediency.

An argument that said the Mariners should exclude Lueke, merely because he would hurt their attendance or relationships or prestige or etc., that would have been an amoral argument.

Might have understood Geoff wrong, but he seems to have been making an extremely "moral" argument -- that once a violation of his standards of Right and Wrong have occurred, that no repair (in this violation) is possible.


=== A Star Point by SABRMatt ===

Matt seems to be arguing that once you broach the subject of Ethics and Philosophy, that you are almost automatically in the realm of Morality and Religion / Worldview.

If that's what he's saying, I agree with him, and would almost submit this Josh Lueke question as Exhibit A.


It's a funny thing, but much of public America (especially the print media) is comfortable discussing Ethics -- but uncomfortable discussing Morality. 

The media -- not Geoff, now -- will scoff at the concept of morality, but then write news article after news article that are in reality op-ed pieces arguing that a War is wrong, that Gender Bias is wrong, that class-income discrepancy is wrong, etc., etc. 

The media argues not that these things are inexpedient, but that they are wrong - that they are evil.

I believe that 99.998% of all Americans believe fervently in Right and Wrong, that all of us care deeply about Moral Codes and their enforcement.  We've simply been taught to believe that we don't :- )


As mentioned above, Geoff's argument seems to be inflexibly moral -- that since this violation of his standards of Right and Wrong has taken place, that no repair is possible, at least with respect to Lueke's career.

Whether Geoff states this or not, the morals underlying his articles are clear:  Josh Lueke has done something Very Wrong, and we should take care to ensure that he receives Greater, not Lesser, punishment for this Evil.

If so, he's right -- this argument is one of Right and Wrong, not one of expediency.  Every crime and punishment in America has as its basis the concepts of Right and Wrong.  Law and punishment is not driven by the concept of Ethics.


This is why Silentpadna, Mikey Jay, and others coming from my worldview sometimes smile wistfully at the idea that we are too moral -- that we adhere too closely to Right and Wrong. 

It's clear that Geoff's articles are founded on a platform not of expediency -- but of that which is Right and that which is Wrong.  Morality is a dirty word in the print media, a concept that one is to educate oneself beyond.  But the pages of the New York Times are saturated with the assumption that man can perpretrate Evil on one's fellow man.

In Padna's and my worldview, the standards of Right and Wrong that so often disallow repair? - those are the morals that are harsh.





I get tired of people telling me that I'm not allowed to discuss morality. There exists a modern philosophy that presupposes that there cannot be one truth because each of us learn morality independently. Moral relativism drives a lot of the criticisms against bringing up religion and morality that are essentially forced into the dialogue when ever an ethical dilemma presents itself.
Look...I'm sorry if this offends, but when I encounter an ethical dilemma, I solve it the best way I know how...through my FAITH. The very reason religion exists is to help us solve moral and ethical problems we encounter in every day life. Josh Lueke is getting this much attention in Seattle because there is TREMENDOUS cognitive dissonance between various groups of people about how best to address the ethical/moral dilemma of what to do with someone in Lueke's position.
My morality - my RELIGION - (and I came to my faith very slowly and without parental instruction by reading the scholarly works of various theologians and philosophers, so I feel like I've "earned" my certainty in certain truths) tells me it si unequivocally wrong to persecute a man for a crime before we know beyond all doubt that he is guilty of that crime. No matter what, we have to err on the side of caution when it comes to the language we choose when describing something like the Lueke case. Baker seems to think it's perfectly OK to continuously, unendingly attack Josh Lueke every chance he gets simply because Lueke plead no contest and "accepted responsibility." That is immoral...and no, I won't accept the concept that there is a valid morality which makes that OK. There are some things that are just right or just plain old wrong and this is one of those things that I believe is just plain old wrong.
So did the founding fathers of this great country. Innocent until proven guilty is not just a catch defines our essential morality.
And oh BTW, I think Baker deeply violates his own (speaking amorally for a second) journalistic ethics when he has an obvious agenda in the news he reports. Baker himself does NOT DENY that he has an agenda. No news reporter should ever...EVER...have a personal agenda coloring his stories...when you report the news, you have a responsibility not just to report things that are true (Baker has not lied in any of his columns) but to report the whole story from all angles and to be objective in doing so. Baker's agenda is clear...use Josh Lueke is exhibit A in his case against the Mariner front office...attack the Mariners at all costs until they submit to his demands for accountability. That's not what a journalist is supposed to do.
So not only does Baker act immorally when he rips at Lueke five times a day in his web column to make sure that wound never heals...he's also unethical as a journalist, in my opinion.
Journalistic agendas explain many of the evils in mainstream media reporting...from the national "get Obama elected!" push that resulted in a president who was COMPLETELY unqualified for the job and is proving to be among our most ineffectual leaders EVER (thanks to his never being asked a tough question by members of the press in public while McCain was grilled even on the most routine of appearances) to the environmental movement which is slowly but sure producing draconian legislation designed to tell us all how to live. If I can tell what your agenda is as a reporter...then you've FAILED as a reporter.
We do all have's impossible to be 100% objective...but the first rule of journalism I learned (I did take one course...I'm not a journalist, but if this rule is the first thing they teach you in Journalism 101...then failing to live by it is the worst kind of failure)...was that if you have an opinion on an issue you're covering, you should investigate your opposition first. In other words...if you think Josh Lueke is guilty of raping that should talk to Josh Lueke, his coaches, his teammates, and anyone else you can who can tell you more about who he is and report on that first. Challenge yourself and your world view every time you write something that will be seen as official media (I don't have to work as hard when I post to a blog...this is just people one will mistake what I say for the incontravertable truth the way they might with what appears in the Seattle Times).
Baker is cmofortable with how he's acted regarding Lueke...he shouldn't be...and that's a shame.


Great points Matt.
But, since you cite "innocent until proven guilty" - I see the Lueke situation as, (and I think Baker, also), that he *WAS* proven guilty.  In taking the plea that he did - by the law of the land, he is considered guilty of a crime - and he HAS RECEIVED punishment for that crime. 
If I were to ask you in general terms - "Is it moral to punish a criminal?" I think you - (like most people), would say, Yes.
If the question is "Is it moral for a newspaper to print unkind articles about convicted criminals?" the answer (for me) in general terms would be, yes.  But, I could also see the possibility of circumstances where I would feel differently.  I am an avid watcher of the "American Greed" series, which I view as a very positive journalistic endeavor to explain how some of the worst abusers of our system got away with their crimes for so long. 
Is it immoral to cause THOSE criminals (and their families) additional grief (beyond the punishment of the judiciary)?  For me - no.
I could see some that might call it "unfair" or "unnecessary" or "unseemly" -- but (for me), it doesn't cross the line into immoral.
Then again - AFTER a crime has been fully paid for - and the criminal set free by the justice system, (regardless of the crime) - what about then?
In the general case - it is immoral to cause harm to another.  In a specific case of crime - it is not only moral - but a sign of a moral society that they punish criminals. 
For *ME* - the Lueke case is complex in that he was initially charged with an extremely serious crime - but he was convicted of something far less serious, (else the punishment would've been far more severe).  I can easily see the argument that Baker is treating Lueke "as if" he were convicted of the original more serious crime -- and if so, that could certainly be viewed as "unfair".  But, I'm not sure (for me), that would cross the line into immorality.
I've argued that the way Lueke should be treated (by the press and the club) should be consistent with the way the justice system opted to punish him.  So, while I may interpret Baker's piece as "heavy handed", I can't see it as being immoral, (especially when my own moral compass views a show like "American Greed" as serving a public good).
In any case - it's a fascinating discussion with some top shelf intellects.

Geoff Baker's picture

Actually, what's a shame is that we did do all the things you've suggested, SABRMatt. We just didn't find the news you were hoping for. We talked to everybody who was pertinent to this case. Josh Lueke's coaches were not pertinent to it. Nor were his teammates who weren't in the apartment with him, or at the bar. Their opinions/beliefs about Lueke's character have zero to do with the facts of the case. You should know, that the teammates and friends who were with Lueke that night and gave statements to police have NOT corroborated any story of a consensual relationship or even flirting between the pair. That doesn't mean it didn't happen, but your appeals to "talk to both sides" have been done and still do not provide the answer you obviously want. Maybe I should have written that part into the story, that Lueke's friends and teammates did not corroborate his latest version of the truth.
But again. we're not here to try a case that Lueke himself did not want to go to trial with.
The lengths to which you and others on this site are going to twist this into some kind of legal, ethical or moral debate are beyond ridiculous. If you have problems with the legal system the way it's run, that's not my problem. Not every story about a guilty party in a court case requires some in-depth philosophical look at our legal system. If you don't like it, change it. But dude, quit taking shots at my morality, or else, come up with something factually stronger than your wish for Lueke to be innocent. You can believe what you want according to your own biases. But again, there are no facts in this case to support what you and Jeff, it appears, wants. Other than to simply argue for argument's sake, on behalf of a pitcher you both clearly want on the team for his on-field ability (as Jeff had written even before this story came out) I still don't see your point.
I'm done. You can keep twisting and twisting and twist some more, but there has never been, and still is not, any reason to bring up the fact that Lueke may have been innocent. Just like I never wrote that he "may" have been guilty.
I gave you the facts. There was evidence against him. He lied four different times to police over a nine-month period and only talked of consensual sex after the DNA evidence was presented. There are no teammates or friends who witnessed any consensual flirting or contact between the pair ahead of the alleged rape. The victim's statements have never been contradicted by actual evidence and her story remained conssitent throughout. And Lueke pled no contest to a lesser felony charge in the case.
The only spin on those facts is your own and the spin of those on this site who either have a problem with the legal system or the media. Not saying problems don't exist with both, but to apply them to this case, with no other supporting evidence, is just plain lame pseudo-intellectualism. I've read far better stuff on this site, and not just when it was saying good things about me.


...the only people who are relevant to talk to are the ones that don't disprove his view of events. He doesn't care what people who work with Lueke think of Lueke beacuse "they weren't in the room" one but Lueke and this victim of his were in the room...this is classic argumentative fallacy stuff here. Don't be fooled.

glmuskie's picture

It might help for people to re-read Baker's original piece about this.  The debate has expanded and doubled back on itself a number of times, and if you read the original article, it's fairly innocuous.  The main point of the 'expose' is the bungling and lies by the front office in this trade.
Baker has in fact presented the facts all along, as he points out the Mariners have never disputed the facts.  So while we can try to amplify the morality or ethics of how he reported the incident, I think that to imply or accuse him of a lack of journalistic ethics or responsibility is overstating things, and is a bit irresponsible in return.
I take issue with Baker's repeated harping on Leuke's no contest plea...  constantly repeating something tends to ingrain that in to peoples' minds, to the exclusion of other relevant things to keep in mind in discussing Leuke, the person.  It makes him one-dimensional.  And I take issue with his insisting that the M's need to decide something, or take action, when they don't 'need' to at all.  This suggests that Baker is trying to incite action or exert influence from his position as a journalist.
But he's argued everything in a very standup manner.  He's shed light on some dysfunction in the management structure, which has probably helped the M's to have better communication on future trades.  He's presented the facts about the Leuke case, so that we all have a much better understanding about what happened, which is relevant in deciding for ourselves if he's a guy we want on 'our' team.
So here's hoping the debate gets a bit less shrill and settles back in to a context that is a bit more appropriate to what the actual events warrant.

Anonymous's picture

C'mon, we're all wasting our time. A certain blogosphere DO NOT WANT anyway Lueke as a Mariner - even better if definitely out of baseball. Yesterday on USS I read a report about the possible closer for next season and Lueke was not even named. Several readers inquired why he had been ignored and they did not receive a single word answering their question. It's sure now, there's a lobby of christian talebans in full hunting action for THE CANNIBAL.


It's not that the original article, taken by itself, was all that's a subtle slant i his writing style. He needlessly uses phrases over and over and over again in that piece and then again as side comments in a half-dozen other pieces since then. He takes every opportunity he can to remind us all that Lueke is a CRIMINAL! (epmhasis his, echoed by me...not intended to be read as me yelling at the readers here) This is the reducto ad absurdem of how Baker has been writing this story into his pieces:
Today, we learned that CEO Howard Lincoln didn't have the right information regarding this EVIL RAPIST WHO PLED NO CONTEST TO HIS EVIL DEED WHILE A RANGER!!!! and this leads us to believe that Zduriencik either didn't do his homework before the trade was made and is covering for that failure or felt he had to lie to his bosses to get his deal through. BUT THIS EVIL MAN IS NOW WITH US and the consequences to the front office are certainly on display. P.S. LUEKE IS EVIL!!!!!!
Yes...I'm exaggerating for effect, but that is how the tone feels to me. He goes out of his way to throw those extra few words in about the no contest plea whenever he thinks he get them into a paragraph. He's doing this for a reason. His goal is get people in Seattle mad about the trade in an effort to make the front office comply with his philosophy of accountability...if that means Lueke has to get run out of town by a band of pitchfork wielding local soccer moms, then so much the better.
The most dangerous media bias is not the stuff that labels itself as biased. It's the subtle slant that the average reader will think is innocuous while a certain impression is being ingrained in their head. It's the softball questions going to one political candidate while the tough ones go to the other. It's the differences in connotation attached to certain word choices that sway public opinion when written as news and information, rather than opinion fodder. This stuff Baker has written about Lueke exemplifies my concerns about journalists slanting their reporting to suit a personal agenda. Baker didn't lie...he didn't distort the facts...he just chooses his words in ways designed to make you, the reader, angry at the Mariners, at Lueke and anything else necessary to put pressure on the front office.

moe's picture

I don't know what the kid did.  But at best I suspect he behaved in the cretin-ish manner of Ben Rothlisberger (a behavior which costcost Ben millions) and at worst he committed a felony crime.
The way this case proceeded seems to be not untypical of a first time offender and a "he said, she said" episode.  An unhappy middle ground was reached.
The best move forward for the M's is to sever ties with the kid now.  He is no lock as a major league success story.  He may flame out. Odds on that may approach even money or better.  Get what you can for him and send him elswhere.  Let them deal with the PR nightmare.
 Z missed this one totally, either the storm of Lueke criticism or the nature of the event itself.  Z messed up.  But I think he has a hard time cutting ties with his mistakes.  Figgins (in my mind) is a Z mistake.  The Figgy question now becomes, on a team with a limited available budget next year, what else could that 8 million dollars purchase (OK..$6-$7M, considering the  M's may have to eat some contract) that isn't Figgins.  Say, a number  4 type arm?  MIght that be much more valuable in comparison to the replacement opportunity.  Would you rather have Pauley/French/RRS as your other starter (to go with Felix, Vargas, Fister, Pineda) AND have Figgins.  Or have Lopez and a real pitcher in that spot.  Easy call for me.
But I think Z is a guy wedded to his errors.  To punt on them would be to admit the error....and face the career implications of that. 
Let Lueke go.  Almost any other organization would have done so (I think).  But Lueke is Z's guy.  We're stuck with the PR debacle.

10 could NOT give away potentially valuable property that's fanning 14 per nine innings in AAA just because he made one really bad decision in his life.  Just a thought.

dixarone's picture

Geoff Baker writes for a newspaper...and a blog. The blog is also, really, for the paper, although he gets more leeway to flesh out ideas and opinion there, no doubt. Part of the responsibility of writing for a paper, is to get background information into every piece that gets written, so that someone who is new to the story (whatever that story may be) can get up to speed quickly and understand the balance of that particular piece.
Nothing annoys me more than to read an article somewhere that references something in such a way that I have no idea what is really going on. It's shoddy writing, and I actually had an example yesterday from one of the wire services that I came upon. It assumed you knew a particular piece of information, and at the end of the article I had to go searching elsewhere to find out what the heck was going on.
So, when Baker takes every opportunity to remind us that Lueke plead "no contest" and fleshes out what exactly that means...well, he's likely writing for people who are happening across the story for the first time, or people who can't recall what the fuss is about for one reason or another. I just went back and reread a bunch of the stuff that he's written, and to me, he's clearly taking aim at the front office of the Mariner's, not Lueke himself. Yeah, maybe it could be argued that Lueke's a "pawn" in this particular series of articles that is designed to expose the FO for what it really is...but...
...nothing he's written has strayed from factual information on Lueke. Where he's wandered into op-ed writing is specifically concerned with front office relationships. There's been no speculation on his part as it relates to Lueke's charges and record, it's only been speculation as to what Lueke's charges and record mean to the Mariner's personell involved in the decision making process.
Is Baker putting heat on the FO by using Lueke's case as a torch? Yes. I don't see a problem with factual reporting. The articles repeat the facts, over and over again, so that there's an understanding of the background of whatever new piece of information he's reporting. That's all. Agenda? To be a good writer in addition to being a good reporter.
As for people clamoring for him to interview Lueke's teammates and coaches to find another side of him, but I don't hear the same clamoring for interviews from the victim's friends and co-workers. What's the saying again?...there are two sides to every story, and then there are the facts. Well, as far as I can see, Geoff has stayed pretty much with the facts - or at least what's in the public domain, recorded as fact. He hasn't gone into Lueke's side of the story, but neither has he gone into the victim's side either. The courts are flawed, and the legal process is flawed, but the information on the case from the courts, is what the source of the disconnect in the M's FO is...and that's what he's reporting.
He's never said that he's digging up information on Lueke to either paint him as a good or a bad person. It's not Lueke the person that is causing problems within the Front's Lueke's record. If that's unfair to Lueke, it's the M's who are being unfair, not Baker.
And really, Baker isn't writing articles about Lueke - he's writing articles about Zdurencik, Lincoln, Armstrong, Fusco...Lueke is the source of the friction there, but he's not the cause...and that's what, it seems to me, that he's trying to get at.


What 'Christians' have you noticed who were on the Hawk side of the Lueke discussion?  Aren't the self-declared Christians arguing for clemency on Lueke's behalf?
Why characterize them as the Taliban of this discussion?


It might help for people to re-read Baker's original piece about this.  The debate has expanded and doubled back on itself a number of times, and if you read the original article, it's fairly innocuous.  The main point of the 'expose' is the bungling and lies by the front office in this trade.

Geoff has taken pains to spell out the philosophy underlying his articles, which we all appreciate. 
The articles themselves were quite neutral in tone, and directed fundamentally at the Mariners' management of the issue.
Just because he has 'defended' his rather emotionally-restrained 'scandal' reporting, doesn't mean that we should make his worldview the very core of the issue.
Personally, I've pursued the rationale behind the 'Get Lueke out of here' subtext because it goes to so many different questions of sports (Mariners) ethics for the fan.
But, again, we've just about got our arms around this one.


Was to fail to anticipate that Chuck Armstrong had a much finer tripwire on PC issues than most GM's would run into, in their orgs.
I think that in about 25-28 other ML cities, they're rolling their eyes at what Zduriencik is putting up with here.  No GM has a roster full of model citizens.  Not by a long shot.

OBF's picture

to the game here, and so this comment will probably never be read, especially never read by Geoff, who is the person I am really curious as to his response, but here goes anyway...
First an honest question.  Doesn't the agreement to a plea work both ways?  I mean yes Josh Leuke has plead no contest and takes responsibility, and is guilty in the eyes of the law and all that of false imprisonment, but didn't the victim ALSO agree that Josh Leuke is guilty of (and ONLY of) false imprisonment?  In other words, isn't the victims (and prosecutions) willingness and sign off on taking the plea agreement an explicit (not implicit, explicit) admission that there was no rape?  Legally speaking, doesn't the accusation of rape get resolved by this plea?  I am not being rhetorical I really don't know and the answers to those questions definitely affect how I feel about Geoff's writing.
I think that this is where much of the disconnect is, because my assumption is that the above is all true, and so if Geoff wants to speak about the facts and only the facts then he should not ever use the terms (and these are especially highly emotive and charged terms) rape, or accused of rape in his article, because those "facts" have indeed been resolved by the fact of the plea.  IOW, I respect Geoff desire to only speak about the facts because speculation is messy and we can never really know.  But the rape accusation is just as much speculation as the extenuating circumstances that led Leuke to plead out or get into this situation in the night of question in the first place.  So it feels unbalanced and unfair to use the, "Just the fact and only the facts, ma'am" line of reasoning to discount any speculation on Leuke's side of the ledger, but to ignore that reasoning when speculating that a no contest plea to false imprisonment really means he was guilty of rape on the other end.
For what it is worth (not much I know).  In my world view everything that the facts support Leuke really did do (got sloppy drunk and had premarital sex with a girl who was also inebriated) is completely and utterly deplorable and heinous.  I have no problem with him being strung up in the papers a a guy who did something very bad, very wrong on the night in question.  I also have no problem with him being the lever that is used to try and pry the dysfunctional relationships in the front office to the surface or try to expose the M's as nothing more than an expensive investment device for the owners and not a true competitor for a championship.  My only issue is that I would want that reporting to be done in a balanced way, and speculation being allowed on one side (rape), but not on the other (maybe there were extenuating circumstances to the whole night and to the plea) is not balanced in my view.
Of course I am also posting while impossibly tired, so I could be writing completely incoherent dribble right now :)


There are plenty of good reasons for your disconnect, OBF, because there are lots of complexities that have gotten skimmed over.  The time gap is actually helpful, because it allows for some helpful perspective.  This is my view:
The DNA and other evidence, of which the DNA is by far the most straightforward, points to three acts.  I won't get too involved, but some level of understanding is necessary.
Act A: The "standard" way of doing things.  DNA evidence that it happened: 100% (anyone can correct me where I'm wrong).  Plausibility that she consented to it: Somewhat plausible.  Plausibility that a young athlete would "assume" consent, in a manner a jury would sympathize with, in light of drunken outing/"groupie" behavior: Very high.  Legal consequences if no consent: Very serious. "Ugh factor": in this world, frankly limited to the extreme drunkenness and uncertainty about consent.
Act B: A "less standard" way of doing things.  DNA evidence: also 100% unless I'm missing something.  Plausibility that she consented: Less plausible.  Plausibility that he "assumed" consent: Less likely, and also less sympathetic to a jury.  Legal consequnces if no consent: Probably somewhat more serious.  "Ugh factor": probably less than it would have been back in the day.
Act C: I've tried to be oblique about this one, but it's not helping.  So, sorry Doc, feel free to edit. Essentially, the charge is that he stood over her unconscious body, possibly removing some of her clothes first, and pleasured himself to the point of DNA ending up in her hair.  She remembers waking up and seeing this happening, although she did not know which one of the three players it was.  DNA evidence: Josh Lueke's DNA was in her hair.  True, it could have gotten there some other way, so not 100%.  But it dovetails with her story, and completely obliterated his original story.  Plausibility that she consented: to my mind, virtually zero.  Plausibility that he "assumed" consent: I can't imagine what would make him think she'd think it was OK.  Legal consequences if no consent: Significantly less.  It is an assault of a sexual nature, but not the R-word.  "Ugh factor": very high, especially since it seems so unlikely that someone would consent.
Sooooo . . .
If it were just Act A and "he said, she said" then you would have a Kobe/Roethlisberger situation.  The stakes are high, the consequences are serere, the facts murky, and the justice system would punt. Lueke would have a black mark but no felony record (exactly as Kobe and Roethlisberger), and the ripples would eventually die out.  Adding Act B in the "he said, she said" scenario, frankly doesn't change it much.  In the worst possible scenario, though, the possibility that a trial would conclude that Act B took place while she was unconscious and without her consent would rightfully mean decades in prison for Josh Lueke, and he could not rule that out.
But Act C is the one thing she remembers distinctly, and the DNA supports her story, and the justice system could move forward on the basis of jurors being likely to concur in the notion that there was no consent or implied consent to that act.  So it is the least murky thing in the whole equation, but it also does not carry the same consquences.
So you end up with a situation where everyone involved realized that a massive effort to have a trial would quite possibly end up with, at best (from the prosecution's point of view), a conviction on only the lesser charge, and that, from Lueke's standpoint, getting the best deal he could on the lesser charge would eliminate the possibility of a conviction on the way, way more serious ones.  So the outcome that occurred was probably close to what would have happened anyway, and saved everyone lots of expense and risk and uncertainty.
But, from the Mariners' standpoint, the legal fact that Act C was the lesser charge created the largest PR headache (due to the "ugh factor").  Who wants a guy on your team who did that?  And who wants to market that guy to soccer moms?  That's why Z glossing over the facts was a legitimate error, and why it truly cost him capital within the org.  I will continue to assert -- you do not need a "PC" agenda to find Act C unsavory, nor to realize that Z was playing with the team's community image (overly "PC" or not) by acquiring Lueke without any notice or red flags to Armstrong.
That's my view.  Many here disagree.  Hope it helps.

OBF's picture

The only thing that Leuke was "guilty" of from the courts perspective (after the plea agreement) was false imprisonment, which again to the best of my knowledge has no sexual component AT ALL.  EVERYTHING ELSE, including everything you write above, is hearsay and or speculation, in terms of legal court approved convictions and facts, and all I was saying is that if Geoff doesn't want to speculate on Leuke's end, then he shouldn't speculate on the victims end (Leuke admitted SOME guilt so we will speculate and assume he is really admitting to all of it).  That, in my view, is where the in-balance is in Geoff's articles, especially since he wants to hide behind the, I am just presenting the facts ma'am line of reasoning.  The FACTS are that Leuke is "guilty" of false imprisonment, nothing more nothing less.  
BTW as an aside, evidence != fact.  Evidence is information, and information only; the conclusion that one draws from that is a judgment call.  In reality the indisputable facts in this matter are really none at all, however the way the Geoff wants to define fact (at least as far as Leuke goes) is only what the judicial system judged to be the facts.  In that case the judicial system judged that there was indeed NO RAPE, in fact no sexual crime at all!
In the end the unbalance in Geoff's articles come from the willingness to speculate on the victims end but the unwillingness to do so on Leuke's.
And once again for the record I think that everything Leuke did that night was wrong and he deserved punishment for it (which he has received, both in the court of law and the court of public opinion).  Please don't read my call for balanced reporting and consistent treatment of the facts (or no facts) as an endorsement of Leuke the man or the baseball player.  However I also believe in second chances and the fact that good people can do things that they regret with all of their hearts especially while intoxicated.
Also, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Geoff for being in my view the best sport writer in Seattle.  In reality his reporting compared to other sports writers in the region and in the country is incredibly balanced and unbiased, and huge props for him for actually interacting with those who take umbrage here or there.  And in the end I (and probably most everyone else) probably wouldn't have even commented on the matter if it hadn't been such a hot button issue about a sports team with NOTHING ELSE TO TALK ABOUT because the season has been over for months!  :)


So the back-and-forth is useful.  There are lots of ways to look at it.
To my mind, he was not "judged" to be innocent of a sexual crime.  In exchange for avoiding a trial of uncertain outcome, both sides agreed to a plea arrangment. The particular charge agreed to was one that would not trigger sex-offender registration/consequences (like, in some states, not being allowed to live near a school).  At the same time, the charge was "false imprisonment with violence" when there is really no evidence of violence in any of the facts I've seen.
So I think the negotiation was that Lueke's side took the "with violence" charge "in exchange for" the removal of sex offender charges.  Nonsensical, but not necessarily unusual I don't think.   The "with violence" might carry different consequences (ability to get a weapons permit or qualify for certain jobs), but he was probably more willing to accept those consequences than sex offender consequences.
But obviously, the nature of Lueke's misconduct was sexual -- the technicalities of negotiations don't change that.
Then, from the Mariners standpoint, they are not a court of law, and are not bound by those technicalities.  We can disagree that Baker went too far, but to me the evidence is pretty clear that the events of that night would reflect negatively on the Mariners no matter how you slice it, and Z did a poor job of managing it, and Baker is within the scope of his journalistic role to pursue it the way he did.
We agree that Baker is doing a very good job generally, and we agree that Lueke deserves a chance to play baseball as long as he toes the line, so the specifics become less relevant.

dixarone's picture

"First an honest question.  Doesn't the agreement to a plea work both ways?... didn't the victim ALSO agree that Josh Leuke is guilty of (and ONLY of) false imprisonment? "
I'm not a legal expert, but I believe that it is the prosecution's call on the plea, NOT the victim's. And I further believe that the prosecution in most cases acts independently of the victim's wishes...granted, based largely on what the victim is willing to testify to, but outside of what the victim would actually like to see happen to the accused. Generally, the prosecution would be looking for an expedient result that still comes across as justice being served, without completely ignoring the victim's rights (but not necessarily consulting with the victim).
So, based on what we have heard directly from the victim (not much), I would say that no conclusions can be reached on what the girl really feels with regards to how Lueke should be treated as a result.

OBF's picture

Mojician or some other lawyer type to chime in, but I thought the victim had to actually sign the plea agreement along with the defendant, almost like the prosecutor and defender are acting like brokers between the two, but it is the victim and defendant, along with the court making the agreement.  But now we are REALLY getting out of my knowledge base :)

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