Thanks to Tokyo Jeff, following USSM: Link on case details
There's a critical divide here between "blaming the victim" and "fairly weighing the extenuating circumstances";
You can question a victim's judgment about situations. But I am not about to blame the victim for a crime committed against them. That's a whole different story.
You have to understand that Lueke accepted responsibility for this crime. As such, he is no longer on a level playing field with his victim.
Not blame, no. Absolutely not.
But we're talking about extenuating circumstances here. Bloggers don't have to worry about them. Judges do.
"Sexual assault" can range all the way from (A) college kids being stupid, to (Z) attacking a woman who is kicking and screaming. Those who try to say that A = Z do women's rights real harm.
P-E-R-H-A-P-S it was the case (or, what if it was the case) that this woman gave her consent earlier in the night, and everybody was blind drunk later, and these athletes and their hangers-on do what NBA players do each and every night?
And what if it was the case that: if Lueke had called her the next day, she'd have happily gone out with him -- but since he didn't call, now it's an assault? Those things happen.
I'm not saying they did. I'm saying sometimes they do. I don't call it "rape" in those specific cases where the woman decides the next day whether she prefers a second date or a court case. I call it "rape" when a woman is kicking and screaming or imprisoned or drugged, and then I call for the death penalty for the filthy quisling who perpetrated it.
How severe were Lueke's actions? How consensual was the sex? We don't know.
And therefore, we can't hold Lueke responsible for Crime X. We have no reasonable feel for what his crime was.
We do know that he did something wrong, in the eyes of the prosecution and judge. What does that mean? I have no idea what it means.
There is a subtext, to this entire story, that Lueke did something very, very sinister. And lacking better information, that subtext is unfair to Lueke.
So, when referring to cases like this, you have to be very careful about dealing with the facts and reading any conjecture into it. ...We're not mind readers and don't know why Lueke owned up to responsibility in this matter. Only that he did. You can throw in conjecture if you want, but I can't do that in a fact-based story. Because your conjecture can be twisted in the other direction too easily.
All we know is, Lueke accepted criminal responsibility in this matter. As such, he is the perpetrator of the crime and she is the victim. You may think you know differently, but you don't. All we have to go off is what the outcome of the case says.
Right, but Geoff himself has conjectured quite a bit: he has conjectured that Lueke's actions were despicable. P-E-R-H-A-P-S they weren't. Perhaps the sex was totally consensual, and she got mad at him later.
In reality, we're not sure that Lueke did anything sinister, or sure of anything about his actions. But that is exactly how we have treated him.
Lueke is the one who took blame for the crime. It is not my job to go out of my way to portray him in an overly sensitive light, no matter how much baseball fans like his fastball. Not my job to portray him in an overly negative light either.
Agreed, and also agreed that Baker has used an objective, stick-to-the-facts, non-sensationalized tone. Throughout.
If the Mariners want to do PR for him to smooth his transition to Seattle, that's their perogative. But I am not about to do their PR work for them. Sorry.
Which gets to a critical point: Baker has deployed facts and logic to great effect. The Mariners have not.
As he notes, two weeks later we're still waiting for a decent response from the Mariners. The Mariners are not known for decent responses to the reporters, bloggers and fans who pay their salaries. They're known for holding us all beneath their dignity on these matters. Their response has been to fire Carmen Fusco and to sniff at those wondering about their response to Baker.
The two things mentioned as details of the case (1) visiting three bars with the players and (2) kissing many different men ...
I'm 100% sure that those two things in isolation -------- > would NOT give Lueke a snowball's chance of living through any court trial.
No way that those two things are tacit consent. If that were Lueke's defense, I'd lead the charge to fry him.
It's interesting that this newspaper article took many by surprise. Personally, I had assumed -- at a minimum -- that the woman's behavior was sleazy that night. But in my book, that doesn't even begin to touch on the idea of consent.
My guess would be that the woman was a lousy witness because there was LOTS of stuff implying consent.
Previous pattern with players?
Comments she made to Lueke that night at the bars?
And after arriving at the scene?, etc etc.
Just a guess. But I wouldn't expect the prosecution to back away because of the two factors listed. Far more likely IMHO, the newspaper reporter withheld far more damaging details of the woman's behavior. That's my presumption based on the D.A.'s decision not to try the case. Could be wrong.
The bottom line is, we don't assume the worst in a court case; we're forced to assume the minimum until proven differently.
I have worked as a criminal defense attorney for a long time. Here are a few things that you might not know about the justice system.
1. When a person pleads guilty to a charge, it often has no relation to what he actually did, but always bears a relationship to the consequences inherent in the charge.
This happens in all sorts of situations. A common one is this: A legal alien hits his wife, and is charged with domestic battery. He has lived in the country for a long time. The prosecution and the defense know that a domestic battery conviction is a deportable offense, and the prosecutor does not think that this event is worthy of deportation, so the sides settle on a nonsense charge, "disturbing the peace" or "disorderly conduct".
2. The punishment for a sex crime is far worse than the punishment for a felony.
When a person is convicted of a felony, there is a certain number of things that he is no longer eligible for. Possession of a firearm, for example. It is usually not too big of a problem, as you can live a long and good life without ever shooting a gun. Many convicted felons, get through with jail and probation, and go on to live normal lives, with jobs, spouses and kids.
For sex offenders, however, life is worse. In addition to most charges carrying a lengthy prison sentence, sex offenders are given the highest level of ostracism in American society. Most states have a picture of every registered sex offender in any given town, on-line, with a picture of where he works, what his crime was, where he lives, and what his conditions of parole and sex offender reporting are.
For example, there are 21 sex offenders who live in the immediate vicinity of Safeco Field. Their names, pictures and addresses are listed on-line.
3. "Pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered".
This is a maxim that many defense attorneys practice by. It means that a defendant should get a sentence as lenient as he can, but be willing to give up what he is able to stomach in order to avoid what is intolerable.
A prosecutor wants a jail sentence that will cause you to lose your prized job, and default on your mortgage? See if he will let you report on weekends or have a longer probation. You are charged with an offense that will cost you your gun rights and you are a law enforcement officer or a military serviceman? trade a stricter punishment for a better charge.
This principle is why people who are innocent, mostly innocent, or are favored to win at trial routinely plea. In general, most people who are charged with a felony with a good triable case, will take a plea to a misdemeanor, rather than to a felony, as long as they can control the jail time. The reason being is that the defendant knows he can manage a misdemeanor without a great disruption to his life. There are very few who say I'm innocent, and I'm fighting this out on the principal of the thing" when it is their neck is on the line and a good offer is on the table. This effect is compounded for a person with a sexual charge. It is always a good deal to be accused of a sexual charge, and then plea to a non-sexual felony.
4. Many prosecutors will obtain a high bail, to force a plea on a weak case.
An example of this: A man is arrested, and bail is set at a level that he cannot afford. He has a triable case, with some horrifying facts. The prosecutor only wants forty days in jail for this particular charge, and the pretrial conference is set thirty days away. The prosecutor will argue to keep bail high, and then, thirty days later, will offer a plea to time served, and send the defendant on his way. He is magically no longer a threat to society once he has plead guilty. If the man refuses the plea, he is refusing the key to his own jail cell, when trial is often many months away. Sound farfetched? This has happened to so many of my clients I have lost count.
5. In close cases, jury trials are more about the jurors than the facts.
My clients won a lot more close cases when I started taking jury selection seriously. If your jury is made of a bunch of Republican little old white ladies, you are going to fry. Conversely, your attorney's arguments about the police officer finding the results he wants in his field sobriety tests sound a lot better to the jury when it is comprised of people who have prior DWIs or other brushes with law enforcement. I have tried DWI cases with the same breath content, the same color and age of client, and the same performance on field sobriety tests.
The man who did his field sobriety tests slightly better got convicted, the man who did them slightly worse was acquitted. Why? The acquitting jurors had records, particularly the foreman.
Now, jury pools are not announced at the pretrial stage, when most pleas are made. Further, when jury pools are announced, it is uncertain who will show up to jury selection. Some pools are lynching pools, some are acquitting, and most are in between.
After reading all about the Leuke case, there is one thing that we can be certain of. He is innocent of false imprisonment. False imprisonment, by definition, is confining someone against his will. The California definition is "constraining, confining or detaining another person without his/her consent" Penal Law 236. This is what Mr. Leuke was convicted of. This begs the question. How did Mr. Leuke confine a woman without her consent when she was blacked out? How is that proved by some semen? The answer is that it wasn't and he didn't. Mr. Leuke is not a false imprisoner, the charge is not "horrifying" and he is not a domestic abuser. Rather, he accepted punishment for something he is not guilty of as a compromise to the all or nothing gamble of jury trial.
Mr. Leuke probably made a judgment call to plea to this charge, because he was afraid of being convicted of rape, because the prosecutor wouldn't let him out of jail otherwise, because no registered sex offender was ever allowed in pro sports, but plenty of felons are and are routinely forgiven and swept under the rug.
Are these the reasons Mr. Leuke plead out? Probably, plus or minus a few details.
We do, pretty much know exactly what happened, what transpired afterwards, and how it played out, plus or minus a few details. To say otherwise is to depart from common sense. Leuke's case is an ordinary courtroom drama that plays itself out every day across America. Make of it what you will.
Side rant: Regarding ordinary felons, they are often forgiven in sports.
Look to our own division. Ron Washington is still the manager of the Rangers, isn't he? Isn't cocaine an FDA "dangerous drug" and always felonious to possess? Isn't that horrifying? Cocaine causes heart attacks and brain damage, ruins South American countries and creates criminals and deadbeats out of law abiding citizens. Further, police officers are killed both here and in Mexico combating the drug trade. Did Ron Washington care about this? No. But he made that choice any way. How then, will the Texas fans ever forgive him?
What has been most disturbing about the Times articles, is the tone that has been set. The writers act as if they have never been around someone who has been convicted of a crime and that those people should be cut off from society. They talk as brahmins referring to an unwashed rat eater. Thumbs down.
"What has been most disturbing about the Times articles, is the tone that has been set. The writers act as if they have never been around someone who has been convicted of a crime and that those people should be cut off from society. They talk as brahmins referring to an unwashed rat eater. Thumbs down."
The fox hunting show is on and it's going to end only when the prey will be mentally destroyed. Is there anybody who cares about that boy ?
Funny, just about every poster here has turned on light bulbs for me, on one side of the scoreboard or other.
...Geoff Baker turning a great many of them on, and Mojician of course with many also, but all of the discussion has been intriguing.
At the moment, I'm leaning toward sympathy for Lueke as the dominant factor here and swaying back towards irritation at the whole "scandal" and the price that the media attention has brought to Lueke, Fusco, Zduriencik, etc.
Perhaps Geoff will follow on, and if so, maybe that'll swing the pendulum back.
Mojician's excellent post is very compelling.
Baker keeps saying of Leuke, 'He's guilty, he's guilty, in the eyes of the law he's guilty. I can only report the facts of the case.'
Well in the eyes of the law, OJ Simpson was innocent of murder. ; ) To re-phrase what I've said before, I think Baker has lost a bit of the context in which things are taking place. His characterization of Leuke's crime and plea bargain don't take in to account the realities of plea bargaining as Mojician illustrates. And his characterization of Zdureincik's bungling of the trade for Leuke don't take in to account the realities of corporate operations, how executives may handle communicating to protect their superiors or other relationships.
That's not to say Baker shouldn't be reporting what he's worked so hard to learn. It has relevance and people are interested. It just shouldn't be blown out of proportion.
It reminds me a bit of NapGate. LaRue mentioned the nap thing in a sentence or two in the midst of a fairly innocuous blog post. The information blew up disproportionate to how he presented it. I think he got the weight of the issue right, in that he mentioned it but it wasn't too big a deal. Imagine if he had written a front page article about it. IMO, that would have been blowing the event out of proportion, similar to how Baker is blowing the Leuke thing out of proportion.
I'm sure Baker would object to that analogy, as the nature of the issues he's reporting are weightier. Regardless, a reporter (and his/her editor) needs to make a judgment call about how 'big' a story is. In the Leuke case, I think they misjudged it, to damaging effect.