Geoff has been powerfully arguing that individuals like Tim Johnson -- the Blue Jays manager who made up stories about war service -- have not, in fact, been forgiven.
Of course, it's one thing to note that certain personalities have not, in fact, been forgiven. But that's not the same as saying they shouldn't have been forgiven.
Also, with respect to Tim Johnson (and Ron Washington), you're talking about men for whom leadership is key to the job resume.
Lueke isn't asking to be responsible for anybody else, as Tim Johnson and Ron Washington were/are. He's asking to be left in peace to be responsible for himself only.
In any case, Washington's second chances do set a compelling backdrop to the second chance that Lueke is requesting.
After 9,000 posts about Lueke's probable guilt or innocence, we finally get one from an attorney who has seen the inside of a courtroom. Megathanks, Mojician. Nice to have some of your light to go with my heat :- )
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.
Geoff has been powerfully arguing that individuals like Tim Johnson -- the Blue Jays manager who made up stories about war service -- have not, in fact, been forgiven.
Thank you mojician...thank you Jeff
It is nice to see reason...I'd forgotten what it looked like.
HOF post here.
We still don't know what actually happened. It could be really, really bad, or it could be "wrong guy, wrong girl, wrong place, wrong time," or it could be anywhere in between. But this "expert testimony" surely supports the notion that a balanced presentation of Leuke is in order, is material to the story. Geoff, stick around. Keep writing the stories you do. But please, consider mojican's take, and if you find it in your mind and your heart to reconsider, do as much work on Leuke the man as you did on Leuke the story. Doesn't have to be a redemption piece. Doesn't have to be a puff piece. Just do with it what you do. Investigate, determine what you think the truth is, and write about it sticking with the facts.
Baker's refusal to look beyond "he accepted a plea bargain - therefore, all I have to comment on is the criminal record and the consequences" is detrimental to his case against the Mariner front office. Why? Because people like me are going to get fixated on his unfair treatment of Lueke and not pay as much attention to his main point. That the front office didn't function with unity and that the upper management in particular does not care about winning as much as they care about appeasing PC thugs who share their cocktail parties.
Once again, you have the facts of the case. Josh Lueke accepted blame for a felony, that is also a fact. What you're asking me to do is read his mind and guess about why he did that, which is essentially what your commenter up above is doing. We looked at all aspects of this case, such as any possible motives for the victim to have lied. Didn't find any that would hold up to even remote scrutiny. There was never a lawsuit filed (gold-digger theory), she did not identify Lueke or anyone else to the cops (payback theory).
I've read theories that she might have been ashamed of having had sex and told people she was raped so someone could be blamed. Well, it's a theory. But then I counter that, if she was really ashamed, she'd have kept quiet about the whole thing.
That's what happens with speculation and mind-reading. Every good sounding theory can be shot down by a counter-argument in seconds. That's what a trial is for.
In this case, there was no trial, so we're sticking with what we know. Your commenter suggests Lueke avoided a jury trial because you never know how that will go. That's true. Comes down to a popularity contest. And that's precisely why the prosecutor in the case said he didn't want to put "the victim on trial" and have her life turned upside down again with the kind of reasoning I've seen on these boards.
Once again, juries work both ways in rape cases. Not just against defendants.
And let's set the record straight here. Lueke was out on bail for several months before he accepted his plea. There was no longer any threat of jail, unless he went to trial and lost. So, this entire argument is invalid.
Look, anyone knows from watching Law and Order that plea deals are a reality in our legal system. Some people who are guilty take them, and some who are innocent do as well. But all of them are held accountable once they take them. There is no plea recognized as "I'm really innocent but I'm doing this to save my butt.''
Some of you want me to report Lueke's case as if he did just that. We can't. And most of you, despite what is written here, don't want us going down that road.
Since you like to talk Fortune 500 on this site, consider the cases of Enron and other top conglomerates where executives took plea deals. How many of you are writing in to financial reporters demanding they suggest these execs might be innocent? I'd wager that none of you are. You saw that they accepted blame and are willing to move on from that.
And the same happens here, even though Lueke is a baseball player and not a financial exec.
The facts show he took the blame. We looked at all the facts behind the case, spoke to many people not quoted in the story, read every single page of court files and police reports. If any of you think you have new evidence to add that shows why we should view him as innocent, I'll be happy to listen. But these general theories about why people take plea deals aren't going to cut it.
You can't read his mind. Nor can we. We can read the facts of the case and see that he accepted blame for a felony. That's all we can surmise from this. Anything else is pure guesswork and fantasy. I'll leave that to the fiction writers.
Why is the prosecutor's statement being taken as gospel truth? That stands out to me, Geoff. He *might* have done this for the victim, but considering how skeptical you've been at all involved in this, it seems pretty convenient to suddenly change tact. Why is what he saying the truth?
Geoff, as long as you're engaging in discussion of this matter, I would really like to see you engage on another one, one that strictly speaking with regard to the Mariners is even more important. I know your time is valuable and you may not wish to address it, but it is tangential to previous articles you've done.
There are two threads at MarinerCentral.com that represent excellent work done by an extremely capable individual under the moniker of MarinersAnalyst (I'd post the links but that option appears to be ghosted in my browser.) The threads are titled "The Seattle Mariners and the Business of Baseball" in two parts. The intent is to shed light on an interesting and unexpected proposition, that while it is customary in Seattle to paint Lincoln as having chosen profitability over on-field success, in fact Lincoln has failed strictly from a business standpoint to adequately leverage the club's incredibly strong position in the aftermath of 2001. In other words, not only have the Mariners failed to field a good team during that period, they have squandered a significant business opportunity. The articles beg for serious treatment by Seattle sportswriters who can pose questions directly to the principals. You may or may not agree with the proposition set forth, but I for one would love to get your thoughts on it. There is a lot of very interesting data on MLB finances, some from sources that have not been available until recently.
Shouldn't all sides of potential motive be presented? All it would have taken is a phone call to a criminal defender such as this one to get a quote on another plausible explanation? It's not your job to figure out who's right. It's to present the information and let the reader make up their own mind. What's posted above is a viable, plausible scenario that's worth presenting to the reader for consideration.
Baker loses credibility, IMO, when he cherry picks to suit his point. He exposes his bias the more he defends his muckraking.
Will the woman in this case be able to take him to civil court? If so, would it be in her best interest to wait until he was a major league player?
The fact that no lawsuit was filed is far...FAAARR...from proof that the girl involved is trustworthy or that she had a substantial case against Lueke for rape. No...the reason there was no lawsuit filed is because the plea bargain was NO CONTEST...which does not hold up in civil prosecution as proof of guilt. She would have to prove her case without the plea itself being admitted into evidence. A no contest plea was selected specifically to AVOID a lawsuit, Geoff. Indeed...one could jsut as easily interpret the fact that there was no lawsuit filed as evidence that the girl had no real case...no chance of winning in civil trial without a guilty plea in the criminal case.
You're out of your depth commenting on the legal system. I've noted several examples of you badly misinterpreting the facts of the legal proceedings and this is yet another example.
She can sue him in civil court, but there is almost surely a time limit after the incident. In Washington, I believe one has 3 years to file.
IIRC, I read that she said she was not going to sue, but that was before every lawyer west of the Rockies got wind of this case :)
It's not being taken that way. But you have to remember, the defense side accepted criminal responsibility here. Lueke was not found innocent. He did the equivalent of pleading guilty to a felony charge.
Again, the balance you are seeking is the "Yeah, we take responsibility but are really innocent" plea. You don't get to do that in this country. When you accept guilt, you accept it. And I did speak to Lueke's attorney. But his reasoning for why he took the plea (no more jail time, sex offender registration) doesn't change the fact that his client ACCEPTED BLAME in the case. You don't get to do that and then reverse your field later on when it's convenient. People can try, but I'll leave it to others to put the victim on trial.
A no contest plea does not prevent a civil suit by the victim. All it means is that the plea itself can't be used as an admission of guilt. All the other evidence can be. And the standards of evidence and burden of proof is much more lenient in a civil case. Ask O.J. Simpson. There was no guilty plea from him in his civil trial either.
There is a statute of limitations that would be close to running out right about now. If anyone knows, fill me in. But if everybody decided to wait on a Class A player becoming a major leaguer before doing something, most would be waiting an awful long time for no reason since most Class A guys never make the majors. Believe me, if the victim here ever files a suit, I'll know about it and be the first to let you know. I've been assured it will never happen. But you never know.
Agree or disagree with Geoff, he is very politely answering what from you are increasingly shrill accusations. You have now been corrected several times regarding procedural and realistic legal maneuvering, please show some humility towards the guest who is gracious enough to entertain opposing views publicly. I can think of at least one local site where this exchange would never happen, we are lucky to read a couple that allow it.
At what point do we turn the table on the Times' accuser and expect them to bring something other than hearsay and supposition to the discussion?
And to turn the tables a bit on jemanji, Matt, et al. Why such lengths to PR for an admitted criminal? Please tell me it is something other than his fastball and who owns his contract.
It says a lot about your view of us, that you presume that to be the case.
Have a look at the ideas exchanged on this site. You'll be pleasantly surprised at the level of objectivity and the quality of the ideas.
Sometimes it works out okay to marginalize people and label them; other times it really blows up in your face. You just walked into a very intelligent discussion and sneered at everybody without hearing them first.
Biggest flame war I was ever in, at Detectovision.com, was over John Rocker. It wasn't a Mariner thing. It was a justice thing.
Nobody cares about the Mariners.
If there is any bias toward's Lueke's side of the discussion ...
I think it comes from the fact that 95% of the posters here are men. And they can well imagine themselves in the maw of the court system -- or the media -- if ever caught in a gender-war case.
2010 America is not a good place for a man to be, if accused of a sex crime -- either in the courts, or in the media. See Mojician's article. And so we sympathize with the "victim" of a MACHINE that itself, usually, is scary-unfair.
We're not Lueke apologists. We're arguing for a fair process.
And I did speak to Lueke's attorney. But his reasoning for why he took the plea (no more jail time, sex offender registration) doesn't change the fact that his client ACCEPTED BLAME in the case.
Thanks for that.
And more mega-props for talking directly to Lueke's representation -- who corroborates Mojician's general experience perfectly.
But doesn't your response talk completely past Mojician's remarks?
This principle is why people who are innocent, mostly innocent, or are favored to win at trial routinely plea. ... There are very few who say I'm innocent, and I'm fighting this out on the principle of the thing" when it is their neck is on the line and a good offer is on the table.
IIRC, I read that she said she was not going to sue, but that was before every lawyer west of the Rockies got wind of this case :- )
Well, or I'd laugh if I didn't feel like crying over that one. Touche.
3 years is going to be plenty of time, in Josh Lueke's case, for some attorney to draw a bead on the depth of Lueke's pockets -- present and future.
But, again, it's possible that there's more pain than prosperity available to the woman in a civil suit. Maybe she's got a terrible case. Maybe she's open to countersuit.
I've followed the discussion since the beginning of this, because I read this blog daily, and I'd like to think I've heard at least some of what has been said.
First and foremost this has become a discussion about a criminal justice system that understandably frustrates because sometimes injustice is done. In this regard, I don't think the conversation is really about Lueke at all, but about possibility that innocent people have been unfairly railroaded into admissions of guilt because of circumstances outside of their control.
But I believe the conversation has devolved when folks demean the messenger for bringing to light troubling things about Lueke. I've seen muckraker comments, insinuations that he is making a play for east coast notoriety, and an unfair blaming him for obstructing the front office's relationship as if he were that important.
I've seen the sober reporting of the facts of Lueke's case refuted by hypothetical appeals to what might have happened, and tortured epistemologies that would make deniers of the existence of the historical Jesus or the creation scientists blush. Of course we cannot know without a doubt absolutely what happened that night, but one does not have to go so far as to exonerate Lueke of blame when he has taken responsibility for his felony, or pretend that we cannot come to any conclusions about the case.
Ultimately this has become a political and philosophical discussion that will mostly serve to bruise the feelings of those involved. I can't wait for the actual fallout from the incident to finish (e.g. the firing or retaining of Jack Zduriencik, the trading or call up of Lueke to the big leagues) so that we can move back to baseball discussions.
I doubt that many will agree with you, that this discussion has been below Internet standard in its intellectual content. Particularly not those who've taken the time to publish their own thoughts.
Am not stuck on the Lueke scandal. Our arms are pretty well around it now. The baseball (bases gained and bases lost) discussion will resume momentarily.
Actually, you can do that in this country. It's called an Alford plea, based on North Carolina v. Alford, 400 U.S. 25 (1970). It differs from a plea of nolo contendre because the defendant affirmatively maintains his innocence while pleading guilty. Judges, however, are under no obligation to accept them (at least not in Illinois). Also, some states prohibit these types of pleas. But it can be done in some states and in federal court under some circumstances and if accepted by the judge.
The California civil limitations statutes look like a mess to me, but from what I can tell, two different limitations periods could apply:  2 years from the incident, based on an "injury" caused by the "wrongful act" of another (sec. 335.1 of the Cal Code of Civil Procedure); and  1 year from the date of the judgment (plea accepted/sentence entered), based upon a felony that does not have any other lengthier period specified (sec. 340.3).
If the judge issues an order of restitution as a condition of his probation, that essentially pauses the running of the limitations clock while the order is in effect. (Sec. 352.5) Restitution typically arises in crimes involving monetary loss, but California also uses the term "restitution" for fines paid to the State for any criminal offense, economic or otherwise. Based on my experience practicing in Illinois where fines are ordered for most criminal convictions, especially where the sentence is probation, I would think he has a restitution order. If "restitution" in the limitations statute encompasses fines assessed as part of a criminal punishment, the likely order, if not yet fulfilled, is pausing the limitation period. If/when Leuke fulfills the order, then he can start/continue counting down the days of the limitations period.
Maybe to you and me, but how much is he making now, and how much will he make in the next couple of years? I have no clue how a suit works seeking more money than a person currently is worth, but which the person might earn in the future. Maybe he would have some ability to declare bankruptcy after paying whatever he has at the time of the judgment to terminate the civil order before he starts making big bucks (assuming a suit is filed, she wins, and she is awarded that kind of money, and awarded it before he makes big bucks).
But it's also possible that no restitution was ordered, or that if it was, he satisfied it immediately doing so ended the effect of the order, which would mean that both the 1 and 2 year limitations periods are now complete.
Though if the suit is filed in, say, summer 2013 (with the suspended clock you mentioned) then Lueke might be a 3rd-year vet then, making $1M a year or most of that.
A BK is going to sketch out your next 2-to-5 years' earnings after that, right?
Anyway, I'm not super interested in the math. Will take your word for it that Lueke may be a less-juicy target than we'd assume.
Learn to read CA...and Geoff...pay attention to the full content of my argument. I said that I believe Lueke took a no contest plea to avoid civil suits not because it would make a civil case impossible to file, but becauae it would make a civil case impossible to WIN. Why DIDN'T she sue Lueke? The answer is fairly evident to me. She knows she had no case...no chance to win.
csiems: "I can't wait for the actual fallout from the incident to finish (e.g. the firing or retaining of Jack Zduriencik, the trading or call up of Lueke to the big leagues) so that we can move back to baseball discussions."
This is a common theme I'm seeing. Baker his ownself has repeatedly said, 'The Mariners need to make a decision'.
I have a news flash for you all. The Mariners decided a while ago. Leuke was traded for, he's in the organization, he plays for the Tacoma Rainiers. They had the opportunity to send him back to the Rangers, and decided not to. Zduriencik is the GM. Fusco was fired.
So relax. The M's may decide to trade leuke, or cut him, or bring him up to the major league club. Maybe they've already decided to do one of those things and just haven't made it happen yet, we don't know. But don't fool yourselves in to thinking the M's *need* to decide something, because they don't, really. Ther fallout has fallen out. More repercussions may be forthcoming, but we don't know that any are, and if they are, what they'll be.
Leuke's a Mariner and the Mariners are going to deal with him and his development like they do with all their players.
Well, out of respect for Doc, I'm not going to handle this as I would choose to otherwise. Suffice to say, you prove my point Matt. Be thankful you're allowed to hangout in this little corner of the internet. The joke is on you, everywhere else I've seen mention of your name.
And back atcha.
1. CA, it's worth noting that you and Inside Pitch, probably the two guys here with the strongest on-field baseball backgrounds, have more problems with Matt than most other SSI readers do.
My right-hand man Silentpadna, for example, thinks that Matt serves as a check-and-balance well worth the stylistic issues involved.
2. Matt, the confrontational style is a constant headache for me. I sure wish that you'd bring your tone into alignment with that of other posters here.
I'm still stinging over the early part of this year, when we had a guy with the M's sign on and immediately get into an irreparable fight with you. You might not even have been aware that he was an internal M's source.
But the fact is, we get a celeb on here and I'm worried about a 50-50 chance that you're going to get into it with him.
Please be aware that SSI's "point of differences" include the fact that SSI is a place where posters are SAFE in expressing unpopular opinons.
...CA...when you accuse someone of being corrected on points of fact or procedure, you'd better make sure you know what you're talking about. Geoff "corrected me regarding the existance of DNA evidence...of course proof of sex is not proof of rape...I said the state had no case, and I still say that. The state's case is entirely circumatantial. Geoff "corrected" me regarding whether a no contest plea may have been prefered to avoid a civil trial since civil trials do not admit no contest pleas as evidence of guilt by pointing out that she is still free to sue. Of course he missed the point entirely and so did you because you bought his bologna hook line and sinker. I never said she was prevented from suing...only that without a guilty plea, she had no case...because again...she HAD NO CASE
So yeah...I"m annoyed at your mischaracterization of how this discussion has gone down between Geoff and I. Don't say I was corrected when in fact I was not. Thank you.
Regardless of whose fault it was, and after unpleasant fight #2 or fight #3, they were off for the rest of the year. Just hypothetically.
And gave every poster the responsibility to keep themselves out of those situations.
How would you do under that system?
I like you Matty and you are a professional-class sabermetrician. But the fact is, you're in a large % of the fights here. You've got to attend to that fact.
You've simply got to ensure that, whoever's fault it is, that you personally are not in more than (say) 30% of the fights here.
That's exactly what an F-500 manager would say to you. No blame attached. But m-u-s-t improve the results.
I'm not saying you're wrong, but what should I have done here. Inaccurate slander requires a strong response. I was slandered here with false claims that I had been multiply corrected on matters of court procedure. In fact Geoff Baker is the one who has needed correction. All of his "corrections" demonstrated a failure of reading comprehension or at the very least a failure on my part to fully communicate intended meaning. All I want is for my part in any debate to be accurately portrayed. Nothing aggravates me more than havingyself mischaracterized aa rudely as CA did here.