Mar 18, 2011

Justice Served For Yale Grad student Annie Le?

After a protracted pre-trial gag order on the case and a discovery process in which Raymond Clarke Jr's lawyers decided that the best thing for their client was to make a plea deal with the state, in order to avoid a possible death penalty verdict by going to trial --Clarke agreed to the deal which involved 44 years and a conviction for murder 2 but one very pertinent condition was allowed that should not have been;

The prosecutors and the presiding Judge allowed Clarke to receive his plea deal under a protective umbrella, that in effect refuses to admit guilt, It is called the "Alford Doctrine, which is a very close cousin and thus akin to pleading "No CONTEST" which more people seem to be familiar with, as it is used more often, although it is slightly different legally. Both tPleading under the alford and no contest negatively impact any civil case that the victim-if surives such as rape assault kidnapp etc, or family of murdered victim, may pursue as it puts the victim and family at a terrible legal disadvantage, whereas pleading guilty to even a lowered down bunch of crimes that some prosecutor gives the nod to in order to avoid  trial, that guilty plea can automatically be used as an affirmation of guilt as it is, making any civil case fairly straightfoward and nearly automatic. Therfore the alford doctrine and no contest both are maneuvers manipulations that always harm the victim, both in civil suits for say medical damage etc when a victim survives not to mention the generally terrible effect allowing this kind of cheap plea maneuver, the prosecutor and judge is doing a horrendous disservice to that victims validation of her experience at the hands of a violent predator as well as putting the ownice on the victim to now pay an attorney up front to re-prove a case that probably consists  of multiple violent crimes committed against another human being. Add to this the fact that few people in the position of recovering from serious violent crime are able to pay an attorney up front in order to get the justice ie their assailant or rapist, to say 'I am guilty of committing these crimes against this person"  This is an inherently neccesary part of healing  for a victim of violent crime- and yet it is often, no-usually, not even considered by the prosecutor in many Connecticut courts.

It is yet more courtroom trickery and should never be allowed, much less used as it often is as a last minute surprise to the surviving victim or their family members, as they sit and wait for a pro ised guilty plea during their assailents court sentencing day. Bear in mind as well, that these charges just as in this awful rape murder, have already been lowered to crimes far less serious than what the criminal actually committed in the first place, via the plea deals that define our states rsolution of violent crime. 

Again the nature of the plea bargain starts the degradation process for the victim and robs he /she of their day in c court, and with the added emotional insult of a no contest or Alford plea, it is a wonder more victims are not pushed over the edge completely by a system that would seem inherently devoid of compassion empathy any sense of justice, nor a shred of conviction commitment or drive to see justice served, certainly when a victim is willing and able to testify, or in the case of murder, the police have an open and shut case with a ton of incriminating evidence. Yet this is the system that Annie le was raped and murdered within and that thousands of women every year ore robbed of truth and even a modicum of Justice for crimes that very often leave them maimed for life.

For those of you who are a bit ignorant or rather innocent regarding such things, both the Alford and No contest are\ a crawl on your belly way of taking a conviction without taking accountability, responsibility, and in effect continuing the lie that a defendant began if they started out pleading Not Guilty to a crime of set of crimes that they clearly committed.

It is for these obvious reasons and more that I am adamantly opposed to both No contest (ie nolo contendre, in Latin,) and/or the Alford Plea: both are legally similar, they barely require separate designations.
 The thrust at the core of the doctrine and "no contest" pleas is the following, more or less;
'I, the defendant, am not admitting guilt per se; I am merely stating that the state has enough evidence that they could conceivably get a conviction against me, if  we proceed to trial.'

It is my adamant opinion, and I have had personal experience with this matter, that these so called special pleas" revolve around hypocrisy and should be done away with completely. I considered that the original need for no contest Alford at al, might have once served some purpose-as once upon a time a concept called jury nullification was needed ie during the civil war era,when brave people broke the so called "law" at that time and assisted African Americans in escaping slavery and snuck them thru the underground railroad and perhapos were caught.
This is not the case today and nullification although has existed in various fomrs throughout the years such as the man whoo finds his wife with another man in his bed kills her and the man and the defense implies nullification, though dares not state it to the jury lest they become disbarred quite possibly. The Simpson trial is a perfect example of jury nullification ; where everyone knew he did it, but the attorneys led by Cochran actually utilized the concept of the years of abuse and pregudice at the hands of police, a concept made much easier thanks to idiot mark furhams racist remarks, and it became a matter of okay look we all know he did it but the white man and the man" ie cops have been abusing blacks for so long and....

Add to this the hero-worshipping element of the African American sports figure, a white ex wife, and a jury filled with African American women and a not very likable, terse white female prosecutor of obviously upper class derivation, who on top of it all, ,t turned out was sleeping with the other some say token black prosecutor, Chris Darden...well,  the recipe was a terrible one for Justice for Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman. It was just not going to happen.

Luckily, like most sociopaths of extrordinary arrogance, Simpson's sociopathology continued to grow and he  seriously beat another girlfriend although she refused to cooperate with police despite Simpson causing head injuries upon her that will leave her at risk for the rest of her life. Stymied Police could not gain her cooperation, so deep was she within the Stockholm/ /battered women's syndrome, that it took another set of sleazy low life potentially violent crimes to finally get the man in prison where he belongs. It had that feeling of al capone going to jail for taz evasion, but at least he was put away, where he belonged.

 Perhaps there was a time or situation where no contest or the alford doctrine had some genuine reason for being,, but I am certain that it  never is a neccesary, positive, nor moral way to structure any violent crime plea deal, especially involving crimes where there  are victims, loss of life, suffering, brutality and worse, concrete proof of elaborate efforts to cover up the murders, or the beatings or the rapes that comprised the very crimes involved with these "special condition Plea deals".

 There was no shortage of evidence in the Annie Le case:. The state had DNA, video footage, testimony galore, as well as stacks and reams of other evidence against Raymond Clarke, who happened to be a member of the Asian Club in High School and happened to have a history of stalking and getting rough with an ex girlfriend via the Police.

No, the state didn't need to give Clarke a way out of pleading guilty to the brutal crimes that he committed. The Plea, a plea, is supposed to be a gift a trade off of sorts, for admitting guilt - and thus the violent criminal gets perhaps a softer sentence. Already life with no parole and the  death penalty were taken off the table for this guy - and only due to the states largess. But what likely happened is Clarke himself trying to save face, insisted dragged feet, and such on the plea refusing to agree without the Alford doctrine. The prosecutors might have mulled it over for a second or two if that and figured, what the hell were getting the conviction-same sentence, so who cares.?
I care. Annie Le cares.

In the end, the Alford Doctrine is yet more of the same hypocrisy that has become part and parcel of our Connecticut courts refusal to put the victim of violent crime first. Not the speediest or easiest "resolution" of a "case". Its bad enough that 97 98 percent of Connecticut's criminal cases are adjudicated via plea deals-ie with no trial for closure for the victims family as well by plea deals very nature the compromising end all result is so destructive on so many levels criminally legally morally and most importantly destroying an already damaged family from obtaining the healing that they so desperately need from the courts, who they view as "society" the rules that govern all of us. Right and Wrong.

Ultimately the prosecutors and perhaps the judge as well will tell us that it doesn't really matter all that much about the Alford plea, because after all Clarke still technically got a conviction-as did that prosecutor by the way. Never mind that he and his lawyers set it up so that he'd never have to say "Guilty" your honor, when asked how do you plead. And when reflecting back upon this heinous brutal crime he has been gifted an out, by those very people who are supposed to accord victims of violence such as Annie le experienced, on her wedding day no less; attacked violently, raped and beaten then strangled to death. Bones broken post mortem in order to fit/stuff her lifeless body into a 4 by 3 space.