Friday, February 8, 2013

Witch hunt in Montana: prosecutor out to nail college quarterback at all costs in case that should not be going to trial

A prosecutor is the gatekeeper of justice who should only bring charges, as Prof. Bennett L. Gershman has described it, when he or she is convinced to a moral certainty of both the defendant's factual and legal guilt. To bring charges when there is any less certainty does not fulfill the prosecutor's duty to do justice, but invites miscarriages and the possible conviction of an innocent defendant.

Then why on earth is the he said-she said rape case against Jordan Johnson coming to trial? 

Johnson is the University of Montana's now-destroyed-for-life ex-star quarterback who was accused of rape by a woman who told him the previous night, "Jordy, I would do you anytime." The next night, she picked him, took him to her apartment, led him into her bedroom where the two had sex.  She claimed it was rape but told a friend: "I don't think he did anything wrong to be honest." And that she "felt responsible." She also said that "this whole situation is my fault because I feel like I gave Jordan mixed signals which caused him to act in the way he did." And: "Maybe it was . . . us making out, or me taking off my shirt that made Jordan think that I wanted to have sex." She also told a a friend that her accusation "will hit him like a ton of bricks."

The case is teeming with the accuser's own admissions that cast her claim in doubt.

So did that prompt the prosecutor to back away? Nope. It just caused him to plow full steam ahead. Missoula County Attorney Fred Van Valkenburg has assigned five -- FIVE! -- lawyers to the trial, including a private lawyer working pro bono, and a specialist he requested from the office of the state's attorney general.

What chances does Jordan Johnson stand against that?  They are intent on putting this young man away for up to 100 years (no kidding -- that's how much he could get) when his own accuser doesn't even think he did anything wrong!

And why?  Why the prosecution? Why the overkill?  Could it be because the prosecutor's office has been attacked by the US Attorney General for its handling of sexual assault cases and is under intense scrutiny? Could it be that the prosecutor feels it needs to send a message -- and how better to do that than to destroy the life of the university's star quarterback?

I don't know what happened in that bedroom, but the accuser's own admissions strongly suggest that this case never should be going to trial.