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So tell me precisely what the Manhattan DA did wrong?

So tell me precisely what the Manhattan DA did wrong?

The New York Times and New York Magazine have the long knives out for Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr.

But tell me, what precisely is it the DA’s office did wrong in the Strauss-Kahn case?

There was a quick indictment and serious terms to home confinement based upon what at the time seemed like a credible account of a sexual assault and an accused who was a substantial flight risk.  Had the DA’s office not acted quickly, and not imposed almost draconian terms on home confinement, the DA’s office risked a Roman Polanski-like situation of a sexual assault suspect fleeing to a safe haven beyond the reach of U.S. law.

Then the credibility of the alleged victim and her story began to fall apart, most particularly in the past two weeks. 

So the DA’s office did the right thing in disclosing the potentially exculpatory  information to the defense, and agreeing to release on personal recognizance, as the DA evaluated whether there even remains a case to be taken forward.   Should the DA simply have ignored the new evidence, or alternatively, precipitously used the new evidence as a reason to dismiss charges?  I think not.

William Saletan writing at Salon.com, catalogs the problems with the alleged victim’s story, and concludes:

Already, there are cries of concern that if the case disintegrates, it will destroy the credibility of rape victims or immigrants, while powerful abusers will go free. That’s the wrong conclusion. The unraveling of the Strauss-Kahn prosecution is a victory for justice, because investigators found ways to check the accuser’s credibility. Other accusers will pass such tests. This one didn’t. What the collapse of this case proves is that it’s possible to distinguish true rape accusations from false ones—and that the government, having staked its reputation on an accuser’s credibility, diligently investigated her and disclosed her lies. The system worked.

The system doesn’t always work, particularly for those (not just the “poor” but also the middle-class) who cannot afford investigators, or in prosecutor’s offices where winning is the primary goal.

But based upon what we know now, both the rights of an alleged crime victim and the rights of the accused were treated seriously by the state and subjected to the best evidence available at the time.  What’s wrong with that?

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Comments

Carol Herman | July 3, 2011 at 11:28 am

Nepotism rules. And, Tammany Hall stinks.

Cuomo is governor, because he grabbed his dad’s pants.

Same is true with Cyrus Vance.

If you allow politics to turn to promotions like this … common sense flies out the window!

Good to remember that Cyrus Vance knows about getting leaned on by political entities. Which is a very strong brew in this case!

You know, I’m not surprised.

It’s not as if the frenchman lacks political clout.

Not as if the judge wasn’t looking to favor the side with political clout.

The whole thing, with the “flight risk” allegations fell to a judge to decide what sort of bail to set.

Another judge is now in charge of the case. And, bail requirements flew out the window!

Hey! Let DS-K go back to france! Let him run for president. Let Roman Polanski then make a movie. Could hollywood be in worse shape? Did Tom Hanks just find himself in a flop?

There’s no telling how these stories affect the average person.

But sympathy? Ain’t gonna show up at this “affair.”

We can call them “family affairs,” now.

My take on this is that the MSM, having already adopted European values about economics and how society should be structured, is defending European attitudes that grants elites virtual immunity from crimes they commit against the lower classes. We see it all the time already.

Subotai Bahadur | July 3, 2011 at 12:13 pm

Whether they admit it or not; the NYT and NYM are appalled at the absolute heresy of one of the International Leftist Nomenklatura being held to the same laws and standards as the lowly proles. The whole point of their existence is to rise and become one of the elite, in fact or effect. And one of the prime benefits of that is being superior to everybody else, in fact and attitude.

While there are possibilities of conspiracies from several concievable directions being behind the affair, in addition to the possibility of it being just what it appears; it is the crime of Lèse majesté that shocks the toadies to the Political Class deep in the very core of their being. If anyone can be held to the process of the law, what point is there in being one of the better people.

I will note, that DS-K was a likely candidate for the presidency of France. If he should decide to run, he will be elected by a Gallic avalanche. He will be considered by the French people as having been martyred by those barbaric Americans who do not respect their betters.

“The system doesn’t always work, particularly for those (not just the ‘poor’ but also the middle-class) who cannot afford investigators, or in prosecutor’s offices where winning is the primary goal.”

The above begins to get at the problem of a criminal justice system that inherently features significant disadvantages for those of modest means. And certainly public pressure often puts a prosecutor between a rock and a hard place, especially in cases like this. For that reason, prosecutors should be cautious in pressing for indictments when there appears to be the likelihood of an exculpatory pattern emerging, or where the power or desire of money are likely strong motivators.

Publicly, we do not yet know the extent to which information and/or testimony garnered by paid investigators operating on behalf of Strauss-Kahn were responsible for the breaking apart of the case, even from a percentage-of-evidence point of view. But what I have read suggests that what what information his team put together constituted quite a sizable percentage of the evidence pointing to a substantial lack of credibility on her part.

Nor do we know what, if any, hints at the information that was eventually pieced together, was information known or at least available to the prosecutor at the beginning of the case — pre-indictment.

For example, were there any strong early indications brought to the attention of the prosecution that she was turning tricks at the hotel? Moreover, were any indications, such as via complaints made by other patrons of the hotel, indicating that she had made any prior attempts to shake down patrons.

Somehow, to me it seems implausible that there was no known prior history with regard to this woman, information that could have been a factor in looking at it a little closer before indicting him.

So, if there is a possible basis for criticizing Vance, it would be for lack of pressing for an adequate or thorough investigation prior to seeking the indictment.

His arrest and detention, pending indictment was certainly necessary, as he had already demonstrated a willingness to leave the country.

But as we learn more, it may emerge that the quick indictment may have been a little too quick. Strauss-Kahn’s legal team are not going to publicly criticize Vance now . . . but in the long run they may have some things to say about the way he handled the case.

I’ll be curious to see how the story spins if the NYC media starts to report the name of the accuser. Le Figaro reports that her name is Diallo. Local news analysts will no doubt feel compelled to compare to the other Diallo controversy.

“Investigators believe a sexual encounter did take place between a hotel maid and the former IMF director, but they haven’t found evidence of premeditated blackmail, reports John Solomon.”

“Prosecutors in the Dominique Strauss-Kahn case remain convinced they have solid evidence of a sexual encounter with a luxury hotel maid but, despite having spent extensive time investigating whether the victim was engaged in a financial extortion plot, they have yet to find any substantive proof, according to people familiar with the investigation.”

TheDailyBeast

Leave the poor guy alone so he can get back to Europe and make France and Europe safe for socialism.

What’s wrong with this case is the same thing that’s wrong with all “rape” cases: the accused is instantly vilified, investigated and NAMED while the accuser is presumed to be truthful/guiltless and protected. I understand the point that outing an accuser will make women loath to step forward after being “raped” so perhaps the only solution would be to forbid the identification of the accused. I think this is what the French do, no? The outrage from across the pond when this thing came out was related to the public lynching of DSK.

It’s just way too easy for women–especially “minority” women–to destroy men via “rape” accusations. It’s not going to be possible to change the situation created by the “isms” that made this happen, so the only thing we can do is protect the identity of those accused as long as possible. The media needs to be restrained so the justice system can try to maintain its integrity.

if there is a possible basis for criticizing Vance, it would be for lack of pressing for an adequate or thorough investigation prior to seeking the indictment.

Oh, please.

The perp was on the airplane, ready to leave the country.

Prosecutors do not plumb the depths of a complainant’s history–and what’s come out is deep, not shallow–when dealing with a major offense like rape, murder, or armed robbery. If information-and-belief is credible, they go get the bad guy, THEN worry about credibility of complainant, etc.

In the case at hand, based on newspaper reports, there was no prima facie “problem” with the complainant. She hadn’t claimed “rape” 25 times in the last year, had no visible criminal record, …….whereas DSK was a known skirt-chaser.

And, what the Hell, he was a Frenchman. Strictly bonus points, but hey…

I originally thought, too, that we treated this more fairly than the maid would have been treated elsewhere, until a friend pointed out that Berlusconi’s been going thru a series of trials like this, and that he is not the only rich, prominent European on trial for sexual misconduct with poor women. The D.A. should can the perp walk and all the prejudicial pre trial publicity. If the NY Post is right, there’s prostitution going on in high class hotels by maids in NYC. If so, how is it the D.A. missed that possibility?

If so, how can Local 6 avoid an investigation? Consider this since 2000 that local has been the bargaining representative of the Sofitel workers.Tips certainly are higher in the very expensive suites like DSK’s. Most plum jobs in union shops go to those with the most seniority but she seems to have landed that position almost as soon as she got off the boat (or plane).

The NY Post also reports today that DSK’s picture was on the door of the maids’ room on this floor so that maids would know he was an important guest. That makes her original claim that she didn’t know who he was ulikely. How did the DA miss that?

While the police acted properly in arresting him before he could leave the country, given that they had what seemed to be a credible complaint of a serious crime, the DA did not have to seek a quick indictment. At least, that is the criticism emanating from within the DA’s office. That plus the fact that he took the case away from the experienced sex crimes unit, perhaps to put it in the gands of appointees more directly responsive to Vance. All supposedly to maximize Vance’s ability to use a high profile case to gain publicity. If true, this story should be troubling about Vance’s handling of the case.

It goes without saying at this point that delaying indictment might have led to some of the information that eventually came in earlier. If the woman really did turn tricks in the hotel, it seems likely that that charge would have come early on from DSK when he admitted to consensual sex, which was before the indictment. If so, was there no investigation of this angle? How hard could it be for NYPD detectives to have established that she was hooking? Pretty hard if no one tried.

Well, in hindsight it was fairly obvious why the uproar happened. Society has pre-programmed us to believe the accuser in any rape case (or be considered some sort of barbarian baboon). So when a male french aristocrat is accused of rape by a minority lower-class woman, the instant knee-jerk response is to believe the woman. If the races and genders were reversed (Rich minority aristocrat being accused of rape by a lower-class french maid) many people would have jumped to a different conclusion.

As much as it pains me to say it, thank God for lawyers.

JEBurke, I hadn’t heard that he’d taken the case away from the sex crimes unit. Hmmm..that might explain all the damaging leaks the NY Post attributes to the prosecution.

Juba Doobai! | July 3, 2011 at 5:55 pm

I’ve got a nasty, suspicious mind. Is this stuff true about the maid, or was this stuff planted? A man with millions behind him can do anything. Is this what’s happening? Why is the DA’s office publicly leaking and ruining the credibility of the plaintiff? Something doesn’t smell right in this matter.

Whatever happened to the woman, the whole case stinks of Chicago politics at its worst.

You say the case started to fall apart 2 weeks ago? How come we only heard about this the day AFTER Chicago “player” Christine LaGarde was named head of the IMF.

Had the case fallen apart on Tuesday, it is likely that DSK could have kept his job.

What was LaGarde’s relationship with Obama and his cronies including Valerie Jarrett when they were all in Chicago together?

You do know that she spent 20-25 years in Chicago as head of a major multi-national law firm, don’t you? McKenzie-Baker.

There are too many “Coincidences” in this case that make it stink worse than a French cheese left too long in the Chicago heat.

Where is our press on this?

Oh, I forgot, they are covering the Kardashian wedding (in the morning). That is the real news. Its not like they have no agenda or something.

The woman? If she doesn’t behave and keep her mouth shut, she will suddenly find problems with her Green Card. Or worse.

Stinky,

Stinky,

Stinky,

Stinky

John Henry

Didn’t DSK try to weasel out of the charges by claiming diplomatic immunity at first? Doesn’t sound like a man worried about his reputation. Cut from the same cloth as Berlusconi.

What’s wrong? The perp walk (not unique to this case).

My crystal ball is showing me a vision of the future. I see this accuser suddenly a wealthy woman. I see the whole Union running a prostitution ring right out in the open in a luxury hotel in the nanny state capitol of the world disappearing as all a mistake, never mind. I see a serial sex offender going loose among the capitols of the world. In other words, just like Billy Jeff. Sex offenses are okay if you are a powerful leftist.

teapartydoc | July 4, 2011 at 2:08 pm

Now I wonder: Did she do this because he walked out without paying? Surely she would not have wanted to draw attention to herself. There must have been at least some kind of sudden overwhelming compulsion to risk her status that blinded her to the consequences of going public.

Not So Fast on Strauss-Kahn
By Victor Davis Hanson

NRO

The shake down angle just isn’t playing well. I still think he’s pulling strings from the inside.

Why?

If she’s making bank as a hooker, a shakedown gone wrong would ruin that gig; not a good risk to pull if you’ve got a high end hotel supplying johns with lots of cash. Also, 99% of the population does not know who this D-bag is, let alone a hooker and her loser convict pimp/bfriend. So this would have to be highly premeditated. If it is highly premeditated, the things that are coming out now would not play- extremely dumb mistakes for a shakedown artist to make if they’ve gone to the trouble to target their prey. Also if this a shake down from a political enemy (ie not for money for the hooker), it’s WAYYY sloppy.

Also you can’t tell me the hotel manager wasn’t aware of the hooker angle when she came crying rape on the job.

You keep comparing it to Duke LaX, but its a Kobe. No intercourse was ever proven at Duke. With Kobe intercourse was proven and the argument fell to consensual or not. Kobe behind the scenes paid Kate Fabre off- which is what rich people do in these circumstances—so why no michael jackson hush money to the victim?

I don’t doubt she’s angling for money at this point- but a part time hooker who got raped, is still a rape victim, and likely a rape victim with sharper fangs than the usual girl. The question becomes whether they can prove it was a premeditated shakedown, so far I don’t see that.

“The scene she (Tristane Banon) recounts is imaginary,” Dominique Strauss-Kahn said, two months before being arrested in New York. “Do you see me throwing a woman on the floor and being violent, as she claims it?”

“Dominique Strauss-Kahn will face another complaint alleging attempted rape, this one in France, the lawyer for a French novelist Tristane Banon, 32, announced Monday in Paris.”

NY Times

“I want to say that I deny with the greatest possible firmness all of the allegations that have been made against me.” Dominique Strauss-Kahn

Carol Herman | July 4, 2011 at 9:31 pm

Just about everything.

The french authorities didn’t even want to add Ms. Banon’s tale to the nitwits in Manhattan, who were using all their resources to destroy the maid’s story. Without ever once looking at the evidence in the room!

So, now? The story will shift to Paris.

dad29 | July 3, 2011 at 3:19 pm

Quoting a portion of my prior comment . . . [ “if there is a possible basis for criticizing Vance, it would be for lack of pressing for an adequate or thorough investigation prior to seeking the indictment.” ]

you said, in part:

“Oh, please.

The perp was on the airplane, ready to leave the country.
. . . .

Obviously, you completely missed my point. I was not criticizing the necessity of making a quick arrest, nor the detention.

I was talking about the quick indictment.

Immediately following the portion you quoted, I specifically added, in my comment:

“His arrest and detention, pending indictment was certainly necessary, as he had already demonstrated a willingness to leave the country.

But as we learn more, it may emerge that the quick indictment may have been a little too quick. Strauss-Kahn’s legal team are not going to publicly criticize Vance now . . . but in the long run they may have some things to say about the way he handled the case.”

Comments made above by JEBurke and Clarice add further insight into the general process issue, including noting the Vance decision to take the case away from the Sex Crimes Unit and to seek the quick indictment.

Some of the information regarding that was examined in a recent article in the New York Times.

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