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Massachusetts' Family 'Justice'












By Stephen Baskerville, Ph.D
April 29, 2007

The gravity of the Duke University �rape� case has been seriously underestimated, even by many of its staunchest critics. The corruption of the criminal justice system by political ideology is far more advanced than has been brought out by most commentators.

The central point to be made about this case is precisely the one even most critics have not raised: It is far from unique. If such a blatant injustice can be perpetrated against men whose case attracts vast media attention � the supposed �disinfectant of sunlight� � what befalls those who languish in obscurity, victims of rigged justice that is less palpable? �If police officers and a district attorney can systematically railroad us with absolutely no evidence whatsoever,� said one defendant, �I can�t imagine what they�d do to people who do not have the resources to defend themselves.� Not what they �would do�; what they are doing.

Conservatives who rightly decry judicial �activism� in constitutional law have trouble understanding the equally serious corruption of the criminal justice system. Long before the Duke case, Paul Craig Roberts and Lawrence Stratton described this legal underworld in their brilliant but neglected book, The Tyranny of Good Intentions: How Prosecutors and Bureaucrats Are Trampling the Constitution in the Name of Justice.

Michael Nifong fits precisely the profile of prosecutor presented by Roberts and Stratton. They show how prosecutors and the media collude to ensure their victims are convicted by public opinion before their case ever goes to trial. �News of a forthcoming indictment is leaked to the press to put pressure on the accused by tarring him in the eyes of his friends, family, employer, coworkers, and the general public,� they write. �The charges may be largely made out of thin air, but the prosecutor benefits from the public�s presumption that the prosecution has a case.� This describes exactly what Nifong did. The fact that other prosecutors initially defended him is an open admission that they do it too.

The single-minded hype of the racial dimension had made this case appear exceptional. But the far more powerful ideological force driving this and other miscarriages of justice is not race hatred but institutionalized feminism. Race demagogues like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton are easy targets for conservatives, but they do not command the institutional clout to politicize criminal justice proceedings on a large scale. There is little indication that white people are being systematically incarcerated on trumped-up accusations of non-existent crimes against blacks. This is precisely what is happening to men (and even some women), both white and black, accused of the kind of family and �gender� crimes that feminists have turned into a political agenda.

For every Duke lacrosse player, there are literally thousands of innocent men forced to stare down the wrong of police gun barrels, hauled off in handcuffs, and incarcerated without trial � all for �crimes,� not only that they did not commit, but that everyone knows did not take place.

Rape accusations have long been out of control. Almost daily, as David Usher has pointed out, men are released from prison after decades of incarceration because DNA tests prove they were wrongly convicted. And they are the lucky ones. While DNA has righted some wrongs, the corruption is so systemic that, as the Duke case shows, hard evidence of innocence is no barrier to conviction. Even the Washington Post has documented how feminist crime lab technicians fabricate and doctor evidence to frame men they know to be innocent. Yet the Post and others invariably blame law enforcement itself. Few point the finger at the very pressure groups that create the hysteria over rape and push for more convictions, as if they are a virtue in themselves.

William Anderson of Frostburg State University and Dorothy Rabinowitz of the Wall Street Journal have both pointed out the parallel between the Duke case and the child abuse hysteria of the 1980s and 1990s, where feminist prosecutors like Nancy Lamb in Edenton, North Carolina, similarly whipped up public invective against parents they had jailed yet knew to be innocent. �The press was transfixed� by Lamb, Anderson writes, �with her flashing eyes and bobbed hair. Lamb was speaking �for the children,� you see, and the press adored her. That she was making preposterous claims and attempting to destroy the lives of seven people despite all good evidence to the contrary was not even discussed.�

Like rape, child abuse has been not simply blown out of proportion but politicized by feminism. This reached its apogee in the Clinton administration Justice Department. �From Janet Reno�s infamous prosecutions of Grant Snowden in Florida�to the McMartin case in Los Angeles, to Wenatchee, Washington in the 1990s,� writes Anderson, �the Edenton case was part of a line of what only can be called witch hunts in which state social workers badgered very young children until they came up with lurid tales � after having denied that those things occurred.� These social workers are, in effect, plainclothes feminist police.

The witch hunts were carried into adulthood through �recovered memory therapy,� another fraud perpetrated largely by feminist perversion of the psychotherapy industry, where wild, preposterous tales of childhood sex crimes were manufactured from a psychological theory. In Victims of Memory, Mark Pendergrast shows how the recovered memory hoax destroyed families, ruined lives, and sent innocent parents to prison.

But these are only the tip of the iceberg; at least they required convictions, however unjust. They are dwarfed by �crimes� in which men are removed from their homes and incarcerated without even a trial.

These are �domestic violence� accusations, where no evidence, formal charge, or trial are necessary for the plainly innocent to be hauled away in handcuffs. Defendants are passed by the thousands through mass processing centers that bear little resemblance to a court of law or receive summary punishment without the benefit of media scrutiny. Patently false accusations are not only permitted but rewarded in divorce courts, largely because they are effective weapons in lucrative custody battles that are the bread and butter for venal judges and lawyers, who do all they can to encourage more.

This is now so blatant that even the legal establishment has been forced to recognize it. �Michigan courts do not provide a fair, or impartial, tribunal for any domestic relations litigant,� according to Michigan Lawyers Weekly. �Instead, they customarily and regularly deprive litigants of due process of law.� It is now common knowledge that obviously trumped-up abuse accusations are frequently used, and virtually never punished, in divorce and custody proceedings. Thomas Kasper describes in the Illinois Bar Journal how knowingly false accusations readily "become part of the gamesmanship of divorce.� �Whenever a woman claims to be a victim, she is automatically believed,� says Washington state attorney Lisa Scott. �No proof of abuse is required.� Writing in the Rutgers Law Review, David Heleniak describes domestic abuse as �an area of law mired in intellectual dishonesty and injustice.�

Heleniak identifies six separate denials of due process in one state statute, which he terms �a due process fiasco�: lack of notice, denial of indigent defendants to free counsel, denial of the right to take depositions, lack of evidentiary hearings, improper standard of proof, and denial of trial by jury. One family court judge was caught instructing his colleague to violate the constitutional rights of male defendants. �Your job is not to become concerned about the constitutional rights of the man that you�re violating as you grant a restraining order,� New Jersey municipal court judge Richard Russell stated at a government training seminar recorded by the New Jersey Law Journal: �Throw him out on the street... They have declared domestic violence to be an evil in our society. So we don�t have to worry about the rights.�

Also similar to the Duke case, the open politicization of scholarship by domestic violence advocates with an ideological agenda is also simply accepted. Domestic violence has become �a backwater of tautological pseudo-theory and failed intervention programs,� write Donald Dutton and Kenneth Corvo in the scholarly journal Aggression and Violent Behavior. �No other area of established social welfare, criminal justice, public health, or behavioral intervention has such weak evidence in support of mandated practice.�

These are not the excesses most people associate with feminism, which is precisely why they receive little scrutiny or opposition and why the feminists have been able to wreak such damage.

Many were appalled that the Duke faculty should publicly demand that the lacrosse players confess � as if professors are prosecutors, judges, and jurors. Yet precisely this modus operandi has long characterized �women�s studies� programs, hotbeds of trumped-up accusations that have polluted the curricula of thousands of higher education institutions with political ideology masquerading as scholarship, turned students and faculty into police informers, and incited young women into believing that every personal hurt is a crime of �violence.� �If a woman did falsely accuse a man of rape,� opines one graduate of such programs, �she may have had reasons to. Maybe she wasn�t raped, but he clearly violated her in some way.� A Vassar College assistant dean thinks false accusations contribute to a man�s education: �I think it ideally initiates a process of self-exploration. �How do I see women? If I didn�t violate her, could I have?�� Such views have long been dismissed as belonging to the extremist margins, but we see the fruits of them at Duke.

This is mob justice at its most incendiary, because it is perpetrated by the educated. It vindicates James Madison�s observation that �Had every Athenian citizen been a Socrates, every Athenian assembly would still have been a mob.�

Conservatives cannot afford to be smug, for many have colluded in this degeneracy of the criminal justice system. When it comes to anything labeled as �crime,� conservative skepticism crumbles. The demand for conviction becomes unanimous and unchecked by any voice of restraint or reason.

Conservatives are correct that criminals often go free. What many fail to understand is that this happens because of a politicized judiciary that also sends the innocent to prison. The acquittal of Andrea Yates, convicted of capital murder in 2002 after admitting to drowning her five children, is the other side of the ideological justice coin. Yates was defended by feminists like Rosie O�Donnell, who expressed "overwhelming empathy� with her, and by the National Organization for Women. "One of our feminist beliefs is to be there for other women,� said Deborah Bell, president of Texas NOW. "We want to be there with her in her time of need.�

More than a decade ago, Michael Weiss and Cathy Young warned of this trend in their Cato Institute paper, Feminist Jurisprudence. Seen in the larger context of feminist justice, the Duke case demonstrates that the corruption of the criminal justice system by political ideology is now the greatest danger to American freedom, surpassing both Islamic radicalism and government measures against it. Judicial corruption � where avenues of legal redress are not only blocked but turned into instruments of injustice � is the most debilitating corruption, because it cripples the means to redress injustice elsewhere.

But what is most alarming is the complacence. At one time, the incarceration of the knowingly innocent would have incited outrage from Americans, who were known, even among Western societies, as staunch defenders of civil liberties. Today there is little outcry. Few have been concerned to know if this case is typical of many more or why the criminal justice system of what was once the freest society on earth is so compromised that law-breaking officials sit in judgement on law-abiding citizens.

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This is where �social� justice has led us. Decades of pursuing this illusory, subjective, and politically defined �justice� have left Americans so incapable of distinguishing guilt from innocence that we are now inured to the most open injustice.

� 2007 Stephen Baskerville - All Rights Reserved

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Stephen Baskerville holds a PhD from the London School of Economics and is president of the American Coalition for Fathers and Children. His book, Taken Into Custody: The War Against Fathers, Marriage, and the Family, will be published in the summer of 2007 by Cumberland House Publishing.

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Duke case demonstrates that the corruption of the criminal justice system by political ideology is now the greatest danger to American freedom, surpassing both Islamic radicalism and government measures against it.