|Prosecutors and police routinely lie and|
break the law in America—a fact.
The Appleton Post Crescent runs an important and telling piece today by Duke Behnke of the USA Today Network-Wisconsin (Gannett Co).
The law enforcement interrogation of 16-year-old Brendan Dassey was critical in the conviction of Dassey and Steven Avery, and is typical of false admissions across the nation.
Criminal defense attorneys say U.S. courts have given police plenty of freedom in the ways they can extract information from suspects. Police can interview minors without parental consent. They can imply they have evidence they don't have, a technique called baiting. They can employ the 'good cop, bad cop' routine to gain cooperation.
They also can use 'strategic deception,' according to the 1990 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Illinois vs. Perkins.
'The cops can lie,' said Rob Bellin, a Neenah attorney with more than 20 years of experience in criminal defense and personal injury litigation. 'Absolutely they’re allowed to lie.'
A hostile and deceitful domestic police force, a careerist, conviction-at-any-costs prosecutorial ethos, racism and taboo ethics in the criminal justice system, and a commitment of district attorneys to defend wrongful convictions irrespective of truth or any consideration of justice present conditions perfect for mass incarceration constituting a "leviathan unmatched in human history," (Glenn C. Loury, Boston Review).
We're there, people.
Consider if your daughter, brother, father or mother were wrongfully convicted. Who stands with you then?
Think it could not happen to you?
Ask the family of U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska, 1968-2009) (1923-2010), (Cary, Rollcall). The reader will have a full-blooded understanding of a Brady violation. Or ask the mother of Madison, Wisconsin's Penny Brummer: Interrogated, defamed, arrested, convicted and sentenced to a life sentence for being an out lesbian in an anthology of the criminal justice system.
Personally, I'll contend for the sake of argument that systemic failures in law enforcement, (hell, President Obama acknowledged the problem last night, saying "So I hope we can work together this year on bipartisan priorities like criminal justice reform ... "), are the culprits.
But contrary to popular wisdom we live in a land of the Sovereign (the people of the state and not the law) and bad faith and deceit on the part of law enforcement are a huge part of the problem.
I'm thankful for the Richard Posners, the Sidney Powells (there is a force of nature), and the Alex Kozinski(s) of this experiment in democracy. And am always mindful of I.F. Stone's admonition: "Every government is run by liars. Nothing they say should be believed." First read the quote in 1985 on a large poster that used to occupy a prominent place of the late Erwin Knoll's (NYT) wall at the Progressive Magazine, a journal carrying out this legacy and reporting the truth to this day.