I have a new theory -- that the most dangerous circumstances for individual liberty in this country are when Conservatives and Liberals agree. When there is some issue where the authoritarianism of the right coincides with the authoritarianism of the left, then watch out. The example I offer today is child molestation prosecutions, where the law and order Right meets the smug for-the-children moralizing of the Left. Where Janet Reno meets Joe Arpaio.
Congrats to Tonya Craft for her acquittal, and here's hoping (though there is not much chance) that the prosecutors and particularly that jackass of a judge suffer some sort of negative consequences from their outlandish abuse of due process. My jury experience on a similar case here.
Update: And speaking of Sheriff Joe...
The Tonya Craft trial seems to be a throwback to the bad old days of sexual molestation panic. All the old Janet Reno "Miami method" techniques have been revived, including weeks of intensive interviews of small children where prosecutors would not relent until children started giving them the stories they wanted. This case gets bonus points because it was brought originally by someone with an ax to grind
according to testimony on Monday from Craft's ex-husband, the allegation that Craft abused her own daughter first came from his new wife, who herself had been reported to child services by Craft for regularly showering with the girl (which she admitted doing). During a videotaped interview, the girl said, "My mom [the stepmother, apparently] told me which is which and where they touched me."
I sat on a jury of a similar trial in the early 90's. It became clear that the little girl who was supposedly the victim was hounded for months into finally accusing daddy of something, only to recant by the time it got to trial. The whole case was started by a baby-sitter who had just watched Oprah and saw another baby-sitter lauded as a national hero for supposedly sniffing out a molestation and this baby-sitter very clearly had aspirations of riding the case to an Oprah invitation as well. We acquitted the poor guy in about 35 minutes, which is how long it took us to convince to idiots who kept saying "it might have happened" exactly what "reasonable doubt" means.