Patterico's Pontifications

10/8/2007

Balko’s Reason Piece on Dr. Hayne

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 11:48 am



Radley Balko’s piece at Reason on Dr. Hayne is up, here. I wish it had been written by someone I trusted more, because if half the stuff in there is true, this doctor is a menace. Here’s something that will get your attention:

People who have visited Hayne’s practice during an autopsy session have described seeing as many as 15 bodies opened at once, with Hayne and his assistants smoking cigars, sometimes even eating sandwiches, as they go from one body to the next.

Again, that’s a complete disaster . . . if true. And there’s much, much more.

Unfortunately, it’s hard for me to know what to believe and what not to believe. Balko opens his piece with the same story he told in his Wall Street Journal piece:

In a remarkable capital murder case earlier this year, the Mississippi Supreme Court, by an 8-to-1 vote, tossed out the expert testimony of Steven Hayne. The defendant was Tyler Edmonds, a 13-year-old boy accused of killing his sister’s husband. Hayne, Mississippi’s quasi-official state medical examiner, had testified that the victim’s bullet wounds supported the prosecution’s theory that Edmonds and his sister had shot the man together, each putting a hand on the weapon and pulling the trigger at the same time.

“I would favor that a second party be involved in that positioning of the weapon,” Hayne told the jury. “It would be consistent with two people involved. I can’t exclude one, but I think that would be less likely.”

Testifying that you can tell from an autopsy how many hands were on the gun that fired a bullet is like saying you can tell the color of a killer’s eyes from a series of stab wounds. It’s absurd. The Mississippi Supreme Court said Hayne’s testimony was “scientifically unfounded” and should not have been admitted. Based on this and other errors, it ordered a new trial for Edmonds.

As I detailed in this post, there is some critical context left out of the story.

Read all of Balko’s piece. But with more than a grain of salt. In fact, I’d keep the shaker handy.

But I’d say this certainly merits further investigation. If state officials don’t at least look into this medical examiner, there’s something really wrong going on in the state of Mississippi.

143 Responses to “Balko’s Reason Piece on Dr. Hayne”

  1. I started reading the Reason piece this morning on the train. Here are a few big problems I have with it:

    1. It’s absolutely standard Libertarian doctrine that unions and professional organisations exist to advance the interest of their members, not that of the public. Thus groups like the AMA and ABA try to erect entry barriers to their sectors, in order to raise the price of their services. And unions are notorious for limiting the amount of work that employers can demand of their members, both to make life easier for the workers and to increase the demand for their labour, thus creating more jobs for members to fill. And these rules will often be described as being for “safety”, but everyone knows it’s really featherbedding.

    So it should surprise nobody that the pathologists’ union says it’s unsafe and unreasonable to expect pathologists to do more than an average of one autopsy per work day. And that position should not be regarded as representing some sort of scientific truth.

    More generally, libertarians are against concentrating power in cartels and certifying boards, and allowing consumers to choose whom to patronise. Thus people should be allowed to buy medical or legal advice from whomever they like, employers should be allowed to hire non-union-members and pay them whatever they’re willing to work for, etc. And yet here Balko wants to turn the pathologists’ union rules into law!

    Milhouse (196f3c)

  2. Yeah, Milhouse, I too voiced skepticism about the 250-325 number. But when I did, I was of course accused by Balko of defending the specific numbers that Hayne has.

    Why don’t I trust Balko’s evaluations of other people? In part because he has been tremendously unfair in his evaluations of me.

    Patterico (d343f0)

  3. That went too long, so I ended it there. Here are some more problems I have with the piece:

    2. Balko claims that

    People who have visited Hayne’s practice during an autopsy session have described seeing as many as 15 bodies opened at once, with Hayne and his assistants smoking cigars, sometimes even eating sandwiches, as they go from one body to the next.

    Even Patterico admits that if true this is appalling. And yet it seems to me easy to put another construction on the same facts: perhaps this is Dr Hayne’s secret – he has worked out how to work more efficiently, by doing several autopsies at once, assembly-line style. If he can keep the cadavers and their various parts separate enough to prevent cross-contamination, and ensure that the right results go with each, and that each one gets the attention it needs, then this should be lauded, not condemned! If this is so, then he should be held up as an example for others, and all pathologists should be expected to bring their work practises into the 21st century and emulate him!

    Now it may very well be that this is not so, and that there is good reason to believe that his work is sloppy rather than efficient. And Balko cites plenty of evidence that would seem to lead us in that direction. But the facts cited in the above paragraph alone should not weigh against him at all, and should not be listed in the evidence against him – that seems like begging the question.

    As for Hayne and his assistants eating and smoking on the job rather than taking breaks, that sounds smart and efficient, provided that they’re taking care not to contaminate the autopsies. Maybe they’re not, but that’s assuming facts not in evidence.

    Well, this one went long too, so I’ll continue in a third comment.

    Milhouse (196f3c)

  4. Millhouse, this would seem to indicate to me that, if nothing else, Hayne is primarily motivated by money. If he worked out how to do this efficiently and effectively, great, but it sounds like it’s way about the average practice considering his other obligations and I’d say it’s incumbent on him to show how he can do this work in a quality way. Especially if he has to testify.

    I don’t know the truth… not my field… but it certainly raises concerns in my mind and like Patterico AND Balko, I’d like to see the state investigate it.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  5. Oh yeah, there are certainly enough questions raised that someone ought to look into it, but that’s all they are – questions, not proof that he’s done something wrong. Reasonable explanations can be conjectured, and may even turn out to be true.

    Milhouse (196f3c)

  6. Patterico:

    If state officials don’t at least look into this medical examiner, there’s something really wrong going on in the state of Mississippi.

    Unless they’ve already looked into Radley Balko.

    Dafydd

    Dafydd ab Hugh (445647)

  7. Even Patterico admits that if true this is appalling.

    Why? They’re dead. It is not an operating department. Furthermore, you have no idea how they are set up. There could be 15 different rooms. Or, they could be completing an autopsy, and pushing the body into another room until the body cavity is closed by themselves or a subordinate. As long as you clearly label your specimens and evidence, how is their going to be any mixup?

    As for Hayne and his assistants eating and smoking on the job rather than taking breaks, that sounds smart and efficient, provided that they’re taking care not to contaminate the autopsies.

    How would the autopsy be contaminated? You think a dill pickle may fall into the body cavity and the pathologist may think it’s a slug? lol!

    dave (afb4d1)

  8. I think Balko’s Reason article raises serious issues and I hope it, coupled with his WSJ op-ed, will lead to an investigation by a disinterested government entity.

    Investigative journalists – and I’ll include Radley Balko in that category even though I’m not sure if that’s his occupation – are often dedicated to correcting injustice and exposing wrongs. They rely on their passions, tireless legwork, and gut instincts to make a difference in society. Prosecutors like Patterico are equally passionate about their jobs but they rely on detailed investigations subject to proven legal procedures to make society better.

    Many internet aficionados (and I include myself in that description) like the instant gratification of the internet. It’s easy to read internet articles and make snap judgments about issues, even complicated and important issues. But that doesn’t make it a good idea. I commend Balko for raising these issues. Now it’s time for the appropriate authorities to undertake legal investigations of these allegations and to act if the evidence warrants.

    What I’m afraid some people don’t understand is that Balko’s investigations don’t make this story true or false. It will take official investigators and prosecutors in Mississippi or from the DOJ – someone like Patterico, with his attention to detail and willingness to let legally-gathered evidence guide him – to prove or disprove these allegations. Patterico’s concern for what may seem like details are what protects us all.

    DRJ (d0ada6)

  9. Investigative journalists – and I’ll include Radley Balko in that category even though I’m not sure if that’s his occupation – are often dedicated to correcting injustice and exposing wrongs.

    I guess that explains his thinly veiled threats directed at Pat.

    dave (afb4d1)

  10. Problem 3: Balko is upset that DAs regard MEs as working for them rather than as independent officers who should be absolutely neutral between prosecution and defense. He cites the case of a DA who complained about an ME who “unnecessarily rendered aid to the defense”, and despairingly reports that the state agreed with the DA. Well, it seems to me that that’s right. MEs do work for the state, and have a duty to the state’s interests; and it’s the state that’s prosecuting the defendant.

    Of course, as state employees, they have a duty to see that justice is done, which means that innocent people are not convicted; so if they come across exculpatory evidence they must bring it to light. But that same duty lies on prosecutors too, and to the same extent. The principle is that in any one case the state’s interest is in obtaining a conviction only if the defendant is in fact guilty, while the defence is interested in obtaining an acquittal regardless of the facts. So an ME who finds exculpatory evidence should bring it to the prosecutor’s attention, and if he feels the prosecutor isn’t treating it as seriously as she should then he should bring it to the prosecutor’s boss, and if that doesn’t work he should tell the court about it. But I find it difficult to conceive of a case where it’s the ME’s duty to collaborate with the defense. Things would have to be truly dire to justify that, it seems to me.

    He also quotes the pathologists’ union rules that say MEs should be independent, and some academic “ethicist” who agrees. But what makes their opinion right?

    Now perhaps that isn’t how things should be. Roger Koppl makes some good points in a sidebar to Balko’s article, and he suggests that MEs should work for the court, not for the executive branch. That way they would be independent and absolutely neutral, owing no more duty to the prosecution than to the defense. He also suggests (if I understand him correctly) that these court-employed MEs should only present the facts, to the court and to both sides, and that it should then be up to each side to hire a separate expert to interpret those facts in the light most favourable to its side. These two suggestions make a lot of sense to me, and if Balko were to start a campaign to make it so I’d be inclined to support him. (I’m not equally enamoured of all Koppl’s eight suggestions, but these two sound good.) But right now that simply isn’t how things work, in Mississippi or anywhere else, and I think it’s wrong of Balko to make out as if there’s something unethical about MEs who do their job as it’s currently defined.

    Milhouse (196f3c)

  11. I’m sorry but the ME is employed by either the state or county — just like the judge, DA, and public defender. Their findings should be in writing and are discoverable by both the prosecution and defense. Either side can hire additional expert witnesses if they wish to and their testimony would be relevant. I see no benefit in changing the system.

    dave (afb4d1)

  12. He also suggests (if I understand him correctly) that these court-employed MEs should only present the facts, to the court and to both sides, and that it should then be up to each side to hire a separate expert to interpret those facts in the light most favourable to its side.

    I’m sorry but this makes no sense to me.

    dave (afb4d1)

  13. Dave, the DA works for the state or county, and represents its interest in convicting guilty people, while trying his best not to convict innocent ones. But his presumption is that a defendant is guilty. The judge also works for the people, but she’s an independent branch of government, and is strictly neutral between prosecution and defense. She must treat both sides exactly the same, and can’t so much as talk to one without the other’s presence. The public defender also works for the people, but his interest is directly opposed to theirs – his interest is in acquitting the clients he’s been assigned, regardless of how guilty they may be, and how many innocent people they may victimise later. It’s sad and seems wrong, but it has to be that way, or we’d all be in danger of being convicted of some trumped-up charge.

    Right now, the ME is not independent. She works for the executive branch, which is represented by the DA. The nature of her job is that she is not neutral between prosecution and defense, and is certainly not to be biased towards the defense. She must do her work with honesty, but her duty not to get innocent people convicted is exactly the same as the prosecutor’s.

    Koppl proposes that the ME work for the judge, and be in the same position as the judge – absolutely neutral. Determine the facts, give each side a copy, and not put any interpretation on those facts at all. Let each side hire experts to spin the facts as they will, but the ME should stay above that. I think this is a good idea, but it isn’t how things are now, and Balko goes on as if it were, and as if there’s something unethical about MEs who do their job as currently defined, and about DAs who insist that they do.

    Milhouse (c4a90c)

  14. Milhouse, I don’t agree with your characterization of the adversarial nature of the criminal justice system. In particular, I wasn’t aware either that prosecutors “presumption is that a defendant is guilty” or that defense attorneys have an interest in “acquitting the clients he’s been assigned, regardless of how guilty they may be.”

    On both sides, the attorneys have taken an oath to uphold the law, and have ethical obligations not to misrepresent facts. Acquital and presumptions of guilt are two extremes that, if they are always pursued by the opposing sides would lead to a serious polarization and paralyzation of the justice system.

    I don’t think that the adversarial system you talk about is as healthy as one where both sides — the defense and the prosecution — are dedicated to pursuing their clients’ interests, but also dedicated to being truthful and forthright.

    So prosecutors don’t try to get longest sentence possible at all costs, and defense attorneys candidly advise guilty clients of their plea-bargaining options rather than shooting for an acquittal every time.

    Phil (6d9f2f)

  15. Right now, the ME is not independent.

    Do you just make this stuff up?? The ME works for the office of the ME/Coroner and is independent of the DA, the PD, and the court.

    dave (afb4d1)

  16. Balko’s no ‘investigative journalist’, as ‘journalist’ implies (no laughing, I’m serious) objectivity and lack of bias. Balko is on a mission, so activist is a better term with which to describe him. And activists just can’t be relied on to present the facts and nothing but the facts. They twist everything to present their agenda in the most positive light. They’ll slam those who disagree with them, they’ll crucify those who stand in their way.

    Balko, having made it his mission to get Cory Maye out of jail, has picked Hayne as a key to that happening. Knowing that, is it any surprise that Balko’s opinion piece was critical of Hayne and featured people who don’t like Hayne?

    Arguing with Balko about Hayne (or no-knock raids, the drug war or any of Balko’s other causes) is as much a waste of time as trying to convince Planned Parenthood that there should be limitations on abortions.

    Balko, like the proverbial blind squirrel or the stopped clock, may – just may – be right on this particular case…. but I don’t think he has the credibility to warrant those who aren’t on his crusade to take him seriously… any more than I take certain ‘civil right activists’ seriously when they appear on TV screaming about this or that injustice.

    stevesturm (d3e296)

  17. And activists just can’t be relied on to present the facts and nothing but the facts. They twist everything to present their agenda in the most positive light. They’ll slam those who disagree with them, they’ll crucify those who stand in their way.

    Really? People do all that just because they’re ‘activists’?

    Balko does get emotionally worked up about many issues, but that’s at least in part because he deals on a regular basis with many of the most horrifying injustices produced by the American system. He sees the worst of it, and it makes him mad. And, yes, he gets mad at people who say that because he gets mad, we shouldn’t listen to him.

    But from what I can tell, he’s conceded virtually everything Patterico has pointed out as inaccurate about his writing. His main point is obvious — why does Patterico pick him apart on technicalities, but ignore his blog day after day as it paints the disturbing, and undeniable picture that we have a militaristic law enforcement in this country that has effectively declared war on the American people?

    I don’t blame Balko for being frustrated when he posts dozens of articles showing patterns of law enforcement brutality and abuse, to dead silence from Patterico — and then gets picked apart by Patterico on what are effectively semantics and inferences.

    Can you call Balko biased against law enforcement? Sure, I’ll give you that. Is seeing Patterico spend massive amounts of space on his blog saying Balko is biased a total waste of everyone’s freaking time — since Patterico is just as biased as Balko, but in a pro-law-enforcement way? Absofreakinlutely.

    Phil (6d9f2f)

  18. Phil,

    I don’t read Balko. Every so often I follow a link from Instapundit to his blog, regarding some anti law-enforcement screed.

    I’ll let people make up their own minds about whether I am as biased as Balko — and whether I am as careless about my facts as he is.

    I am sorry that you think this blog no longer meets your “thinking man” standards. I think it’s because we don’t share your idiosyncratic views regarding illegals.

    Which reminds me: did you ever respond to that hypothetical of mine that I predicted you wouldn’t respond to?

    Patterico (a05f5b)

  19. Phil,

    As I understand your point, it’s fine if Balko is wrong about details as long as he’s correct on the big picture. The obvious reply is: How can you be sure Balko is right on the big picture?

    Your argument is just an updated version of fake but accurate.

    DRJ (d0ada6)

  20. “How can you be sure Balko is right on the big picture?”

    Nice try. It’s funny, every time Balko posts about the big picture — example after example of law enforcement out of control — I check his trackbacks to see if any of the pro-law-enforcement folks are addressing his post. I’d love for someone to convince me he’s wrong, because the stuff he posts is so disturbing. The response? Dead silence.

    That’s how I know he’s right on the big picture. Because nobody says anything. Not until they can jump in and nit-pick a few facts here and there.

    Phil (6d9f2f)

  21. Patterico, it’s been a while. What hypo are you talking about?

    Phil (6d9f2f)

  22. That’s an odd way to validate, Phil. Not convincing to me.

    SPQR (6c18fd)

  23. …the disturbing, and undeniable picture that we have a militaristic law enforcement in this country that has effectively declared war on the American people

    And you’re basing this on what, dozens of law enforcement brutality? Let’s see, there are thousands upon thousands of cops in this country, multiplied by the (for the sake of argument) hundreds of encounters they have with the public, and you think dozens is enough to indict all of law enforcement? Taking these anomalies and insinuating that the whole barrel is rotten is statistically invalid, not to mention a cheap shot, akin to indicting the entire US military because of a handful of bad apples, whether it be at Abu Ghraib or elsewhere. But that doesn’t matter to those on a mission, anything and everything is fair game to advance the cause, right?

    And, yes, Balko does get worked up… which is fine, but is precisely the reason I (as should others) take what he writes with a grain of salt. People who get worked up and those who have an agenda just can’t be trusted to play it straight. I no more would look to him for an objective look at the police and our drug laws than I would look to Hillary Clinton for an honest portrayal of the Bush Administration.

    Of course, I don’t lie awake at night worried that corrupt cops are going to break down my door on a bogus warrant, arrest me and beat a confession out of me for something I didn’t do. I guess I must be part of the America that our militaristic cops haven’t declared war on…

    stevesturm (d3e296)

  24. SPQR, it’s the free market of ideas validation theory.

    If those with a vested interest in defending the current law enforcement status quo can’t come up with a reasonable response to Balko’s blog as a whole (other than “he’s an activist, and activists can’t be trusted” and “he got a couple of facts slightly wrong over there” and “but he hasn’t told us that he’s covered OTHER law enforcement injustices in the past! That means he’s biased, because he already knows how bad we are!”), then I’m guessing there’s no defense readily available.

    Phil (6d9f2f)

  25. Phil,

    Here’s Patterico’s frequently-asked hypothetical.

    As for Balko, the point is to make informed judgments based on reasonable information and analysis before we know the outcome. Balko asks us to respond with indignation and sympathy for things he views as unjust. Even if he’s psychic and it turns out he’s always right, is that any way to run things?

    DRJ (d0ada6)

  26. Patterico,

    I’ve been a daily reader of yours for a year or two and have really enjoyed your posts. I don’t read Balko (other then when you’ve linked him). But I have to admit, I find this “Ahab-like” thing you have for him very strange. You’re nit-picking items in an attempt to play gotcha, while ignoring any sort of scope about the larger issues.

    I’m sorry to say this, but I’ve deleted you from my favorites list. You’re just getting too strange about this Balko guy. I think you should give a second thought to whether you’ve lost perspective.

    Thank you for all of the enjoyment I’ve had from your previous (non-Balko related) posts.

    rnitz (c07bdd)

  27. Phil, that’s a logical fallacy.

    SPQR (6c18fd)

  28. Thanks DRJ, but is that really a “hypothetical”? From what I can tell, the question is:

    What penalty do you think immigrants should pay for breaking the law if they enter the US illegally, and do you agree that few pay any price now?

    What penalty do I think immigrants should pay for breaking the law if they enter the U.S. illegally? Oh I dunno. The problem is, I don’t have any need to discourage immigrants from entering the country, so the “illegality” of most entrances to me is simply bad law, a law that basically sets itself up to be broken.

    So what penalty? Definitely not a penalty that ends up costing Americans more money. So no deportation – expensive and unproductive. No jail — again, expensive and unproductive.

    Ideally, I’d say an administrative fine, the proceeds of which go toward funding, say, immigrant education programs, immigrant medical care, or something like that.

    How about a $500.00 fine, along with a receipt showing that they’ve paid their fine and are no longer illegal? Apparently, recent calcuations were that we have 38 million illegal immigrants in this country. If all 38 million paid their fine, we’d have an $19 billion additional budget for offsetting the cost of illegals on society.

    Phil (6d9f2f)

  29. I pinch-hit as a “type-setter” on Rob Warden’s Chicago Lawyer once, a very long time ago. Since then, Rob Warden has been the mostinstrumental in, for all intents and purposes, abolishing the death penalty in Illinois. Do I admire his talent, energy and ability. Yes. Do I believe he has corrected grave injustices? Yes. Do I believe that he has saved the lives of, and even freed, vicious inhuman monsters? Yes.

    nk (6e4f93)

  30. Phil,

    You know the question:

    If you don’t object to illegal immigrants breaking the law to come to America, how can you object to burglars that enter your home, live in your home and use your possessions?

    DRJ (d0ada6)

  31. rnitz:

    Although you have never commented here before, I’ll take you at your word that you have been a regular reader.

    You are commenting on a post where I express concern about the underlying issue that Balko writes about, but in which I express skepticism about his ability to be a trustworthy person to tell it. You find no fault with any of my specific criticisms other than that they are “nit-picking” — i.e., the fact that the lead story of his entire piece is undermined by a court opinion is “nit-picking.”

    Please understand that it doesn’t bother me much to lose a reader over this. Perhaps you would prefer someone who cheerleads for Balko and ignores his tendency to gloss over subtleties, his tendency to get facts wrong in favor of his narrative, and his tendency to be reluctant and whiny about making corrections. I bet such a cheerleader could build lots of traffic and attract far more readers than I attract.

    Sorry, not interested.

    So, with all due respect, don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

    Patterico (bad89b)

  32. Phil,

    It’s not the appropriate thread for this, but actually, my hypo was different from the one DRJ linked.

    It’s one I asked you on August 15, and predicted you would ignore or respond to with a flip answer that doesn’t address the real question.

    Whereupon, you disappeared from the thread.

    What the hell, let’s try again.

    Phil sez:

    In a global economy, dropping a bunch of criminals in Mexico won’t even help the U.S. for very long. It’s sorta like saying “there’s this mad dog in my backyard. Mad dogs are dangerous — clearly, I need to put it in my neighbor’s backyard!”

    It’s actually quite a big like saying: “My neighbor’s dog has gone mad, and has come into my backyard. Mad dogs are dangerous — clearly, I need to put it back in my neighbor’s backyard!”

    Which most people would find a reasonable position.

    But your position, Phil, is different. Your position is quite a bit like saying: “My neighbor’s dog has gone mad, and has come into my backyard. Mad dogs are dangerous. Clearly, I need to keep it in my own backyard! If I put it back in my neighbor’s yard, it will still be mad. Why should my neighbor be responsible for dealing with a mad dog, just because it’s his?”

    But you know what, Phil? I’ve been at this long enough to know that the fact that my analogy is unassailable will have zero effect on you. You’ll ignore it, or fail to address it in any logical fashion.

    Go ahead, prove me wrong.

    Phil?

    Patterico (bad89b)

  33. I’ll add a couple more things to rnitz:

    First, I rarely post about Balko. It’s generally when Instapundit links him, I follow the link, and see him misstating a fact, leaving out something important, etc.

    Second, there would be no blog war if the guy would just quietly correct his errors and thank me for pointing them out. It’s because he gets so pissy every time and flips out that I feel the need to respond.

    I thank Unix-Jedi in a related thread for retracting his initial comment saying that Balko had displayed a restrained and “collegial” tone in his response to me. I challenge anyone to go back and look at the original post that started all this, and his intemperate response. Anyone who does that will see where the blame lies for this getting ugly.

    And I challenge *anyone* to put the question of his disclosures to a media ethicist. (I already have and am awaiting a response.)

    Patterico (bad89b)

  34. Oh, sorry, wrong hypo.

    Phil?

    DRJ (d0ada6)

  35. Balko’s article is far more convincing than the prosecutor’s case in the Phil Spector trial (“heart of hearts”).

    Why hasn’t Balko done an “excellent job”?

    Different standards of logic exist inside and outside the courtroom?

    alphie (99bc18)

  36. Phil, you’re a nut. So basically you don’t want to live in an actual country with sovereignty. All al-Quaida would have to do to defeat the U.S. in your nutso fantasy world is send wave after wave of immigrants to the U.S. and then Democratically vote for your sister, mom, girlfriend, boyfriend, or daughter to be stoned ála sharia law. You don’t rise to the level of being stupid. You’re a menace and near an enemy of your country. One day, I pray you and your kind are destroyed. Intellectually, but more so.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  37. If I came upon that article without knowing anything about Balko, I would think it was excellent — just like I thought Alan Jackson’s presentation was excellent.

    Knowing a little more about Balko and about the very first story he tells in the article, I am less enthusiastic than I might otherwise be. By contrast, I have known Alan Jackson (though not terribly well) for years, and he has always impressed me as a skilled lawyer and a straight shooter.

    It’s a stupid comparison, but you asked.

    But I still think there should be an investigation into what Balko wrote about.

    Hey alphie, maybe you, like rnitz, have had it with my posts about Balko and will stop reading?

    Is there at least a chance?

    Patterico (bad89b)

  38. You don’t rise to the level of being stupid. You’re a menace and near an enemy of your country. One day, I pray you and your kind are destroyed. Intellectually, but more so.

    That’s the old over-the-top Christoph we all know and . . . edge away from.

    Phil, I don’t share the sentiment expressed in Christoph’s comment. I just disagree with you.

    Patterico (bad89b)

  39. I never suggested you share my sentiment. It’s my sentiment. Legalizing illegal immigrants with a $500 fine, funneled back into illegal immigrants, and inviting wave after wave of uncontrolled immigration until your country was no more. Phil is a minority. Were his viewpoint to gain sufficient traction, which it won’t, it would have to be resisted by all means, including armed force.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  40. Jeez, Christoph, enough with the veiled threats man! I bet you could convince Phil the error of his ways easier if you didn’t pray for him and “his kind” to be destroyed.

    Russell (a32796)

  41. It’s not a veiled threat. I could be sitting in the room with Phil and I wouldn’t move a muscle. But… were a movement like his to gain actual traction, which it would not, it would threaten the survival of any country which followed it, which they wouldn’t.

    Therefore, in that extremely unlikely event, I would fight such a faction with all available means. Fortunately, his view is so crazy this will never, ever be necessary.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  42. An advantage for prosecutors then?

    Most Americans only sit as jurors in one trial in their lives?

    alphie (99bc18)

  43. Patterico would trust the article more if it had been written by one the cops that murdered Kathryn Johnston.

    Deadspin (38ff57)

  44. Hey, look. It’s Frank N Stein, another one of Balko’s Army of Anonymous Dickheads.

    Patterico (bad89b)

  45. Buhbye, Frank N Stein aka Deadeye. If you can’t maintain a consistent identity here, you can’t comment.

    Patterico (bad89b)

  46. Patterico, why don’t you write out a simple and straightforward commenting policy, then place a link to it in the footer and refer people to it as necessary. Captain Ed does something like it and so does Hot Air.

    Stops you from having to repeat yourself, plus makes sure everyone is on the same page. Some people see nothing wrong with using multiple identities, whereas you do, clearly.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  47. Patterico, I’m not trying to hijack this thread — after all, you brought up the hypo. So here’s my response:

    But your position, Phil, is different. Your position is quite a bit like saying: “My neighbor’s dog has gone mad, and has come into my backyard. Mad dogs are dangerous. Clearly, I need to keep it in my own backyard! If I put it back in my neighbor’s yard, it will still be mad. Why should my neighbor be responsible for dealing with a mad dog, just because it’s his?”

    First of all, taking your hypo literally, I would in fact need more information to make a decision about whether the position was reasonable.

    What if my neighbor doesn’t have adequate resources to deal with the mad dog, but I do? Should I just dump it in my neighbor’s yard anyway, and say “not my problem?” No, especially not if I don’t think this is the only “mad dog” that’s going to be wandering over from my neighbor, and especially if it’s obvious that my neighbor’s “mad dog” problem is out of control.

    Putting the dog back in my neighbor’s backyard doesn’t make me much safer, and it is a lot of work, and and it could end up surprising my neighbor with a mad dog.

    Literally, under U.S. law, if I discovered my neighbor’s dog was mad and in my yard, and just picked it up and stuck it back in my neighbor’s yard, I could be considered negligent, because I actively took control of the dog and assumed a duty to control it in a reasonably safe manner.

    If I shepherded it back into my neighbor’s backyard and locked it in there — and then my neighbor, not knowing his dog was mad, let his kids into the backyard to play, I could be held responsible for injuries, because I took control of the mad dog for a period of time.

    ****************************

    OK, I’ve wandered down a couple of paths with the hypo. Point is, there are plenty of rational reasons to not put a mad dog back in your neighbor’s backyard.

    So, if I had a mad dog owned by a neighbor wander into my backyard, and someone said “just stick it back in your neigbor’s backyard. It’s not your problem!” I would do exactly what I’m doing with the “deport the criminals first” position. I’d say “is it really going to help matters to round up that dangerous dog, and drop it in my neighbor’s yard?”

    To be fair, the position of “it’s my neighbor’s dog” does imply that the neighbor should be responsible for the cost of the mad dog because the neighbor “owned” the mad dog and therefor voluntarily assumed the risk that the dog would go mad. And I agree with that position, to that extent.

    And to the extent that the neighbor was able to control the mad dog but did not, or to the extent that the neighbor allowed the dog to go mad (say, by ignoring symptoms of disease, or neglecting the dog in other ways, the neighbor should bear the cost of the dog’s madness.

    In the same way, there is certainly room for Mexico to be held responsible for crimes committed by its citizens in the U.S.

    But any plan to dump criminals back in Mexico has to be more responsible than simply saying “it’s my neighbor’s dog – let him deal with it” for me to support it.

    Phil (6d9f2f)

  48. Perhaps if Balko allowed comments at his site we could address his “Journalistic” prowess directly with him.

    Trusting anything he’s written without independant verification is foolish.

    Patrick (a8c3ea)

  49. Patrick,

    You can comment on Balko’s pieces on Reason’s Hit and Run. He’ll even discuss things with you there.

    http://www.reason.com/blog/show/122879.html#comments

    tarran (2b8624)

  50. “You can comment on Balko’s pieces on Reason’s Hit and Run. He’ll even discuss things with you there.”

    I think I’ll pass on that particular pleasure. I’ve had quite enough from him, between the insults on his blog and in comments here, and his recent e-mails with a quasi-threatening tone (like the one he sent titled “Be careful.” and making dark noises about how it might look for a prosecutor to be “covering up for” Hayne.)

    Uh, no thanks.

    Patterico (2ed21a)

  51. In fairness to Balko, Patterico, I think you hit him hard too. You may have had a point about disclosing Maye, but nonetheless his article was fascinating. If true, it was important.

    By all means keep up the adversarial relationship with him, something he may be doing to… but don’t pretend the attacks are running one way because they aren’t.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  52. There’s a big difference between open and honest jabs and hitting below-the-belt.

    DRJ (74c23b)

  53. Then other than the fact you like Patterico, explain where Balko hit below-the-belt.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  54. See comment 50.

    DRJ (74c23b)

  55. Seen. Which one is below-the-belt?

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  56. Re commenting at Reason:

    Here is the first comment left there:

    “Great article, but RADLEY DIDN’T MENTION THIS IS ALL ABOUT CORY MAYE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    THEREFORE IT IS ALL FALSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

    Now: I would want to engage in debate in a place where the very first comment mischaracterizes my position like that . . . why again?

    Patterico (552d1b)

  57. By the way, Christoph, the operative point is not that I like Patterico (which I do) but that I believe him. And I have problems with comments that impugn one’s professional abilities without a reasonable basis.

    DRJ (74c23b)

  58. Patterico, it may be a waste of time to comment there. But people criticizing here never stopped me.

    Anyway, DRJ, I still don’t think you’ve highlighted a specific example that is below-the-belt. There might be one, but you haven’t pointed it out. You’ve just made the attack without backing it up with an example.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  59. DRJ, you’re way more patient than I am. There’s a reason I’m done talking to Christoph about this — and it’s exemplified by a denial that it is below the belt to accuse me of “covering up for” Hayne.

    If you can remain calm at Sadly, No then you can remain calm here. Me, I’m about at the point where I may never respond to Christoph again. It gets my blood pressure up and I don’t need it (although, in truth, my blood pressure is usually average to low, knock on wood).

    Patterico (552d1b)

  60. You used your mind-reading ability to accuse him of not disclosing the “main” (although you also carelessly used the term “wholly” something I accept was just a slip/typo) reason he wrote about Hayne… when he’s explained and I find it hard to dispute that there are issues far larger than Maye.

    So while Maye may be one, and a significant, he wrote about Hayne, it’s only one and, logically considering the magnitude of what he’s accusing Hayne of, probably not the “main” reason. Certainly, it’s possible it wasn’t.

    How is your attack not “hitting-below-the-belt”?

    I say it isn’t because it’s your sincere opinion… yet if he expresses his opinion you’re covering up for Hayne because it makes your job easier as a prosecutor not to have prosecution scientific witnesses impugned or examined too quickly this is hitting-below-the-belt.

    While I see your point in why you’d be offended, and disagree with Balko on this (meaning I agree with you), the only point I’m making, as I made clear, is the attacks aren’t “one way”.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  61. *reason

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  62. Christoph,

    Let me state this – one time – as clearly as I can, and I hope you will try to see this from another perspective before you respond. Patterico’s criticism of Balko has been:

    1. Open – every problem Patterico has with Balko was posted publicly in a thread or comment at this website.

    2. Fair – Patterico backed up every criticism with a link, statement, or reason. He also acknowledged Balko’s good points and stated he would keep an open mind on those items that are unclear.

    3. Reasonable – Patterico wanted Balko to disclose his advocacy for Cory Maye so readers could make informed judgments when they read his op-ed and Reason article. Patterico also clarified problems with the Tyler Edmonds fact summary regarding Dr. Hayne. These were reasonable positions that no one has effectively rebutted and most have acknowledged are true.

    In contrast, as far as I can tell, Balko has refused to acknowledge Patterico’s points have any merit. In addition, Balko has emailed warnings to Patterico that suggest his positions will reflect poorly on him as a prosecutor. It could reasonably be expected that emails like this would be disseminated and the email specifically impugns Patterico’s professional reputation.

    Perhaps you are unclear why this would be a bad thing for a prosecutor or any lawyer. Let me try to clear that up for you. Prosecutors and lawyers only have two things to “sell” – their time and their judgment. Everyone has the same amount of time but not everyone has the same degree of judgment. If you state or imply that a lawyer has poor judgment, you harm that lawyer’s reputation.

    To put it another way: It is derogatory to suggest that a prosecutor would cover up for a corrupt, dishonest, or incompetent medical examiner. Maybe statements like this do great harm to Patterico’s reputation or maybe the actions barely harm it, but if only one person wonders if the implication might be true, the harm is done.

    My final point has nothing to do with this topic or comments. It relates to your recent comments on several other threads in which you became increasingly hostile toward people that disagreed with you. I think you need to dial it back and if you can’t, I hope Patterico will refer your future comments to moderation.

    DRJ (74c23b)

  63. I’m sure that “moderating” and stifling my comments would make it easier for certain fuzzy-headed notions to prevail in the absence of facts. And he can definitely do this.

    Your retarded position contains nuggets like:

    “Balko has refused to acknowledge Patterico’s points have any merit.”

    Is he required to? Why? He probably doesn’t think they do.

    So Patterico publicly stating Balko should have disclosed is not problematic, but Balko expressing his opinion to Patterico this could reflect negatively on him in a private email is?

    I certainly understand why Patterico would take offense to that, but your point makes no sense. Both have attacked the other. Doing so by private email is no worse than doing so publicly.

    Patterico feels free to attack Balko’s judgment… and he is… yet you think it’s hitting below the belt if Balko does the same thing.

    Which is why I say your point is “retarded”. I more or less agree with Patterico’s points re: Balko, although I think he overstated his position… but your position (as if the attacks and damage to reputation is only one way) is dense.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  64. Christoph, there is a point where your refusal to get a point becomes quite annoying.

    SPQR (6c18fd)

  65. I am supporting a boy in Mississippi who got life at barely age 15. Dr. Hayne testified at his trial for the prosecution. No one testified on behalf of the child. It was a self defense case where the boy was being attacked by his grandfather who was 6’3″ tall and weighed 180 lbs and the child was 5’8″ and weighed 130 lbs soaking wet. The child was backed into a corner. But Dr. Hayne testified that the knife wounds on the back of the hands of his grandfather were defensive wounds. Even though the child had said that the grandfather had his hands in fists and was swinging at him like a boxer. How did he know without being a witness to the stabbing that the wounds weren’t offensive on the back of his hands? Another case, where Dr. Hayne just made up whatever fit the prosecutions case of 1st degree murder and passed it off as expert testimony to a jury who bought it. The boy is serving a life sentence in Mississippi.

    Also even though the claim was self-defense and that the grandfather had Alzheimer’s disease and PTSD, no brain tissue was taken during autopsy to be tested. http://www.myspace.com/savebrettjones

    Pam (49436b)

  66. This is so typical of the “good ole’ boy” mentality still present in Mississippi. Doesn’t matter if you are qualified to do the job, as long as you know the right people.
    There is no doubt in my mind that there are untold numbers in prison there now, wrongfully convicted thanks to his incompetent musings.
    My 18 year old son has been in prison for 3 years, 47 years to go, thanks to the ‘opinions’ of the quack. My son was attacked by a grown man in a rage due to mental illness and had to fight for his life, yet this man testified that it wasn’t so. He gave his account of what happened as if he were there, yet did not even test the brain of the attacker, even though mental degeneration (dementia) was reported present by the immediate family and their doctor.
    This man apparently takes the prosecutor’s desired results as his guideline for determination of death.
    This is more along the lines of the travesty perpetrated in police states, where the police own everyone and their opinions. Someone needs to correct this problem and the results from it. All the convictions based on his opinions need to be thrown out and Dr Steven Haynes made to answer for his crimes.

    Enette (49436b)

  67. Yes, the “defensive wounds” meme has always been a sore point with me, too. It’s total nonsense. An assailant attacks you and you react to the hand reaching towards you. People are not predisposed to go straight for the throat even in self-defense.

    But Dr. Hayne is not alone in this. “Defensive wounds” is a rote opinion by all “forensic experts” about knife cuts on the victim/assailant’s hands.

    nk (6e4f93)

  68. P.S. It really helps your case a lot as a defendant if you don’t kill him but just drive him off.

    nk (6e4f93)

  69. My impression is that the Edmonds’ case does not really support the implication that Haynes’ is a hack who is a prosecution puppet since it appears to me, unless I’m missing something, from the Court of Appeals’ opinion that Haynes’ supposedly ridiculous testimony in answer to a hypothetical was in fact supportive of the defendants’ theory of the case.

    SPQR (6c18fd)

  70. Christoph #63,

    This is a good illustration of the problem I have with your recent comments. I respect your right and Radley Balko’s right to disagree on issues, but there is no point to labeling me or my ideas “retarded” and “dense” when more accurate, less inflammatory words will do. If it happened once a week or a month regarding issues you feel strongly about, then maybe that’s okay but it happens multiple times a day. And we both know you held back with me because we like each other and get along. You’ve called other commenters evil, hateful, and worse. It’s unpleasant to receive and to be around.

    But it’s a free world (at least for those of us lucky enough to live in free countries) and you can *generally* say what you want. The internet is a forgiving place and the people here are friendly. In recent weeks, however, I find myself glossing over your comments – unable to focus on your point because I have to get past the insults directed at the person you disagree with. So instead of making your point more forcefully, I suspect most people are like me and they are missing or ignoring your point. In other words, you are doing the opposite of what you intend if your goal is to get people’s attention and influence their opinions.

    DRJ (74c23b)

  71. But Dr. Hayne is not alone in this. “Defensive wounds” is a rote opinion by all “forensic experts” about knife cuts on the victim/assailant’s hands.

    Since this issue can be easily addressed during cross examination, call me unimpressed. Though I am sure the two ladies will not want to hear this, reading their own websites, there appears to have been sufficient evidence to convict Brett Jones as charged.

    dave (afb4d1)

  72. DRJ is a model of patience.

    Truly amazing.

    Patterico (7fc8fe)

  73. Hey Christoph-

    Take a hint. You’re about to be excommunicated from the Pattericotard League.

    If you want back in and for Patterico to respond to your posts, bow down and agree to what he wants you to agree with him about.

    Dude (7676e6)

  74. Dude,

    May I make an obvious point? Excommunication is rare around here or you would already be gone.

    DRJ (74c23b)

  75. I think Dude is obsessed with me.

    Dude, this persistent and continuing effort on your part to discredit me is making you look foolish and obsessive. I’m sorry if the work I do offends you as a comment spammer. But these lame attacks on my credibility are really only undermining your own.

    See if you recognize the language.

    Patterico (bad89b)

  76. actually Dave, no there wasn’t. The only witness who said it was premeditated was the 15 year old girl under threat of prison time. She flipped after being under indictment for 9 months and always saying Brett was innocent. She admitted on the stand her testimony was lies. It is in the transcripts. She wanted to get home, she did what she was told she needed to do by her attorney and the prosecutors. She recanted before she returned home. There was not other evidence for premedicated murder. No testing was done. Everything sent to the crime lab was returned 9 months later unopened and untested, saying the lab was too busy. The confession was self-defense. There was no evidence presented that said otherwise. SEven of the eight wounds were less than 1/8 inch deep suggesting self-defense and one was fatal, which was when Brett was in a chokehold. Plus, discredited Dr. Hayne is the icing on the cake. Brett’s trial was a serious of people just going through the motions. No defense was presented. I’m sorry, your wrong Dave. I have read the transcripts and I have been helping this child, a complete stranger until a year ago, hiring him an attorney, writing to him and keeping his spirits up. I wouldn’t have used my own money and considerable time and emotions if I didn’t think he was innocent of capital murder. I’m afraid you don’t know the case well enough to make a statement such as you did.

    Pam (49436b)

  77. by the way Dave, one of the “ladies” is Brett’s mother. She knows the case better than anyone. No we don’t want to hear it, because we know the truth. Brett’s grandmother has said Bertis caused his own death and Brett’s too. This is the widow. She has stood behind Brett 100% and knows her husband attacked him because he had attacked her many times. She was scheduled to testify, but was never called. She was stuck in a closet along with Brett’s Dad who was scheduled to testify to Bertis’s outbursts of violence, but he was also stuck in the same closet, literally a large closet at the courthouse, and was never called. All they heard were the closing arguments and their son and beloved grandson be givin a life sentence at 15 years old and taken away immediately to prison. The story of Dr. Hayne isn’t the only heinous thing going on in Mississippi. The public defender system is broken as well. This is well known. Prosecutors lie on a regular basis. Yes, it was covered in cross, one short sentence asking Dr. Hayne if the wounds on the hand could have been offensive, and he said it was possible. The jury put alot of weight in Hayne’s testimony. He was the only expert witness called.

    Pam (49436b)

  78. Yeah yeah yeah. The prosecutor’s lying. The PD is lying. The cops are lying. The witnesses are lying. The whole world is lying. But after reviewing the information off of specifically the mother’s website, there is substantial evidence to support the jury’s verdict.

    dave (afb4d1)

  79. Also, Dave, if you will read the Wall Street Journal article, you will note the case of the skeleton where Dr. Hayne knew the cause of death was strangulation, it took a “vigorous cross examination” to discredit Hayne. A one sentence question in Brett Jones case on cross, was not anywhere near enough to discredit this predator in the courtroom.

    Pam (49436b)

  80. Pam and Enette,

    I’m not familiar with the case you raise but I think many people here support an investigation of Hayne’s cases to determine if the defendants, including your friend/son, were wrongly convicted.

    DRJ (74c23b)

  81. Patterico-

    I have a witty retort to post, but I’m not sure if I’m going to post it or not. I’m worried that it might blow you away with my wittiness. The post just shows how damned witty I am and how seriously I take my wittiness.

    Let me ask all of you out there: Should I post my witty retort or no? Please feel free to tell me how awesome I am in your response. Thank you.

    Dude (7676e6)

  82. “And we both know you held back with me because we like each other and get along.”

    No, DRJ, you’re completely wrong — even “dense”.

    I call people who kill, or want the right to kill, babies evil. In fact I would like to see them charged with capital offenses and punished accordingly. I called you dense. I use these words on purpose, no holding back necessary, either to make a point, because they fit, or both. I didn’t call you evil nor hateful because neither word described you. If they did, I would use them.

    I haven’t called anyone evil on these threads in at least the last day or so because I haven’t come across anyone expressing evil ideas. I did use words like stupid, willfully dense, liar, and in the case of Phil, menace, nut, and crazy, because they fit the individual circumstances.

    Since I refuse to tailor either the style or substance of my message to words you consider appropriate (consider someone like Ace of Spades who uses strong rhetoric to make his point — and I have never, once, came close to getting even a mild warning on his site, where here it’s a common occurrence because you two have a different background and world view), it’s obvious you and Patterico do not wish me to comment here further and I won’t.

    I wish you both well. You fight the good fight rhetorically speaking. But I do so with epithets in my language.

    “In other words, you are doing the opposite of what you intend if your goal is to get people’s attention and influence their opinions.”

    Use the nuclear war thread as an example. My point was made even though I pissed the person off I was making to. I can live with that trade-off. His position was basically mine at the end; we were arguing over remaining details.

    And with anyone I call “evil” I assure you I am not trying to persuade them at that point. Generally, they can’t be persuaded (certainly, I don’t know how). Using the classic issue of abortion, which I see as virtually akin to slavery, but slightly worse, on a thread where Patterico laid into my position or the word (“evil”) I chose to make it, I immediately found several people, “my people”, who see it the same way as I in total agreement. Whether they would have expressed this agreement so strongly had I not staked out my position as starkly is doubtful.

    When I call someone evil and point out in great detail why they are so, it is with the intention of appealing to those who recognize the difference between good and evil and, where possible, causing shame, fear of enforcement in the future, or some other negative emotion to wash over the evil doer. It’s a tough one to accomplish, I admit, but their feelings are of no concern to me when they practice or advocate the murder of millions especially their own kids.

    In overturning slavery, many different types of people were needed. Some use calm reasoned debate; others strong language to point out the evil. I’m in the latter camp. They were both helpful in motivating a public to accomplish the end goal for the now acknowledged betterment of mankind.

    In the end, though, it was legions of riflemen pumping hot lead into their foes’ skulls that decided the issue, so don’t confuse your rhetoric, DRJ, with reality. I’ve seen that tendency in you: polite debate for the sake of debate.

    I have no solution to the problem I mentioned, but if I can cause the odd person to feel like crap while I simultaneously love and honor those who see things my way, or have changed to that viewpoint, great. I’ll take that as my reward and if it “annoys” you I’m not concerned.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  83. “His position was basically mine at the end; we were arguing over remaining details.”

    Sorry Christopher. But your first post was that you wanted to wake up and see we had launched a sneak nuclear attack on four countries. You only showed that you have read a couple of books on the subject and fancy yourself an expert.
    But if it makes you feel good about yourself to believe otherwise I’m glad I was able to help.

    voiceofreason (a8af8d)

  84. Christoph,

    You are right that I enjoy debate for the sake of debate, and that’s astute of you to recognize it. I also recognize that it’s rarely the debater or the fiery orator who makes a difference in the world when compared to strong men who are willing to fight for what they believe in. And, FWIW, I’m saddened by people who desire to make other people “feel like crap” simply because they disagree with one another.

    I don’t have the power to ask you to stop commenting here nor is that my wish, but if you feel you must then best wishes to you.

    DRJ (74c23b)

  85. Yes, it was covered in cross, one short sentence asking Dr. Hayne if the wounds on the hand could have been offensive, and he said it was possible. The jury put alot of weight in Hayne’s testimony. He was the only expert witness called.

    So, the jury heard the wounds on the victim’s hands could have been defensive or possibly offensive. However, the jury as trier of fact found that there was no self defense.

    dave (afb4d1)

  86. yes, typical, everyone is always telling the truth in your world aren’t they? Maybe you should enter the reality based world someday soon. Yes people do lie, and they lie and lie and take advantage of vulnerable aged kids and lie some more. I’m glad you agree. or were you being facetious? You are not qualified to make a judgement on this child’s guilt or innocence. The comments here are about Dr. Hayne. Dr. Hayne performed more of his magic at Brett Jones trial, that is the issue. Dave, my naive little child, wake up, yes people do lie. That is how innocent people end up in prison. The charge of capital murder was wrong and it wasn’t proven, but the jury bought the lies. It is that simple. Even Brett’s new attornies have said this was accidental death whether in the heat of passion or self-defense, but not premeditated. There is nothing on my website that in any way suggests premeditated murder. If there is show me. I wouldn’t allow my children to correspond with a cold blooded killer. Again, Dave, you are wrong

    Pam (49436b)

  87. I will allow myself one last comment, DRJ:

    “…I’m saddened by people who desire to make other people “feel like crap” simply because they disagree with one another.”

    Umm, no. This is an example of the denseness I was referring to earlier.

    The point isn’t to make them feel like crap “simply because they disagree”. The point is to make them feel like crap because they kill children, including often their own children, and support others in doing so.

    Feeling crappy is part of justice. It’s called a conscience and where they don’t have much of one, I’ll help it along on occasion. Prison makes people feel crappy as does the death penalty. So does public ridicule and denouncement. Once in a while these methods actually dissuade someone in which case, in that rare example, it saves a life.

    Only someone, as I said, who debates for the sake of polite debate would focus on the harm in making the other person feel crappy without noticing the reason they’re doing so is because they consider the other person a hideous murderer.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  88. Well, Pam, here’s something that isn’t a lie: Jones will be out when he is 65 y/o if he behaves himself in custody.

    dave (afb4d1)

  89. Frankly, I’d rather have you stay around, because you cause me rethink things. For example, maybe it was a mistake to say “main reason” in the title of my first post. It wasn’t critical to the reasoning, as I still feel confident on the disclosure issue, and it gave Balko an easy way to wriggle out of the principal point.

    I don’t like the self-righteousness and the calling people “evil” and such. And I think you’ve been awfully quick to side with Balko and call his retorts “strong” and such, when you didn’t even understand the facts of the case (i.e. he is still trying to get Maye out of prison, which, if he does, will bring him not only personal satisfaction but also fame and probably a book deal).

    If we can keep the part of Christoph that makes me think, and do away with the part that seems merely out to aggravate, and to be self-righteous, I’d love that.

    If we can’t, it’s still up to you whether you want to comment here. I never said you should leave. I just said I was going to stop talking to you on a subject where, while you have made some valid points, you have done so in ways that trivialize my integrity and generally piss me off.

    Bottom line: comment, don’t comment, your choice. Don’t blame it on me. That’s just whiny.

    Patterico (bad89b)

  90. Honestly though: calling DRJ’s arguments dense and retarded? Get a grip. That really is ridiculous, any way you slice it.

    Patterico (bad89b)

  91. Patterico, your direct comment warrants a reply.

    It certainly isn’t the case that you’ve requested me to cease commenting. You have said you probably won’t reply to my comments, called me an ass, called my comments bullshit, etc… most noticeably at those times we disagree and less so at times where I disagree with others, often in support of your position.

    I agreed with Balko because I got that the central part of his article was Hayne not Maye… indeed, while he should have disclosed Maye which I’ve stated consistently, that’s so as not to distract from his much bigger story. I don’t even know how you would present all the facts and allegations Balko did and make Maye the centerpiece.

    Moving on… if I was calling someone an f’n piece of sh__, that’s obviously gratuitous and doesn’t mean anything. But if you take the strong pro-life position, as I do, that it’s child murder, how is calling someone evil in the same ballpark?

    Think about pedophile murderers… they do awful things… and I call them evil, something you wouldn’t even mention if I brought up… often (by no means always), however, they don’t target their own children.

    This is no defense of those horrible scum. I’m just stating I find it difficult to think of anything on the face of the Earth worse than a person killing their own child. If you can’t see why I would be viscerally angry at such a person, from my viewpoint, and where calling them evil is holding back (because I believe they should be put to death if they carry out the act) then we see things differently… but don’t attack my sincerity by being merely out to aggravate. Don’t say I do this to provoke and for no other reason.

    Certainly less common on the Internet than elsewhere, but I assure you’ve I’ve had this conversation, using that word, several times in “real” life. My sincerity on this issue is beyond dispute.

    Self-righteous? Hmmmm. I’m sure I am when it comes to killing kids because I would never do so. Same with slavery or racism, which I also despise.

    I have many flaws and outright sins I dislike… but taking Jesus, who I don’t personally believe was the Son of God, as a teacher, he taught it is better that a millstone be tied about someone’s neck and they be drowned in the depths of the sea rather than harm a child. So it’s a question of degree. My multitude of sins and flaws just don’t go there.

    It’s obviously not as bad to be called “evil” as to be drowned in the sea… so if I’m wrong in saying that word I’m at least in good company.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  92. Yeah, Christoph. Suggesting that a lawyer’s judgment is questionable is totally worse than suggesting that a journalist is a liar at worst or reckless with the facts at best. Because everyone knows law-talking guys have only their judgment to sell!!! I mean, can you name a successful lawyer with questionable judgment? I sure can’t. And as I’m sure you are aware, journalists have lots of other stuff they can sell. I hear Bernard Levin, for example, made a killing selling fuzzy dice.

    Moops (99fd9d)

  93. You’re lacking a sense of humor, C. The “bullshit” comment was just me quoting the guy who you were aligning yourself with. And yes, you can sometimes be an ass. It’s OK, I am sometimes an ass too. Few people can say anything different about themselves.

    Patterico (bad89b)

  94. I’ve got to add something to this.

    Chester Stiles committed horrible acts against that young girl. Apparently, these acts were completed and went beyond touching. So in addition to the tremendous psychological and, I would argue, spiritual damage she suffered, it’s likely she may have had other damage to her bodily systems. The mind recoils at the thought. Equally, STDs are common in adults and at least as common in sex offenders. She may have received something like that.

    All horrific beyond dispute. Chester Stiles is evil. I am sure you will not argue the point or criticize me for my choice of words.

    I’ve known women who have been sexually abused, one of whom developed a dissociative mental illness and was a danger to her family. As a teenager they locked her in her room at night on doctors’ orders.

    Another became a local prosecutor, much like yourself, and focussed on serious sex crimes. She and I had a lot of conversations, intimate (yes, that way) and work related. She clearly “made it” and is a lovely person, but was troubled at times. With her job, it’s hard to fault her.

    Another became a heroin addicted prostitute and this is horribly sad. She was so smart she SHOULD have been a doctor or a lawyer and instead I saw her sink into hell.

    Others became cashiers or whatever. They did okay, maybe not as good as they could have done.

    The point of this list is… however evil is Chester Stiles, from his victims’ point of view, what was done to her was less harmful than had her mom, dad, and parent’s doctor killed her. So please take that into consideration when you see me being “self-righteous”.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  95. I am an ass, more often than not, FWIW.

    JD (edb511)

  96. Patterico, I have a strong sense of humor, but lose it when talking about children’s welfare. Not that our conversation was about it, but it’s one example.

    I can’t even tell a joke at my expense about nuclear war, clearly dark humor and identified as such repeatedly, without voiceofreason taking it out of context and intentionally lying (again). So, yes, if you’re saying I took you as being serious when you meant it as a joke, I’ll believe you. Mistakes happen and this was one of mine.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  97. Speaking of humor, Moops, you made your point with much greater than I accomplished. I literally laughed out loud.

    Patterico thinks it’s ridiculous of me to say DRJ is often dense, but I say “au contraire”. She makes a great point about damage to Patterico’s reputation for judgment, but it almost completely escapes her that Balko also depends on his reputation for judgment. So apparent. Patterico didn’t make that mistake, I’m sure, but DRJ did.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  98. Yeah, Moops’s comment would be friggin’ hilarious if DRJ’s point had actually been that questioning a lawyer’s judgment is bad, but questioning a journalist’s judgment is OK.

    Since that wasn’t her point, it’s somewhat less hilarious. He’s great at destroying strawmen, though — he makes an excellent Balko Minion.

    Patterico (bad89b)

  99. I, for one, am not going to ever again respond to some Canadian until he apologizes to DRJ and DRJ says it’s all right.

    nk (6e4f93)

  100. I think we’ve convinced Christoph to stick around, and I am sincerely pleased about that.

    That’s enough maudlin sincerity for one night. Screw you jerks!

    Patterico (bad89b)

  101. But I respect nk’s position.

    It’s a strong retort.

    Patterico (bad89b)

  102. I’m too dense to understand this but let me know when the debating starts again.

    DRJ (74c23b)

  103. #60

    …if he expresses his opinion you’re covering up for Hayne because it makes your job easier as a prosecutor not to have prosecution scientific witnesses impugned or examined too quickly this is hitting-below-the-belt.

    Christoph, because it is hitting below the belt. Mr. Balko has made accusations derogatory of Patterico’s competence and professionalism. Mr. Frey only wishes for Mr. Balko to fess up to something that not only does not reflect poorly on the man, but could even put his interest in Dr. Hayne in a positive light. How Radley responded was inappropriate and overblown.

    Balko over-reacted to Patterico’s postition, and made a claim that could damage Patrick’s professional reputation. That, in my considered opinion, constitutes hitting below the belt.

    Alan Kellogg (795b28)

  104. Alan, you’re missing the point… and I’m not supporting Balko’s criticism, nor do I think it’s warranted… I’m looking at it from both men’s point of view… Balko felt point blank accusing him of “wholly” writing a piece for one reason (something Patterico says he didn’t mean to write, but Balko can be forgiven for taking Patterico literally) and also that that’s his “main” reason… when Patterico now acknowledges it may well not be… and failing to disclose it, a violation of journalistic ethics, was a serious threat to his reputation and livelihood. So he responded in kind.

    If Patterico’s going to go toe with someone who is a heavy hitter enough to get published in the WSJ, then he’s gotta expect some strikes back whether below the belt or otherwise.

    And for what it’s worth, below the belt strikes are among the finest kinds assuming your goal is to defeat someone.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  105. *toe to toe

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  106. And for what it’s worth, below the belt strikes are among the finest kinds assuming your goal is to defeat someone.

    Hey, if your only concern is to defeat someone, outright defamation works pretty good. And failing that, assault and maybe murder could do the trick.

    But since virtually all of us think we’re involved in something more moral than simply defeating the other guy, I’m left wondering what the hell you’re talking about.

    Patterico (bad89b)

  107. That was a joke, Patterico, what’s wrong with your humor bone?

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  108. When the comedian tells a joke and it flops, it’s not always the fault of the audience, my friend.

    Patterico (bad89b)

  109. Likewise with yours, P.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  110. In about an hour I’m going to whack Balko pretty good on this Edmonds thing.

    Patterico (bad89b)

  111. Fair enough. You won’t be surprised when Balko whacks back. DRJ will be outraged though.

    😉

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  112. I won’t be surprised when he whacks back with a bunch of whining and disingenuousness.

    Of course, in your view, that’s equivalent. I attacked him, he attacks me. Whether the attack is bullshit or not is beside the point. Right?

    Patterico (bad89b)

  113. Steve and Patterico,

    I don’t want to interfere with your interesting conversation but it might be worth pointing out that:

    Expert witnesses testify to facts but they also respond to hypotheticals. For example: “Dr. X, Knowing what you observed in the autopsy and IF this and this happened, THEN what would your opinion be as to …?” We don’t ask expert witnesses to testify in a vacuum. They are entitled to take into consideration other evidence, like a confession, when they formulate their opinions.

    Similarly, the opposing party gets to undo that hypothetical and point out that IF you change this fact and this fact, THEN the resulting opinion may change.

    DRJ (74c23b)

  114. No. I didn’t say that and you know that. But as to whose attack was bullshit, yours was.

    Your initial point on Hayne/Maye was Balko didn’t disclose the whole or “main” reason he wrote it, now you acknowledge that Balko probably wrote it for the reasons he said, because the Hayne story was generally interesting and went far beyond Maye.

    You still think he should have disclosed Maye and I concur, but mostly to avoid this silliness and otherwise detract from a thought-provoking op-ed. You think it was one of his primary motivations and you may be right… but the point is hardly proven when you acknowledge it isn’t.

    I don’t know the details of Balko’s attacks on you, read it at the time, but can’t remember what thread it was discussed under (remind me if you know)… it’s possible the attacks were unfair in which case that makes a lot of difference.

    It’s also possible the attacks are based on his world view and are not intentionally unfair… that makes a difference, but certainly doesn’t mean you shouldn’t vigorously fight them. Can you remind me where I find details on his attacks so I can look at this more completely?

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  115. But as to whose attack was bullshit, yours was.

    And . . . back on ignore you go.

    Patterico (bad89b)

  116. Expert witnesses testify to facts but they also respond to hypotheticals

    Right, DRJ, and it’s a good question whether this particular hypo is an admissible one that just shouldn’t be given much weight by the jury, or an inadmissible one. Either way, given the clarity of this kid’s confession — and the idea that it was coerced by his sister is complete wishful thinking and defense-oriented nonsense — I can’t see that Hayne’s testimony could have meant much in this case.

    And I really don’t think he said what Balko claims.

    Patterico (bad89b)

  117. Fair enough, Patterico. You’ve made other good points on Balko and I expect to see more on Edmonds… a really weak argument that Balko made… but you can’t possibly state that:

    “Whether the attack is bullshit or not is beside the point.”

    … and then be surprised when I point out your initial thrust in this whole thing was at first overstated (wholly) and probably wrong (you’re backing off the “main” thing).

    I didn’t pick the word “bullshit” out of a hat to offend you. I picked it since you did just a moment ago.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  118. Yeah, Moops’s comment would be friggin’ hilarious if DRJ’s point had actually been that questioning a lawyer’s judgment is bad, but questioning a journalist’s judgment is OK.

    DRJ was responding to Christoph’s assertion that both you and Balko were hitting “below the belt”. In doing so, she spent two paragraphs explaining the potentially dire consequences of questioning the judgment of people with a JD. The implication is that the great esteem required for the successful practice of law makes impugning a lawyer’s judgment particularly harmful, and was one reason that Balko was hitting “below the belt” in doing so. It’s certainly reasonable to read DRJ’s comment, in context, as an assertion that it is worse to impugn a lawyer’s judgment than a journalists.

    So my comment was friggin’ hilarous after all. Thanks, I’ll be here all week. But right now I have to dial into a conference call with Balko and the rest of the minions so he can give us our marching orders.

    Moops (444e9b)

  119. Dave, you seem to have alot of hate. Your last comment was just mean and hateful. This was still a child of barely 15. Just finished 8th grade. why you would get any glee out of a child locked up until age 65 is really disturbing. That should not be anything anyone should find satisfying or gleeful. This is a hateful website. I wish I had never come here. I was mistaken as to what this blog was. It’s to hate on people. Dave, I think you need the most help.

    Enette (49436b)

  120. Enette: I get no pleasure from your son stabbing to death his grandfather and then stuffing him in a closet. However, I’m not going to pretend he is some innocent waif and not a danger to society. If it makes you feel better to believe everyone who disagrees with you is “full of hate,” then you are the one that needs help.

    dave (ed58b3)

  121. one more thing before I leave this hateful place. Brett’s own family doesn’t believe the story the prosecution put forth. The family of the man who was killed never believed a word of it. But they had nothing to say about it. They support Brett 100%. They know the truth, including the widow, Brett’s grandmother. This was never a capital case but the facts were twisted and distorted for the benefit of the jury. This case was about winning and losing, not the truth. The family belives that also and they are the victims.

    Pam (49436b)

  122. I’ll be here all week.

    Don’t forget to tip your waitresses — because your audience won’t. They just left.

    I think DRJ might have been making a distinction based on whether the criticism was reasonable and backed up by facts. That’s the part your friggin’ hilarious comment ignores.

    Patterico (bad89b)

  123. Mr. Know it all, what he did to cover it up (in fact if it was him, which there is some question about that), was irrelevant to the murder charge. Post mortem-legal distinction-not an aggravating factor.

    I’m sorry you are so mean and bitter. I hope you get better soon.

    Pam (49436b)

  124. Plus, Mr. Know it All, I don’t think Enette was saying you get pleasure from the stabbing of Brett’s grandfather, I think she was saying that you get pleasure out of her son being in prison until age 65. I think you missed the point completely.

    Pam (49436b)

  125. According to the defendant, his grandfather pushed him, he pushed him back, his grandfather went to strike him and he stabbed him repeatedly. Deadly force in response to non-deadly force is not self defense.

    dave (ed58b3)

  126. By the way Mr. Know it All, the child who is doing natural life has a better disposition than you do.

    Pam (49436b)

  127. Plus, Mr. Know it All, I don’t think Enette was saying you get pleasure from the stabbing of Brett’s grandfather, I think she was saying that you get pleasure out of her son being in prison until age 65. I think you missed the point completely.

    Miss WhackJob: The point is that because Jones brutally stabbed his grandfather to death he will spend the next 50 years in prison before he is eligible for parole.

    dave (ed58b3)

  128. By the way Mr. Know it All, the child who is doing natural life has a better disposition than you do.

    Well, Miss WhackJob, obviously he is happy where he is and belongs. Leave him there — he can be happy and society can be safer.

    dave (ed58b3)

  129. Mr. Know it all, what he did to cover it up (in fact if it was him, which there is some question about that), was irrelevant to the murder charge. Post mortem-legal distinction-not an aggravating factor.

    Miss WhackJob: It’s called consciousness of guilt.

    I’m sorry you are so mean and bitter. I hope you get better soon.

    And I’m sorry you are so naive. I hope Jones doesn’t stab you with a homemade shank when you visit him someday since he has demonstrated his low threshold for frustration and that he is more than inclined to unnecessarily use deadly force.

    dave (ed58b3)

  130. misswhackjob, funny. God, you are really pathetic. Such a debater of fact.

    Pam (49436b)

  131. misswhackjob, funny. God, you are really pathetic. Such a debater of fact.

    You started the name calling. There is nothing to debate. If one believes Jones version of the event, there was no self-defense.

    dave (ed58b3)

  132. In the early stages of Alzheimer’s the sufferers do become paranoid and violent. They do not recognize their loved ones, they consider them intruders and they do physically attack them. Whether the loved ones should respond with a knife …?

    In any case, Pam and Enette, I hope that you will give this site a little more of a chance. Our hosts are definitely not hateful and they are very tolerant of a very wide-ranging discussion.

    nk (6e4f93)

  133. Nice piece of fiction you wrote, nk. Not sure what you are trying to accomplish. At least try to stick to the facts of the case. According to Jones, his grandfather found his runaway girlfriend in his bedroom and kicked her our. Later they argued and Jones smarted off to the man. The victim pushed him and he pushed him back. The victim swung at him and Jones stabbed him in the chest. Again, there is no right to use deadly force as a response to non deadly force.

    dave (ed58b3)

  134. I don’t know the case, dave. I would not retry it even if I did know it. I was taking Pam’s assertion of Alzheimer’s at face value. And where did I agree that a knife is an appropriate response to an Alzheimer’s delusion?

    nk (6e4f93)

  135. P.S. And there’s nothing fictional about my description of early Alzheimer’s.

    nk (6e4f93)

  136. P.S. And there’s nothing fictional about my description of early Alzheimer’s.

    Arguing that Alzheimer is in any way relevant to this case is the delusion. It is a redherring meant to distract from the fact that according to the defendant’s own version of events, this was not a case of self-defense.

    dave (ed58b3)

  137. Even so, this is not the appellate court and Pam and Enette can bring up things they think are important and get a fair response.

    nk (6e4f93)

  138. Even so, this is not the appellate court and Pam and Enette can bring up things they think are important and get a fair response.

    The fair response is that they are lying about the facts and lying about the law.

    dave (ed58b3)

  139. I think DRJ might have been making a distinction based on whether the criticism was reasonable and backed up by facts. That’s the part your friggin’ hilarious comment ignores.

    Perhaps you didn’t read DRJ’s comment all that closely. DRJ was drawing several distinctions. One was the one you mention. Another was the one I addressed. They were distinct distinctions, and I commented on only one of them.

    Moops (444e9b)

  140. While dave’s comments are a bit excessive, the reality is that people who go out to the internet to advocate for their cause should expect to be challenged. Its the nature of the medium. If you have a thin skin, you don’t belong here or anywhere else in the blogosphere.

    SPQR (6c18fd)

  141. That was not my point, Moops. I’m sorry I didn’t state it clearly enough for you to understand but I have neither the time nor the interest to try again.

    DRJ (74c23b)

  142. While dave’s comments are a bit excessive . . .

    Sure, if you believe facts countering lies and mis-statements of the law are “excessive.”

    dave (782c57)

  143. To prove my point that my rhetoric although strong is not unheard of, for example on Ace of Spades, the blog I mentioned above and that Patterico.com lists in its sidebar as one of its favorites, see this post:

    From Onion News

    WARNING: Not safe for work, nor home, nor large drug-fueled parties.

    Christoph (92b8f7)


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