January 14, 2016

The Guilt Project.

From "Feminist Resolutions for 2016" by Ann Friedman in New York Magazine:
Start the Guilt Project. Thanks to your holiday binge-watch of Making a Murderer, you’ve heard of the Innocence Project, which opens decades-old cases to overturn wrongful convictions. After 2015’s Bill Cosby revelations, it’s clear that we could use a Guilt Project — a squad of lawyers and investigators to follow up on long-ignored claims that a certain man is a serial rapist. Because you know Cosby isn’t the only one.
As if innocence and guilt were the opposite of opposite.

The Innocence Project assists those who it has strong reason to believe are wrongly imprisoned. The Guilt Project would hound free citizens it believes ought to be imprisoned. Quite different ideas of what we'd like "a squad of lawyers" doing.

35 comments:

Gahrie said...

Great idea Ms. Friedman....how about we start with Bill Clinton?

TosaGuy said...

One is a check on government and the other is vigilantism. What could possibly go wrong.

Nonapod said...

Let the witch hunts begin!

cubanbob said...

A good start would be to remove prosecutorial immunity.

YoungHegelian said...

Insty has a phrase "Another rube self-identifies". Let's introduce another one: "Another Fascist self-identifies".

It sure as hell applies in this case.

eric said...

What an ugly life this person must have.

damikesc said...

After 2015’s Bill Cosby revelations, it’s clear that we could use a Guilt Project — a squad of lawyers and investigators to follow up on long-ignored claims that a certain man is a serial rapist. Because you know Cosby isn’t the only one.

Or one for false rape accusations.

Because "Jackie" wasn't the only one.

Crystal Mangum was also one, for example.

Ditto Mattress Girl.

One is a check on government and the other is vigilantism. What could possibly go wrong.

The Innocence Project has been profoundly incorrect on some cases. What would her vigilante group do in the case they were wrong?

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

Because you know Cosby isn’t the only one

Bill Clinton could not be reached for comment.

Triangle Man said...

How about an effective project to process backlogged DNA evidence?

traditionalguy said...

That already exists. It is called the DA Squad. And in Wisconsin everybody on the loose is called John Doe.

Henry said...

For historical context, just substitute "communist" for "serial rapist":

it’s clear that we could use a Guilt Project — a squad of lawyers and investigators to follow up on long-ignored claims that a certain man is a communist.

Or switch genders:

it’s clear that we could use a Guilt Project — a squad of lawyers and investigators to follow up on long-ignored claims that a certain woman is a witch.

CJinPA said...

I would sleep well knowing that only 23% of American women identify as "feminists" (according the pro-feminist Huffington Post), but then I remember that 23% is concentrated heavily in America's culture-shaping industry - academia, news and entertainment media.

Henry said...

The preceding entry to the Guild Project is a call to protest police violence.

Jim Nicholson said...

Nothing like a call for a good old-fashioned mau-mauing.

Carol said...

I have a shirttail relative who was released due to the Innocence Project. Actually he was guilty of rape, but the state had bungled the evidence on one of the counts. And he had been a model prisoner, so he finally got out after 10 years or so.

They make it hard for these guys to live or work anywhere, but he seems to be doing okay.

teej said...

Carol said...
I have a shirttail relative ...

Thank you for teaching me a new expression - I had never heard of a shirttail relative, but I like it.

This is why I love the comments at Althouse - you never know when you will learn something new here.

steve uhr said...

I think the article is valid. Miscarriage of justice occurs when an innocent person is convicted or a guilty person is acquitted (or never charged). Investigating an unsolved crime that the police no longer are interested in is a valuable public service.

ALP said...

Lately, I've been steeped in novels set in communist countries: Laos and the USSR specifically. The oppression. The fear of being arrested for thinking the wrong thing, reading the wrong thing - hell, the wrong look in your eye could get you arrested.

I'm seeing too many proposals and ideas being bandied about in the US that have that whiff of oppression. This suggestion of "cleansing" the population with an army a lawyers sounds about right - these things no longer surprise me.

Show me the man and I'll find the crime, eh?

Jeff Gee said...

I can't imagine a sane lawyer taking this on. How would it work? Lobby the DA for an indictment? Publish the names of people who MIGHT be guilty? How would you avoid the harassment and defamation of character suits?

Brando said...

It is interesting how the Left can be so concerned about the rights of the accused and in love with due process for all crimes except those that are (1) financial in nature and (2) crimes committed by men against women. If it's a rich guy, or any guy accused of rape or sexual assault, all concern about due process and presumptions of innocence go right out the door.

It's certainly something, but it shouldn't be called "liberal."

steve uhr said...

Further it is often two sides of the same coin. You find out that someone is innocent by finding out who really committed the crime

Brando said...

"Great idea Ms. Friedman....how about we start with Bill Clinton?"

You outrageous silly person! Do you not know the Dunham Manifesto? Women never lie about rape, unless they are accusing Bill Clinton who is the one man who never could commit rape.

Sure, it's been proven that he lies about almost everything else, and he has a proven record of harassing women and using his "charm" to get what he wants, but if we cannot give him the same benefit of the doubt that we give no other man, then we are truly lost as a people.

Remember, this is the gang that wants back in the White House.

averagejoe said...

Seems to me like the Guilt Project is an ongoing series in support of progressive democrat party politics- Occupy Wall Street, Black Lives Matter, Cindy Sheehan at the Bush Ranch, democrat party media against any republicans- All that crap is nothing but coordinated offensives against political opponents.

Henry said...

@steve uhr -- I can understand the attraction of investigating rape suspects in a cold-case kind of way, but it's hard to see how this idea wouldn't result in wildly arbitrary outcomes. Rather than starting with a case, it purports to start with a person, likely a celebrity. Which celebrity will that be? After Cosby and Clinton a few athletes and actors come to mind. But that's show-trial stuff. There's no breadth there. To broaden the endeavor to non-celebrity perpetrators means launching invasive and destructive investigations into people based on supposition, rumor, and non-judicial accusations.

The advantage of the Innocence Project is that the crimes have already processed through the legal system so you have a definite crime, a vetted body of evidence, and a specific criminal. Without that kind of framework, this Guilt Project is like hunting communists, or witches.

As for celebrities, we already have a professional organizations that dig up dirt and publicize bad behavior. Supermarket tabloids.

damikesc said...

I think the article is valid. Miscarriage of justice occurs when an innocent person is convicted or a guilty person is acquitted (or never charged). Investigating an unsolved crime that the police no longer are interested in is a valuable public service.

Given that they lack basic investigatory powers (good luck with subpoenas there), what, precisely, can they do but try and smear somebody on assumptions? The man, if innocent, is unable to clear his name because the accusation is always louder than the later acquittal.

Seems like an incredibly poor idea espoused by unqualified folks. I thought the Left was supportive of the thought that it's better that 10 guilty walk than 1 innocent be convicted.

EDH said...

The Guilt Project: unfair advantage to Jewish lawyers?

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

Brando said...

It's certainly something, but it shouldn't be called "liberal."


They're not liberal anymore. I'm a liberal and I believe in:

Equality in law
Equality of race, gender, religion
Free speech
Academic freedom
Open, good and limited government
Protection for the weak and disadvantage
Level playing field
Use government as a check on corporations
Sides with the working men and women
Advocates for the poor and less educated


And that's just off the top of my head. What else has the left abandoned?



Char Char Binks said...

It will be a great leap forward, purging society of running dogs, cow ghosts, and snake spirits.

n.n said...

What the female chauvinists did not lose in the Planned Parenthood office, will quickly be lost as they conduct witch hunts across society.

John Constantius said...

I've often thought the worst thing that ever happened to America was the fall of the Soviet Union. Once upon a time, the Soviet Union was the Other that America could compare itself to and say, "Those kinds of abuses happen in the USSR, but not here." Regardless of where an American politician fell on the left/right spectrum, there were certain ideas, like a "Guilt Project", that would be beyond the pale - for the simple reason that going from a presumption of guilt instead of a presumption of innocence would make Us as bad as Them.

Sadly, for some Americans in the modern era, the Soviet Union and Mao's China have become a how-to guide.

elkh1 said...

Cosby is black, the other guy is white.

Cosby is not defended by an enabler misses, the other guy's victims were eviscerated by his enabler-wife.

There is no chance Cosby's wife be president and go after her enemies, there was a chance that the other guy's wife be president and her minions were taking names.

Cosby intimidated his victims. The other guy intimidated his victims and witnesses. Some witnesses were known to have committed suicide with a gun shot at the back of their heads.

If the Guilt Project feminazis dare to get the other guy, then I'm for them.

SJ said...

I'd mention Roman Polanksi, but I don't think there's any doubt about his guilt.

Jupiter said...

"The Innocence Project assists those who it has strong reason to believe are wrongly imprisoned. The Guilt Project would hound free citizens it believes ought to be imprisoned. Quite different ideas of what we'd like "a squad of lawyers" doing."

I'm not following you here. If justice is a desirable end, then more justice is more desirable. If it is a good idea to seek to overturn the prosecution's successes, why not its failures? It rather sounds as if you have some doubts about the connection between legal proceedings and justice.

John Constantius said...

I'm not following you here. If justice is a desirable end, then more justice is more desirable. If it is a good idea to seek to overturn the prosecution's successes, why not its failures? It rather sounds as if you have some doubts about the connection between legal proceedings and justice.

It's driven by the difference between theory and practice. Our society has decided that the pursuit of "more justice", while admirable in theory, is not desirable if in practice that pursuit leads to injustice. Western civilization (to varying degrees) and the US in particular have decided that it's better that 10 guilty men go free than one innocent man be punished, and our legal proceedings are structured accordingly.

I don't think we reached this conclusion by reasoning from first principles but rather from long historical experience. Unless you have overly robust defences designed to protect the truly innocent (which often end up protecting the guilty), you usually end up with a legal system whose main purpose is the oppression of people that those in power dislike or disagree with. You start with the goal of pursuing more justice, and you end up with a world where guilt or innocence ceases to matter.

Char Char Binks said...

John Constantius said...

"It's driven by the difference between theory and practice."

If a theory doesn't comport with practice, it's not a theory.