June 18, 2011

"It was always kind of fuzzy whether he was engaged in journalism or a kind of guerrilla social justice law operation where the ends justified the means..."

"David [Protess] was not totally irresponsible. He was zealot in pursuit of a cause, a cause you could not question.”


Phil 3:14 said...

"Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

rhhardin said...

My god it goes on to page 2.

I assume who what when where and why are covered there.

The Drill SGT said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Drill SGT said...

I was struck by this section:
Mr. Protess said then that it had been several years since the events and that he could not remember what he had and had not turned over. But in a search of Innocence Project computers, the university turned up an e-mail from Mr. Protess to his assistant in 2006 that indicated the students’ reporting memos had been shared with the defense.

“My position about memos, as you know, is that we share everything with the legal team, and don’t keep copies,” he wrote, referring to Mr. McKinney’s lawyers.

But the copy of the e-mail he provided to university lawyers was altered to read, “My position about memos, as you know, is that we don’t keep copies.”

Mr. Protess said that he altered the e-mail to reflect the actual practice of the Innocence Project as he remembered it.


1. his first defense was that he didn't remember.
2. then a smoking gun of a memo turned up,
3. so he altered it,
4. then when caught, he reversed field and said he altered the contemporary email 4 years later to reflect how they had really done things 4 years before.

This in the middle of a court fight pitting the school versus the DA and the school discovers that the prof is fabricating evidence. No wonder they dumped him rapidly...

clint said...

Oh, but it was all in a good cause.

clint said...

Also, wow. What an incredibly poorly written "news" article.

Do they no longer teach journalism students to establish the who, what, where, and when in the first paragraph before delving into the details and background?

Rabel said...

"the theory that they would report tendentiously"

"Report tendentiously"
What a lovely euphemism for lie. I have to wonder at the discussions that went on between the editors and reporters in developing the phrasing.

Maguro said...

It was always pretty obvious that The Innocence Project was engaged in guerilla social justice, the name kinda gives it away. Did they ever look into a case and say "Yeah, this guy is guilty as hell"? I understand why the dean of the journalism school would like to claim "fuzziness" where there was none, though, it minimizes his culpability.

William said...

I'm glad that there is such a thing as "The Innocence Project". They cleared some innocent men and good for them. I don't know how much it figured into their motivation but such results undermine faith in the criminal justice system. Unfortunately they used "tendentious" techniques to produce those results. Such techniques undermine faith in the objectivity of journalists. Nobody looks very good here, but I think the professor has added another layer of cynicism and hypocrisy to the garbage fill.... You have to read between the lines in The Times report to see the magnitude of his mistakes. I would expect that human error and selfishness are part of the criminal justice system. There have been many failures, but they do not seem to be systemic, gross and willful. I can't make that observation about journalism.

EDH said...

he also led a successful effort to rename the school the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications, a change he said reflected the school’s broader agenda but one that was widely ridiculed by alumni and journalists.

Well, at least the name honestly spelled-out the strategy behind one front of the activist left.

PatCA said...

It's always the coverup.
It's always the "follow me, I dare you."


Lucien said...

What a surprise: someone is having success proving that prosecutors have put away many innocent people, and, instead of changing their ways or admitting fault, the prosecutors decide to investigate anyone with the utter gall to uncover prosecutorial mistakes.

Prosecutors routinely escape without a scratch when they withhold Brady material, present police witnesses they should know are lying, or worse.

Nifong is the rare, rare exception. What has happened to the US attorneys who railroaded Ted Stevens? Is there any doubt that they will all find fat jobs as white collar defense lawyers, in politics, of in the DOJ? Has any prosecutor in the McMartin or Amirault cases ever admitted that they might have gone to far? ("We must believe the children!" (except when they deny abuse or recant.))

Martha said...

One of the DOJ attorneys on the team prosecuting Senator Ted Stevens committed suicide while under investigatiion for prosecutorial misdeeds. Jeffrey Toobin wrote about the suicide of the young prosecutor in The New Yorker.

The judge presiding over the Stevens prosecution held the rogue prosecutors to account. Meanwhile in Louisiana withholding exculpatory information from the defense appears to be a long time tradition. In the recent Supreme Court case Thompson vs. Connick, Justice Ginsburg was unfortunately correct in her dissent. Exculpatory evidence is/was? routinely withheld from the defense resulting in innocent men--Thompson for example-- ending up on Death Row.

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