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Up Topic General / Letters and Opinions / Witness credibility
- - By jaszflamus (I like wool!) Date 2018-10-03 7:23 PM
I wasn't going to say anything more than the little bit I've said but am moved to comment given the pivot by Judge Kavanaugh supporters over the past few days, culminating in the outrageous and horrible display by the supporter-in-chief in Mississippi yesterday. Quite a few Kavanaugh supporters including the chief originally recognized that Dr. Ford was credible (sometimes softening it to be that she believed "something" happened). However, the Kavanaugh supporters (including himself) first pivoted to attacking the messenger i.e. minority party as well as the process (which of course mainly was controlled by the majority party). And we heard the "no corroboration" on her side, plenty of "corroboration" on the nominee's side even though neither of those things is true. Finally, less than a week after everyone described her testimony as credible, we are hearing direct attacks on Dr. Ford's credibility beyond her supposedly being a pawn of the evil opposition party. It's time for me to speak up, at least clinically.

This will not be a political assessment since as most of you know, as a judge I try (and sometimes fail :laugh:) to stay away from politics in public for ethical and practical reasons. As an aside, I think it was Tommeke who mentioned in one of the Kavanaugh threads that I stay away from politics in public and questioned whether Judge Kavanaugh's political rants in his testimony would be disqualifying. I didn't respond to him on purpose to avoid that question since a big part of it is personal to Judge Kavanaugh, but I'll give my personal opinion now. I don't believe it to be disqualifying, but likely will be problematic for him on the highest court or any federal bench in the future. His expressed political position on a most public stage certainly will be grounds for litigants to raise bias or appearance of bias on almost any political question or a matter involving federal public policy. That is, most every case in the federal court system. It doesn't mean that he should or will recuse himself, but you can bet it will be raised whether he's on the USSC or any other federal court and that's exactly why I avoid politics in public.

Anyhow, this thread is about witness credibility and not politics. I'll try to make this clinical and not political. I already expressed somewhere, I think as an aside on a dailies thread last week, that of the thousands of witnesses I've had in my courtroom over the past 21 years, none was more credible than Dr. Ford on Thursday. I didn't express my objective reasons since that was a gut assessment last week but the reasons would include her direct answers to questions, appropriate emotion, candid concessions, overall demeanor, no evident personal or political agenda beyond telling the truth, obviously wanting to "help" the process instead of gaming it, no material inconsistencies and several other things. Her credibility was so evident that essentially everyone including Kavanaugh supporters acknowledged her credibility following her testimony. It didn't take a judge or jury to make that assessment.

On the other hand, while keeping an open mind, I found Judge Kavanaugh's testimony to be a textbook for testimony that is not credible. I knew it in my gut while watching the hearing, but early Friday morning, I decided to jot down the objective reasons why I felt that way and while it took just a couple minutes, it did turn out to be a textbook. I showed it to my fellow judge and she agreed with all of it. Neither one of us is a better judge of credibility than anyone else although we both have judicial experience and training over the past 21+ years. When it comes down to it, whether someone is lying or telling the truth is a gut assessment and my gut is no better or worse than anyone else's. For what it's worth, here are the objective indicators why I found Judge Kavanaugh's testimony to be not credible, exactly as I jotted them down last Friday morning:

-Combative and Belligerent--attacking questioners
-Deflect to different issue from question
-Interrupt question
-Inappropriate emotion e.g. cry at his name being sullied
-Repeated talking points, phrases as if rehearsed e.g. "no ill will"
-Refuse to answer yes/no questions
-Answers center on self instead of the question
-Inconsistent prior statements such as backing off previous choirboy characterization
-Third party statements inconsistent with the witness's testimony
-Demeanor e.g. sweaty, fidgety, drinking water
-Refuse to agree to professional independent investigation
-False in one, false in all (note: that's the way I jotted it down because I forget the latin phrase which basically means that if you lie about one thing no matter whether material to the issue at hand you can be presumed to lie about other important things. Here, among other relatively small immaterial proven falsehoods, I was thinking about his description of "boof" and "devil's triangle" which may or may not be material to his suitability for the bench but which are material to his credibility since his descriptions were patently false.)

There may be other things but those were off the top of my head and i could be out to lunch on any of them. I'd be interested in hearing from any of you from your perspectives about the credibility of either witness last Thursday. Your insights probably are more valuable than mine and I look forward to learning more about how to tell who is lying and who is telling the truth. I don't plan on replying to your comments here because I don't want to get into a debate or discussion about what the Senate's decision should be. But I will listen to whatever you have to say about witness credibility especially in the context of the confirmation hearings, but also in your personal experience. Thanks. :happy:
Parent - - By sideshowbob Date 2018-10-03 7:42 PM
Well, since you asked ————:wink: What motives might Dr Lord have for making these allegations ? What might she gain from all this turmoil ? She is an  established college faculty member in mid career with a family and a good reputation (as far as I know ) . Why would she lie or misrepresent ?
Parent - - By jaszflamus (I like wool!) Date 2018-10-03 8:11 PM
Thanks sideshow. I said that I wasn't going to respond to comments but your rhetorical questions raise a good point that I didn't really emphasize. Of course Dr. Ford has no evident ulterior motive while Judge Kavanaugh has massive self-interest at stake. Those things are very relevant to the credibility of each of them.
Parent - - By tahoeblue (spamkiller) Date 2018-10-04 12:18 PM
Your Honor, you are assuming facts not in evidence.  You have no idea who Dr. Ford is nor what motivates her.  Until a couple of weeks ago, you had never heard of her.  Just because you can't see any ulterior motives doesn't mean she has none.   If you are going to put on your cynic hat, it should be equally applied to both.   Just because you find one person or another more credible doesn't mean their tale is actually factual and correct.   Likewise it doesn't mean it isn't.   That's why courts and law enforcement are reticent to take action on uncorroborated allegations.   I thought we were painfully aware of this.
Parent - By gadget girl Date 2018-10-04 12:53 PM
I completely agree. 

This line of questioning is almost like asking why would a prosecutor charge this defendant before me if he isn't  guilty.
Parent - - By jaszflamus (I like wool!) Date 2018-10-04 3:39 PM
No, tahoe and gg...I stand 100% behind my statement which is that Dr. Ford has no evident motive. Of course she could have an ulterior motive that nobody knows but from everything we know about what she is and has done, absolutely nothing is evident. Judge Kavanaugh's motive is out there and undeniable so long as he seeks confirmation. He objectively has an evident motive and she does not.

In my opinion, Rachel Mitchell did an outstanding job examining Dr. Ford despite the 5 minute increments in an attempt to gently undermine her credibility, probing the few minor inconsistencies, lack of recall about some things, the map, how she brought the to light through Democratic Congresspeople, her retention of attorneys and other things. You can bet your bottom dollar that if Mitchell had information about Dr. Ford's membership in a liberal group, political ambition, expressed intent to bring a civil lawsuit or anything else providing an ulterior motive she would have probed it. But she did not. To me, that's a pretty good indicator that nothing is out there, since Mitchell obviously did her homework and is a very skilled attorney and prosecutor. Sure, it's possible Dr. Ford had some secret motive worth self-destructing her life but absolutely none is evident objectively except her expressed desire that the truth about Judge Kavanaugh be made known before he is confirmed.
Parent - - By Quagmire [us] Date 2018-10-05 8:26 AM
Kavanaugh's motive is out there and undeniable so long as he seeks confirmation. He objectively has an evident motive and she does not.

That is by far the most amazing statement in this thread.  Honestly could not have written a more perfect example of bias induced circular reasoning if you had tried. 

First you oh so subtlety make the truly alarming implication that anyone called upon to defend himself against an accusation has a motive to lie...and then you use that as a premise to claim in so many words that since Kavanaugh was in fact motivated to defend himself he can't be trusted.

Then, after making an earlier statement that you can't imagine why anyone would be motivated to make an accusation like this one unless it were true, you use that as a premise to posit that since Ford made the accusation she must just want to tell the truth.

Good grief!
Parent - By jaszflamus (I like wool!) Date 2018-10-05 3:03 PM
Good grief yourself! You not only mis-state what I am saying, you’re completely missing the simple logic that is used by every single lay or professional person judging credibility or reviewing a credibility determination.

First, I did NOT say that having a motive to lie makes testimony or someone not to be trusted. It is a factor only. Elsewhere I listed more than a dozen other factors helpful in judging credibility or incredibility before sideshow brought up this additional factor.

And it is NOT circular reasoning, but rather straightforward logic understandable and used by any juror or other factfinder with minimal intelligence. Very simply, if you have a motive to lie (because of self-interest or otherwise) your testimony is more suspect than someone’s with no motive to lie. A criminal defendant who testifies is not presumed to be lying and is presumed innocent, but his self interest certainly is considered by the jury in evaluating whether he is telling the truth or lying to protect his skin. The defendant’s mother or brother who testifies has a motive to lie to protect kin. A third party bystander witness with no relation to the defendant or victim, and who otherwise has no skin in the game, rightfully is considered by jurors, judges or other factfinders as starting with more credibility points than a witness with an evident motive to lie.

Federal and state appellate courts, while being deferential to the lower tribunal factfinder’s credibility determinations, regularly cite with approval the factfinder’s reliance on disinterested witnesses over parties to the dispute in making reasoned credibility determinations.

Dr. Ford, while being an accuser, is NOT an interested party or a prosecutor. She is a witness and putative victim. A testifying witness/victim's testimony about an assault cannot and should not be diminished simply because he or she reported the assault and testifies about it absent a motive to lie. See the difference?

Look, it’s not Judge Kavanaugh’s fault that he unavoidably has a self-interest in his confirmation. I never have and never will judge someone’s testimony incredible simply because he or she has self-interest, particularly when it is unavoidable given the nature of the proceedings. Even avoidable motivations to lie such as signing a book deal, joining a radical group with an agenda, prepping a lawsuit etc. is a factor only, and I would never find someone incredible just because lying might put money or other benefit in the witness’s pocket. (Unless directly paid for the testimony, of course. When in private practice, I used to prep my expert witnesses to answer opposing counsel’s inevitable question “how much are you getting paid for your testimony today?” with something like “I’m getting paid for my time in this case but the testimony is my own.”) You’ll notice that I didn’t even list this factor in my original post and again, self-interest in seeking confirmation and in defending one’s self is NOT by itself reason to find testimony untrustworthy or incredible.

In short, while being just one factor among many, motive to lie or the absence thereof properly is considered and in fact is considered in every criminal, civil or administrative proceeding. Does that make sense?
Parent - - By tahoeblue (spamkiller) Date 2018-10-05 1:42 PM
A brilliant statement by Senator Susan Collins.  If you didn't see it live, you should youtube it.
Parent - By jaszflamus (I like wool!) Date 2018-10-05 3:04 PM
I didn't see it but just heard a couple clips on the way home from work. I'll make sure to watch it.
Parent - - By Photocat [us] Date 2018-10-09 7:07 AM
It was a fantastic statement. One we all needed.
Parent - By Spingoddess [us] Date 2018-10-10 2:12 PM
Parent - - By tahoeblue (spamkiller) Date 2018-10-07 2:01 PM
Parent - - By jaszflamus (I like wool!) Date 2018-10-07 6:35 PM
Hmmmm...I didn't know or think about this and the other page set up for her by supporters or the ones set up for Justice Kavanaugh by supporters until you mentioned it so I looked them up. I already knew that many gofundme pages are themselves fraudulent, touting a nonexistent disease or other hardship.

A gofundme if set up or planned beforehand definitely could be motivation to concoct or embellish a story similarly to a book deal.  I don't believe that any of the gofundme pages set up by supporters for Dr. Ford or the pages set up by supporters of Justice Kavanaugh after the fact constitute motive to lie for either of them. Interestingly, they seem to be raising about the same amount of money for each of them.
Parent - - By tahoeblue (spamkiller) Date 2018-10-07 11:13 PM Edited 2018-10-07 11:17 PM
I stand 100% behind my statement which is that Dr. Ford has no evident motive

As far as I, and all sources I checked, can tell - this is a legitimate page and supported by Dr. Ford with her statement and set up on 18 SEP.   You claimed no evident motive - well here are 600,000 evident motives. 

Does that mean that she's lying?  Of course not.  Does it have any deeper meaning?  Not that I know of or would ascribe to it.  I'm just posting is because it clearly disputes your statement.   I don't really care how it's spun to support anyone's view of the topic.  That Kavanaugh has supporter pages is immaterial to your statement.
Parent - By jaszflamus (I like wool!) Date 2018-10-08 5:09 PM
Tahoe, you are absolutely correct that a gofundme page prior to Dr. Ford's testimony, even though after her accusation and designed to compensate for the backlash against her at the time, is possibly an evident motive for her to testify falsely...i.e. more sympathetically for herself than the facts warranted. Had I known about the gofundme page, I would have responded differently to you and gg but neither of you mentioned it and I didn't know about it until you mentioned it yesterday. So I'm sorry...I was 100% wrong in standing 100% behind "no evident motive" although no evident motive was evident to me at the time. :blush: I was and am pretty up on what is out there, and am surprised that I missed the gofundme page until you mentioned it yesterday, so I'm sorry for my statement and you are right to call me on it.

I'll add that the gofundme page doesn't necessarily evidence a motive to lie. You didn't mention that Dr. Ford didn't support it until October 3, well after her testimony. Or that it was designed to compensate her family for the expenses of security and moving after she went public with the accusations. And obviously, I don't know Rachel Mitchell's strategy or tactics in examining Dr. Ford but like I said before, she did a really good job in attacking Dr. Ford's credibility. Notably, she did not mention the gofundme page which suggests to me that the prosecutor did not view it as evidence of motive to lie.

In any event, like you say, Dr. Ford's possible motive to lie doesn't mean she did. Nor does Justice Kavanaugh's motives. I do stand 100% behind my assessment, both clinical and gut, of who was telling the truth.
Parent - - By tizzy319 (gaping five hole) [us] Date 2018-10-08 8:43 AM
And Kavanaugh has similar accounts.  If it's incentive for her to lie, it's the same incentive for him to.
Parent - By jaszflamus (I like wool!) Date 2018-10-08 7:15 PM
In fairness tizzy, an account for Dr. Ford was started September 18 after her accusation was made public and she was suffering consequences but before she testified. Also in fairness, the main gofundme account for Justice Kavanaugh was started September 24, also before either testified. Both accounts have raised about $600,000 and other accounts have raised more for each of them. Like you suggest, I don't think either account is a motive to lie but if so it's probably a wash.
Parent - - By tizzy319 (gaping five hole) [us] Date 2018-10-03 8:30 PM

What amazes me is that even Kavanaugh believes Ford was assaulted.  That's not even in question from Kavanaugh.  It's who assaulted her. 

When Trump mocked her, he did so knowing she had been assaulted.  That's telling of his character (if we even needed another clue as to his character).

As to Kavanaugh's testimony.  My wife (who practiced in domestic violence court) likes to talk about a judge she was in front of who when the accused would get aggressive and pissed off, she would respond with "this is how you're acting in front of a judge, I can only imagine how you act at home."  That's how I feel about Kavanaugh...he was belligerent, aggressive, and an asshole when being questioned and that's when he was supposedly on his best behavior.  Imagine him drunk.
Parent - By The Beard (is wearing Arm Panties) [us] Date 2018-10-04 7:26 AM
Parent - By blazer85 [us] Date 2018-10-04 10:12 AM
Parent - By donnasaur [us] Date 2018-10-04 11:31 AM
I don't have to imagine him drunk. I knew plenty of guys like that in college and remember how they behaved drunk.
Parent - By HardwoodRunner [ca] Date 2018-10-06 10:00 AM
Parent - By noel (Kilotons of Honky Tonk Badonkadonk) Date 2018-10-04 6:25 AM
I agree with all of that, Mr. Noel watched both people testify at more length than me and said the same. Because of my political leanings, I was afraid K would come out calm and relatively pleasant like he did in the first hearings bc I knew then he would be believed and he would be on the SC. But he did not, it was the most obvious display of not being truthful I have ever seen, other than POTUS :roll: I watched it thinking: is this for real?  I am not a judge or a lawyer but his testimony felt (in my gut) glaringly untruthful due to his answers or lack thereof, and his weird demeanor. Also the prosecutor not questioning him at the same length and depth she did with Ford tells me the Rs knew he was not a good witness for his own credibility. When he was asked about an FBI investigation and just dodged and went into talking points, looking especially sketchy, Rs had to jump in a change the subject to how wronged he's been.

I also feel that if by a slight chance (if we believe Ford, she said she was 100% certain it was him) he did not assault her, just giving him he benefit of the doubt: his weird lying about Devil's Triangle and boofing and ranting about a vast left wing conspiracy, tells me he is not fit for the position. I am willing for an even more conservative judge to be appointed bc I get how this works with 45 in office right now, but K is just plain bad for the SC, like you said, none of his decisions will be trusted.
Parent - - By Tommeke Date 2018-10-04 8:51 AM Edited 2018-10-04 9:17 AM
Falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus :wink:

I'm basically on the same line here as Tizzy and Noel.
I also watched the Senators' speeches before the vote and they all reflected the same thing (R and D).

Her testimony was so credible, that no Senator dared to refute it (except for Senator Senile BibleVerse who just quoted the Bible and didn't really say anything about the subject :roll:).
The R's only viable tactic was to acknowledge the assault, but divert to "it was someone else" or "legally we can't make a case out of this".
The D's obviously could go straight for the credibility ("I believe her"), or even if they gave K the benefit of the doubt, go for his character "Conspiracy Ranting not fit for SC. Character portrayed not in line with witnesses".

As for Trump's rallies it just doesn't matter what he rabbles about out there.
he basically gives what the people want to hear. I'd say that even the crowd response to his Ford imitation was sub-par, like you could hear they were actually not really pleased with it.
Unlike a Crooked Hillary reference though which always works.
Parent - - By gadget girl Date 2018-10-04 3:49 PM
Her testimony was so credible, that no Senator dared to refute it

It would have been political suicide to try to refute her case.

I found it problematic that Ms. Mitchell didn't ask her any pointed follow up questions regarding the details of her testimony, although the format made it impossible to do so.
Parent - By Tommeke Date 2018-10-04 4:26 PM
Many of the senators were judges/prosecutors/lawyers themselves and their stance was pretty much what Jasz said. Rarely seen more credible.
Parent - By blazer85 [us] Date 2018-10-04 10:14 AM
Thank you for your thoughtful post.
Parent - By donnasaur [us] Date 2018-10-04 11:34 AM
Thank you for posting this. I really appreciate your perspective.
Parent - - By Quagmire [us] Date 2018-10-04 1:07 PM
His expressed political position on a most public stage certainly will be grounds for litigants to raise bias or appearance of bias on almost any political question or a matter involving federal public policy. That is, most every case in the federal court system.

I actually agree with this...but I'm wondering, Jazz, if you feel the same way about RBG...who came out publicly, in a big and alarmingly unprecedented way, against a major political party's candidate for President not too long ago.  Remember that? 

Makes me wonder why there has been no talk of her recusing herself from any cases involving Trump or his campaign.  I mean...clearly there really is nothing to stop a SC Justice to publicly decry the election of a specific person who is actively running for President...and then to turn around and sit on a case involving that President and/or his campaign...but maybe that only applies to those on the Democrat's side.   

I'm wondering if RBG will be the example that will be cited in the future when nobody thinks twice about Justices going out of their way. without consequence, to actively campaign in Presidential elections.
Parent - By jaszflamus (I like wool!) Date 2018-10-04 3:58 PM
Sure I remember that, Quag. RBG came out really strongly against Trump before he was elected. And I do feel the same way about what RBG said as what K said. It could be grounds for recusal in cases involving presidential power or the like so long as Trump is president. RBG herself knew that she should not have said it and acknowledged as much publicly. But I don't think you can put that worm back in the can. Even if she can be impartial relative to Trump, she can't remove the appearance of impropriety. The same holds true for Judge Kavanaugh and the bucket of worms he unleashed a week ago.

I surely hope that neither RBG or K become a license for judges to become overtly political outside the judicial process, especially in elections.
Parent - - By foggydoggy [us] Date 2018-10-10 1:36 PM
I kinda did the same thing  for the other side  and here is the list for Dr. Ford at least according to the prosecutor the republicans hired

1) Was quite possibly not honest about her fear of flying (and I think she was struck trying to defend something her lawyer said) but she had an answer
2) Supposedly details changed but in looking at the cited inconsistencies I would characterize it as her memory was more or less specific in different reports which doesn't mean they were contradictory.
3) limited memory of some details--- Someone very close to me was a victim of an assault at about the same age as Dr. Ford.  I am absolutely certain the event occurred and she wasn't real clear on the date either. whY? because that's not what mattered.  In her case she knew the location because it was home.
4) no witness corroboration-  I don't think anybody refuted her story (though to be honest it was light on details) except for a guy who wrote a book about spending his high school years totally blotto.  And why would they remember?  They went to a party and somebody left early?

That's a pretty short list compared to Jasz's.  I get why a prosecutor wouldn't charge and if I were on a jury I might think differently but simply on the basis of credibility..... I believe her.  I also find one of the two other complaintants to be credible and per what I read nobody interviewed at least one person (a professor of divinity) who said he was aware of talk about the Ramirez incident contemporary to it happening.  That adds credibility.

Also I found those who described Kavanaughs drinking to be credible as well as the fact that there is a college era police report and a bunch of yearbook stuff.  At least on the issue of his partying he was being misleading. I was a good little religious kid (at least at one time) who studied a lot but I would own up to more debauchery than Kavanaugh did.  And even an innocent like me as a different definition of boob and devils triangle.

Of course then there is the whole judicial demeanor thing and the fact that the ABA and 2400 law professors (that's 15-20% of all the professors in the entire US) wanted additional consideration.
Parent - - By tizzy319 (gaping five hole) [us] Date 2018-10-10 2:09 PM
As to number 3, that's incredibly common among trauma victims/survivors.  It's when there is complete memory of all details that I tend not to believe the person (unless they have an absolutely outstanding memory).
Parent - - By brneydrnnr (barney cougar) [us] Date 2018-10-10 3:14 PM
I remember when a friend of mine came inside a party and told me about the assault that she had just experienced. at 16 we didn't know to call it assault, we just knew he sucked and we left. I have zero reason to doubt her story and I remember exactly how she looked and acted and us leaving right away. I couldn't tell you whose house we were at, what month it was, or anything else. I haven't thought about that in years. I haven't heard his name or seen him when I've been back home for reunions, no idea what he does now. but if he was every nominated for an office in the national public eye, I would have no problem telling that story.

I feel like guys who do this stuff and don't get reported get a little more comfortable each time they try it and no one calls it for what it is. :meh:
Parent - By BoredTemp [us] Date 2018-10-10 5:52 PM
"at 16 we didn't know to call it assault, we just knew he sucked and we left."

this sounds all too familiar.  :sad:
Parent - By donnasaur [us] Date 2018-10-10 6:07 PM
this is so familiar. And it sucks.
Parent - By tizzy319 (gaping five hole) [us] Date 2018-10-11 8:27 AM
Parent - By The Beard (is wearing Arm Panties) [us] Date 2018-10-11 9:00 AM Edited 2018-10-11 9:06 AM
I feel like guys who do this stuff and don't get reported get a little more comfortable each time they try it and no one calls it for what it is.

Or they do call it what it is and are either ignored or blamed.:sad:
Parent - - By Quagmire [us] Date 2018-10-11 10:09 AM
I feel like guys who do this stuff and don't get reported get a little more comfortable each time they try it and no one calls it for what it is.

That explains Kavanaugh's extremely long history of escalating sexual assaults on multiple women throughout his entire life.
Parent - By brneydrnnr (barney cougar) [us] Date 2018-10-11 10:17 AM
I was not expressly referring to Justice Kavanaugh. So let me rephrase so as not to offend. I bet the douchbag that did this to my friend probably tried it with other girls in our high school and perhaps college if he went. Is that better?
Parent - By tizzy319 (gaping five hole) [us] Date 2018-10-11 10:52 AM
Just the three (or is it 4) who have come forward.  Thankfully, there was no escalation in his reported behavior.
Parent - By noel (Kilotons of Honky Tonk Badonkadonk) Date 2018-10-11 5:47 PM
- - By Quagmire [us] Date 2018-10-04 10:18 AM
Like you all my gut tells me Ford is sincere.  But there are two reasons why I am wholly unwilling to trust my ridiculously inaccurate gut.  The first goes to the almost comical inability of humans to detect deception in one another.  The other goes to the unreliability of uncorroborated eye witness testimony (as in "I am 100% certain it was him!").  Some backup info below:

1)   Quote:  "Research has consistently shown that people's ability to detect lies is no more accurate than chance or flipping a coin. This finding holds across all types of people — students, psychologists, judges, job interviewers and law enforcement personnel."

2)  Quote:  "The Innocence Project uses multiple strategies to make judges, attorneys and policymakers aware of the inaccuracy of unvalidated forensic science disciplines and the potentially unreliable nature of eyewitness identification evidence and to establish legal precedent in these areas.  The Innocence Project’s policy priorities reflect the lessons learned from DNA exonerations.  Our policy work addresses each of the contributors to wrongful convictions – eyewitness misidentification, misapplication of forensic science,  false confessions, unreliable jailhouse informant testimony, flawed forensics, government misconduct and inadequate defense."

There follows story after story of men who served decades in jail based mostly on being misidentified as the assailant by the victim.

That said, and like I indicated in the other thread, there are other reasons to not like this guy.  One of them is his inappropriate rant about the Dems wanting revenge for the Clintons.  IMV, the last thing the SC needs right now is a very intelligent Turkeyfoot.  Trump should pick someone else and get on with it...preferably a woman this time.
Parent - - By gadget girl Date 2018-10-04 12:59 PM
I agree that she is sincere, but your evidence below sheds light on why sincerity alone does not always add up to credibility.  She could sincerely believe that Kavanaugh was her assailant when he actually wasn't.

I would also like to point out that given the strange and ridiculous format of the hearing, there was little to no "cross examination" of her testimony.  The most we got were some gentle questions from Rachel Mitchell about Dr. Ford's changing testimony over time (including in the brief time since she first brought the allegation forward).  It is my understanding that Mitchell subsequently wrote a report that was critical of Ford's changing testimony.  If this allegation were brought forth in a court of law, I sincerely doubt he would be going to jail on this alone. 

I agree with your conclusion nonetheless  (though without the insult to TF) :happy:
Parent - - By tizzy319 (gaping five hole) [us] Date 2018-10-04 3:03 PM
There is no doubt he wouldn't be going to jail on this alone...hell, even if she had reported it to the police the minute it happened today, the likelihood is he wouldn't have gone to jail (and that's today's prosecution, much less in the early 80's).  Nor should the laws reflect that.  That's why we have reasonable doubt as the standard. 

I wish there had been "cross examination" of her testimony.  The Republican Senators had no interest in doing so though.  Hell what would have been better is to have conducted the background check just completed before she and Kavanaugh testified in front of the Senate bc then there would actually be more than "she said, he denied." 

However, thankfully that isn't the standard Senators are to judge Kavanaugh on.  If it was simply "is he/she a convicted criminal", we'd have Harriet Meyers instead of Alito and it would be Douglas Ginsburg instead of Anthony Kennedy's seat being filled.  Advise and consent is simply whatever each Senator decides it should be.
Parent - - By gadget girl Date 2018-10-04 3:44 PM
Your first point seems cynical to me, but perhaps you have more info on this given your work.  If she reported this today (and it happened this year) presumably she would have had a witness (her friend, Leland) who would have corroborated the existence of the party and the guests who were there.   That, together with her sincere testimony would seem to me to be a very strong case against him, especially if he acted in court the way he acted at his hearing. 

Interesting point on cross examination.  

Re your last point, of course, I didn't mean to imply that is the standard that should be applied to whether he should be on the S.C.
Parent - - By tizzy319 (gaping five hole) [us] Date 2018-10-05 8:38 AM Edited 2018-10-05 8:45 AM
Of every 1000 estimated rapes, 310 are reported to police, 57 lead to an arrest, 11 are prosecuted, 7 are convicted of a felony, 6 will be incarcerated.  Out of this, there are an estimated 6-31 that are falsely reported to police. 

And that's rapes where there is likely more evidence than what Kavanaugh allegedly did which would be attempted rape.  That's not me being cynical.  It's the stats.
Parent - - By Quagmire [us] Date 2018-10-05 10:12 AM Edited 2018-10-05 10:15 AM
310 are reported to police....and...6-31 of those are falsely reported many as 10%....?


I'm guessing it's just a coincidence that the number coincides exactly with Blackstone's Ratio...."It is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer"

Seems everyone buys that formulation as long as the "suffering" it refers to is a result of criminal prosecution.  If, however, the principle is used in reference to any other kind of "suffering" (such as public humiliation, loss of job, loss of opportunities, loss of reputation, etc) than that resulting from a criminal law conviction, then the ratio appears to get turned on it's head.  The thinking appears to be that because the "standard of proof" is less in most other instances than it is in the case of criminal law, the idea of making an innocent person suffer becomes similarly less outrageous.  In the case of uncorroborated but "credible" sexual assault accusations, for example, it is apparently now somehow better that an innocent man accused of sexual assault loose his job and his reputation than that a single guilty man (never mined 10) get away with it.
Parent - By triplejake (The Vampire Lestat) [us] Date 2018-10-05 10:58 AM
The standard of proof is an important point.  While in the court of public opinion and in the Senate, everyone gets to make up their own standard, it is worth stressing that in a non-criminal judicial context, there is no generally no presumption of innocence  -- if Ford sued Kavanaugh for assault in civil court, the legal standard would be preponderance of the evidence (i.e., whomever you believe wins).  Not clear to me why a higher burden would be required here, particularly since what is at stake is one of nine lifetime jobs with power over everyone in the country.
Parent - By tizzy319 (gaping five hole) [us] Date 2018-10-05 11:23 AM
Yep it's between 2-10%, however with so many choosing not to report, it's estimated that false claims are actually between 1-5% (which would be lower than any other crime except homicide which has essentially a 0% false reporting rate).  It also highlights how unlikely it is that Kavanaugh had 3-5 false claims (I'm not sure how many have said he did this kind of thing) and how almost impossible it is that all of the claims against Trump are false. 

As to what is credible or not, that is for each individual person to decide what their standard is.  I believe Al Capone was a murderous gangster, but it was never proven to be true.  I believe OJ Simpson murdered Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman, despite his acquittal. 

Yes it should be a higher standard when you are talking about prison compared to public perception.  The level of "suffering" from having liberty taken away from you is significantly higher than public shaming.  As to Kavanaugh, the discussion has not been about him losing a job.  It has been about him not getting a promotion.  If the Senate votes no (unlikely), Kavanaugh keeps his current job.  That's not suffering.
Parent - - By gadget girl Date 2018-10-07 2:38 PM
Parent - - By tizzy319 (gaping five hole) [us] Date 2018-10-08 8:39 AM
I actually think the stats grossly over-count false reports.  As to the question of "do victims lie?"  The answer is yes.  However, the rates are very minimal when it comes to completely making up the story.  Often lies are about how much he/she drank or what they had previously consented to.  I know friends who eagerly consented to oral sex, but not vaginal or anal.  Yet, there is no way they would be believed in court or even in the court of public opinion.  Sex crimes are really the only crime where we instantly ask "is he/she telling the truth?"  Have you ever instantly questioned a friend who was mugged instead of believing them until shown the opposite? It just doesn't happen.  Yet with sex crimes, that's the first thing we go to.  

I know my clients often recant in court since they have worked out agreements regarding child custody if they recant (the abuser doesn't want this on his record and uses the children as leverage in order to do so).  That doesn't mean the abuse didn't happen (I've seen some of the broken bones, bruises, etc), just that it was in his/her best interest to recant. 

I also think our definition of consent needs to change.  Currently, it's did she/he say no.  I wish it was did she/he say yes.  We assume a yes until told no.  I would love it where we assumed a no until we heard yes. 

I wish we had better ways to prove consent or the lack thereof.  In court, I tend to agree with the standard of reasonable doubt (in which case it's almost impossible to prove a crime occurred).  However, in the court of public opinion, I'm quite content to have a standard of belief until proven wrong.  Honestly, it's the standard in every other crime.
Parent - - By Quagmire [us] Date 2018-10-08 9:36 AM Edited 2018-10-08 9:39 AM
I'm quite content to have a standard of belief until proven wrong.  Honestly, it's the standard in every other crime.

Yes...because the court of public opinion has never been proven wrong before.  We should immediately throw out any semblance of due diligence and just go ahead and shift the burden of proof from the accuser to the know...our collective guts are hardly ever wrong!

And your claims about other crimes being that way are way off.  Do you think Ford would have gotten the time of day had she claimed without corroborating evidence that she was 100% sure it was Kavanaugh who punched her in the stomach and stole fifty bucks out of her purse one night 36 years ago?
Parent - By tizzy319 (gaping five hole) [us] Date 2018-10-08 12:23 PM
Of course our collective guts are wrong.  I'm not arguing that this is perfect.  It's not.  But it seems only with Kavanaugh do Republicans have that standard. 

What did Hillary Clinton do that was illegal?  Yet, Republicans overwhelmingly believe she committed illegal acts and didn't give her a job because of that.  Despite having no actual evidence of her "crimes."  How is that different from Kavanaugh?  It's not.  It simply isn't.  Oh and Republicans were calling for her to go to jail (not simply not get a job) with no semblance of due diligence.
Parent - - By gadget girl Date 2018-10-08 11:41 AM
Yet in reality, no one knows what percentage of sexual assault accusations are false. The 2% to 8% figure refers to cases in which police — or campus investigators — conclude that no crime occurred, either because there is evidence of fabrication or because the accuser recants. But such definitive evidence is rare, and it doesn’t mean all the other accusations are true. Justice Department reports show that more than a quarter of defendants arrested on charges of sexual assault or rape are not prosecuted because there is not enough evidence; of those who are prosecuted, about 1 in 4 have the charges dismissed and about 3% are acquitted. Feminist rhetoric tends to interpret these statistics as rapists going free; but surely at least some cases involve wrongly accused men.

Sometimes, credible-sounding claims of sexual assault are exposed as false only because there is a video recording. Just this week, four California dentists recently charged with raping an intoxicated woman at a Las Vegas hotel were exonerated by a cellphone video that confirmed their claim of consensual sex. Last year, a Shiprock, N.M., woman was charged with perjury after she accused her boyfriend of forcing himself on her but recanted once she was told he had a video.

The issue does not seem to be "completely making up the story" but claiming something was an assault after the fact when it was actually consensual at the time, which I understand you readily attribute to  people not believing the victim's legitimate claim of changing her mind mid-stream.   It seems to me that you are more comfortable with less due process and individual fairness when it comes to these types of crimes than others.  I am not sure why.  If you have seen documentaries like "Making a Murderer" it seems that issues of individual fairness and unquestioning belief of victims of other crimes is also a bigger problem than people think it is. 

The standard you propose of assuming a no until we hear yes seems to be the equivalent to putting the burden of proof on the accused, instead of the alleged victim.  That seems counter to our system of justice.  It also seems unworkable from a practical standpoint.  Should you enter into every intimate scenario with a written waiver with boxes to check? 
As far as the current standard being impossible to solve crimes, I think that is less and less true with the number of cameras and cellphones around.
Parent - - By tizzy319 (gaping five hole) [us] Date 2018-10-08 12:18 PM
We aren't talking due process since that is a legal term and not a public perception term. 

Here, let's answer some questions:

Was Al Capone a murderous gangster? 
Did OJ kill Nicole and Ron?
Did R Kelly have rape an underage girl?
Did the LA PD commit police brutality against Rodney King?

I believe all of these to be true.  Despite them never having been proven to be true.  Should they have gone to jail?  Probably.  That is and should be a different standard than "Do I believe each person is guilty?" 

Or let's ask this another way, did Hillary Clinton illegally send classified e-mails?  It's sure as hell a Republican belief, yet not once was it proven to have happened.  And that's fine that people believe she committed a criminal act...that's their right.  Just as it is mine to believe people when they say they were assaulted.

Would I have said Kavanaugh is guilty in a courtroom?  Hell no.  The evidence didn't show it beyond a reasonable doubt.  However, do I believe he assaulted Ford?  Yes I do. 

As to my standard of assuming a no until we hear a yes, that's the case in every other situation.  Is it ok for me to go into a friend's wallet and take $20?  Only if I asked and the answer was "yes." Otherwise it's theft.  Why do we treat sex differently?
Parent - - By Quagmire [us] Date 2018-10-08 1:25 PM Edited 2018-10-08 1:35 PM
Do you practice affirmative consent with your wife?  Do you ask for and receive affirmative consent before every single separate move...or just once at the beginning (which isn't really enough because according to the rules consent for one act does not imply consent for any other)?   Does she ask you before she makes a move?

In answer to your other question...the one about the is, in fact, perfectly okay and legal for you to go into your wife's wallet (I know my wife goes into my wallet all the time :wink:)...or your girl friend's wallet...or even your plain ole everyday friend's wallet...if you have an understanding in advance that it is okay for you to do that.  You DO NOT either ethically or legally need consent every single time you stick your hand into the wallet.
Parent - By tizzy319 (gaping five hole) [us] Date 2018-10-08 1:52 PM
Actually yes we do give consent each and every time.

I agree that if you have that understanding it's ok.  However, that understanding was created by an affirmative first, not just assumed.
Parent - - By gadget girl Date 2018-10-08 6:29 PM
Do you practice affirmative consent with your wife?

I bet you are sorry you asked. : pbbt:
Parent - By tizzy319 (gaping five hole) [us] Date 2018-10-09 12:32 PM

I know everything below the waist I've ever done I've gotten affirmative consent.  And outside of kissing, I think I've gotten affirmative consent (but can't say with 100% confidence) for everything I've ever done with a woman, even as a teen.
Parent - - By triplejake (The Vampire Lestat) [us] Date 2018-10-04 3:49 PM
On the eyewitness testimony point, she testified that she already knew him socially prior to the assault, so the problems discussed in the link about errors in the process of picking a suspect out of a lineup don't apply, I don't think.
Parent - - By gadget girl Date 2018-10-05 10:42 AM
your point is well taken, but in this case, it is not the issue of identifying him from a lineup, but of being mistaken in identifying him because she was drunk and her and perceptions were clouded.  No one questioned her memory of only having one beer. 

Even assuming she was drunk, I don't know how likely a mistaken identity would be under those circumstances. I had a "near miss" incident that resembled hers in college and I very clearly remember the guy, but I had nothing to drink when it occurred.
Parent - By noel (Kilotons of Honky Tonk Badonkadonk) Date 2018-10-06 5:26 PM
Same here, I remember everything about it, I had been drinking but was not drunk.
- - By sideshowbob Date 2018-10-04 4:36 PM
In.all  the media discussion of the Kavanaugh hearings , I have not seen any mention of possible motives as to why Dr. Lord would make knowingly false accusations  . Can anyone out there in webland suggest any such motives ? What would she have to gain ?
Parent - - By Quagmire [us] Date 2018-10-04 5:51 PM Edited 2018-10-04 5:54 PM
A reasonable person may conclude she has no motivation, but, of course, not all motivations are reasonable.  Notoriety, celebrity, martyrdom, becoming a hero, praise, political animosity and public exposure are all potential...and obvious I might add...motivators.  We can pretend we are human lie detectors all we want...we can tell ourselves we have the ability to determine one another's motivations and pick truth tellers from liars based on nothing more substantive than the person's demeanor...and we can believe that in our bones...but we can't really.   All of the research says we basically suck at it.
Parent - - By sideshowbob Date 2018-10-04 7:25 PM
What you say I have no quarrel with,, but I’ve not heard of  any supposed motives , either reasonable or not , voiced by her detractors.
Parent - By Quagmire [us] Date 2018-10-05 8:06 AM
The only folks pretending that they can read minds are Ford supporters...not her detractors.  Her detractors are, for the most part, simply saying that there is no corroborating evidence and that she may be mistaken.  Her supporters, on the other hand, are making ridiculous and unknowable claims in regards to both her motives and Kavanaugh's.  Right here in this thread you will find statements about Ford's motives such as..."she obviously wants to "help" the process instead of gaming it" and that she only wants "the truth about Judge Kavanaugh be made known."
- - By BrookieCookie (Canadian Beaver) Date 2018-10-05 1:57 PM
I'm following what's going on in the US because we live so close and it's so terrifying and I hate to pull the Jew card but it feels extra scary as a Jewish person. Maybe? I don't know if that's true GG is in these threads a lot and I haven't seen her mention anything so maybe not. Anyway I listened to the whole Collins novel of a speech and I guess he's getting through. Do they all really believe he's impartial and non partisan? Or are they ok with lying too? Democrats do it too, I see that. But really, I mean come on she made him sound progressive on all things isn't he a conservative guy? :roll:
Parent - - By triplejake (The Vampire Lestat) [us] Date 2018-10-05 2:13 PM
I don't think anyone thinks he is impartial and non-partisan.  That was sort of the point of picking him.

On the other point, the President and Senate Chairman of the Judiciary Committee today both claimed that anti-Kavanaugh protesters are getting paid by Soros, so ... yeah.
Parent - By N70SAK Date 2018-10-06 4:11 PM
I went to two Women's Marches. Where's my &^$*(@# royalty check!?!:mutmad:

and I'll back your Jew card with an LGTBQ card.  :meh:
Parent - - By gadget girl Date 2018-10-07 2:32 PM
Hi BC! :hug::hug:  Happy belated birthday!

Sorry but what Jewish angle am I missing?? :shocker!:  What is extra scary?   Is it that the Supreme Court will now likely skew to the right?   I am in the minority of Jewish voters who aren't democrats, so that doesn't bother me as much as it probably bothers most other Jewish American voters.  I would have preferred that Justice Kennedy would have been replaced with a more Justice Kennedy like clone, but that isn't realistic.
Parent - By BrookieCookie (Canadian Beaver) Date 2018-10-09 7:01 AM
I'm thinking more the camps for immigrant kids and the whole government revoking citizenship of brown people thing. :wtf: And thanks! :happy: Remember when I was like 24? LOLOL me neither. :roll:: pbbt:
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