Friday, September 26, 2008

Fundamental Lack of Understanding

Coming on the heels of Gallegos' statement that the statute of limitations doesn't start until law enforcement finds out about a crime comes another that reveals his complete lack of understanding of how his own department functions.

It's the case of Andrew Belant, accused of molesting three boys, who has just secured the right to represent himself in his trial.

Gallegos' reaction - “It gives him a chance to beat up on these kids and to personally ask them questions,” Humboldt County District Attorney Paul Gallegos said. “Can you imagine if you’re a victim and the person cross-examining you is the person who victimized you?” ☛ ER Defendant to represent himself in molestation case

Apparently, Gallegos doesn't know any more about the law than anonymous bloggers - does not understand that the children do not have to submit to direct questioning and do not have to face the man accused of molesting them. They can testify via videotape. That's what you have/HAD? a CAST unit for. To PROTECT kids.

more t/k

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

You are the one that has no understanding of criminal procedure. A defendant as the right to cross examine and confront the accuser - period. Yes, the alleged victims must testify and yes, Mr. Belant will cross examine them. The purpose of having a videotaped interview with a child is show that the child isn't being manipulated in any way and their statement is reliable. Having a CAST program does not result in the abandonment of the Constitution.

Anonymous said...

So what does not NOT having a CAST program result in? I think that's actually the issue at hand.

Rose said...

When running for office, Gallegos went on the record saying that he moved 'his' attorneys around 'so that they would all know a little bit of everything.'

That was putting a positive spin, sleight of hand, actually - on the fact that he no longer has anyone who specializes in anything. He has "lost" his experts, lost the people who specialized in certain kinds of cases, lost the people who received awards in recognition of their expertise and prowess.

It is going to be interesting.

The unraveling at the edges became apparent to people who hadn't been paying attention some time ago. You're about to see the office come apart at the seams.

Maybe then the voters will fix their mistake.

Chris Crawford said...

Anonymous 9:18am is correct that the defendant has a right to cross examination, but not necessarily in person. The court could secure the minor victims in another room and hook up a two-way video link that the court could control with a cut-off switch if things got out of hand.

This practice was upheld in the McMartin preschool molestation case. The rest of that case was a travesty, but this workaround that was upheld on appeal is one small silver lining.

Rose said...

Paul will either have to hand this case over to Maggie Flemming, one of the only people left with the experience and expertise to do this, or he will have to come up to speed real fast. He may be helped by the idiocy of this guy attempting to represent himself.

But, one would think the guy would have taken a plea deal. The fact that he isn't, given Gallegos' track record (Debi August, Sean Marsh, Douglas and Zanotti and Palco...) certainly raises questions.

But, back on topic - the flip side is that some kids may welcome the opportunity to confront their abuser.

Don't know how Paul is going to juxtapose that with his belief that molesters molest out of love.

Anonymous said...

Coming apart at the seams? yup