- Were the police more interested in just solving this case, rather than solving the case in a just manner?
- Is this a case of police corruption, incompetence, or a lack of ethics?
- How can police use of deception in interrogation best be controlled?
- What can be done to ensure such injustice is not repeated?
Before answering the following questions, it is important to note that the jury did not convict the attackers based on the confessions, which the jury found to be the “result of subtle forms of coercion.” (Sullivan, 1990, para. 9). Instead the jury relied “upon the physical evidence that he believed incriminated Mr. Richardson far more than his taped admissions.” (Sullivan, 1990, para 15) The jury found enough physical evidence to convict the attackers, and it was known at the time there was an additional attacker that wasn't brought to justice. Reyes' confession identified the unknown attacker, but it did not remove the victim's hair from the attackers' clothes.
I am going to stop moving down this line of thought, because proceeding would mean we move away from discussion questions and towards inquiries into media propaganda and political influence affecting the criminal justice system. It is necessary to bring this fact into the discussion as it has a direct bearing on the questions.
In this case, that isn't so. The jury reported that they didn't find the confessions compelling, and relied on the other evidence. After looking at the NYPD review, It is clear that there was physical evidence that put the attackers at the scene,
"Other evidence admitted at trial consisted of: three hairs, one pubic, found on Kevin
Richardson’s clothing that were “consistent” with the jogger’s hair; one hair “consistent”
with the jogger’s found on Steven Lopez’ clothing; a blood stain on Raymond Santana’s
sneaker; individual blood stains on Yusef Salaam’s jacket and Steven Lopez’s
underwear; and semen stains on the underwear of Antron McCray and Kevin
Richardson and the sweatshirt of Raymond Santana.
We have not been given access to all of the forensic test material.
Nevertheless, it is apparent, from the Ryan Affirmation, that no new DNA evidence contradicts any of the evidence introduced at trial. (Armstrong et al, 2003, p.37)
There were voluntary statements (pre-interrogatory) that showed the attackers knew of the crime before the police did;
"En route to 100th
Street and Central Park West Clarence Thomas began to cry.
Without being questioned, he stated, ‘I know who did the murder. I know who did
the murder. I know where he lives and I’ll tell you his name.’ Richardson said he
also knew who did it and would tell them too. Then Thomas said that it was
Antron McCray and that he lived at a particular address on 111th
Richardson concurred saying, ‘Yeah. That’s who did it.’ (Exhibit A, pp. 11, 12).
(Armstrong et al, 2003, p.15)
The Reyes confession matched the evidence that investigators knew indicated an additional attacker had assaulted the victim; it does not preclude additional assault.
My position is that, depending on the severity of the case, I am not going to care if developments down the line show that a convict was overcharged.
There is a difference in overcharging with an unethical intent then there is in being wrong. And that difference doesn't generate a lot of outrage in me if the convict needs to remain in jail in the first place
Moving back to the Central Park case, my opinion is that the attackers were guilty of an attack on the rape victim, in addition to their other crimes. There was more evidence then the DNA and the confessions that proved their guilt, although the argumentation for exonerating them ignored that. The fact that Reyes raped her too does not indicate in any way that she was not attacked by the defendants.
The only injustice I see in this particular case is that these criminals were exonerated for ALL the crimes they committed on faulty logic and then awarded 40 million taxpayer dollars for assaulting and robbing people in the park.
The attackers were not only convicted of rape, but also of the assault and robbery of several other victims, in addition to being convicted of riot.
The attackers, with the exception of one, were 16 and treated appropriately under NY law. The one attacker that was under 16 carried forged ID indicating he was 16
Dahl's contention that the convictions were SOLELY based on confessions is either incompetent research or is a bald faced lie. The 1990 NY Times article I cite quotes the jurors explaining that their verdict decision was based on physical evidence, and that they didn't give the confession much credence. Interesting enough, the 2003 NY Times article I cited claimed the same thing that Dahl did, again, either indicating a simple lack of research, or intentional dishonesty. How hard is it for the NY Times to look up their own archives?
Although DNA evidence indicated that there was an additional attacker, there was physical evidence that the attackers were indeed at the scene of the crime. DNA is not always present at rape scenes; "Seminal fluid itself does not contain DNA, but spermatozoa does" (Parks, 2001, p. 509), and remember that the semen collected from the attackers was present on the attacker's clothes, meaning not in or on the victim.
Witness testimony implicated the attackers, none of whom were arrested on the basis of their skin color, but rather from either being at arrested the riot, or implicated by other riot participants.
Reyes confession only identified the attacker that the police had not identified previously; logically, it is not proof that the other attackers are innocent of the attack on the victim as well; as far as the idea that should exonerate them from the rest of the charges, all I can say is that I am glad I don'r live in New York City
Under utilitarian considerations, the attackers were involved in more then "minor" crimes; these were violent and preplanned attacks. The consequences of not dealing with this behavior could have left a high level of certainty that police would find woman left for dead, and a man beaten unconscious every day in the park.
Looking at deontological considerations, the NYPD review panel found that the investigators performed their duties correctly under the standards of the NYPD.
The NYPD treated the attackers “caring, connectedness, or mindfulness” by the required standarsd of the department, with the exception of an underage defendant that was "hoist on his own petard" by carrying false ID. "Justice Galligan, an experienced and highly regarded jurist, carefully analyzed each claim raised by each defendant and found, with one exception, that there was no constitutional or statutory violation by any of the officers or prosecutors involved" (Armstrong et al, 2003, p.14)
Now having said that, I need to further research the charge that the system failed to disclose the DNA evidence indicating another attacker from the charged attackers; this would be an ethical violation. In my opinion, this would not exonerate the rape charges in light of the witness testimony, the analysis of the interrogations, and the other physical evidence, but it needed to be made available to the defense regardless. But considering the inaccurate, if not dishonest, information that has been peddled in regards to the cases as a whole, I need to check into the charge's validity.
I will suggest that the Armstrong review, and the 1999 NY Times interview with the jurors, be considered in addition to any accusatory material.