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No angels in America


Shorter Central Park Five prosecutor Linda Fairstein: They’re animals anyway so let them lose their souls.

A few quick points:

(1) Confessions of 14 and 15 year old boys, and one 16 year old (not, as Fairstein describes them in the first sentence of her piece, “young men,”), produced after more than seven hours of interrogations with no lawyers or parents present are essentially useless as evidence, as anybody who knows anything about the literature on false confessions knows.

(2) There is literally no evidence that anyone other than the man whose DNA evidence proved beyond a doubt he raped the Central Park jogger participated in the crime, other than the aforementioned useless and deeply contradictory confessions, that the boys recanted shortly after they were extracted from them via coercive interrogation. (The man, who is serving a life sentence for multiple rapes and one murder, claims to have acted alone).

(3) There is no evidence that any of the Central Park Five participated in the assaults and robberies that took place in the park that night, other than (again) their confessions, which we can be almost certain were completely false in regard to the rape, but somehow, according to Fairstein, should form a sufficient basis for upholding their convictions for the other crimes for which they were convicted.

(4) Fairstein herself admits that she secured wrongful convictions for a hideous crime against several boys who were at a minimum legally innocent (and again almost surely factually innocent) of any participation in that crime. If my most famous professional accomplishment was producing a grotesque miscarriage of justice, I would hope my reaction would be repentance, or at a minimum the maintenance of a discreet silence on the matter.

Just a reminder: Donald Trump wanted to judicially lynch these boys at the time, and hadn’t changed his mind about the desirability of that outcome when he was running for president.

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