The Prosecutor’s had their case all set: “The proof against him is substantial. It is continuing to grow every day as the investigation continues,” Assistant Dist. Atty. John McConnell told the judge then. “We have a man who, by his own conduct in this case, has shown a propensity for impulsive criminal conduct.”
But something changed. What changed is that Strauss Kahn and his Defense Attorneys started looking at the accusation with a “critical eye”. Looking with a critical eye is the basis of our system of justice. The reason we have an adversarial system, as opposed to France, for example, is that it is simply human nature to find a ball and run with it. Once you believe in something, everything you see or do is proof of that belief.
Watch, on a day when you feel bad, your husband cooked breakfast you didn’t want, you’re stuck in traffic 10 minutes too long, and were almost in a car accident next to you. Maybe you should have stayed in bed.
On a day when you feel good, you didn’t have to cook breakfast, you got to listen to your favorite radio station 10 more minutes, and your life was saved when a car got into an accident with another car besides yours. I got to say it was a good day.
Police, Prosecutors, investigators are all human. Then arrive at a scene and they want to find out what happened. They want to believe no one’s lying to them. And generally, without blatant indisputable evidence to the contrary, they do believe.
Prosecutor’s often differ as to what level they need to investigate a case. Often there are time limitations on both the police and prosecutor’s investigations. There is always manpower limitations. Science limitations, specialized knowledge limitations, access limitations.
Prosecutors get one version of a story, and consider anything that opposes it to often be a lie. Furthermore, they often don’t get an opposing point of view. First, the lack of investigations on cases that do not involve the Chief Executive Officer of the IMF are often astounding. Furthermore, because of the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution, they almost never get the Defendant’s side of the story before an arrest is made. And after the arrest is made, the goal is to convict, not to find out the truth.
Strauss Kahn, by engaging with a competent Defense lawyer as soon as he was able, has got the Prosecutors to do almost a 180. His attorney was able to get a judge to question the maid’s history, and how much of it she related to the Prosecutor and the police. They were also able to show that her recitation of the surrounding facts show much to be desired, although they don’t let us know yet exactly what those facts are. The prosecutor saw a duck and went duck hunting.
Unfortunately, the fundamental failure in our judicial system is that, no matter what, Strauss-Kahn has already lost his job. He has already probably lost his support to run for president of France. And for the rest of his life, whenever you google his name, you will see this: