Lying and the law go together like hand in glove in America. By the time a case arrives in the courtroom for trial it is generally a stinking mixture consisting of half truth and fifty percent lies. The judge and jury then have the odious job of sorting it out. It should come as no surprise that they often get it wrong.
That’s what a courtroom trial is. It’s an antiquated mechanism for separating truth from lies.
It’s called a legal advocacy system. Every case involves at least one accuser and one accused. Each of those sides is allowed to advocate their own versions of the “truth,” which more often than not are diametrically opposed. So, most of the time, at least one side is advocating lies.
Criminal cases normally begin with the prosecutor or district attorney charging the accused with a written information or indictment setting forth the relevant facts constituting the elements of the crime. If the accused defendant is in actuality innocent then that written indictment is probably full of lies. If the defendant is actually guilty but pleads not guilty then the plea is a lie. If the same accused stands mute the court will enter a plea of not guilty which is also a lie.
Civil cases normally begin with the Plaintiff’s attorney filing a written complaint with the court setting forth the facts which prove that the Defendant committed wrongdoing subject to liability in money damages. If the Defendant actually committed no wrongdoing then the complaint is probably full of lies. If the complaint charges the Defendant accurately then the answer to it will be full of lies.
When a criminal or civil trial is finally held, after often years of costly and cumbersome preliminary proceedings, only one side will actually be advocating the truth. The opposite side will be advocating lies.
That has been my dismal and depressing experience throughout the four decades now of my civil law courtroom practice. Since I’ve always represented only Plaintiffs, and had the luxury of choice in selecting only cases which I honestly believed were meritorious, I can proudly say that I have never knowingly brought an untruth into the courtroom or ever advocated a lie.
There were occasions, however, when clients lied to me. In those instances they were advised to seek other counsel. Never-the-less the practice for an honest attorney at law involves constantly grappling with lies. It’s nothing to be upset about, I suppose, as that’s the way it is with politics and life in general.
Civil defense attorneys for the Defendant, Moraga School District in Moraga, California have filed with the court a formal Answer to a Complaint saying that the 12-year-old girl Plaintiff rape victim, who suffered prolonged sexual abuse at the hands of two different middle school teachers in the 1990s, was “negligent,” “careless” and “was herself responsible for the acts and damages of which she claims.”
The lawsuit is against the school district, its retired Intermediate School principal, retired assistant principal and retired superintendent, claiming that they repeatedly ignored reports of sexual abuse.
Former Joaquin Moraga physical education teacher Julie Correa had already pleaded guilty to rape and sexual battery on this little girl over a four-year period beginning in 1996, when she was an eighth grader.
So the School District and its defense attorney knew perfectly well when formulating the sworn Answer that its teacher employee in actual fact raped this little girl, a minor child below the age of consent.
The Complaint further claims that this same little girl turned to her science teacher, Daniel Witters, to report the abuse but instead of helping her, he molested and abused her as well.
Witters committed suicide after the allegations against him surfaced. All these facts were known to the Defendant and its attorney BEFORE filing their sworn answer with the court.
So the Defendant’s sworn Answer to the Plaintiff’s Complaint in a court of law is obviously a complete and total package of lies.
The same school district is also facing another $15 million lawsuit from two more women who alleged abuse from Witters. They’re in legal trouble up to their eyeballs.
Their defense attorney, Louis Leone, excuses their Answer to the Complaint by saying that the school must employ “every potential defense” in such a lawsuit.
You see, that is what civil defense attorney’s do when faced with the flat out truth and the facts in cases against their clients. Every potential defense means every denial, falsehood and lie they can think of to put on paper and then swear under oath.
William Grimm, a senior attorney with Oakland-based National Center for Youth Law, declared: “I think it is reprehensible to place the blame on the young girl who was victimized… The district’s defense has to be plausible … and this doesn’t even pass the smell test, in my opinion.”
The school district issued a statement, saying, “We certainly empathize with [Plaintiff] Ms. Cunnane and did not intend to cause her further distress in filing our formal Answer to her Complaint. However, this is a significant case that could have serious consequences for our school district. She is demanding several million dollars in damages. As a result, at this point in the proceedings we have an obligation not to waive any potential legal lines of defense. … Ms. Cunnane and the media have seized on only one of the nine potential areas and over-exaggerated its importance.”
Again, we see that as far as Defendant’s and their defense attorney’s are concerned, if the case against them is meritorious and has serious potential consequences for them, that justifies lying under oath to the court and the jury.
The Plaintiff, Kristen Cunnane, now 30, told reporters: “It felt like I got punched in the stomach, and I stood up and thought about how young I was when I was 12 to 13 years old at the school.” She feels that the School District Answer tells rape victims everywhere that they are the ones to blame.
Yes. She’s simply discovered, as I have, that in the United States of America, she has to grapple not only with rapists, but with school districts and their attorneys who rely upon the law of lies.