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The People v. Eric Frimpong
July 17, 2009 7:50 AM   Subscribe

The story of prisoner F95488.
posted by Optimus Chyme (74 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
There's a rumble in the gallery. If his supporters could chime in now, they'd say that the kid in the prison garb has never spoken an unkind word or acted aggressively toward anyone. They would remind the court of the points made at trial: that his accuser was a woman with little memory of what happened that night because of a near-toxic blood alcohol level; that Frimpong's DNA wasn't found on the victim; that semen found on her underwear belonged to a jealous boyfriend, a white student who was never a suspect. They would argue that overzealous law enforcement was determined to nail a high-profile athlete, facts be damned, and that this was the Duke lacrosse case all over again -- except that the defendants in the Duke case were white men from affluent families with the means to navigate America's justice system, unlike Frimpong, who is poor and an immigrant.

What a shame.
posted by ocherdraco at 8:05 AM on July 17, 2009


It seems almost like some part of the story must be missing if the judge is saying, I've not seen a rape case with so much incriminating, credible and powerful evidence - like, he's never seen a rape case where the alleged attacker's DNA has been found on the victim?
posted by XMLicious at 8:25 AM on July 17, 2009 [3 favorites]


that Frimpong's DNA wasn't found on the victim; that semen found on her underwear belonged to a jealous boyfriend

However, some of the victim's DNA was found on Frimpong:
When the test results came back in March, Frimpong's DNA hadn't been found on Jane Doe's clothing or body, but Doe's DNA had been found on Frimpong: in two nucleated epithelial cells, found on his scrotum and penis, and in an unspecified trace under his fingernail.

The linked articled is obviously skewed and leaves me with questions, based on the premise that this sort of injustice wouldn't or couldn't happen, not like this, though of course I could be wrong.

Is there some information this article is missing or downplaying?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:31 AM on July 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


like, he's never seen a rape case where the alleged attacker's DNA has been found on the victim?

Or one where the victim had full recollection of the events?
posted by Mayor Curley at 8:32 AM on July 17, 2009


Just to note, the linked article explains the two epithelial cells Brandon Blatcher mentions with the statement that Frimpong claims that the victim stuck her hand down his pants.

I would definitely like to read someone else's perspective on the case, though; while it does appear to be written with some degree of impartiality the linked article is clearly biased in favor of Frimpong's innocence.
posted by XMLicious at 8:43 AM on July 17, 2009


He's never seen a rape case where the perp' was black AND foreign? I can't parse that any other way
posted by vivelame at 8:46 AM on July 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


It blows my mind to consider the fact that one day, I could be approached by a friendly girl at a party, go home safe and sound, only to get up the next day and get carted in for alleged rape after she blacks out, wakes up and doesn't remember anything but two vague features and has no semblance of a timeline to the night.

The accusation is one thing - clearly any accusation of that severity warrants a full investigation. The conviction, however, is terrifying. It's the sort of thing where I wonder whether or not I will someday be the victim of a judicial system that has clearly tossed aside the merit of evidence and the spirit of justice.
posted by Mali at 8:46 AM on July 17, 2009 [6 favorites]


The two nucleated epithelial cells part of the story sounds suspicious. I'm not an expert, but I can't imagine that two cells is enough genetic material to yield an accurate DNA profile, so I imagine there had to be more than two cells. Certainly those epithelial cells could have gotten there if the girl had touched Frimpong's genitals. The DNA under his fingernails is harder to explain given his account of their encounter, but it isn't impossible to explain. And again, what does the author mean by an "unspecified trace"?
posted by Doug at 9:01 AM on July 17, 2009


Campus Security Data Analysis Cutting Tool Website for UC-Santa Barbra
/Who names these things?
posted by acro at 9:02 AM on July 17, 2009


Wow, bizarre.

But I think it it's pretty clear that if she remembers things properly and if she's being honest he probably did rape her. But if she's misremembering, or if she's lying then he probably didn't.

I do think there's a good possibility that she could be misremembering things, though. I mean if he knocked her down why doesn't she have any bruises or anything? She was so drunk she was blacking out. For all we know she could have passed out on the beach and dreamed the whole thing, I guess.

Also, how is it possible that she got his cells on his penis but she didn't get any of his cells on her?

Even if he didn't ejaculate, wouldn't some of his skin cells have come off too? I suppose they asked this at the trial, right? Anyone know?
posted by delmoi at 9:06 AM on July 17, 2009


delmoi, it was long, but did you read the whole article? She had bruises and lacerations deemed by a nurse to be consistent with a sexual assault. She repeatedly said that she didn't remember exactly what happened (the clearest example is in this paragraph):
So what happened on the beach? Doe said Frimpong may have tried to kiss her, but when pressed by Barron she admitted, "I have no clue. I'm just assuming…" She also said, "I remember him biting me on my face," even though she had told the emergency room doctor she thought she'd been hit, and when questioned by detectives, she said she didn't know about being bitten -- despite Kies' saying, "That's definitely, most definitely, teeth marks, dude," about the bruise on her cheek. When Barron questioned her about it, Doe said, "But later, when they're, like, 'It looks like teeth marks' …I remember that happening."
posted by carmen at 9:13 AM on July 17, 2009


Nonetheless, Frimpong's supporters save much of their scorn for Sanger. The prosecution rested its case on Dec. 12, having called 32 witnesses; Sanger questioned them all on the stand but called only one additional witness, a blood expert who testified that Doe's blood alcohol level at the time the sample was taken, 5:37 a.m., was .20, and that it could have been as high as .29 at the time of the incident -- an almost lethal level. Sanger rested his case the next day. "The final score was 32-1," Vom Steeg says. "I feel guilty, like we didn't do enough." Loni Monahan spoke to Sanger throughout the trial about his strategy. "He told me, 'The best defense was no defense, because it would demonstrate there's nothing to defend,'" she says. "We made a mistake."
WHAT!??!?!?!!??!?!?!?!

Jesus Christ. No wonder he got convicted. He didn't even bring on any of the guys' many character witnesses?
posted by delmoi at 9:17 AM on July 17, 2009


Welcome to California:
Come on vacation
Leave on probation
Return on violation

Or, just go to prison.
posted by Xoebe at 9:18 AM on July 17, 2009


Delmoi, it was long, but did you read the whole article? She repeatedly said that she didn't remember exactly what happened.

er, actually I had not finished the article when I posted.

She didn't know exactly what happened, but if what she does remember correctly (and that's a big if, because memory is actually very malleable) then it seems like he could have raped her. She said she remembered being knocked to the ground and being 'penetrated'

I must have read the section on the bruises wrong. Hmm.
posted by delmoi at 9:25 AM on July 17, 2009


Another detail that doesn't seem to match even if she's accurately remembering things is that the linked article says she punched her attacker hard enough to screw up her knuckles and while wearing a ring, but there evidently wasn't a corresponding mark on Frimpong.
posted by XMLicious at 9:28 AM on July 17, 2009


I remember when the US justice system had a burden of proof beyond reasonable doubt.

At least I think I remember it...I was pretty drunk at the time.
posted by rocket88 at 9:37 AM on July 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


I agree that the article seemed written from the viewpoint that Frimpong is innocent. But if the facts are strictly as stated in the article, with nothing omitted, then I'm leaning towards the "he was railroaded" side. However, I do take exception with the pointed reference to an "all-white jury." As if the race of the jury automatically indicated a biased verdict, that white people are incapable of simple evaluating the case based on the evidence presented. How often do we read about cases where an all-black jury rendered a questionable verdict? It does happen, you know...one that comes to mind is the case of Cassandra Rutherford, who, along with five other women, was caught on videotape (much like in the Rodney King case) striking and stomping on two white woman at the Freedom Festival fireworks display in Detroit in 1991, but was found "not guilty" by an all-black jury. (The main reason for the verdct, according to after-trial interviews with members of the jury: One of the victims had uttered the "N" word when one of the attackers had snatched the gold chain from around her neck.)

Again, that's just my personal nitpick with the tone of the article. If Eric Frimpong is innocent (and so far the evidence presented to the public suggests that he is, and he's simply the victim of poor defense), I truly hope his case gets enough media exposure and outrage to demand a new trial. With far better represenation.
posted by Oriole Adams at 9:42 AM on July 17, 2009


There really needs to be better forensic science on how memories are formed. She might very well believe the attacker was Frimpong. A famous and foreign man might have been the strongest memory she had of the night besides the rape and her brain, operating at .27 bac, decided that well, it is far easier to place Frimpong as the attacker than try to remember who the attacker really is. The defense did a poor job of creating doubt. No whites on the jury? Not to be pessimistic but put a black, foreign star athlete and a drunk sorority girl in front of a white jury and 9 times out of 10 you just hit the stereotypical white middle class boogey man.

I do have one personal story and I'll try to keep the details sort of vague. I had a friend that went to a different college that was sweet, kind absolutely trustworthy. She didn't drink, or at least in beer bong quantities, and was the opposite of the party girl described in the article. She was invited to see a movie at the house of a very popular on campus personality and was pretty much as the article described Frimpong. He also had a girlfriend at the time and she was there at the house with him. There was no pretense of this being a date or anything, just three people seeing a movie at a house together. She drank half a glass of wine that she thought tasted funny and the next thing she remembers is waking up in his bed a couple hours later with both the boyfriend and girlfriend gone (there absence from their own house with someone passed out is odd). She was sore, went to the hospital and this was sort of a classic tale of date rape with evidence of the drug in her blood and sores indicating a sexual attack, but no semen. The resulting fallout, however, I wouldn't wish on anybody. Students wearing t-shirts saying "Support X", all kinds of harassment and social isolation. The message was simple, everyone loves this guy, half of us want to sleep with, what are you doing? Without going into further detail, she decided to drop the rape charges and move across the country. I think she should have pursued it, but who am I to judge in such a situation.

The point is that we seem wired to not believe someone charming and nice could commit rape, or really anything violent. I know that seems obvious when you state it like I just did, but in reality it is something that takes an intellectual leap to go against your emotional instinct. I guess otherwise we'd all be walking around with Nixonian paranoia. This is particularly insidious in small communities, like in a college setting, where by default you will always hear anecdotes and gossip long before any kind of empirical evidences comes to light.
posted by geoff. at 9:44 AM on July 17, 2009 [5 favorites]


Anyone that claims that guilt or innocence is obvious from reading this article alone is fooling themselves. I sort of think the only genuine sentiment one can express is the sort of limp, useless regret from the end of the article.

Heaven preserve me from ever being on a jury for a case like this.
posted by kavasa at 9:56 AM on July 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


How often do we read about cases where an all-black jury rendered a questionable verdict?

Not all-black, only 75% black, but the O. J. Simpson jury springs to mind as a data point.
posted by XMLicious at 10:07 AM on July 17, 2009


It blows my mind to consider the fact that one day, I could be approached by a friendly girl at a party, go home safe and sound, only to get up the next day and get carted in for alleged rape.

Totally agree with this sentiment. And I'm sure it goes without saying that it must be equally terrifying for girls to consider that they could go to a party, drink, and wake up with bruises and bite marks, with vague or no memories of why.

As someone who attended the same school as this guy (UCSB) and has seen his fair share of Isla Vista's truly insane party atmosphere (think isolated, lawless, post-apocalyptic Bartertown for college students), I am certain this happens all the time there, but is far less publicized. Blacking out is a goal for most party-goers, and if you've found someone to dance with, you've found someone to go home with.

Halloween is the worst. In 2008, if memory serves me, there were about 300 police from both Ventura and Santa Barbara counties in this 2 square-mile "city" for Halloween weekend alone.

Some brief personal stories: someone died during my first party in IV by taking mushrooms and jumping off the Del Playa cliff (about 10-15 of these deaths occur every year).

Also, a friend of mine (who wasn't even throwing a party the previous night) awoke to find a guy in a banana costume asleep on her couch.

Apart from the injuries, death, alcohol, drugs, rape, theft, and vandalism... it makes for one hell of a night.
posted by TimeTravelSpeed at 10:10 AM on July 17, 2009


Also, I attended UCSB while all this Frimpong news was going down. It sparked many classroom debates as more and more details arose. Regardless of who you believe, it certainly made people think twice before taking someone home whilst drunk, or with someone too drunk to truly say, and mean, "yes".
posted by TimeTravelSpeed at 10:14 AM on July 17, 2009


Not all-black, only 75% black, but the O. J. Simpson jury springs to mind as a data point.

Except that the Simpson trial was a lot more cut and dry than this. The cops tampered with evidence to frame O.J. Granted they probably framed a guilty man, but no one should be convicted on the strength of tampered evidence. The racial makeup of that jury was immaterial-- they reached the proper verdict given the tainted evidence.
posted by Mayor Curley at 10:14 AM on July 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


The docket for the appeal can be found here, for those interested in following this story to its end. They appear to have an email notification system, which makes it convenient.

Frimpong's brief was filed in January. The State's brief was filed in June. Frimpong's reply brief is due at the end of July, though I imagine -- given the nature of the matter, and the history of extensions in the docket -- that it will end up being somewhat later than that. We're nowhere near finding out a date for oral argument.

Unfortunately, I also can't seem to find the record from the lower court. I wonder if/when we'll get access to that.
posted by jock@law at 10:15 AM on July 17, 2009


Does anyone have a link to a balanced article, or at least to an explanation of this guy's summary of the night? Because it sounds like he made out with a girl who was so drunk that she blacked out, then left her on the beach to later get raped by someone else. And that's assuming that he didn't rape her himself. So I'd really appreciate a news article that explained the facts, not a human interest story from ESPN.

Look, I understand the frustration of being falsely accused of a crime, but I am also incredibly disgusted by the victim-blaming that goes along with a story like this.
posted by muddgirl at 10:16 AM on July 17, 2009 [3 favorites]


Also, a friend of mine (who wasn't even throwing a party the previous night) awoke to find a guy in a banana costume asleep on her couch.

Hey, I did make her breakfast.

I hope she didn't notice I puked in the dryer.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 10:16 AM on July 17, 2009


And I'm sure it goes without saying that it must be equally terrifying for girls to consider that they could go to a party, drink, and wake up with bruises and bite marks, with vague or no memories of why.

I'm really really REALLY not saying "blame the victim" when I type this... but attending any sort of event and imbibing substances with known blackout side effects can be an invitation to having this happen. Always get your own drink, consume it out of the original container, never ever set it down and set your limits before you get to the door. Best of all? Bring your own supply of 7Up and skip the alcohol altogether.

My frank assessment of the story as I see it: she got too drunk, had sex with the ex-boyfriend, and would rather burn this kid's life than admit her shame. That seems to be the author's view as well, so it was an effective article.
posted by hippybear at 10:23 AM on July 17, 2009


kavasa, I'm not necessarily assuming guilt nor innocence - but unless that article is incredibly slanted, then "beyond the shadow of a doubt" isn't a conclusion that's even close to being reached. It's more just a statement of how futile I feel in the face of a judicial system that becomes more obfuscated with every ridiculous verdict / court case I read. I feel the same way with the political system - a heavy sense of confusion and a tiny pang of hopelessness that's similar to staring down the gaping maw of a black hole. What you would think would happen doesn't seem to ever be the case, and it's generally something well out of your control.
posted by Mali at 10:27 AM on July 17, 2009


Ok, finally finished the article that includes Frimpong's testimony. Curiouser and curiouser.
posted by muddgirl at 10:28 AM on July 17, 2009


I'm really really REALLY not saying "blame the victim" when I type this... but attending any sort of event and imbibing substances with known blackout side effects can be an invitation to having this happen.

I would highly recommend never using the word "invitation" when trying to persuade people you're not blaming the victim.

Although I fully understand what you're saying, you're just... well... inviting a flame war.
posted by TimeTravelSpeed at 10:31 AM on July 17, 2009


Hippybear, do you perhaps mean not that it is an invitation, but rather creating a situation one cannot control? The two are different.
posted by ocherdraco at 10:43 AM on July 17, 2009


Hippybear, do you perhaps mean not that it is an invitation, but rather creating a situation one cannot control? The two are different.

Perhaps. Maybe my use of "invitation" is being conflated. I'm not meaning that it's a willing act, or even a welcome one. It's more being used in the "invitation to disaster" sense than an "invitation to come see my etchings" sense.

Don't misread my meaning just to make a point. I think what I meant was pretty clear -- attend a party and take in substances, and there is a chance (which occurs along a sliding scale depending on many factors) that you will wake up in the morning not remembering what happened.
posted by hippybear at 10:56 AM on July 17, 2009


muddgirl: your hypo reminds me of the truly morbid facts underlying the case of Hines v. Garrett, 131 Va. 125 (1921) -- a train conductor overshot a stop by about a mile left the passenger, a woman, to walk back to the depot though a very bad part of town... on the way she was raped twice. (The case was about liability for common carriers of passengers, and is a favorite case of Situationist tort-law professors because it's an early example of liability being found for creating the situation in which another otherwise ostensibly independent actor committed some wrong.)
posted by jock@law at 11:01 AM on July 17, 2009


Hippybear, think you're missing the point, which is that someone might have sex with you and bite you while you are in such a vulnerable state (getting in the state is of course a bad idea, but is a very common mistake for college-ageds and should not be punished by rape)
posted by fermezporte at 11:05 AM on July 17, 2009


attend a party and take in substances, and there is a chance (which occurs along a sliding scale depending on many factors) that you will wake up in the morning not remembering what happened.

But if there weren't rapists out there, not remembering what happened would mean not remembering embarassing karaoke, rather than a rape.
posted by hydropsyche at 11:08 AM on July 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Ok, finally finished the article that includes Frimpong's testimony.

Is there another linked article I overlooked?

This reporter's account seemed to differ slightly from the ESPN* telling.

* FWIW - I tend to despise anything coming from ESPN other than satirical pieces and straight box scores; such that I take just about anything they print with a grain of skepticism
posted by redsnare at 11:09 AM on July 17, 2009


As I said, I'm NOT looking to blame the victim. It's terrible that someone did this to this woman, no matter what state she was in when it happened. The facts in this case are incredibly unclear, so I'm unable to really say that she was raped. And I don't believe I ever said that there should be a punishment for being shitfaced, regardless of whether it's a good idea or not. And please don't ever ever say that I said that rape should be used as a punishment for anything.
posted by hippybear at 11:11 AM on July 17, 2009


Don't misread my meaning just to make a point.

Now I think I'm being misread ;) I meant it when I said "I fully understand what you're saying" -- it is always a bad idea to knowingly take in substances that impair your judgment when you're with strangers. Duh.

I was just pointing out that the word "invitation" is an extremely common, easily misinterpreted word in the sexual violence debate and a very quick way to turn a reasonable discussion sour.
posted by TimeTravelSpeed at 11:14 AM on July 17, 2009


Okay, so I read the article and it definitely seems that there's no way the evidence was sufficient to find him guilty in an "innocent until proven guilty" system. And it is certainly possible that she blacked out, was raped, and mistakenly thought that guy she was talking to earlier in the night was the one who did it. But I was left with a couple of questions- first off, it seems like he didn't mention the fact that she reached down his pants until after he learned that her DNA was found on his genetalia. Secondly, in this case (and in others I've read about) a big deal is made about how there is no DNA/semen found in the victim. Don't some rapists use condoms? I mean, some of them must worry about STDs and the like.
posted by emd3737 at 11:14 AM on July 17, 2009


first off, it seems like he didn't mention the fact that she reached down his pants until after he learned that her DNA was found on his genetalia.

If you were a good Christian boy who was known for bible studies, would you want to make an announcement that a girl had put her hand down your pants the first thing you say about her? I can understand him not mentioning this at first.

I do wonder, does this man have any record of being sexually involved with anyone since he came to UCSB? Surely there would be someone around who would say "yes, he is a sexually active person" or would step forward and point out that this man's religious belief would probably preclude him having sex outside of wedlock with anyone, let alone rape someone.

Or is that a detail I missed someplace?
posted by hippybear at 11:18 AM on July 17, 2009


Is there another linked article I overlooked?

A version of it is included in the ESPN article:

The night of Feb. 16 began for Frimpong in the same place where he started most Friday nights, on the couch in his house at 6547 Del Playa Drive, watching a movie with housemates. His girlfriend, Yesenia Prieto, was working late, but Eric had reason to celebrate, fresh off an impressive 10-day tryout for the Wizards, so he showered and went to meet friends at a party at 6681 Del Playa Drive. It was outside that home, at about 11:30 p.m., that Frimpong met Jane Doe, a UCSB freshman. They struck up a conversation, then walked back to his house to play beer pong. They arrived just before midnight, and Eric introduced Jane to his roommates before taking her to the patio, where the two of them played beer pong for a few minutes until, according to Frimpong, Doe said she wanted to smoke, so they headed for the park next door. At the park, he says, Doe approached another male, who appeared to have followed them. When she walked back to Frimpong, she started kissing him, but he wasn't interested because she smelled of cigarettes. Doe became aggressive, he says, and stuck her hand down his pants. He pushed her away, then headed to the home of his friend, Krystal Giang, who'd been expecting him. By 4 a.m., he was in bed at Prieto's apartment.

This is the sort of case that I've been ruminating over recently. Black people don't get a fair shake at any level of US criminal justice system. It's pretty much a fact. But on the other hand, neither do rape victims, and on top of that they face enormous pressure from their peers and from the media.
posted by muddgirl at 11:41 AM on July 17, 2009


I had a minor argument with a friend about this, who was very upset at the rape victim in this story for pointing the finger of blame while she knew well enough that her recollection of events was so vague (as she mentioned to the investigators early in the investigation). I agree that it's easy to cry "rape," and people that do cry rape when it's untrue deserve to be outed, but it's so difficult to prove either way.

The bottom line is that she was raped. Her wounds were consistent with rape, or extremely rough/angry sex at the least.
Memory is a fuzzy and changeable thing, especially when you've been traumatised by something, and while she may have initially remembered nothing, the time to think and the urging of her friends probably helped her believe that it was the man she accused.

I hope that this man gets his appeal and both sides have their evidence together for the new trial, but I doubt it'll happen.
posted by neewom at 11:43 AM on July 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


I do wonder, does this man have any record of being sexually involved with anyone since he came to UCSB? Surely there would be someone around who would say "yes, he is a sexually active person" or would step forward and point out that this man's religious belief would probably preclude him having sex outside of wedlock with anyone, let alone rape someone.

He had a girlfriend who he slept over with on the night of the incident, although it's not clear that they had a sexual relationship. According to this article he was also accused of sexually and physically assaulting another girl - something that the ESPN article did not see fit to mention.

I also don't see how second-hand testimony about religious beliefs has anything to do with these cases. Catholic priests, for example, have firmly-held beliefs about sex outside wedlock, and could probably find people to testify as to their celibacy. And yet a few priests still sexually assaulted people.
posted by muddgirl at 11:45 AM on July 17, 2009


According to this article he was also accused of sexually and physically assaulting another girl - something that the ESPN article did not see fit to mention.

Actually, it did:
Back on campus, media coverage led to an unwelcome surprise for the defense: After reading about Frimpong's arrest, another student came forward claiming that she too had been assaulted by him. This new Jane Doe told police that a few weeks before the rape, he had acted aggressively toward her, grabbing her buttocks and tackling her on the beach. The DA used the accusation to charge Frimpong with misdemeanor sexual assault, which made for a second count at trial. (He was found not guilty.) "The DA's office filed a weak claim of sex ual assault to portray Eric as a serial sexual predator and bolster the flawed rape claim," wrote Kim Seefeld, a local defense attorney and former prosecutor, in a blog post on Jan. 15, 2008. "The allegations severely prejudiced him before the jury."
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:50 AM on July 17, 2009


Haha yeah, me not so good at reading.
posted by muddgirl at 11:51 AM on July 17, 2009


Actually, the ESPN article clearly mentions the other girl:

Back on campus, media coverage led to an unwelcome surprise for the defense: After reading about Frimpong's arrest, another student came forward claiming that she too had been assaulted by him. This new Jane Doe told police that a few weeks before the rape, he had acted aggressively toward her, grabbing her buttocks and tackling her on the beach.

And yes, point taken about the necessity of correlation between religious beliefs and sexual misconduct. Although I think many can attest that there can be a world of difference between a gung-ho African college student striving to make good in America and a career priest in many aspects of their religious practice and other belief sets.
posted by hippybear at 11:55 AM on July 17, 2009


Guessing about the night in question does not do anybody any good including the two involved.
She says she really didn't remember except what she was told by the DA and her friends. And Eric never had his day in court because of his attorney's ego.
The habeas will be filed very soon. In it is all of the evidence needed to demonstrate Eric's innocence. Before you pass judgment on anyone involved, read it.
posted by momma at 11:58 AM on July 17, 2009


momma: do you have a link for us?
posted by hippybear at 11:59 AM on July 17, 2009


I also don't see how second-hand testimony about religious beliefs has anything to do with these cases.

It doesn't at all. It's just as valid for the prosecution to bring up that fact that, for instance, sometimes otherwise kind, gentle men who grow up in certain non-Western cultures believe American women are particularly "easy" and can be treated as such. Generalizations about religious beliefs, cultural factors, etc. are exactly that: generalizations. They don't belong as evidence in a specific case in a court of law.
posted by availablelight at 12:06 PM on July 17, 2009


Diebold also claimed that the jurors rushed through deliberations so they could conclude the case by the Christmas holiday. "I felt pressure from the judge and other jurors to reach a verdict by Dec. 18," she wrote.

Grow a spine already, especially where a mistake is going to cost someone so damn much (either way). As if I didn't already have too many associations between the name Diebold and failure.
posted by BrotherCaine at 1:44 PM on July 17, 2009


BrotherCaine,

You are from Contra Costa County? The "victim" is from there. I'll bet you know her history which she discussed on the witness stand. Drinking since she was in second grade, drunk every weekend since the seventh grade, at least 5 to 10 blackouts in high school. She said that she can drink anyone, guy or girl, under the table. Her mother is an alcoholic.

Speaking of her parents. No one from her family or friends sat in the court room until she testified and when the jury read their verdict. Now wouldn't you think that someone from her family/friends would want to sit through the trial of her rapist. Maybe they knew she was lying or had had enough of her "trouble through high school". Remember she had her license taken away for an accident related to drinking as a minor. She was celebrating that night because she had just gotten her license back that day!!!

Did you all know that she moved into an apartment in Isla Vista exactly one half block from the scene of the crime and Eric's house in July before the trial ever started. How traumatized could she have been? Or did she not "remember".
posted by momma at 2:55 PM on July 17, 2009


momma - I will assume from here on out that you signed up for Metafilter just to slander the plaintiff in this case. Please state your relationship with Erik Frimpong so that other readers of this thread can evaluate your posts accordingly.
posted by muddgirl at 3:01 PM on July 17, 2009 [4 favorites]


Whoa I just realized that Frimpong's attorney, Robert Sanger, is the same guy who got Michael Jackson off the pedophilia charges.
posted by geoff. at 3:17 PM on July 17, 2009


Momma, I know enough about rape to know there are some false reports, and I generally give the accused some degree of presumption of innocence. However, If you care about Erik Frimpong, I'd suggest your energies would be best spent supporting his appeal, and not engaging in creative speculation about Jane Doe in online forums. There was enough in the article for people to read between the lines here, as should be obvious by the fact that we're not all screaming for him to be locked up and the key thrown away. Stick to the facts and we're adult enough here to draw our own conclusions or reserve judgement as needed.

Not all crime victims are nice, pure or likable, but even if Erik Frimpong is actually innocent of her rape, it's quite likely form her injuries that she was raped, and it is possible that she is recounting what happened to the best of her ability to recall. I think you'll win more friends by focusing on the weaknesses of the case than victim bashing.
posted by BrotherCaine at 3:23 PM on July 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Ah, I take it from your profile that you are Mrs. Loni Monahan?
posted by BrotherCaine at 4:29 PM on July 17, 2009


I am not here to victim bash. I was stating facts of the case . I was there everyday my friends. Were you? Have you read the trial transcripts? I have.

If you read these you would know that it is NOT "quite likely that she was raped". Were you in court to see the SART video of her examination?

Speculation is not helpful to anyone. But I do know the facts, all of them.

The jury was not guilty of race discrimination. They had just heard one side of the story. That was the biggest crime of this case.
posted by momma at 4:34 PM on July 17, 2009


Speculation is not helpful to anyone. But I do know the facts, all of them.

Implying that the rest of the internet cannot possibly be as well informed as you, nor have any right to personal opinion.
No, speculation is about as useless as assumption, but there is a marked difference between speculation and extrapolation from transcripts and articles.

I'm not trying to call myself out here as an expert on rape, especially not in any case other than my own. That said, having been sexually assaulted and raped, I do know that there are many different psychological factors that affect memory and the reluctance to accept a personal involvement in the circumstances. Also, rape does not necessarily mean that there will be internal brusing, lacerations or any other "typical" signs of rape.
So, while she may or may not be telling lies, she may not be aware that she is lying (or, of course, not).

From the responses in this thread so far, I can see that people have been pretty reserved and have handled the discussion without much name-calling or character-bashing. Instead, I see a lot of people that already have their personal opinions firmly lodged in their brain but keeping an open mind about the facts in this case. Before stepping on the "I am better informed than thou" pedestal, please take a moment to realize that we are all people expressing opinion, not fact. The facts are up to the court to sort through, and while the alleged does seem to have gotten the raw end of the deal IMO, it is not up for us to decide.
posted by neewom at 5:00 PM on July 17, 2009


momma -- any chance you'd know how to provide us with the trial transcript?
posted by jock@law at 5:04 PM on July 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


neewom - As I stated- speculation doesn't do any good. But opinion should be based on facts. Your emotional ties to this subject make it difficult for you to be objective in your opinion. The habeas will be filed shortly and then we can address all our opinions based on the facts, not biased news articles.

jocklaw - You can get the trial transcripts from the Santa Barbara County Court House as I did.
posted by momma at 5:24 PM on July 17, 2009


Can you just scan the transcripts and post them?
posted by geoff. at 5:30 PM on July 17, 2009


I'll wait for the L&O: Special Victims Unit episode about this...
posted by melissam at 5:48 PM on July 17, 2009


all 4000 pages? When the habeas is filed I will post some of that which will be soon.

I am so glad to see how passionate people are for this case.
posted by momma at 5:58 PM on July 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Your emotional ties to this subject make it difficult for you to be objective in your opinion.

Well, that's my opinion rendered totally invalid. Difficult for the average person, probably, but is that necessarily true of me?
I ask, though, what part of my opinion you are objecting to? Is the objection that we're stating opinion at all?

Anyhow, the transcripts are not available online as far as I can find, and given that this is the internet, we're going to talk about it. It's a compelling story, one that's finally getting the attention it deserves. I'd love to see the trial transcript and final opinion if you can dig it up online at some point. God knows I've tried.
posted by neewom at 6:16 PM on July 17, 2009


neewom - you sound so angry. Your opinion is your opinion - that's it. Dont offer them as facts when you dont know the facts in this particular case.

As I stated, you can get the transcript from the SB County Court House. They are public documents.
posted by momma at 7:01 PM on July 17, 2009


momma, MeMail.

If there's a way to get the transcripts online, I'd like to see it.
posted by neewom at 7:18 PM on July 17, 2009


Your emotional ties to this subject make it difficult for you to be objective in your opinion.

And you don't have ties? Not that I fault you for them. But think carefully about what allegations you can back up solidly before you make them. Otherwise people start making assumptions about you, and about your biases the same way people tend to harshly judge the guy in the interview who is complaining about his last job, or the person complaining about their ex-spouse. If Erik is innocent, I suspect his friends and supporters will need to find an ideal marriage of passion and credibility to get him exonerated. Any unsubstantiated statements you make that damage that credibility in a public forum (or court of law) will color how people perceive the statements that you can substantiate. Passion alone is not enough, you need a script. If you are going make public statements, maybe you should think about hiring a PR firm to make your message as clear as possible.

If you read these you would know that it is NOT "quite likely that she was raped".

I was going by the mentioned laceration and bruising. I actually looked to see if their were trial transcripts online because I seldom see the press cover a trial all that well. If you like I'll take back "quite likely" and substitute "possible".

Why don't you tell us about Erik, and what qualities he has that make you think he couldn't do this?
posted by BrotherCaine at 7:26 PM on July 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Some actual trial testimony that provides a few new details. Eric's roommates who'd seen him playing beer pong all testified that neither Eric nor Jane Doe seemed intoxicated at around 12:30AM, yet tests taken around 2:00AM reveal Doe had a very high blood alcohol level. When first asked by police who he'd been with on the night in question, Frimpong said a tall, blonde girl. Jane Doe, who is Asian, is petite and has dark hair. Jane Doe had two bite marks on her body as well as bruises and cuts, but none of Frimpong's DNA was found on her. The morning after the attack, Jane Doe and her friends openly flirted with Detectives Scherbarth and Kies.

It gets curiouser and curiouser.
posted by Oriole Adams at 7:31 PM on July 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Sanger’s objection was that the attack was not in question, but who had attacked the alleged victim therefore the evidence was not relevant to the case

It looks like Frimpong's lawyer thinks that the victim was sexually assaulted. So the only defense is that there was another attacker?
posted by BrotherCaine at 7:51 PM on July 17, 2009


It looks like Frimpong's lawyer thinks that the victim was sexually assaulted. So the only defense is that there was another attacker?

No. That's not a defense to the charge -- the defense doesn't have the burden of proving there was another attacker. The prosecution has the burden of proving it was Frimpong.
posted by jock@law at 9:27 PM on July 17, 2009


Speculation is not helpful to anyone. But I do know the facts, all of them.

Bullshit. The only way you could "know the facts, all of them" is if you were actually there, on the night in question, not just at the trial.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 12:36 AM on July 18, 2009


Oriole Adams links are very interesting! What is curious to me is that the high BAC of .27 does not match the fact that she seemed lucid and not inebriated in all her encounters. You think at that level she'd have some loss of coordination, some slurring, but everyone she encountered that night and even during the examination testified that she didn't seem drunk at all.

Also the description of the video shown to the jury of Jane Doe right after the attack is pretty graphic, including a vaginal examination. Interestingly, Sanger argued that the video was unnecessary as no one argued that she wasn't attacked. She seems to at least be beaten pretty bad and attacked sexually by someone.

Also worth mentioning is that this is either the first or second weekend in college, which could explain why the timeline is so confusing and how different people give completely different accounts of the evening. There were a ton of new faces around.

Whether Frimpong is guilty or not, if he had simply showered before being interviewed by the detectives, I doubt he would have been much of a suspect at all.
posted by geoff. at 9:11 AM on July 18, 2009


[Comment removed. momma, you're welcome to participate in the conversation here, but using mefi as an advocacy/fundraising platform is not okay.]
posted by cortex at 2:36 PM on July 18, 2009


I call it bad representation on the part of a defense lawyer. Although this case is noteworthy, it's not as bad as some other men who might be in the same situation and are stuck with the overworked public defender. Frimpong had the ability to get adequate representation; unfortunately, they picked someone based on reputation, or the defense attorney made a bad choice in the defense.

And just so you know, courthouse transcripts in the State of California run 50 cents per page or more, and transcripts are double spaced typewriter font per the normal custom. If someone has a copy of the transcript they need to scan it in and put it on Scribd or a similar site for everyone to see. I'm not driving up there and paying $2000 or more just to read the trial.
posted by calwatch at 3:50 PM on July 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


Calwatch - you are right on both accounts. Bad choice on choosing an attorney who came highly recommended and bad choice on attorney's strategy not to put on a defense.

The habeas is almost filed, you'll be able to see more then...
posted by momma at 2:42 PM on July 19, 2009


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