Making People Stupider: Jezebel Edition

About That Time Jezebel Made People Stupider

About That Time Jezebel Made People Stupider

Today in Making People Stupider, I present to you the Jezebel article by Erin Gloria Ryan titled “About That Time Hilary Clinton Smeared a Tween Rape Victim“.

Read it. Please. Yes, including the comments section.*

Here’s are twoΒ highlights :

On the other hand, how massively fucked is it that our legal system expects and encourages attorneys to treat rape victims like this? And that even Hillary Clinton didn’t have the balls to set her career goals aside for a moment and stand up to what she must have known was bullshit, even in the midst of a time in her career she claims was devoted to serving children and families?


Hillary Clinton didn’t ‘laugh at a rape victim’ as the coverage errantly insists, but she definitely was the sort of lawyer who would attack the credibility of a rape victim in pursuit of legal victory.

You’re right, Erin. It couldn’t possibly be that Hillary was doing her job as a criminal defense lawyer and had an ethical obligation to defend her client however she couldβ€”it was that she had “career goals”. SheΒ should have “had the balls” to roll over and sellΒ her client up the river, in derogation of her ethical duties to her client, because she’s the sort of lawyer who DARESΒ to attack the credibility of a complainingΒ witness.

Oh, and “the children”.

I was going to write a much longer, angrier, piece about the history of what criminal defense lawyers do, our ethics, our duties to our clients, etc., but it would be wasted breathΒ keystrokes.

I’ll just say this: criminal defense lawyers have an ethical obligation to defend their clients. There is no “I understand, but…”. It simply is.

Erin Gloria Ryan, shame on you for makingΒ people stupider today .

*I am ashamed to say I broke Rule 1 of the Internet and argued in the comments.

5 Responses to Making People Stupider: Jezebel Edition

  1. Kris says:

    We call it putting our client’s case. That’s the job.

    In Erin-world, I’m supposed to be my own client’s judge and jury.

  2. Alan says:

    I agree it would be stupid to assert that one should never attack the credibility of a rape complainant.

    However, I think it’s pretty obvious that the most serious allegation here is that Rodham lied for her client. By not responding to that allegation, and mentioning only the “ethical obligation to defend [one’s] clients” without mentioning the ethical obligation not to lie to the court, you create the unfortunate impression that you believe lying for clients is part of the first obligation.

    The suspected lie is “Hillary Rodham … states upon oath … I have made an investigation of the facts and circumstances in this case and verily believe that a psychiatric examination of the complainant, [redacted], is necessary and vital in this case. I have been informed that the complainant is emotionally unstable with a tendency to seek out older men and to engage in fantasizing. I have also been informed that she has in the past made false accusations about persons, claiming they had attacked her body. Also that she exhibits an unusual stubbornness and temper when she does not get her way.” (July 28, 1975 affidavit). And the reason for the suspicion is that “Dale Gibson, the investigator, doesn’t recall seeing evidence that the girl had fabricated previous attacks.” (February 24, 2008 Newsday article by Glenn Thrush).

    One possibility is that Rodham was truthful, but her sole informant for this information was the defendant himself. Would such a claim by the defendant normally suffice for a court to order a psychiatric examination of the complainant? And would it be common and/or ethical for a defense attorney to hear something from the defendant, with no corroboration from anyone else, and then repeat it to the court with a vague attribution to the attorney’s “investigation”, rather than just saying “the defendant claims that X”? (These are not rhetorical questions. I’d be genuinely interested in any answers.)

    Of course, among the other possibilities is that Dale Gibson was misrecalling or lying in 2008, or that Rodham had had several apparently credible people tell her about past false accusations but this information never reached Gibson.

  3. Kris says:

    It’s almost as if people have forgotten about the prosecutor & judge in this case.

  4. Daniel R. Partain says:

    People don’t want justice; they want vengeance. That is until it is their happy ass is the crosshairs of the system. Then, they want justice & every advantage that a criminal defense lawyer can get them.

  5. […] But what of the attacks of Hillary, the protector of women and children, having not only defended a man accused of a heinous crime, but going after the tween in the course of her defense?Β  It was enough to make Fishtown Lawyer Leo Mulvihill irate. […]

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