Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Perjury in Amero Trial?

Michael Belair's trial testimony is worth our scrutiny for two reasons. The first involves this exchange;

David Smith: Without telling us exactly what they told you, when you spoke to these children, did it cause an alarm that something might have occurred where they saw something on the computer?

Michael Belair: They each told me they had seen something inappropriate on the computer.

Belair's answer is false. Michael Belair interviewed thirteen teenagers in Julie Amero's classes. Two of the girls interviewed had their statements dismissed. One [G1], Belair claims has no first hand knowledge of the incident but had heard rumors. The second girl [G2], claims to see a website that allows you to rate people by looks but sees NO PORN [Police Narrative Supplement, Ref: 04-5212-OF, page 9].

Student 2, a prosecutorial witness was interviewed by Belair as well. Student 2, in the same supplemental police narrative [Ref: 04-5212-OF] claims that he saw Amero's monitor between 9 and 10 o'clock and it's blank but he claims to see a site called No such site appears in the log files for Napp's computer and Belair himself notes this in the same document.

In essence, this student has no first hand knowledge either except as a verifiable false witness for the prosecution [unlike G1]. In a separate document, another victim asserts Student 2 told him he saw porn but that's not what Student 2 swears to. Belair either confuses the facts or believes that the hearsay of one accuser trumps the sworn statement of the accuser himself.

Let's just say we have a witness with a credibility problem here.

Everything else Student 2 testifies to is hearsay, yet neither Belair, Smith, or the judge disallow the testimony nor does Belair note this exception.

Student 4 testifies to seeing women in bathing suits. This is later claimed to be lingerie on a site where you could rate who was better looking. This appears to be the exact same site G2 witnessed and tells Belair "she did not see any pornographic images when she looked at the computer"'. Inappropriate? G2 says no such thing nor does Student 4.

The second reason Belair's testimony is interesting involves this exchange;

Davis Smith: Officer Belair, did you see anybody operating that computer and viewing those websites?

Belair: No, I did not.

Well, if Belair did not see Julie access these websites, who did? The students who allege seeing her "looking at" pornography never claim she is accessing it although they infer she did. The students assume she's guilty and the police assume the students are victims instead of accusers.

And Smith has no problem with the act of coupling images from websites that may or may not have been displayed on Julie's monitor and implying that these were seen by students. Is this ethical prosecutorial behavior?

Furthermore, Belair defers initial student questioning to Mr. Fain who has no qualifications to perform police work. It remains unclear what Mr. Fain says to these students. Are they asked to testify against Julie because he thinks she's guilty of something? Does he prejudice the witnesses before they make their statements? And are these witnesses cherry-picked while exculpatory witnesses are selectively ignored?

This procedure simply doesn't pass the sniff test.

The fact is that whatever pornography that may have showed up during Amero's day, shows up on Mr. Napp's computer under Mr. Napp's account. A verifiable rumor has it that approximately one year later, in that same classroom, some students are caught downloading porn and creating CDs of it. Julie Amero had nothing to do with this and that's the only significant difference.

The police guidelines for identifying patterns of pornography are that offenders have a history of downloading the stuff and that they horde it and find it to have value.

Let's see... Amero repeatedly reported her problem and tried to rid the computer of it so I guess she's NOT hoarding anything but on the other hand...

Oh, you connect the dots and ask yourself why the school and the police never followed up. Because if anyone did, Julie would be exonerated.

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