Friday, March 18, 2016

The Mateen Cleaves rape case

It appears the former Michigan State point guard could be in a heap of trouble. If found guilty of the charges against him, Mr. Cleaves will go bye-bye for a long time.

In today's politically correct world, the very language we speak has undergone a remarkable transformation. Certain ethnic, racial, and religious terms from the past have been deleted like they never existed. In addition, there are no more cripples, nor bald, short, fat, or retarded people. They all still exist, of course, but are referred to by kinder, gentler names, so as not to -- horrors!! -- offend someone. Yet one is left to wonder whether the truly stupid ones can appreciate, much less comprehend the difference.

Even lawmakers and prosecutors have invented a new language. Though it still happens, nobody gets charged with "rape" anymore. This has been changed into varying degrees of "criminal sexual conduct". It can be first, second, or third degree but, in the end, laypeople (no pun intended) don't understand what the exact allegation(s) are. They just know somebody supposedly did something very bad in a sexual way.

The Mateen Cleaves case is shaking out much the same way in its early stages. He's been charged with three counts of criminal sexual conduct (rape), though that seems odd given only one incident allegedly occurred. Also with one count of assault with "intent" to commit criminal sexual penetration -- there's that pesky "rape" word again. If true, the "assault" word translates into beating somebody up before having their way with them. But the very word "intent" mentioned above somewhat clouds the whole scenario. Did he "intend" to do it, actually do it, or not do it at all? I mean c'mon. In cases like this, "intent" is a stupid word. If a rape occurred, it's a virtual certainly it didn't happen by accident. You don't just fall into these things. Ahem.

But prosecutors these days love to pile on charges that few outside the legal profession can fully comprehend. This has become a typical ploy as they look down the road at a "plea bargain". They'll charge a "perp" (another word we don't hear anymore) a variety of different ways for the same alleged crime. The media eats it up and regurgitates it to the public in sensational fashion, which is exactly what they want. Nothing like tainting a potential jury pool.  If they can just get the defendant to plead guilty to one charge, they'll typically dismiss all the others and chalk it up as a win.

Cleaves has also been charged with "unlawful imprisonment". That's sort of like "kidnapping" (when's the last time you heard that word?) an adult. But a definite no-no.

Maybe Cleaves did these bad things and maybe he did not. Hopefully, as all the evidence, or lack thereof, are thoroughly analyzed by objective, unbiased minds, justice will be done. Of course, such neutrality in the legal system long ago went the same way as former "shrews" and "brats". They too both still exist, but one is now an overly concerned mate and the other merely a misunderstood child.

We have evolved into a jurisprudence system where the truth has ceased to matter. Both prosecutors and defense attorneys care about only one thing. Winning. And they will use every dirty trick they can to accomplish it. Sometimes justice is eventually done, and sometimes not. Guilty people go free on technicalities. Innocent ones spend years behind bars. Some have even been wrongfully executed for crimes they didn't commit.

What is somewhat sadly comical in this case are the early statements of Cleaves' defense attorney. [The charges are an outrage, my client is totally innocent, looks forward to his day in court, and will be fully exonerated], says counsel. Maybe. But haven't we heard that line before a few times? We'll see.

That in itself isn't so funny, but his next statement was. [This has been catastrophic to my client's career. Where does he go to get his reputation back?]

Well then. The logical question might then be -- WHAT reputation?

Sure, Mateen Cleaves was a star player on the Michigan State Spartans' basketball team, even a national champion way back in 2000. Then a first round draft choice by his home state Detroit Pistons. He was a bust. For 6 seasons Cleaves bounced around the NBA on different teams, never lasting long. Throw in a stint in the D-league, playing for a Russian and a Greek team -- ANYTHING to collect a roundball paycheck. THAT reputation?

Cleaves has since fancied himself as some sort of musical talent scout. To boot, he's even done some basketball commentary as an "analyst" on some obscure cable station. Anything but going out and getting a REAL job after he crashed and burned at professional hoops. THIS is the reputation yon learned defense counsel is staunchly trying to resurrect in all its glory? Really? And his point is?

Nevertheless, here's hoping Mateen Cleaves didn't do these bad things. Maybe it will turn out to be another case of a false accusation -- with the "victim" hoping for a private settlement (see cha-ching) to make it all go away. But if Cleaves indeed did the crime(s) with which he is currently charged, then by all means throw his butt in the slammer for a decade or two.

Still, yours truly smells a plea bargain waiting to happen. Some money changes hands, the prosecutor gets a watered down "win", the typical couple years "probation" is ordered by the court, and Cleaves is back out there trying to find and sign up the next Bieber.

Isn't true justice wonderful?

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