Ben LaGuer OPEN THREAD

As many of you know Ben LaGuer’s case is going to oral arguments in the SJC on January 4. For 23 years he has been claiming his innocence of a vicious rape. I have been posting to BMG about the case since last June. The case and the current round of appeals raise many many issues which I plan to get into here on BMG in the next two weeks. I’ve also opened accounts on MyDD and Daily Kos. I’ll explain in another post why I think it is important that the NetRoots be informed about what’s going on.

I’ll post another open thread on the topic next week as a lot of people are away from their computers right now. But I’ll be checking in pretty regularly over the Christmas weekend so I want to invite anyone who has any questions, comments or perspectives on the case whatsoever to post them here. I’ll do my best to answer every post whether it has to do with the facts of the case, legal issues it raises, or how the current process has unfolded. The last part has obviously been affected by the politicization of the case during the governor’s race. If you are not familiar with the case, visit the Web site I maintain at www.BenLaGuer.com. In the meantime, please use this OPEN THREAD to join the discussion.

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7 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. New Trial, New Hope

    It is obvious to me that the evidence calls for a new trial in Ben LaGuer's circumstance. We need to make sure we have the right man in jail. The lack of evidence that convicted him coupled with the missing evidence that would bring his conviction into question demands our attention. Innocent people are in jail and it seems that Mr. LaGuer is one of them. Is it too much that we review the facts? He's spending life in jail, shouldn't we be sure?

    I can't be the only person that cares about this, can I?

  2. Have You Ever Heard A Woman Compliment a Rapist?

    That was the question Kerry Healey asked during the campaign in her Parking Garage Ad. She was referring to Patrick's comments that Ben LaGuer is "thoughtful and eloquent." In an earlier post I noted that the Committee for Public Council Services filed an amicus brief in favor of LaGuer's motion for a new trial. This evening I learned that the Massachusetts Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers filed a motion to join that brief.

    Who are the individuals representing these groups that are lending their support to LaGuer as friends of the court? Two women: Debra S. Krupp and Anne C. Goldbach. Not to put too fine a point on this, but Healey tried unsuccessfully to turn LaGuer into a latter day Willie Horton and hang him around Patrick's neck. The fact is that many women have supported LaGuer's cause over the years. That these two women are taking a principled stance after Healey's misguided campaign is significant.

    The point here is that LaGuer was convicted of rape. He has steadfastly maintained that he is not a rapist. There is a great deal of evidence that he did not get a fair trial and also that he did not commit the crime. The SJC will be making its decision based on the fair trial question. But the case to be made on the actual innocence question is also very strong, and hopefully LaGuer will get a chance to make it at a new trial.

    • hi eric

      earlier i recall you provided a link to the defense brief.  do you have a link to the commonwealth's brief, too?  thanks. 

      • Yes

        Hi GGW: All the filings and rulings in this round of appeals are posted HERE. I post them as soon as I get them. You can also get there by going to www.BenLaGuer.com and looking for "Filings & Rulings Since February 11, 2004" on the menu at the left side of the page. If you want to go there directly, here is a link to the latest Commonwealth brief. It is worth reading, especially in the context of Rehnquist's rebuttal. I look forward to your thoughts.

        If you are interested, you can also hear Rehnquist's arguments at last year's Appeals Court hearing on an mp3 file as well as the arguments of ADA Sandra Hautanen. They are pretty interesting. For a rundown on ways Hautanen misstated the factual record in that hearing look here.

  3. LaGuer

    Keep up the good work pushing this.  You will only damage your new Gov.  You are fulfilling what a vast majority has always believed about some Patrick supporters.  Keep the ball rolling, I here the press is about to do a story on all this. You are doing Patrick more harm then good.

    • Merry

      Christmas to you too. This isn't about Patrick. This is about whether an innocent man has been in prison for the last 23 years. The SJC will let us know soon whether, in its opinion, he is legally guilty. That decision hinges on how it views a potentially exculpatory fingerprint report that was withheld from the defense at the time of trial. The bigger question is whether he is actually innocent. There are many indications that he did not commit the crime for which he was convicted and that a 2002 DNA test was marred by contamination. If you want to talk about that, lets. But just because Kerry Healey lunged into a case currently before the state's high court in a misguided effort to smear Patrick doesn't mean that everything that happens with LaGuer's legal quest is a reflection on Patrick or needs to be weighed in light of Bay State political calculus.

    • Just to Clarify

      Ben LaGuer's case has enough reasonable doubt tied to it to afford a new trial, and I cast a suspicious eye on anyone who can foo-foo that away without explanation. Perhaps you are just a sore loser as a result of the elections, but like it or not Patrick is your governor too. Instead of whining about him before he even takes office, why not give him a chance? Whatever happened to "United we stand; divided we fall"? There was a day when both parties respected the other because they knew the checks and ballance system was a sound idea. It still is, but you'd never know it with the vitriol that flies back and forth. How disappointing.

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Wed 22 Mar 8:17 PM