Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Friday, January 25, 2008

Does Judge Hill Deserve a Red Card?

The Independent Voices had a fascinating op-ed piece by former prosecutor and trial lawyer Kim A. Seefeld on the Eric Frimprong rape case. It seems Frimprong, a Ghana native who played on the 2006 NCAA National Champion Gaucho mens soccer team, is being convicted of rape without due process and a preponderance of evidence.

She says his DNA was not found on the victim who had an incredibly high drug alcohol level and that her boyfriend's DNA was found on her. She said she and Frimpong wrestled with her on the sand on Del Playa -- but there is no evidence of such. Frimpong wasn't read his rights and hardly understood what was going on when a Sheriff's Deputy wanted to "talk". Read the article...if it is true, it is a shocking display of discrimination and lack of process in our legal system.

Unfortunately, very real consequences face Eric Frimpong who was drafted by the Kansas City Wizards for Major League Soccer, has no funds to appeal yet still has the respect of his former teammates and coach:

Everyone who met Eric came away with admiration and affection for this young man from West Africa. Eric was drafted by a professional soccer team, the Kansas City Wizards, and was set to graduate from UCSB with a degree in mathematics. UCSB soccer coach Tim Vom Steeg describes Eric as a wonderful young man who he cannot believe would commit rape.

Is this op-ed skewed? Bloggers over at The Indy claim that she didn't tell the whole story -- something she insists is the case during the trial. They say some DNA was found on his privates -- why didn't she mention that and why else would they be there? Was their sex consensual? Most of us are probably left confused in this strange case of who did what and when -- when we weren't in the courtroom to hear the whole story and may be prejudiced by the Kafatia case at City College.

What is really important, however, is did he really get a fair trial?

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know much more about this case than what I have read in a few articles, including a couple written by Ms. Seefeld. But, as legal system insider, I do know this: Prosecution of sex offenses (which are often little more than he said/she saids because sex, whether consensual or not, generally occurs in private between a he and a she) are supercharged by grant funding, gender equality political agendas, statistical lies*, ambitious attention-grabbing prosecutors and detectives, and community outrage with mostly fictional notions of monstrous sex predators (aka, the bogeyman).

*The most common statistical lies which are used to fuel and misinform the various members of the typical no holds barred prosecution team (whether cops, d.a.'s, SART nurses, profilers, and physicians) are (1) that a "typical" sex offender will commit a hundred or more sex crimes before getting caught, (2) that false accusations of sex crimes almost never happen (ha!) and (3) that sexual offenders are more likely to re-offend than other criminals. The resultant overly-aggressive prosecution of sex crimes (often turning a blind eye to real proof problems with the case), coupled with propaganda-driven community outrage and panic, most unfortunately, leads to a number of innocents getting convicted. And one is too many.

1/25/2008 9:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This has been a grotesque miscarriage of justice. Only equaled by the pained outcry of the alleged victims knee-jerk supporters. Fear of sexual black men makes white judges and juries crazy still.

1/25/2008 10:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One more example of over-zealous non-profits creating social hsyteria just to keep their own grant money flowing and their own executive director jobs intact. Some one needs to peel back the veneer of many of our local non-profits to see what in fact they do ...mainly for themselves.

This is one example of being part of the "solution" is actually part of the problem.

Thank you 9:13 for the clear exposition of this problem. As they say,....follow the money when you hear wounded cry from our social progressives ... and it more often than not leads back to securing more grant money ...for themselves.

1/26/2008 8:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In some ways this resembles the Clinton case. The law has been altered over the years to where it is illegal to have sex with a woman who is drunk.

A drunken woman has no capacity to say yes under the law. A man (or in principle another woman, but I've never heard of prosecutors going after such a case) who has sex with a drunken woman is thus always guilty of rape under current law.

Now there are lots of drunken women in IV. In principle there are as many rape convictions as prosecutors care to pursue.

The only real restraint is the women themselves, who by and large don't pursue prosecution. Law enforcement also declines to prosecute an awful lot of cases, because they know that in the usual circumstances, where a woman was drunk and in a compromising position, a jury won't convict. Even if she tried to say no.

The Frimpong case stands out because the woman was left alone, without pants, bruised, and passed out on a beach. Something really beyond the pale seemed to happen, and prosecutors knew a jury would take interest.

If Frimpong really was not the perpetrator, then his attorney needed to build an alternative narrative. His attorney did not do so. He called just one witness, and that simply did not provide grounds for the jury to attribute the apparent outrage to another cause.

Although Frimpong by no means had to testify, it seems to me his is an extremely good and calm person in most circumstances. I was kind of baffled why his attorney did not put him on the stand; that could have provided the alternative narrative.

Or, if the victim really didn't have sand on her and her story didn't hold up, why didn't the defense attorney build that narrative up with his case?

So the real fault (if Frimpong is not guilty) lies with the defense attorney, Robert Sanger, I believe. He miscalculated, and the cause of his miscalculation may indeed have been failure to account for racism on the jury. If Frimpong looked like a Montecito Boy Scout, the jury might not have needed an alternative narrative. But Frimpong is not just African but he is deep, dark black, which just scares all-white juries.

1/26/2008 8:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sara, did it occur to you to mention the "very real consequences" that face the victim of this convicted rapist??? Unbelievable that you would post this. It would be one thing if this case had never been filed, as so often happens in "he said she said" cases--- in this case, it WAS filed, there WAS evidence and he WAS CONVICTED. So, just wonder how many young women will be discouraged from reporting rapes because of the irresponsible post of yours.
Shame on you.
PS: consider this-- Kim Seefield is one of Travis Armstrongs legal why doesn't that inform your post here like it does on most issues.

1/26/2008 10:21 AM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

Of course there are consequences for the victim -- goes without saying. Conviction without due process, however, is not right and leaves other victims -- whether guilty or not. Of course rapes should be reported as well -- my intention here was to question the process whether guilty or innocent. Which do you preseme comes first?

1/26/2008 12:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The consequences for this "victim" started the moment she opened her mouth to pour liquour in it, but apparently she refused to acknowledge it. She said yes, yes, yes all the way after that. She was no victim.

Nor was there any proof she did not engage in willing acts. She is not a victim of her failed memory because she brought this condition on herself.

Frimpong is innocent until proven guilty and nothing in this case proved anything. That is a miscarriage of justice. He cannot be convicted because he chose not to testify or even if he had an insufficient attorney. The jury convicted him the moment he walked into the courtroom and saw he was black and the victim was white. I have seen this happen too many times before.

1/26/2008 1:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sara-- that was my point in my 10:21am anon posting--- the "process" is "innocent until proven guilty". Frimpong was "proven guilty". That is not an opinion, that is fact.

You, and the INdie, might want to check the "credentials" that Seefield purports to have......

1/26/2008 1:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It would be great if someone could post the transcript of the trial on the web.

1/26/2008 4:18 PM  
Anonymous Sad, just sad said...

Sara--- the ugliness of the comments attacking the victim are really crossing the line......are you really ok with this? Kind of stunning if you are. and here I thought I knew you.

Also, I'm wondering how long it will take you and/or the Independent to realize howhoodwinked you've been by Kim Seefeld. Anyone who's been following Kim's and Travis' efforts to demonize people in subsidized housing would be aware of Kim's vendetta against the District Attorney's office, once she realized the D.A. would not roll over and "prosecute" her neighbors. Yep, Seefeld has been trying for years to persecute those who she claims have committed "fraud". Up till now, only Travis A. have bought into her twisted logic. Now, she has found a willing and vulnerable crowd for her to direct her vendetta against the D.A.

Nice work, Kim. You even got Sara de la G. to bite!

Too bad, though, that this young woman had to be revictimized in the process.

1/26/2008 4:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I followed this trial a little bit without presuming anything ... and it stunned me when the jury found him guilty. And I'm white.

I don't understand what I missed, except that maybe the jury just decided to take the victim at her word. Is that what they're supposed to do? The evidence itself just didn't add up to a conviction, which is, I would assume, why Sanger didn't even bother to put up a defense.

I guess his mistake was not paying closer attention to who was being put on the jury. If you don't think there isn't subconscious prejudice out there, especially when it deals with a black man being with a white woman, then you haven't really been paying attention.

Maybe he was guilty. I sure as hell don't know from having followed the trial, and I guess that was the whole point of Seefeld's missive. I don't care if she is one of Travis' pals.

I'm not sure if anybody really knows if Frimpong is guilty except Frimpong himself. I don't know how in the world the victim could be sure, considering the amount of alcohol she drank (she's lucky she didn't poison herself). But I've got to imagine that she BELIEVES it was Frimpong. Otherwise, how could she live with herself now?

1/26/2008 4:36 PM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

4:22 pm -- I see what you are saying and I guess I wasn't clear enough when I said I was left confused. If Frimpong didn't get read his rights and not all of the evidence was brought to bear -- there is a problem because if he didn't do this, there would be little evidence on record to prove otherwise. If he did do it -- one could say "by any means necessary" -- but is that the way trials should be held?

1/26/2008 4:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sara-- again, what are you basing your comments on in your 4:59 statement? First hand accounts? Interviews with people who were in the Courtroom? Jurors?

Or the heavily biased rantings of Kim Seefeld, whose agendae against local government are too numerous to name. I would hope that you would do a bit of corroboration before you'd put such BS on your site.

Are you trying to increase readership by such tittilating statements as "Dna found on his privates"....that truly is beneath you.

1/26/2008 5:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey 5:08 ...

Cut Sara some slack. I don't want her burying her head in the sand just because an issue is controversial. People are definitely talking about this case, and it could start getting some national attention.

I'm hearing from a few people in the legal community that Frimpong's appeal may get granted because of the way the investigation and trial were handled.

1/27/2008 12:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a woman who was raped in the 1980s (when you didn't dare report it) I find the portrayal of the vicitm in this blog to be disheatening. Yes,so she was drinking, so was he!
The man who raped me was also an athlete on a college team and I didn't report it because I felt he would have gotten away with it. It takes incredible courage to report a rape, Do you really think the victim would want to go through the arrest, and trial process if the rape didn't occur? What's in it for her?

1/27/2008 7:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kim Seefeld was dead on right about the county housing fraud. Thank goodness someone like her has the boldness to speak up ...and keep talking. Go Kim!

1/27/2008 9:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

WOW, you’ all have to be kidding me. Without due process? What do you call a trial, motions, and other things associated with our legal system; all the while being represented by one of the best attorneys in the county. How many people, regardless of skin color have that luxury?

So, I guess that just because the girl was drunk then she can’t be a victim? Suppose she was killed, so because she was drunk she is no longer a victim? He too was drunk, and by your logic, then he couldn’t have done it? Being intoxicated IS NOT a legal defense: period, under any circumstances (law school 1A). Or is it because he’s black, so he can’t be a perpetrator? If you take any of these arguments from a statistical standpoint (ignoring the logic); then they all are fallacious, just read any FBI crime statistic report and you’ll see for yourselves.

So, I guess we then just ignore the injuries she sustained? Any viewing of her photographs shows that he literally beat the crap out of her; plus the documented injuries to her private parts, AND all the while her injuries were totally and completely consistent with her “story”.

We also have to ignore the fact that her DNA was found on his genitals? So what if her boyfriend’s DNA was found on her? And, just because Frimpong’s DNA was not found doesn’t mean anything either. There are all kinds of explanations for that that are totally innocent and logical. That means nothing and the jury made the correct connection that many here seem to be missing. I guess it’s because he an oppressed minority. Give me a break.

Oh, and, if the government was so happy to persecute him, then why did they not try the other (at least) two other victims who came forward with similar stories? Their cases were judged to be weak and they did not go forward with them. Sounds like they went kind of easy on him to me, instead of taking it to the limit like some are suggesting.

And let’s not forget something rather important: that being mister innocent came from Ghana. But, oh, I guess we are to believe that Ghana is some pure and innocent third world paradise where crime does not exist. RIIIIIGGGGGTTTTT. Ghana is little better than a third world hell-hole dominated by an Islamic culture where women are less than second-class citizens who have no rights at all AND can’t say no to a man. Maybe he rose above the culture and society of his birth and upbringing, but from the evidence it would appear not.

You people would make Al Sharpton and Tawana Brawley proud.

1/27/2008 10:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shame on those of you who desire to foreclose public debate about this case, criticizing Sara for choosing it as a subject (while taking the liberty to comment) and classifying other's 1st amendment protected speech as a "revictimization".

Thank you Sara for bringing up an important issue to the community. There are clearly several sides to this story. We are not expressing an opinion about the merits of the case.

We pity the fools who fail to understand what our free society is all about.

THis means you: 10:21 AM, YOU seem to believe that there are those who KNOW (you), so apparently everyone whose opinion is different than yours should just SHUT UP). That's convenient.

The "Unbelievable that you would post this", and Travis connection comments merely demonstrate, in our humble opinions, the bigotry of your personal positon, which, of course, you are fully entitled to.

Based on your logic nobody should comment on a jury verdict. What about OJ? Go tell that to the press.

Say what you want about convictions, etc... It ain't over till it's over... look at how many have been FREED FROM DEATH ROW over the past several years.

You big dummies.

Fred & Lamont Sanford

1/27/2008 1:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To 7:15 AM ...

I hear what you're saying. Rape is violence, not sex. A prostitute does not deserve to have such violence perpetrated upon her, let alone a drunk coed.

But the victim's extreme inebriation does leave question to the credibility of her identification. She wasn't just drunk, she drank enough to be unconscious.

I have the deepest sympathy for the victim whether Frimpong was the rapist or not, because clearly she was violated in a violent way. The way the investigation and trial were handled, though, troubles me, especially because the defendant is a foreign black man who didn't appear to get a fair break from the police or the prosecutor.

1/27/2008 2:56 PM  
Blogger Greg Knowles said...

This entire situation is just very sad. 2 young peoples lives have been changed forever. Having a daughter who left UCSB because of the party atomosphere after her freshman year makes me wonder. I only hope both of these young people can recover from this. Who cares about the politics of the authors, we should be concerned about the young lives that have been affected.

1/27/2008 3:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There was none of Frimpong's DNA in any of the alleged bites on the victim. That is pretty weird, if Frimpong was the perp.

It's also weird that she had none of Frimpong's DNA on her.

Then there is the simple fact that she did meet her boyfriend that night while with Frimpong.

If Sanger thought it was the boyfriend and not Frimpong, Sanger should have developed that alternative. Where was the boyfriend for the time period in question? The press didn't cover that detail well. That's why the transcript would be interesting to read... the boyfriend was put on the stand, but not by Sanger.

It's real incompentance by Sanger.

1/27/2008 4:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like how we hold vigils for rape victims, and do nothing but bring up the tragedy of rape. We tell everyone that rape is a tragically under-reported crime because many victims are afraid nobody will believe them.

Then, when a UCSB Soccer player is accused, the entire community, especially the students, began screaming that he was falsely accused and the victim was a liar! It is embarrassing that our community has become so hypocritical.

1/27/2008 6:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anon 6:53-- good point. But this is not "the entire community" who is attacking the victim and deifying the accused rapist. Just a very very small tiny part. Unfortunately, they and their opportunistic defenders have gotten lots of free media.

Whether 2008 or 1950, when a popular athlete is accused of ANY crime--- especially rape---well, it doesn't matter how intelligent, consciousness-raised or "sensitive" the populace is--- there will be this perverted tendency to conclude "he couldn't have done it". and a resurrection of all the anti-rape-victim myths that many of us thought were long buried.

Frimpong seems to have struck gold in that some of his teammates have rich families, far away from the truth but more than willing to exploit and distort the facts if for no other reason than to have their minute in the sun.


1/28/2008 6:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Isn't treating an athlete that way -- especially a black one -- just another form of discrimination? I'm not hearing most people say "he couldn't have done it".

I'm hearing more about the process and why his rights weren't read correctly. Why some evidence does not seem to have been accepted or presented in the court room. Is that because some are so quick to judge because he "must have done it because she says so?"

No matter what our moral indignation around rape -- there are procedural matters that need to be addressed as well whenever someone is arrested -- whether or not one is an athlete.

1/28/2008 6:47 AM  
Anonymous First District Streetfighter said...

Wow. Here is a string of comments that actually discuss substantive issues in a civil manner and do not drag the News-Press Mess into it because indeed it is not relevant this time.

1/28/2008 10:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To 6:05 AM ...

Perhaps the police and prosecutor and jury all felt the same as you, that black athletes such as O.J. get away with too much because of their popularity.

My fear is that such a sentiment could have stirred a rush to judgment in this case, and the fact that he was a foreigner made it all the easier to vote guilty.

Just a thought, but it does worry me. This was tragic for the victim in any case. But if she was mistaken because of her excessive inebriation, then this has become horrifically tragic.

1/28/2008 11:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are serious misstatements of fact in these comments. There was NO VAGINAL DNA of the "victim" on Frimpong, just two isolated non-vaginal cells. There was NONE of Frimpong's DNA on the victim. There was no evidence that Frimpong bit the victim, the expert said the evidence was "inconclusive". If this is all it takes to convict a man of raping a person who is so intoxicated she could not possibly have a clear memory, God help all the men who have casual, innocent contact with women and then hold their genitals to go pee, leaving a few errant cells behind.

1/28/2008 5:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The guy's a convicted rapist pure and simple!

1/28/2008 8:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If there is only her DNA on his genitals, sounds like she performed oral sex on him. He was clearly her victim of sexual assault, according to the alleged evidence that both were too drunk to present.

How can you convict someone when the victim is so drunk as to be incoherent and only has her boyfriend's vaginal DNA.

Who changed the definition of rape? Has it changed to something a drunken person can concoct? Or something that always happens if you are out with a black guy, no matter if there is none of his DNA?

No wonder everyone got confused here. Rape is now whatever a drunk white gal says it is. Listen up guys.

1/29/2008 7:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

7:18am that is right... any sex at all with a woman who is under the influence of alcohol is now legally categorized as rape. That is because the woman when under the influence cannot consent.

It would be great if the transcripts of the Frimpong trial could be posted somewhere on the web.

1/29/2008 10:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sara--- as evidenced by your allowing the comments of anon 7:18---- HAVE YOU NO DECENCY? Now you are allowing a multitude of horrendous statements and accusations. Just fyi---- I am DONE with blogabarbara. This posting crossed the line.

1/29/2008 10:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From these comments it is totally clear why so many women choose not to report rape. The victim becomes a slut that deserves what she got even though the rapist gets the luxery of being innocent until proven guilty. I hope every one of you that makes rash comments before you think never has a daughter, mother, sister, girlfriend, etc. get raped because you will never truly understand how devistating it is. Drunk or not, NOBODY deserves to be raped.

1/29/2008 11:44 AM  
Blogger Sara De la Guerra said...

10:54 AM -- I agree with the postings that drunk or not -- nobody deserves to be raped. Of course. Unfortunately, neither yourself or the above mentioned commenter is making a distinction which is important here -- is he guilty only because someone says so? Clearly the jury did...but why is the evidence such a muddle?

7:18 AM should also realize what happens when your blood alcohol level is 3.4 -- blackout stage for most people, where you don't have capacity to defend yourself...

I'm sorry if you are DONE because we have a controversial issue -- but there have been many before and there will be many in the future. Please don't make the mistake of thinking I agree with a comment I allow -- allowing them also gives a space for people like yourself to prove a point and educate others.

1/29/2008 6:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Frimpong's victim had a blood alcohol level of 0.3 ... 0.38 just killed a young man at Clemson

1/30/2008 3:31 PM  

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