Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Radley Balko on Duke LAX and James Giles

Radley Balko has an excellent point about the Duke lacrosse affair:

How many of you know anything about the name "James Giles?"

Giles is a Texas man who served 10 years in prison, as well as an additional 14 years on probation and as a registered sex offender, for a rape committed in 1982.

Last week--the same week the Duke lacrosse team was exonerated--Giles too was exonerated, thanks to DNA evidence.

I'm guessing not many of you have heard of Giles. And I'm guessing just about all of you have heard of Reade Seligmann, David Evans, and Collin Finnerty.

This isn't to diminish what happened to the Duke players. It's to demonstrate the selective outrage on display from some of their defenders. The Duke guys didn't do a day of hard time. Giles did 10 years. The Duke guys were wrongfully labeled rapists for a little more than a year. Giles, for 24 years.

Google News count for "Duke lacrosse:" 4,168.
Google News count for "James Giles:" 418.
Google Blog Search hits for "Duke lacrosse:" 32,227.
Google Blog Search hits for "James Giles:" 180.

I'm just sayin'.

Great observation. But to add some perspective, let's do a few more searches:

Google News hits for "Duke lacrosse Al Sharpton": 274
Google News hits for "James Giles Al Sharpton": 1
Google News hits for "Duke lacrosse Jesse Jackson": 386
Google News hits for "James Giles Jesse Jackson": 1

The one hit associating James Giles with Sharpton and Jackson is actually the same site. It turns out to be a news roundup that mentions the Giles story on the same page with Sharpton's and Jackson's responses to the Imus scandal. So it probably shouldn't count.

And for further perspective, searching for James Giles' name with any of the prominent '08 presidential candidates produces zero hits. That includes Obama. The only exception is McCain, who turned up on the same news roundup mentioned above.

If you ask me, the problem with the American judicial system starts with the prosecutors, public defenders, and judges, as demonstrated by both the Giles and Duke cases. But the system isn't going to change very fast on its own. Someone needs to step up and spend some political capital.

(Via Yglesias.)