Thanks to Bill Anderson http://www.lewrockwell.com/bothwell/bothwell12.html
Marylandís Poster Child for Tyranny: The Persecution of John Edison, Jr.
by Trevor Bothwell
Since the Fourth of July, Iíve had the good fortune to take pleasure in many of the little things in life that make it worth living.
For example, in August I took my family on a weekend trip to New York to celebrate my brother-in-lawís 40th birthday; in September I actually got the green light from my wife to buy an old muscle car after years of merely dreaming about it; last month I braved the frigid November air with my father-in-law at the Cowboys/Redskins game in Maryland; and perhaps best of all, back in October I helped my son celebrate his first birthday.
Contrast these experiences, if you will, with those of 16-year-old St. Maryís County, Maryland boy, John K. Edison Jr., who, since July 5, 2008, has been incarcerated in an adult jail without bond on charges that he violently raped a 12-year-old girl that same morning. He is accused of assaulting the girl sexually and beating her with a belt.
The problem, however? Edison, a minor, essentially has been confined in a government cage for more than five months over the mere accusation of rape by the alleged victim.
Extricated from his family and friends, the 16-year-old has appealed to the state for a trial in a juvenile court, only to be refused and held by the state indefinitely while prosecutors figure out how to pass this kid off as a rapist. After being forced to languish for months, Edison is finally getting his trial today (Dec. 15) in Leonardtown, Maryland.
How it all began
But first, some background. On the Fourth of July, two girls Ė the alleged 12-year-old victim and her 15-year-old friend Ė were hanging out with John Edison and his friend at Edisonís house, staying overnight until about 7:00 a.m. on July 5, at which point Edison told the girls they had to leave because his father would soon be home from work.
The boys accompanied the girls out of the house and down the street, a scene that was actually witnessed by a neighbor, who apparently has said the four kids were laughing and getting along. So imagine John Edisonís surprise when police showed up to arrest him for rape about three hours later.
According to Edisonís familyís account of the 911 tape, the 15-year-old girl initially told police that Edison raped her, but when she went to the hospital to be examined she retracted this claim and instead insisted that Edison raped the 12-year-old. Incidentally, police reports also indicate that the 15-year-old girl at one point claimed that Edisonís friend raped her, but she later recanted this as well.
John Edisonís aunt, Alice Gaskins, was also denied access to her nephewís interrogation when she showed up at the police station on the morning of July 5. Absent legal representation and denied the presence of a legal guardian, Edison was questioned alone by police, who repeatedly contended that he had raped the girl despite Edisonís insistence that any sexual contact that took place was consensual.
According to a report in the Enterprise, a local St. Maryís County newspaper, "Edison is accused in charging papers of pulling a 12-year-old girl into his bedroom on July 5 and having intercourse with her. He is being held without bond on charges which include second-degree rape and a second-degree sexual offense."
On the charges of second-degree sexual offense and second-degree rape, John Edison, Jr., is being charged under statute (a)(1), which states:
(a) Prohibited. A person may not engage in a sexual act with another:
(1) by force, or the threat of force, without the consent of the other;
To understand the seriousness of the charges against Edison, on these felonies alone he faces up to 40 years in prison.
However, prior to initial hearings Maryland prosecutors presented to Edisonís defense attorney, Kevin J. McDevitt, no physical evidence that a rape had occurred, nor did they provide him with statements gathered from either Edison himself or the accuser. Whether the prosecutionís failure to produce these statements was intentional or not, thereís a good reason it couldnít provide physical evidence of rape: it didnít have any.
According to an interview I had on September 16 with John Edisonís aunt, Alice Gaskins, the 12-year-oldís medical exam, which was conducted only hours after this alleged rape took place, revealed no evidence that a physical assault had occurred, much less a violent rape. In fact, the girlís hymen apparently was still intact at the time of her examination. (Medical records are sealed and therefore not available for public consumption. However, they can be requested and obtained by the family of the accused.)
A look at the prosecution
One need not be a legal scholar to believe that the state of Maryland is at this moment engaged in a gross miscarriage of justice as it violates the civil liberties of a 16-year-old child, who is almost certainly innocent of the charges levied against him. But to understand how easily John Edison can be stripped of his freedom, perhaps we need to examine the prosecution itself.
Meet St. Maryís County Stateís Attorney Richard Fritz. This is the same man who admitted almost two years ago that Maryland police needlessly escalated a standoff with Jamie Dean, an ex-soldier suffering from PTSD, to the point where they could justify executing him, but who nevertheless refused to bring any criminal charges against any of the officers involved.
Back in 1964 when he was 18, Fritz pled guilty along with two other men to having carnal knowledge of 15-year-old Carla Henning Bailey. The story came to light in 1998 on the eve of Election Day as Fritz was campaigning for the job of stateís attorney of St. Maryís County when St. Maryís Today publisher Ken Rossignol ran the headline, "Fritz Guilty of Rape," on the front cover of his newspaper.
In retaliation, Fritz teamed up with then-St. Maryís County Sheriff Richard J. Voorhaar in the wee hours of the morning on Election Day to dispatch sheriffís deputies across the county to buy up all the newspapers condemning Fritz. They, along with six deputies, have since been found liable for civil damages to Rossignol (case law here).
Fritz won the 1998 election with 54 percent of the vote, but the resulting brouhaha over Fritzís high school conviction compelled Bailey to break her silence after 35 years and tell her side of the story about what she calls a "gang rape" when she was 15.
In 2000, Chris Wallace interviewed Fritz, Rossignol, and Bailey on 20/20, during which Fritz, perhaps out of some sense of guilt or attempt to clear his tainted name, made this damning statement:
"I know that, as a prosecutor myself, if a 15-year-old girl came in and told me that she was held down, raped by three different people, Iíd immediately have them arrested and charged with first-degree rape."
That was eight years ago, but if John Edison is any indication, Fritzís outlook hasnít changed much. St. Maryís Countyís top prosecutor apparently believes, in his own warped sense of justice, that sheer accusation of rape constitutes enough probable cause to see a teenage boy banished to a jail cell, locked away from friends and family for months on end as he awaits trial.
So, the Spirit of Michael B. Nifong lives in Maryland and anywhere else where prosecutors are on a mission. This is Amerika at its "finest."
"They're putting on witnesses who they know are lying. They concealed exonerating evidence. Don't we have enough criminal conduct by the prosecutors to put them behind bars?"
"It doesn't work that way," the lawyer laughed. "When we break the rules we go to jail. When they break the rules they go to lunch...."
--- Eberle, Paul and Shirley. The Abuse of Innocence: The McMartin Preschool Trial ( 1993) (reporting a discussion between a friend of the Buckeys and a defense lawyer)