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Sydney Carton
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John Edison Jr.,Nifonged Today(December 15) in Maryland
« on: December 15, 2008, 02:03:48 PM »

Thanks to Bill Anderson

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.

The charges

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) 
Sydney Carton
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Re: John Edison Jr.,Nifonged Today(December 15) in Maryland
« Reply #1 on: December 20, 2008, 04:23:04 PM »


December 19, 2008
Edison Acquitted In Maryland
Posted by Bill Anderson at December 19, 2008 04:49 PM

Trevor Bothwell has posted on his blog that John Edison, Jr., was acquitted today of rape charges by a jury that deliberated for less than an hour. (The time of deliberation tells me that jurors had decided on acquittal even before Edison's attorney presented the defense.)

Bothwell, who attended some of the proceedings, told me that it was obvious from the beginning that the state's case was bogus. However, it also means that Edison is free for the first time since he was charged last July, as the government held him in jail without bond. Thus, he has served time for a crime he did not commit.

State's Attorney Richard Fritz was responsible for this outrage, so perhaps I can award him with the Nifong Award, given to the worst prosecutor of the previous year. Last year, it was the Attorney General of Rhode Island, Patrick C. Lynch (appropriately named), who charged a man with rape from more than 30 years ago as a result of fraudulent "recovered memories" therapy given to a woman. (Those charges were dropped after the AG admitted there was no way in Hades he could justifiably continue the case.)

So, Mr. Fritz, congratulations! You are the proud winner of the Nifong!
Sydney Carton
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Re: John Edison Jr.,Nifonged Today(December 15) in Maryland
« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2009, 05:04:32 PM »


      John Edison, Jr: Victim of Lies, Perjury, and Corruption
For nearly half a year the state of Maryland condemned 16-year-old John Edison Jr. to a government cage without bond as he faced charges of violently raping a 12-year-old girl on July 5, 2008. After being smeared as a rapist in the media, extricated from friends and family, and forced to miss more than three months of school, Edison faced 51 years in a penitentiary for a crime he not only didn't commit, but one that police and prosecutors almost certainly knew he couldn't possibly have committed but pursued anyway.

John Edison was acquitted of these horrendous charges last Friday, Dec. 19, after it took a jury less than one hour to find him innocent. As Frostburg University economics professor Bill Anderson noted after the trial, "The time of deliberation tells me that jurors had decided on acquittal even before Edison's attorney presented the defense."

This is meant to take nothing away from attorney Kevin J. McDevitt, of course; his heroic and vigorous defense of Edison is precisely what allowed jurors and other observers to realize the state's allegations against his client were entirely bogus in the first place. McDevitt's inspection of police reports and interrogation tapes, along with interviews with police officers involved with his client's arrest, revealed that Edison was essentially being framed by St. Mary's County Det. Bill Raddatz and Maryland State Police Det. Nims.

As a result of interviews with Edison's family, I've learned that Det. Raddatz lied from day one about observing scratch marks on John Edison. In fact, Raddatz wrote in a statement of charges that Edison had scratches on both of his arms, even though Edison told Raddatz that the only mark on his body was an abrasion put on one of his arms while he was being frisked in the police station by Maryland State Police Tpr. Roby -- who himself testified that he didn't remember seeing a single mark on Edison's body at the time of his arrest. Not only is such an abrasion inconsistent with defensive wounds from a violent rape, but Raddatz never even bothered to contact Roby about this claim.

Moreover, Det. Raddatz intentionally photographed marks on Edison's body that he knew weren't scratches, something he later admitted. Indeed, during the course of his investigation, McDevitt learned that three police officers saw Edison without a shirt on the morning of his arrest, and all of them said they didn't see scratches on Edison's body.

As if this complete fabrication of evidence weren't bad enough, Det. Raddatz also lied, at minimum, to fellow police officers and said that Edison admitted to raping the 12-year-old girl. According to a report from St. Mary's County Cpl. Stephen Myers, who is one of the officers who admitted to seeing no scratch marks on Edison, it was learned that the defendant confessed to sexual assault. However, there is no such confession present on interrogation tapes; all Edison admitted was that any sexual relations that transpired were consensual.

Enter Det. Nims, who showed up between 8:30 and 8:45 a.m. on the day of Edison's arrest and later committed perjury by swearing in a search warrant that John Edison had scratches on his chest. (So Raddatz insists there are scratch marks on Edison's arms; Nims says he saw scratches on Edison's chest. That's a lot of scratches on someone whose accuser admits during trial that she never once scratched Edison.)

Det. Nims also swore in a search warrant that he took DNA evidence from Edison but later admitted under oath that although he swore to collecting it, Det. Raddatz actually collected this evidence. This malfeasance shouldn't be too hard to believe considering the fact that Nims also perjured himself on the witness stand during Edison's trial when he lied about disclosing a mistake he made in one of his reports. Specifically, Nims testified that he disclosed during an earlier motions hearing that he mistakenly documented that the accuser reported bleeding from her vagina after she was allegedly raped. However, this claim was proven false by transcripts obtained from the prior hearing, during which Det. Nims made no such disclosure.

In no uncertain terms, John Edison has from the very first day of his arrest been the victim of blatant, unconscionable lies by the lead detectives in this non-rape case. Instead of conducting themselves as officers of the law and administering an unbiased investigation to determine whether or not laws were broken, Dets. Raddatz and Nims colluded to fabricate evidence against an innocent boy.

Equally contemptible in this matter is Assistant State's Attorney Joe Stanalonis, who pursued this case against Edison despite the ridiculous idea that someone could have actually committed a violent rape that resulted in absolutely no injuries to a single person involved.

In fact, at one point the 15-year-old friend of the accuser told Det. Nims that John Edison and his friend snatched the two girls off the street, dragged them into Edison's house, and raped them -- a statement Stanalonis attempted to exclude from evidence. In a separate report, this same girl contended to Tpr. Roby that Edison raped the 12-year-old while she tried to stop it, but Edison's friend grabbed her and raped her. And in yet another report, the girl tells police the four children were all hanging out together.

To believe that police and prosecutors thought John Edison (or his friend, who was arrested originally as well) actually committed a violent rape requires a suspension of disbelief suitable only for the most fantastic of science fiction movies. It is only due to the indefatigable work of Kevin McDevitt, one family's faith in a boy it knew to be innocent, and a jury comprising sensible folks that justice prevailed against the steepest of odds.

Given that the state reserves a monopoly on the use of force, one is hard-pressed to believe when dealing with its agents that honesty and integrity are even plausible, much less guaranteed.

Despite the moral depravity on display in this case, there were actually some good guys at work. In particular, the officers who admitted to seeing no scratches on John Edison at the time of his arrest deserve to be commended. However, Dets. Raddatz and Nims should be fired immediately. ASA Stanalonis deserves to be disbarred. State's Attorney Richard Fritz hardly escapes scrutiny, as he was aware of this case from the outset and used his influence with local judges to have Edison tried as an adult.

Just about everything about this case reeks of corruption, and all of these men should be charged with obstruction of justice for their abhorrent malfeasance and sabotage of an innocent citizen. The notion that such behavior would be tolerated in a country ostensibly founded on principles of individual liberty is absurd on its face.

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