Steve and Jen bring you this daily review of the news
Premium Advertiser

News Blog Sponsors

News Links

BBC World Service
The Guardian
Washington Post
Iraq Order of Battle
NY Times
LA Times
ABC News

Blogs We Like

Daily Kos
Digby's Blog
Operation Yellow Elephant
Iraq Casualty Count
Media Matters
Talking Points
Defense Tech
Intel Dump
Soldiers for the Truth
Margaret Cho
Juan Cole
Just a Bump in the Beltway
Baghdad Burning
Howard Stern
Michael Moore
James Wolcott
Cooking for Engineers
There is No Crisis
Whiskey Bar
Rude Pundit
Crooks and Liars
Amazin' Avenue
DC Media Girl
The Server Logs

Blogger Credits

Powered by Blogger

Archives by
Publication Date
August 2003
September 2003
October 2003
November 2003
December 2003
January 2004
February 2004
March 2004
April 2004
May 2004
June 2004
July 2004
August 2004
September 2004
October 2004
November 2004
December 2004
January 2005
February 2005
March 2005
April 2005
May 2005
June 2005
July 2005
August 2005
September 2005
October 2005
November 2005
December 2005
January 2006
February 2006
March 2006
April 2006
May 2006
June 2006
July 2006
August 2006
September 2006
October 2006
November 2006
December 2006
January 2007
February 2007
Comments Credits
Comments by YACCS
Wednesday, March 22, 2006

The OC rape case

To call Joe Cavallo a weasel demeans weasels

Pinko Feminist Hellcat breaks down the OC rape trial and the defense tactics used. Scummy isn't the word for them

The bully boy squeals

Gary, a frequent commenter, let me know that Joe Cavallo went off on the Abrams report last night about how supposedly Jane Doe is attacking the law profession by naming Cavallo in her lawsuit. He also continued to trash Jane Doe, insisting that she wanted everyone to know who she was, citing stuffed animals sympathizers sent to her as proof.

Cavallo, the king of cliches, insists that Jane Doe will "rue the day" she named him in her lawsuit, and that he'll put her through the wringer. He insists that he'll dredge up more of her sex life (since that's relevant to his unethical conduct). Joe Cavallo, slut baiting? Golly, I'm sure Jane Doe and her lawyer never saw that coming. It's so unlike him to be puritanical and backwards about sex, after all. He's never shown his hang-ups about women and sex in the courtroom before.

Cavallo said he did nothing improper in trying to defend a client who could have faced life in prison, and characterized the lawsuit as "revenge" for his zealous representation.

"If they think what I did in the criminal case was aggressive, they're attacking me personally now," Cavallo said. "By the time I get done with Jane Doe, the case won't be worth $10. I know more about Jane Doe than her lawyer and her family."

During the criminal trial, Cavallo and other defense attorneys cast her as a would-be porn star who merely faked unconsciousness on the tape, cross-examining her relentlessly and underscoring her earlier sexual behavior. Cavallo, planning to represent himself in the civil trial, said he would question her even more thoroughly, unencumbered by the rape shield law that limits inquiry into her past during a criminal trial.

"Only 10 to 20% of what we had on Jane Doe and her family came out during the criminal case," Cavallo said. "They're going to rue the day they brought me into this case."

Granted, I can't blame the defense for their desperation. And desperate they were--they tried to suppress the tape, and when that fell short, slut-bait, slander, and try to get a porn actress as an expert witness. They spun until they burst into flame. They had to. There was a witness who confirmed that the OC rapist three knew exactly what they were doing.

. . .[T]he DA's office delivered a bombshell witness statement that amplifies a different theory*the prosecution's. According to Kevin Rogers, a friend of Nachreiner and Haidl, the defendants bragged on July 7, 2002, that they'd filmed a gangbang the night before with a girl they described as "passed out" and boasted that they'd "gotten her with pool sticks." One day later, Rogers told prosecutors, Nachreiner and Haidl were less enthusiastic; they were indeed panicked: they'd lost the Sony Hand-Held camcorder containing the sex video. According to Rogers, the pair said they would "do anything" for its return or destruction. He also remembered that Nachreiner was "upset, irritated and yelling" and that Haidl was so distraught he cried. Teenagers staying in a Newport Beach rental discovered the camera and video. They're no experts, but their reactions to viewing the video are telling: they were so convinced Doe was dead that they turned the camera and video over to police.

Actually, it wasn't "teenagers," it was Lindsay Picou, who was 18 at the time. She was put through hell for her trouble.

The case began when an 18-year-old woman, Lindsay Picou, found the videotape of the incident at a rented beach house. She was so disturbed that she hid the tape in a towel, put it in her car, and later gave it to a police officer.

Ms Picou was regarded locally as a pariah as a result, eventually having to move away from the area. After watching the videotape, she had feared that the unconscious woman was dead. Her mother told The Los Angeles Times : “My daughter was raised in a Christian home and did what she’s supposed to do, and for that, no deed goes unpunished.

“It’s been four years of hell.”

That was just a prelude for what was to come. The brunt of the pro-rapist camp's rage would be focused on Jane Doe and her family, and the defense oversaw it.

Contrary to Joseph Cavallo's whining, this isn't an attack on providing a vigorous defense. It's taking him to task for the actions he took and sanctioned against Jane Doe outside of the courtroom. This is why Joseph Cavallo's been named in the suit:

Since the moment the tape was recovered by police, there's been an effort to destroy Doe. An army of Haidl lawyers and private detectives have continually hounded her and her family; posted inflammatory fliers in her neighborhood; called her a "slut" who tricked "an innocent boy" into making a "sex film" because she wanted to be a "porn star"; spread defamatory rumors about each member of her family; persuaded her high school friends to betray her in court; tailed her to her new high school and informed her new, unsuspecting friends about the rape case; and released her private medical and psychological records to the media.

This is known as stalking, slander and harassment--all of which are against the law. As is releasing confidential medical information about someone to the media. That goes beyond providing a vigorous defense and oozes into criminal behavior. Oh, and personal? Cavallo complains that the lawsuit is personal? So was this extra legal behavior on the defense's part. Dish it out, learn to take it, Joe. And stop whining.

We can take a look at his own parade of witless witnesses to see where the defense lied about Jane Doe. Vanessa Obmann, with whom Cavallo had discussed an internship opportunity in his office, admitted she had altered her written statement in order to help the defense. Jenna Stroh, Melissa Matsumoto, Hayley Fiori and Alex Chapman had problems keeping their stories straight as well.

Just one shining example of getting busted on the stand:

Hess is a mild-mannered veteran deputy DA, but his aggressive cross-examination of the girls*who blurted out the alleged victim's name more than a half-dozen times*proved illuminating. He got a reluctant Stroh to admit she originally told police Doe's story about the rape was "truthful"; that she'd originally told police Doe was "out of it" during the rape; and her assertion that Doe wanted to be a "porn star" had been taken out of context by the defense.

Jane Doe was drunk! No, wait, er, she wasn't! She said she was a porn star 'cause like she totally wanted to be a porn star. Well, maybe she didn't since that mean old prosecutor had to point out that I said the defense took it out of context. She's not honest, 'cause like, she totally lies to her parents. Well, like, um, yeah, so do we, but that's different. Lying's immoral. She also said that she should get raped more often! I remember that, it was on July 9th, and we were playing pool at the time. Yes, she said it on July 9th. I'm saying it under oath, aren't I? What? Oh. . .she was at the police station and in the hospital on that day. Well, um, I don't know. Could I have an extra pair of hands and a flashlight? I'm having a very difficult time finding my ass, your honor.

Joe Cavallo has a history of ethical problems in the OC Rape case alone:

. . .[W]e got one possible explanation for the evolution of Vanessa Obmann's testimony. On June 2, Hess' colleague Brian Gurwitz carried into court a boom box containing a jailhouse recording the prosecution says contradicts Obmann's denials. The tape, recorded covertly by the Riverside Sheriff's Department without the Orange County DA's knowledge, reveals Obmann's friend Jessy Heidt talking to her incarcerated boyfriend, whom the 49-year-old Cavallo also represents.

When Gurwitz hit play, we heard Heidt tell the inmate Obmann had been bragging that she went to Cavallo's office "all the time!" She continues:

Heidt: And [Obmann is], like, yeah, she goes, "I was trying to hook him up with my mom, but he wasn't gonna have that because he said he doesn't date anybody over 25!"

Inmate: Yeah. [Laughing] He's like that!

Heidt: Then she said she's gonna do her internship there. Joe [Cavallo] said he would let her do that because Fox News is all after her, trying to talk to her, because, I guess, she knows a lot of stuff.

John Barnett, Nachreiner's attorney, thought so much of the recording that he immediately asked Briseño for a mistrial or, in the alternative, that his client's case be severed from Haidl's. Whether the DA's tape is legitimate or not, Barnett said cryptically, "The damage is done."

Cavallo sat silently in his seat, staring blankly at Gurwitz's boom box.

Cavallo also paid jurors after the first trial to consult with the defense.

Some lawyers think this is just fine--everyone needs to do research, after all, to provide a vigorous defense. But others are more troubled by this. The county prosecutor in the OC Rape case, Tony Rackauckas, said that it jurors sitting on a case could decide they'd be able to make money for the defense if the refused to convict. Other attorneys see it as a danger the jury system itself.

But Cavallo's move, which paves the way for jurors to gain financially through service as a consultant on a criminal retrial, is said to be without precedent. Jury consultants, including Tom Bernthal of Jury Insight in Los Angeles, say they've hired former jurors from civil trials to probe into how they reached their verdicts. But legal experts have never heard of jurors in a criminal trial being used in such a fashion.

"I've never heard of that, not once," says Prof. Nancy Marder, who specializes in jury research at the Chicago-Kent College of Law. "It violates the core idea of jurors, that they are dispassionate, un-invested participants. That's unseemly and compromises the integrity of the court system."

Two of those jurors approached Robbie Ruiz, foreman of the jury of the second trial. Ruiz was also tailed by a defense PI.

But the case provided startling moments for Ruiz even outside the courtroom. During the latter part of the trial, he says, he was clumsily tailed by Haidl PI Warren to the Costa Mesa Inca Grill for dinner. One night, after the trial, two jurors from the first trial knocked on his front door. They wanted information to discredit the guilty verdicts. He says those ex-jurors, who were on the Haidl payroll, insisted the defendants are "really good boys."

Play ball, and you get a nice consulting gig. Vote guilty, and you get tailed and hassled.

You really can't complain about a lawsuit when you pull this crap, and you shouldn't expect any thank you notes for it, either. You can't whine about how this lawsuit is personal and vengeful when you've done nothing but attack someone personally, violate them, slander them, harass them, and retaliate against them for testifying about their videotaped rape.

Doe isn't suing Cavallo for providing a vigorous defense--she's suing him for going over the line. Cavallo's the typical bully--he can dish it out, but boy does he squeal when he has to take it.

This was witness intimidation on a massive scale. I think if the civil suit is successful, the OC DA's office might have to look at a witness intidimidation case. These folks were beyond desperate to make this go away and it didn't.

Good boys? They don't rape girls and videotape it for a lark. Then their parents don't try to intimidate the victim into silence. I hope this goes to trial and Doe's lawyer ask what kind of parents these people are. Please say they're innocent in open court. Please.

Jane Doe is a heroine and I hope she's all over TV before the civil trial. If she could survive that, and put those rapists in jail where they belong, if I were Cavallo, I'd be scared shitless. Because he's about to have a bunch of people on his ass. Just finished watching Nancy Grace go batshit over the Debra LaFave case, where a teacher raped a 14 year old boy and walked away clean.
She was quite unhappy.

When this hits traditional media, that innocent shit will not fly. Saying she asked for it will not fly. Trashing her will not fly. By the time the media gets finished, settlement will look really good. If Doe doesn't want to humiliate them in open court for a change. Then there's the book and movie deal and the Oprah appearance.

This is going to go way beyond the OC.

posted by Steve @ 1:09:00 AM

1:09:00 AM

The News Blog home page


Editorial Staff

Add to My AOL

Support The News Blog

Amazon Honor System Click Here to Pay Learn More
News Blog Food Blog
Visit the News Blog Food Blog
The News Blog Shops
Operation Yellow Elephant
Enlist, Young Republicans