Jurors felt youth prison official was guilty but were swayed by ex-cop, lack of physical evidence

John Paul Hernandez

The Associated Press has an interesting follow-up about the trial of John Paul Hernandez, who was acquitted of charges that he sexually molested five inmates at the West Texas youth prison where he served as principal.

Basically, according to the AP, many jurors felt Hernandez was guilty, but they were persuaded by an ex-cop who raised questions about whether prosecutors had proven their case beyond a reasonable doubt, given that there was no physical evidence:

Nancy Gray told The Associated Press that the officer “did a lot of talking” about reasonable doubt to the eight who believed John Paul Hernandez was guilty when deliberations started.

“A lot of people changed their minds because he kept saying, pressing the point, that he had to be guilty beyond a reasonable doubt,” said Gray, who was the last to agree to the not guilty verdicts. “I was the holdout, all the way through. It was hard. That’s why it was very emotional for me.” …

Gray said jurors “absolutely” would have thought differently had there been physical evidence. Prosecutors presented no DNA, no fingerprints and no hair samples to back up the former inmates’ stories, though the jury believed each man had testified truthfully about having been abused by Hernandez.

Gray said deliberations grew testy at times and she unloaded her sentiments on the other jurors.

She said she told them: “‘You know this bastard is guilty’ and I was bawling. These boys are going to live with this the rest of their lives. Maybe they’ve done some bad things, but they didn’t deserve what happened to them.”

The Odessa American reports that nine of the 12 jurors initially wanted to convict Hernandez. And the AP says the verdict left one of Hernandez’s alleged victims stunned:

“I can’t believe this happened,” the young man, now 26, said in an e-mailed statement through his attorney. “What Mr. Hernandez did to me ruined my life. I told the jury the truth, and now I’ll never be able to get over what happened. When I broke the law, I went to TYC. When he broke the law, there was no consequence.”

—  John Wright

RICH’S MIXTAPE: Valentine’s edition

Not a big Valentine’s person? Love got you down? Just broke up? Hey, no worries. Single people aren’t forgotten here on the Mixtape. Just turn it up and drink away.

“Skin” — Sade: The sultry singer pretty much drop-kicks that bastard right out of your life. And she does it in the sexiest way possible.

“Wish You’d Just Hate Me Like Everyone Else” — Patrick Boothe: Face it, sometimes you want people to leave you alone but they just don’t get it.

“Sex Robot” — Fritz Helder and the Phantoms, pictured: Perhaps it’s encouraging bad behavior, but yes, go out and have all kinds of sex. Hayyyyy!

“Goodbye Earl” — Dixie Chicks: OK, so you don’t wanna tuck that ex into the back of your trunk and dump the body, but you can pretend. Venting’s good.

“Sweet Tooth” — Otep. Heavy metal. Chocolate. Sure she sounds like Hades opened up and released a wrath, but sometimes that’s what you need.

— Rich Lopez

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition Feb. 11, 2011.

—  John Wright

Court: Professor Calling You A ‘Fascist Bastard’ For a Pro-Prop 8 Speech Is Not a Legal Matter

collegelecturehall

Jonathan Lopez is the Los Angeles City College student whose professor John Matteson cut short, in the days after 2008's Prop 8 decision, Lopez's classroom speech on the definition of marriage and what the Bible thinks of homogays. Lopez sued for financial damages, claiming his First Amendment rights were violated after Mattseon berated him and called him (and anyone who voted for Prop 8) a "fascist bastard." And while a lower court approved Lopez's suit, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals just told him to get the F out of their stack of paperwork in a unanimous decision to dismiss the case, saying Lopez, represented by the gasbags at the Alliance Defense Fund, failed to show he was harmed by Mattseon, uh, speaking the truth.

CONTINUED »


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Queerty

—  John Wright