Why Does the Innocence Project Honor Janet Reno?

It is difficult to find a more contemptuous figure in American jurisprudence than Janet Reno, and this country seems to produce such figures en masse. American prosecutors can fill a Wall of Shame museum. Because they are protected by the State, prosecutors need not worry about breaking the law and destroying lives of innocent people, so it takes some doing to be one of the most abusive prosecutors ever. No subjectivity is needed here, as Reno excelled in withholding evidence, making false charges, gaining wrongful convictions, and utterly abusing the rights of the accused she was sworn to protect.

Being that she committed those heinous acts in the United States of America, she was duly rewarded by being named U.S. Attorney General in March 1993. A month later, Reno was graduated to child burner. After the Waco massacre, which she ordered, her popularity among Americans soared. Americans really don’t love someone, apparently, unless they engage in unspeakable acts of murder and worse.

While serving as State’s Attorney in Dade County, Florida, during the 1980s Reno was among the first prosecutors in the USA to pursue the so-called mass child molestation cases in which questionable interviewing techniques produced sensational and truly unbelievable tales of the worst kind of sexual abuse foisted upon little children in day care centers. Now, the stories almost always were fantastic, such as claims of “magic rooms,” “tunnels,” “microwaving babies,” “shooting horses,” and more. That no physical evidence ever was found in any of these cases, and that fact that no other adults ever witnessed what should have been obvious – had these events actually occurred – had no effect whatsoever upon Reno and other prosecutors.

I single out Reno because of her total abuse of the system. As Dorothy Rabinowitz documented in her book, No Crueler Tyrannies, Reno destroyed exculpatory evidence, lied, convinced judges to rig trials, and managed to rip up the Rights of the Accused. Because I have written about her legal abuses before, and accounts are found elsewhere, I invite readers to learn on their own about the Grant Snowden wrongful conviction, the malicious prosecution of Bobby Finje, and the County Walk conviction of Frank Fuster, a case in which Reno tortured a “confession” from an 18-year-old woman.

(The legal abuses that Reno pioneered were massive. Judges permitted Reno’s child interviewers to declare in court that the accused were guilty because when a child said “no,” that actually meant “yes,” and when a child said “yes,” that also meant “yes.” It was Reno who destroyed physical evidence, and then manipulated judges to keep defense experts off the stand. She also pioneered the method of having the child accusers testify on video from the judge’s chambers so as not to “re-traumatize” the children again, a blatant violation of the right of the accused to face accusers. But, then, Reno wanted convictions, not justice.)

With Reno, we are dealing with someone devoid of a conscience, someone who is willing to twist the system in order to get what she wants when she wants it. In Waco, after a month on the job as USAG, she decided that the Branch Davidians holed up at Mt. Carmel had lived long enough, and she ordered an assault that resulted in the deaths of 80 people, including numerous children who burned to death. After these people died horrible deaths, Reno’s popularity went up among Americans.

And it was Reno who made the false public accusation against Richard Jewell in the Atlanta Olympic bombing case. Only after Jewell was forced into utter public humiliation did Reno admit that he wasn’t a very good suspect, after all. But again, we are dealing with Janet Reno, who was the epitome of promoting the dictum of the infamous Beria: “Find me the man, and I will find you the crime.”

So why I am going off on Reno again, who has not been in office for more than 13 years? I do it for two reasons. First, she still is popular, especially among Democrats (and had she been a Republican, I’m sure she would be honored among them, too). The woman should be in a prison cell, not the speaker’s podium.

Second, she serves on the board of directors of the Innocence Project. Frank Fuster remains in prison to this day, convicted because Reno tortured a “confession” from the man’s wife when she was 18. (Reno’s tactics of torture, from forcing the Central American immigrant into solitary confinement when she was 17 to having her stand naked for months at a time in her prison cell in full view of male guards, is so utterly reprehensible that no organization dedicated to overturning wrongful convictions should have anything to do with her.)

Yet, she is given a place of honor by people who should abhor the dishonor Reno brought into American justice. If there is a poster child for wrongful convictions in America, it is Janet Reno. If there is a poster child for the unwarranted use of force and wrongful killings, it is Janet Reno.

So why would the Innocence Project be willing to bestow such an honor upon Reno? Part of the reason, I believe, is that while the IP does a lot of good, there also is a darker side to the organization, as demonstrated by a statement given by Peter Neufeld, one of the IP’s founders. During the infamous Duke Lacrosse Case in 2006, Neufeld told the New York Times after forensic evidence showed conclusively that there was no DNA linked to any of the lacrosse players on the accuser’s body, Neufeld declared: “There’s an old saying that the absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence.”

The statement is breathtaking. In one sentence, Neufeld was willing to undercut the entire mission of his organization just to make the guilt-assuming NYT happy. Furthermore, he was willing to claim that three young men could beat a woman for 30 minutes, ejaculated into her vagina and her mouth, and be naked and rolling on her, yet not leave even one cell of DNA – without using any chemicals, such as bleach, which would have erased some DNA evidence.

By making such a statement, Neufeld (who never has given a public retraction of his guilt-assuming declaration) was willing to throw his own Innocence Project clients under the bus, for if the absolute lack of DNA evidence in the Duke case was irrelevant, given what was alleged, then none of the IP clients could claim innocence via DNA.

So, if a founder of the Innocence Project was willing to say publicly that the lack of DNA evidence in a case where DNA should be a factor is legally meaningless, then maybe it makes perfect sense to have Janet Reno on the IP board of directors. Reno, after all, never cared a whit about innocence and pioneered some of the worse legal abuses in American History. That she ends up on the board of an organization of which the founder discredits his outfit’s very mission for the sake of Political Correctness in the end really does sound logical.