Man Convicted of 62 Counts of Raping His Daughter

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Yolo-Count-Court-Room-600Last week a Yolo County Jury convicted Bennie Moses of 62 counts of rape and a variety of sexual assault and sex with minor charges, stemming from a string of incidents in which the defendant had sex and forcible sex with his daughter from the time she was 12 until she was 21.

In July of 2009, Mr. Moses was arrested by West Sacramento Police after an individual named Hakim helped the daughter escape Mr. Moses and called the cops.  They had been staying in a West Sacramento hotel at the time of the arrest.

The District Attorney’s Office charged Mr. Moses one count of each charge for each six-month period from the time the victim turned 12 until she turned 21.  For each period, there was a charge that required force and one that did not. 

The victim also claimed that when she turned 14, her father forced her to orally copulate her.

According to members of the jury, they were uncertain of the exact time frame for the beginning point of the assaults, thus they acquitted Mr. Moses on five counts marking the beginning charge for each assault.  They believed that the assaults began when the victim turned 12, but were not certain they began right at 12 and so they dismissed the first two charges there. 

They were convinced the forced oral copulation began sometime around 14, but were not sure when, so they threw out the first set of charges, to err on the side of caution.  One juror was not convinced it began at 14 at all, and so they hung on the second pair of copulation charges.

On Wednesday, Judge Stephen Mock found the enhancement of prior serious felonies to be true.  In 1986, Mr. Moses pled no contest to first degree burglary.  Three years later, he pled no contest to 10 counts of first degree burglary, and ended up in prison until 1996.  The assaults would begin around 2000 when his daughter turned 12.

He will be sentenced on April 22, and he undoubtedly faces several lifetimes in prison for his crimes.

The DA presented a very strong case.  The case centered around four critical pieces of evidence.  First, that Mr. Moses’ sister had claimed that Mr. Moses molested her as a child, and had sex with his other sister.  Second, the victim claimed that the abuse was almost daily, and she was too afraid to tell.  Her mother was mentally ill and out of the picture.

Third, after calling the police, investigators retrieved a pair of shorts that Mr. Moses had allegedly worn followed their final incident of sex, and it was consistent with both his DNA and her DNA.

Finally, the defendant, under hours of interrogation, admitted to having sex on occasions with his daughter.

From the start, the defense attorney, Deputy Public Defender Emily Fisher, attempted to the best of her ability to punch holes in the case.

The victim had lived with her grandmother (Mr. Moses’ mother) until she was ten.  The defense argued that Mr. Moses’ second wife was a strong stabilizing factor in his life.  She also served as a mother figure.  However, the couple divorced when the victim was 12, which was proffered as a precipitating event.

While the defense argued that the second wife served as a mother figure beyond their married relationship, on the stand she admitted that over time that relationship cooled and became more distant.

Mr. Moses had a series of relationships, another marriage, and was constantly moving around with a different cast of characters.  The living arrangements made it difficult to sustain the view that he had sex with his daughter almost every day.

In addition, the defense would point out that at several points in time, including the final days when they stayed in the motel together, the victim had alternatives to living with Mr. Moses and she herself chose to remain there.

The defense also pointed to the lack of detailed recollection of past sexual assaults by the victim, and even highly contradictory testimony about the series of events in the final days at the motel.

Police investigative techniques were also castigated.  As we mentioned in a previous article on this case, they interrogated Mr. Moses without an attorney for over nine hours before he finally confessed.

The confession also took place after he was told he was not under arrest, that he was free to leave, and then when he tried to leave they prevented him from doing so.

The DNA that they had was difficult to evaluate.  The witness from the Department of Justice acknowledged that because the victim was the daughter of the perpetrator, his DNA would mask hers.  97% of the DNA came from him.

The defense offered up the possibility of transference of DNA, either in the wash or elsewhere.  While the DOJ witness could not rule that out, that scenario was deemed unlikely.

The defense pointed out that following sex, Mr. Moses was said to ejaculate into his hand, shower, and dry with a towel prior to putting on his shorts.  The investigators neglected to DNA-test the bedding or the towel – only the shorts were tested.

Moreover, when the victim had her vagina tested, they found semen, but not from Mr. Moses.  Complicating that process is the fact that she douched following the sex.

Deputy Public Defender Fisher made a strong showing in her closing, illustrating the contradictions in the victim’s behavior to her testimony, contradictions in the details of her testimony, and in attempting to discount Mr. Moses’ confession as tainted.

However, Deputy DA Serafin in her closing made the point that, given the frequency of the sexual assaults, it would not be surprising that the victim would lack recollections of all but the most recent assaults and perhaps her first assault.  She also pointed out the strength of her evidence.

While this was certainly not a black and white case, the evidence in this case was strong when viewed in totality.  There are simply too many factors that would all have to be discounted to make the story untrue.

In our discussion with members of the jury and our own analysis of the case, we are hard-pressed to find a clear motive for the victim to make this up.  She did not want to testify, she did not want her father to get in trouble.  She had plenty of opportunities to leave.  There was no reason to invent the story.

For the juror I spoke with at length, the key evidence was the confession, flawed as the technique by West Sacramento PD was.  Frankly, they are darn lucky that the defendant in this case was likely guilty, because everything about the interrogation was coercive and improper.

But Mr. Moses did not, as he suggested on the stand, merely give up and say I did it.  Instead he said, “She just danced around and teased me in her nighties all night long.”  And he also talked about how she instigated the sex at times.

To put it mildly, there would be no one who would make that kind of statement unless he thought of his daughter in sexual terms.

Under the conditions to which Mr. Moses was exposed, he probably would have broken down whether he had done it or not.  Fortunately for West Sacramento PD, he seems to have done it.

For me, the bigger issue was the DNA, because the defense never offered up a plausible explanation for how DNA from the victim’s vagina ended up in the fly of Mr. Moses’ shorts.  The transference issue was kind of sketchy and the DOJ representative made the point that cells do not really just float around.

Perhaps, with a high-powered attorney, they could have gotten experts on confessions and the author of the study that showed that DNA could transfer in a washing machine, but short of that this was evidence that was just going to sink the defendant.

The juror was critical of the investigation and the fact that they seemed take the victim’s word for what happened almost immediately, and failed to do a full investigation which would have examined not only the shorts, but other clothing items.

I had found the sister’s testimony compelling, but not necessarily proof that he had sex with his daughter.  After all, just because a person has sexual relations with his young sister, while he himself was a child, does not mean he had sexual relations with his daughter when he became an adult.

The juror I spoke with was not even convinced that Mr. Moses had sex with his sister.  The juror thought that she was molested by someone, and the stepfather was a possibility.  The incidents came out later in her life after psychotherapy.  There were a host of issues there.

We also discussed the inconsistencies in the testimony of the victim.  We agreed that the acts, if they were frequent, would blend in over time.  The jurors were not sure about when they started, but basically believed that she was around 12 when they started.

We agreed that the assaults probably did not take place every day, but they may have seemed that way to her.

The moving around probably precluded everyday occurrence, but the feeling was even in a crowded home there would be plenty of opportunities for Mr. Moses to have access to his daughter alone.

Another issue was that of force.  Here the penal code on rape was instructive, and the jury basically took the view that she was having sex under either implied or overt duress.  It was not a classic physically forced rape experience.  Rather, Mr. Moses was a huge man and likely scared his daughter physically.  Moreover, mentally she relied on him and likely did not want to sever that tie.

Bottom line here, there were problems with the police work in this case, the confession was achieved under disturbing circumstances, but there is little doubt, given the evidence, that this crime occurred.

We could argue about what the proper punishment should be in this case.  Mr. Moses had, in many ways, turned his life around following youthful offenses.  Now though, he has no chance to turn his life around again, as he will spend the rest of his life in prison.  Again, we could argue about the best approach here, we could dispute the investigation by West Sacramento PD, but we cannot dispute that the verdict reached was the proper one.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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27 thoughts on “Man Convicted of 62 Counts of Raping His Daughter”

  1. Roger Rabbit

    This is one of those emotional cases that most people will say, who cares, if he did that he deserves what he got. Frankly that is my take on it.

    However, knowing the past behavior and questionable practices of the DA, I think critically looking at this is a good thing, not to give the suspect any credit, but to understand that our system should be held to a higher standard to prevent future injustices from occurring.

    Investigations should be thorough and complete and should be accomplished with as much effort trying to prove as trying to disprove facts. The clearer the investigation the better the outcome for everyone.

    However, in Yolo, this is not always the case due to external factors mainly created by the DA, such has political, money, grants, public opinion, re-election, influencing investigations, helping the case to go where he wants it to verses to the truth, impeding the investigation if it goes where he does not want, false and misleading press releases, pressuring Law Enforcement to get arrest, convictions, confessions and other things, that all will muddy the water from the truth and justice.

    Unfortunately, there is no accountability and no oversight, so while many will scream “prove this happens”, it is not that easy. Most do not have to power to investigation and check on what the DA is doing and DOJ and Federal investigators would rather go after known criminals than waste their time trying to investigate an elected official who has his owns investigators, his own police force, his own attorneys and the power and budget to do pretty much what he wants. Our system is built on trust and no one wants to believe that anyone crooked could get into such a position, so the tendency is to discount minor indiscretions and look the other way. That attitude only empowers people who are willing to bend the rules and ethics and ends up creating what should be prevented.

  2. E Roberts Musser

    dmg: “Mr. Moses had a series of relationships, another marriage, and was constantly moving around with a different cast of characters. The living arrangements made it difficult to sustain the view that he had sex with his daughter almost every day.”

    If people can have sex in a phone booth/car/airplane restroom, I can see no reason why this defendant could not have sex w his daughter whenever he wanted, the living arrangements notwithstanding.

    dmg: “In addition, the defense would point out that at several points in time, including the final days when they stayed in the motel together, the victim had alternatives to living with Mr. Moses and she herself chose to remain there.”

    A victim of molestation, especially a child, dependent on the perp for food, clothing, shelter, will not necessarily feel they have any option but to stay.

    I agree that the 9 hr interrogation by law enforcement is troubling – and could present an issue on appeal – except there is probably enough other evidence to convict…

  3. Musser

    “Mr. Moses had, in many ways, turned his life around following youthful offenses. Now though, he has no chance to turn his life around again, as he will spend the rest of his life in prison.”

    I will not argue points but make a general comment: I am more concerned with how this situation has affected the victim and whether she can turn HER LIFE AROUND, than I am with the defendant.

    He got nearly a decade of a fun time at his daughter’s personal expense. So who gives a bleep about how this affected him?

  4. Old Skool Davis

    Great read Greenwald. Excellent and detail oriented, I was at attention on this one. You really know how to navigate through the atrocities of humanity!

  5. E Roberts Musser

    M: “I will not argue points but make a general comment: I am more concerned with how this situation has affected the victim and whether she can turn HER LIFE AROUND, than I am with the defendant.
    He got nearly a decade of a fun time at his daughter’s personal expense. So who gives a bleep about how this affected him?”

    Nicely said…

  6. David M. Greenwald

    I would be concerned about her. She seems to have arrested development. She is around 23 but sounds like she is fifteen. Cshe got pregnant four months after her father was arrested and is now pregnant with a second child.

  7. David M. Greenwald

    I will add she was very conflicted about testifying and it is doubtful that she will react well to the type of sentence he will be given.

  8. David M. Greenwald

    DA’s press release:

    [quote]District Attorney Jeff Reisig announced that a Yolo County jury has convicted 44-year-old West Sacramento man Bennie Dale Moses of 62 counts of sex and oral copulation with his daughter. The jury reached its verdict on March 10 and yesterday the trial court found true the allegations that Moses had previously been convicted of 12 separate “strike” offenses.

    Moses forced his daughter to engage in sexual acts with him beginning in 2000, when his daughter was just 12 years old. The sexual abuse continued until July 11, 2009 when Moses’ daughter finally confided in a friend that her father had been sexually abusing her for nine years. That friend rescued Moses’ daughter by calling 9-1-1 to report the abuse. West Sacramento Police Department detectives investigated the crimes and discovered that Moses had also engaged in forced sex and oral copulation with his elementary school aged sisters.

    Yolo County Supervising Deputy District Attorney Michelle Serafin commended Moses’ daughter and sister, who both testified, saying that they “Exhibited great bravery in testifying about the deeply private sexual abuse they endured for years at the hands of a man they loved and trusted.” Yolo County Superior Court Judge Steven L. Mock presided over the jury trial.

    Moses faces life in prison when he is sentenced by Judge Mock on April 22, 2011 at 1:30 p.m. in Department 3. [/quote]

    I am relieved that they did not commend the West Sacramento Police Department for their “good” work on the case.

  9. JustSaying

    This is such an interesting way to write up a case about someone who is so guilty as charged that [u]you[/u] would have voted to convict, “viewed in totality.” And, it’s moving into the Twilight Zone to conclude it with your claim that “Mr. Moses had, in many ways, turned his life around following youthful offenses and lament that “he has no chance to turn his life around again, as he will spend the rest of his life in prison.”

    Seriously, “turned his life around”? Really? You’re doing a story about a father who you agree has been raping his teen daughter on a maybe-not-quite-daily basis for nearly a decade!!![quote]“…flawed as the technique by West Sacramento PD was….Frankly, they are darn lucky that the defendant in this case was likely guilty, because everything about the interrogation was coercive and improper….Bottom line here, there were problems with the police work in this case, the confession was achieved under disturbing circumstances….”[/quote]This is an odd choice of the “bottom line” to this case considering all the evidence of guilt you’ve listed (then tried discredit or minimize) in this report. Are you claiming illegal acts on the part of investigators/interrogators (miranda warning, torture, denial of counsel request, etc.)–please be specific.[quote]“According to members of the jury, they were uncertain of the exact time frame for the beginning point of the assaults, thus they acquitted Mr. Moses on five counts marking the beginning charge for each assault. They believed that the assaults began when the victim turned 12, but were not certain they began right at 12 and so they dismissed the first two charges there. They were convinced the forced oral copulation began sometime around 14, but were not sure when, so they threw out the first set of charges, to err on the side of caution. One juror was not convinced it began at 14 at all, and so they hung on the second pair of copulation charges.”[/quote] How many “members of the jury” did you interview? Considering all agreed on 62 similar charges, it seems odd to dwell this much on a few charges showing acquittals and a hung jury. Considering the overwhelming guilty findings, it must have difficult to find many jurors willing to agree with your contention that the investigation was flawed.[quote]“But Mr. Moses did not, as he suggested on the stand, merely give up and say I did it. Instead he said, ‘She just danced around and teased me in her nighties all night long.’ And he also talked about how she instigated the sex at times. To put it mildly, there would be no one who would make that kind of statement unless he thought of his daughter in sexual terms.”[/quote] More to the point, no one who makes the statement that his teenage daughter “initiated the sex at times” [u]unless he had sex with her[/u]. “Putting it mildly” certainly minimizes his confession–he didn’t say thought he [u]thought about her[/u]; he said that he [u]acted on her[/u].

    What did Reisig do wrong on this one? Oh, never mind, I see Mr. Rabbit has provided his usual addendum to enlighten us about that part of the story.

  10. JustSaying

    [quote]“Moses had also engaged in forced sex and oral copulation with his elementary school aged [b]sisters[/b]….Moses had previously been convicted of [b]12[/b] separate ‘strike’ offenses.”[/quote]Are these typos? Thanks for providing on the [u]Vanguard[/u].

    It looks like a fairly straight-forward report from the DA’s office to me. I’m thinking you agree since the only thing you point out (snidely, I’d add) is the lack of any positive comment about the police. And, what has you so relieved about (and/or upset) about the investigation? [quote]‘…Serafin commended Moses’ daughter and sister, who both testified, saying that they ‘exhibited great bravery in testifying about the deeply private sexual abuse they endured for years at the hands of a man they loved and trusted’.”[/quote] Sure have to concur with her on this point. Imagine what it must be like simply to read all the comments raised here about one’s veracity even when guilt is proved, let alone survive the more-hostile questioning from a defense attorney. (Someone else’s semen in her vagina…must have gotten her DNA on his shorts while in the washing machine,…wouldn’t she remove herself if this really was happening…really happened everyday for 9 years…and on and on?)

    Even after it’s over, it isn’t over. It’s difficult to have generate sympathy for someone guilty of such horrendous crimes.

  11. David M. Greenwald

    JustSaying:

    I think you are largely inventing stuff to be critical of now.

    I didn’t try to discredit or minimize Mr. Moses’ guilt. However, the fact is that the West Sac Police Department performed a horrible investigation that in a weaker case would have possibly put the entire case at risk. They entirely performed an improper interrogation. Fortunately for them, Mr. Moses was guilty and his statements were such that that was made clear.

    “Are you claiming illegal acts on the part of investigators/interrogators (miranda warning, torture, denial of counsel request, etc.)–please be specific.”

    I’m claiming that a guy lacking a high school diploma who is mirandized at some point early in the proceedings is not likely to assert his rights for attorney especially when they tell him he’s free to go and then when he attempts to leave they do not allow him to. Read the NY TImes articles from last fall on interrogations. If this you think this was proper, then really I have little to say.

    “Considering all agreed on 62 similar charges, it seems odd to dwell this much on a few charges showing acquittals and a hung jury. “

    One paragraph is dwelling? I found it odd when they read off the charges that they had some acquittals and asked for an explanation.

    “How many “members of the jury” did you interview?”

    Personally: one. But I overheard several talking to the attorney and my intern talked to a couple.

    “Considering the overwhelming guilty findings, it must have difficult to find many jurors willing to agree with your contention that the investigation was flawed.”

    My understanding that the jury agreed there were problems with the investigation by West Sac PD. However, you still had enough evidence to convict.

    “More to the point, no one who makes the statement that his teenage daughter “initiated the sex at times” unless he had sex with her. “Putting it mildly” certainly minimizes his confession–he didn’t say thought he thought about her; he said that he acted on her. “

    I agree, I don’t understand your point.

    “Are these typos? Thanks for providing on the Vanguard. “

    I’m not sure what they meant by the second sentence. One sister testified, as I thought I wrote, that he had tried to have sex with her, molested her, and had sex with his other sister.

    “It looks like a fairly straight-forward report from the DA’s office to me. I’m thinking you agree since the only thing you point out (snidely, I’d add) is the lack of any positive comment about the police. And, what has you so relieved about (and/or upset) about the investigation? “

    It seems accurate to me based on the trial. Sometimes the DA thanks the police or investigators for their good work, I was relieved that they had not done so here because I don’t think that was deserving. The girl deserved praise for coming forward.

  12. David M. Greenwald

    “It’s difficult to have generate sympathy for someone guilty of such horrendous crimes. “

    We’ll have to disagree. I see Moses as a tragic figure more than an evil one. I know a few jurors share that view as well. I tried to keep this as clean as possible because there is a lot of details that could have been added that would have provided more context.

  13. Double Bogey

    Some of these comments are mind boggling.

    Roger Rabbit…what exactly did the DA’s office do wrong in this case? Please try to not run through your blabble of “past history that cannot be proven” BS…What did the DA’s office do wrong in THIS case.

    DMG…Did the convicted child rapist ever ask for a lawyer during his interview with the police? Was the convicted child rapist ever denied an attorney during his interview with the police?

    The bottom line is that this guy was a predator of the worse kind…He preyed on his own daughter..there are not enough lifetimes in prison for this waste. This was HIS OWN DAUGHTER…one can only take solice in hoping that there is a special place in hell for such a person.

  14. JustSaying

    Sorry, I overlooked the six words, in spite of numerous readings of your report. I’d say that you certainly didn’t dwell on it, but I should have picked it up.[quote]“First, that Mr. Moses’ sister had claimed that Mr. Moses molested her as a child, and [u]had sex with his other sister[/u].”[/quote] My other question had to do with Reisig’s comment, “Moses had previously been convicted of 12 separate ‘strike’ offenses.” Maybe that doesn’t mean what it implies, or Moses already would have gotten a three strikes sentence. I’m guessing Reisig now can say he’s been convicted of 74 separate strike offenses. (Just realized you might have been wondering about MY second sentence. If so, It was a sincere thank you for running the DA news release. It really helps to have links or cut-and-pastes of the source materials we end up discussing.) [quote]“…the fact is that the West Sac Police Department performed a horrible investigation that in a weaker case would have possibly put the entire case at risk.”[/quote] You keep saying this, but will not provide any reasons except general statements about the interrogation. The investigation provided a case that was overwhelming, so how was it “horrible”? The case couldn’t have been put at risk by the investigation as it was conducted because there never could be “a weaker case”–given the strong case the investigators developed. This is such a nonsensically worded charge, it’s difficult to clearly describe its failings.[quote]“I’m claiming that a guy lacking a high school diploma who is mirandized at some point early in the proceedings is not likely to assert his rights for attorney especially when they tell him he’s free to go and then when he attempts to leave they do not allow him to….If this you think this was proper, then really I have little to say.” [/quote] I’m not saying it’s proper, just trying to find out what you think was illegal about the interrogation. Again, you keep saying this, but you do little to describe what was done wrong and why it was wrong. You’ve mentioned nine hours of interrogation–is that illegal? You’ve pointed out that you know somehow that he was told sometime he was “free to go” then told he couldn’t go–is this illegal? Assuming you’re telling the whole story about the little interchange, what is the problem? He was under arrest, so how could he be going anywhere but to jail when they were finished with the questioning?

    Furthermore, you claim that Mr. Moses would be “not likely to assert his rights for attorney” because he lacks a high school diploma. Why would that be, given his “advanced education” provided during extensive contacts with the criminal justice system for so many years?

    He knew he had a right to keep silent; he specifically waived this right. He knew that whatever he said could be used against him. He knew he had the right to have an attorney present; he specifically waived this right. He knew that he needed to assert his desire to stop waiving these rights at anytime during the questioning if he changed his mind anytime during the questioning; he did not choose to do so. And, finally, he certainly knew he could challenge the validity of his confession during his trial. Wasn’t the issue raised and resolved then? Why aren’t you satisfied? [quote]“I don’t understand your point.”[/quote]. I was trying to criticize you understated observation that: [quote]“To put it mildly, there would be no one who would make that kind of statement unless he thought of his daughter in sexual terms.”[/quote]One thing you didn’t comment on was my astonishment that you’d claim that we have here a man who has “turned his life around following youthful offenses” without a lick of justification for your statement basis. What’s more, it flies in the face of the knowledge you have that he spend most of the 13 years he was not incarcerated raping his daughter. I mean, where do you dredge up the gumption to toss out such a sympathetic (yet obviously false) claim? [quote] “I think you are largely inventing stuff to be critical of now.”[/quote] I don’t think so. This stuff seems almost to jump out from your writings. Since you can’t see any issues along these lines, I’ve started to think that every “Judicial Watch” starts out with a fairly consistent point of view that brushes aside anything that doesn’t support the preconceived notions. The holes in logic and gaps in facts apparently are invisible to some but are obvious to others. I guess that I’ve started reading with my own point-of-view that expects a formula out of each JW article, and I’m having trouble seeing anything different. Anyway, I’ll do my best to be more specific.

  15. David M. Greenwald

    Double Bogey:

    The sequence plays out like this. He is mirandized, he asks if he is under arrest, he is told he is not and he is free to leave, they leave him alone several times, he asks if he can leave, they tell him wait, then they tell him he cannot leave, then he waits. This is a guy with barely a high school education. If you and I were in his position, we would have demanded a lawyer, but at some point he probably lost sight of that. He is held in there for nine hours from six pm to 3 in the morning. Somewhere around 2:50 he confesses. He is repeatedly lied to by police about various things. I truly believe even if he hadn’t done it, he would have confessed. The only thing that saves them here is his confession is so out there, that it seems clear that he had to have done something. Had he just said, yeah I did it and not go into the teasing him part, the confession would have been completely discounted by the jury – their words.

    Who cares what he did or was accused of doing, everyone is entitled to due process under the law and the right to an attorney and the right to the presumption of innocence until the jury convicts him.

    You are going to sit here and argue that this was an appropriate interrogation? Even with studies like those reported in the NY Times about false confessions?

  16. David M. Greenwald

    JustSaying:

    I just don’t know enough about how things are calculated. I know they found “true” numerous enhancements for prior serious felonies. When they sentence him, I’ll have a better idea of what this all meant. Everyone involved said the calculation of sentence will be complicated. But it’s clear it will be in the hundreds of years.

    “The investigation provided a case that was overwhelming, so how was it “horrible”? “

    In one sense I suppose that is right. The juror told me, that they thought the interrogation method was very questionable but because of what Mr. Moses said they were able to overlook that.

    They were not happy that other items in the room that were important like the bed sheets and the towels were not tested. The defense had argued that there might be transference from a towel to his genitalia to his shorts. She suggested that the towel being tested might have been exculpatory, and perhaps the sheets as well.

    However, given the entire case, it turned out that the poor interrogation method and the lack of testing did not matter as much.

    The jurors also would have liked to have understood Hakim’s role in this, he seemed like a strange figure, but he largely disappeared after reporting the crime.

    The juror’s word to me was that they the jury felt that the Sac PD decided that he did it based on the girl’s word, got him to confess, tested the towel, but did not do a full investigation.

    “I’m not saying it’s proper, just trying to find out what you think was illegal about the interrogation. “

    Under current law, it is not illegal. But I think it should be.

    Look at my response to double bogey and see if you have more questions.

    I just believe that someone more familiar with their rights under the law would have put a stop to the interrogation immediately. You and I would NEVER have sat there for nine hours without DEMANDING a lawyer. I wouldn’t have said a word without one present. I would have said, charge me or arrest me and allow me to call a lawyer.

    He may have known that he had rights, but he was not going to demand them.

    To me, given what we know about confessions and all the research, I think you have to have a lawyer present for a confession to be permissible. I know that you will likely disagree with that. But to me, a confession should be voluntary, not based on some interrogation technique that tricks or coerces someone into confessing.

    “And, finally, he certainly knew he could challenge the validity of his confession during his trial. Wasn’t the issue raised and resolved then? Why aren’t you satisfied?”

    His attorney wages a vigorous challenge about the validity of his confession. In this case however, his confession was not false. The jury determined that based on how he confessed and what he said. I agree. But sometimes you get to the right place in the wrong way.

    “One thing you didn’t comment on was my astonishment that you’d claim that we have here a man who has “turned his life around following youthful offenses” without a lick of justification for your statement basis.”

    This is something that several jurors said as well. Basically he stayed out of trouble with the law for 20 years. He held down some steady employment. He was not into drug use anymore. He was not burglarizing as he had been as a kid. It is believed he himself was abused as a child. He came from a broken him. His family was completely dysfunctional. Unfortunately, he broke up with the stabilizing force in his life, Sharice )or however her name is spelled) and that seems to have precipitated his sexual relationship and the rape of his daughter.

    I don’t want to minimize what he did, and I know this is going to raise a lot of objections, but there is a tragic side here. People want to relegate people to their worst nature and impulses, and I think the human condition has a good deal more gray to it than that. That was what I was trying to convey. At the same time, he was doing horrible things to his daughter that will cause him to be locked away for the rest of his life and there can never be any sort of justification or minimization of that.

  17. David M. Greenwald

    JustSaying, the purpose of this project is to monitor the judicial system for potential problems. As such, I am far less concerned about who did what and what happened to how the system performed. On Wednesday, there were three smaller case acquittals. To me it is much more concerning what happens with some of these small cases because we know that there are people who are beaten, murdered, and raped and we hope that the law enforcement can catch these people and put them to justice. There are issues in these cases worth following for sure and I attempted to highlight some here. People ask if there is a case where I think the DA did a good job, I would argue this is one of them. But I don’t think the police did a good job here and I think they are quite fortunate that they had the DNA evidence and the confession, because otherwise this guy EASILY walks. He may walk even with the confession and without the DNA, but it’s more dicey.

  18. Roger Rabbit

    To: Double BS and Justsaying: Reisig is big boy, he can do a false and misleading press release anytime he wants, I am sure you guys are trying to win favor with him and carry his banner for a promotion or extra benefit, but let him fight is own bag of lies and unethical behavior.

    Oh I forgot after the SAC Bee caught him lying to them in his press release and they had to do a retraction, Reisig stop doing so many press releases. It must get hard keep all your lies in order, a guy is bound to make a mistake now and then.

  19. Double Bogey

    DMG: You attempt to protray this person as some poor scared, uneducated bumpkin who was taken advantage of by the police. Completely discounting the fact that this guy had more experience of how the legal system worked due to his multiple arrests/convictions/incarceration time…etc. He was mirandized, he was given the opportunity to request an attorney and did not and then STILL never requested one even after he was told he was no longer free to leave. I have zero problems with how the confession was obtained.

  20. David M. Greenwald

    You can have zero problems, but the growing body of evidence on confessions shows otherwise. To me there is no reason that it should be lawful for police to attempt to browbeat or trick or fatigue someone into a confession, there is never a reason to hold a guy for nine hours, to deceive as to whether or not he is free to leave or the circumstances of him being held, and frankly there is no excuse to question the guy without a lawyer for that length of time. I think in the near future such confessions will either not be lawful or inadmissible in a court of law. And frankly it disturbs me that you have zero problems with how the confession was obtained.

  21. E Roberts Musser

    dmg: “I would be concerned about her. She seems to have arrested development. She is around 23 but sounds like she is fifteen. Cshe got pregnant four months after her father was arrested and is now pregnant with a second child. I will add she was very conflicted about testifying and it is doubtful that she will react well to the type of sentence he will be given.”

    So society should let the defendant off bc the daughter will not react well? I’m really not understanding your point here. And I have to say, you could not have picked a more unsympathetic character to feel sorry for. I think you are going to have to accept the fact that some people are beyond redemption and just refuse to be saved…

    As to some other points that have been made here by dmg and various commenters, whether a confession is coerced or not takes the totality of the circumstances into account. So my question is: did the defense argue that the confession was coerced and not given of the defendant’s own free will? Will the issue be litigated on appeal? Otherwise, end of discussion…

    Secondly, I think there is a mistaken impression out there that trials must be somehow “perfect”. Perfection will never be possible. Mistakes will always be made, witnesses will be less than perfect, subjective judgments will be made. Trials are a human construct, and humans are imperfect by their very nature. Criminals remove/cover up evidence. And one man’s justice can sometimes be another man’s injustice. Justice itself is very subjective. Trials are messy/law enforcement work is messy. To demand perfection is not and never will be reasonable.

    The only problem I can see in this trial at all is that the interrogation was overly long. But we don’t know if the defendant was given bathroom breaks. We don’t know if the police told the defendant to wait bc they were trying to decide if they had enough evidence to arrest him. In fact, we really don’t know much as to precisely what happened during the interrogation except a lot of speculation. So I would argue all interrogations ought to be videotaped, if they are not already.

    But ignorance of the law is no excuse. Someone’s educational background is irrelevant to whether their confession was coerced unless they have some sort of learning disability or mental disability. I see no evidence of this here. This man knew he had a right to an attorney and never asked for one. It doesn’t matter that a journalist thinks everyone ought to have an attorney present if they are going to confess. That is not the law of the land at the moment (and I doubt ever will be).

  22. David M. Greenwald

    “So society should let the defendant off bc the daughter will not react well?”

    I don’t recall saying that.

    “So my question is: did the defense argue that the confession was coerced and not given of the defendant’s own free will? Will the issue be litigated on appeal? “

    Definitely yes to the first, perhaps to the second.

    “Secondly, I think there is a mistaken impression out there that trials must be somehow “perfect”.”

    No impression by me. Only concern about the poor investigation by the police which is a recurring problem.

    “The only problem I can see in this trial at all is that the interrogation was overly long. “

    I don’t see any problems with the trial and the issue of the interrogation really doesn’t impact the ultimate outcome or even the process.

    “But ignorance of the law is no excuse. Someone’s educational background is irrelevant to whether their confession was coerced unless they have some sort of learning disability or mental disability. I see no evidence of this here.”

    I disagree on this point, this is why we have miranda rights and the right to counsel, pricesly because of ignorance of the law. As I said above, from my there is no reason that it should be lawful for police to attempt to browbeat or trick or fatigue someone into a confession, there is never a reason to hold a guy for nine hours, to deceive as to whether or not he is free to leave or the circumstances of him being held, and frankly there is no excuse to question the guy without a lawyer for that length of time. If a guy wants to confess, then he should do it after consulting a lawyer with a full advisement of rights. If not, I’m inclined based on the research to not accept it into a court of law.

  23. JustSaying

    [quote]“You and I would NEVER have sat there for nine hours without DEMANDING a lawyer.”[/quote] No one has to DEMAND their rights not to incriminate themselves and to have attorneys present. It’s not that difficult a thing for any person without disabilities to accomplish effectively, for denying such a request would jeopardize the case for law enforcement and the prosecutors.

    There are many reasons we smart folk might do just what you can’t imagine we’d do. Guilty people might think that asking for a lawyer might give investigators another reason to focus on them. They might think they’re smart enough to fool those questioning them. Or, they might be repentant–truly sorry for their actions, sincerely wanting to take responsibility for what they did and ready to accept their just punishment. Any of these choices would be reasonable decisions from a guilty, educated person’s viewpoint.

    Innocent people also could decide they don’t need lawyers as they cooperate with questioners (“justice will prevail”).

    Was Mr. Moses’ interrogation recorded? Where did you find out about the details you provide in your response to Double Bogey?[quote]“I truly believe even if he hadn’t done it, he would have confessed.”[/quote]Based on what? This contention, of course, is never to be tested. But, even your description for DB doesn’t seem come close to supporting such a true belief. It’s so much more likely that he realized that his lies weren’t convincing and decided to tell his version of the “truth.”

    When your desired state (of no questioning until a lawyer is there), what do you think will be the result for society? How many guilty people’s confessions are critical to locating other evidence? If you were an attorney summoned to be present at an interrogation, what would be your first words as you enter the door? Right, and it would be the same thing any lawyer would do.

  24. David M. Greenwald

    They played a video of edited portions, with the interludes between interrogators cut out.

    “Where did you find out about the details you provide in your response to Double Bogey?”

    The video.

    “Based on what?”

    Based on the length of the interview, the time, the tactics used by the interrogators.

    “When your desired state (of no questioning until a lawyer is there), what do you think will be the result for society? “

    Something like a quarter of all cases thrown out are done so based on false confessions according the Innocence Project. That’s simply based on a known universe. Any positive must be weighed against that. And btw, that’s not just a defendant’s rights issue, if you get the wrong person, that means that a criminal has also gone free most of the time.

    I again point you to the NY Times article from last fall, it lays out a lot of these issues and the research performed behind them: “Confessing to Crime But Innocent ([url]http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/14/us/14confess.html?_r=4[/url])”

  25. E Roberts Musser

    To dmg: Part of the problem here is taking the Innocence Project and NY Times as reliable sources of information. Each has its own agenda, so what they state as “fact” has to be taken w a grain of salt…

  26. David M. Greenwald

    I disagree with you. I think both do very good and thorough work. I have worked with the Innocence Project, interviewed them, they are not hired guns and they only take cases where they believe they can prove through physical evidence usually DNA a convicted individual not guilty. They then took the exonerations and analyzed what went wrong. The NY Times merely interviewed a researchers who looked into the same cases to figure out where they went wrong. I don’t see the clear agenda there. If anything the IP calls for a much more modest change than I am. They are asking for interrogations to be videotaped. I think that is too low a level of review because if the interrogation lasts for ten hours, no jury is going to watch it.

    BTW, I took neither as reliable sources of info. When I originally read the NY Times article, I also pulled the scholarly research and read that article as well to gain a better understanding. The IP’s findings have been independently verified as well.

  27. E Roberts Musser

    To dmg: We’ll have to agree to disagree on this one – that the NY Times and Innocence Project are bastions of purity. You say yes, I say NOT!

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