Tuesday, January 28, 2014


The Supreme Court's decision to throw out the jury verdict in the Pryde/Peterson trial appears to be a blatant example of politicization of the judiciary. Lawyers for the Pryde and Peterson families had asked the court to reconsider their opinion, but the court rejected the request and let the justices' error-ridden decision stand.

Not only does the Supreme Court ignore evidence, but where the justices do examine facts, they interpret them in the most favorable light for the state and Virginia Tech. Even worse, there is a critical factual error.

Justice Cleo E. Powell, in writing decision, says on the second page, “… the Blacksburg Police Department led the investigation.” That is not true. Blacksburg Police Chief Kim Crannis testified that she was not in charge of the investigation—the Virginia Tech Police Department (Chief Wendell Flinchum) was.  The Supreme Court had that testimony. The factual error in Judge Cleo Powell's decision is VERY disturbing--particularly because it is a unanimous decision. That means all the judges signed off on the error. Does that mean the justices did not read the testimony given to them? Clearly, the mistake over who was in charge of the investigation is evidence of a political agenda—the court had made up its mind regardless of the evidence.

I know it is very fashionable in some circles to talk about the liberal courts and the liberal media. But this decision smacks of far right-wing conservative attitudes that no one is responsible for someone else's actions--ever. How else do you explain this critical error? Did the justices not read the documents? How could an error of this magnitude make it into a unanimous Supreme Court decision?

There are lawyers in my classes at the FBI and CIA. I would fail them for this type of error. I have nearly 50 years of experience in intelligence and crime analysis and I always believed that while judges have liberal or conservative leanings, they would nevertheless be fair, would not be factually correct, and would not ignore facts and evidence to the detriment of one side or the other. Clearly, I have been wrong.

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