Tag Archives: USA TODAY

A complete failure of justice

Gotta hand it to USA TODAY (all caps, as God intended) for uncovering the distressing case of Leonard Forte, a retired cop from New York state who was accused and convicted in 1988 of sexually assaulting a 12-year-old Vermont girl. His conviction was overturned on appeal, and that’s when things got weird. In 1995, facing a second trial, Forte claimed he was on death’s door and that the stress of a trial would surely kill him.

And then… nothing.

For almost 25 years.

Well, not entirely “nothing”. The case would occasionally get another look, Forte would claim ill health, and back into the deep freeze it went.

If USA TODAY is to be believed, the prosecutor overseeing the case — longtime assistant attorney general David Tartter — wasn’t exactly devoting a lot of energy to it. “Neglect” seems the best descriptor for his approach.

Meanwhile, the accuser is now 45 years old and living with the consequences of the assault. Forte is 78 and still claims to be dying, but has been enjoying a pretty decent retirement in Florida. And the chances of bringing him to justice appeared faint, thanks to this:

The USA TODAY Network found that Vermont officials have destroyed materials key to the prosecution of Forte, including most of the original trial record. The mistaken destruction of transcripts and court audio recordings appears to be due to the unprecedented age of the case, by far the oldest open prosecution in Vermont and certainly one of the oldest in the country where the defendant is not a fugitive.

… Michele Dinko, the alleged victim, said in a recent interview that Tartter has expressed to her that he has little hope left of prosecuting Forte. Dinko said Tartter also told her privately that having the case loom over Forte for so many decades is its own kind of punishment.

That’d be a hard “no,” Mr. Tartter.

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All Bernie all the time

A good newspaper covers the waterfront. It provides an overview of what’s gone on in the world, the things you need to know, things you might not otherwise know.

Those of us who still read newspapers appreciate the chockablock presentation of stories from the community, nation, and world. It’s a tangible StumbleUpon that gives you more information about the things you’re aware of and brings other items to your attention, making you a better-informed and more well-rounded citizen.

Well, the Burlington Free Press is here to say “Screw that mess.”

Today’s Freeploid, from the top:

Page 1: Bernie Sanders
Page 2: Bernie Sanders
Page 3: Full-page advertisement
Page 4: Bernie Sanders
Page 5: Bernie Sanders
Page 6: Bernie Sanders
Page 7: Bernie Sanders
Page 8: Bernie Sanders
Page 9: Bernie Sanders
Page 10: Bernie Sanders
Page 11: Bernie Sanders

Page 12: Editorial and op-ed about Bernie Sanders.

Finally, on page 13, the first non-Bernie content: a pair of opinion pieces about other subjects.

After that? Sorry, no room. The next ten pages are devoted to Sports, with the variety of content you expect from a good newspaper.

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