Thursday, November 21, 2013

A Quick Primer on Defamation

The following is not meant to provide legal advice nor am I your lawyer just because you read this post!  Keep in mind every state's laws are different and I am also not a specialist in this area of law.

Josh Hall wrote a really nice piece about the verdicts in the NYE rape cases on Undercard Superstar, and I guess it rattled Michael Dill's cage.

Michael Dill was one of the commentators who was screen-shotted and posted on my blog here.  Here's the most relevant quotes from him-- one circled and one not.

This morning, I received the following by email.

Please understand, I posed a question, playing devils advocate and not knowing hardly any of the facts. This has been completely misconstrued and do not properly reflect my views on sexual assault, this particular case or my views toward the victim and assailants. Also nowhere has my post stating that I do not approve of any sexual assault appears in your blog. How is this fair to me and my name? I do not agree with miss use of my comment to propagate your agenda with someone or something else I am not apart of. I am formally asking you to remove it.

I responded by asking the person's name (as it wasn't apparent from their email address) and learned it was Michael Dill.

I replied:

If you feel your previous comments don't adequately express your views, please, write a correction and I'll happily post it.
But, I'm not taking down screen shots of what you already said in a public forum.

And then he countered with this: 

I am sorry this is your view. I do not wish to contribute to your blog nor am I longer friends with any of those who have posted on FaceBook. I will again strongly urge you to block out, make corrections or otherwise eliminate the use of my name on your blog regarding this subject. I am currently pursuing the advice of legal council to rectify any misuse of my comments regarding this subject and possible defamation of character as a result.

 I have a few thoughts.  First, lawyers are "counsel" not "council."  It's "misuse" not "miss use."  It's "a part of" not "apart of."  Petty, I know, but goodness gracious, no one knows how to spell any more.

Second, let's talk about defamation.

Wikipedia says "Defamation" is the general term used internationally, and is used in this article where it is not necessary to distinguish between "slander" and "libel". Libel and slander both require publication.The fundamental distinction between libel and slander lies solely in the form in which the defamatory matter is published. If the offending material is published in some fleeting form, as by spoken words or sounds, sign language, gestures and the like, then this is slander. . . . Libel is defined as defamation by written or printed words, pictures, or in any form other than by spoken words or gestures. . . . There are several ways a person must go about proving that libel has taken place. For example, in the United States, the person must prove that the statement was false, caused harm, and was made without adequate research into the truthfulness of the statement.
 I am sure Mr. Dill will be learning this shortly from some worthy practitioner in Houston.  He's going to have a hard time proving that what I said was false (they were his statements after all.) 

In Texas,
To prove a cause of action for defamation, a plaintiff must prove that (1) the defendant published a statement of fact, (2) the statement was defamatory, (3) the statement was false, (4) the defendant acted negligently in publishing the false and defamatory statement, and (5) the plaintiff suffered damages as a result. See Brown v. Swett & Crawford of Tex., Inc., 178 S.W.3d 373, 382 (Tex. App.-Houston [1 Dist.] 2005, no pet.) (citing WFAA-TV, Inc. v. McLemore, 978 S.W.2d 568, 571 (Tex. 1998)); see also Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code Ann. § 73.001 (Vernon 2005).

And then there are my statements about his opinions.  Yes, I called them shameful, profoundly disturbing, and ignorant... but that's my opinion, and in Texas that's protected by the state and federal constitutions! 

08-0610  MARK ZIMMER v. PALESTINE HERALD-PRESS CO., NEWSPAPER HOLDINGS, INC., AND SCOTT TYLER; from Cherokee County; 12th district (12-07-00139-CV, 257 SW3d 504, 06-25-08)(defamation, verifiable statement of fact vs. opinion)

An essential element of libel "is that the alleged defamatory statement be a statement of fact rather than opinion." [citation omitted]. Here, the meaning of the sign is somewhat ambiguous, but at most it accused appellants of "lawsuit abuse." To say that one has engaged in lawsuit abuse is to accuse him of legally manipulating the civil justice system to gain an unfair advantage in a personal or commercial dispute. It is an individual judgment that rests solely in the eye of the beholder. Admittedly, the accusation is derogatory and disparaging, but this is no different than saying that one is ugly, scurrilous, or disgusting. (6) The term "lawsuit abuse" does not, in its common usage, convey a verifiable fact, but is, by its nature, somewhat indefinite and ambiguous. Because it is a loose and figurative term employed as metaphor or hyperbole, it is an expression of opinion which is absolutely protected by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution and Section 8, article I, of the Texas Constitution. [citations omitted].

So thanks for reading folks... I'm going back to bed with a head cold.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Review: the Wamada Bamboo rashguard

I met Zack Adelson, the man behind the company, at the NY Open this spring and was delighted to have the chance to review one of their new bamboo rashguards.  Meerkatsu reviewed them here.  And Ayanthi wrote a nice piece about the company here.  The company website is down for maintenance at the time of this writing.  But you can buy one of these rashies on OTM's website.  It's $65 plus shipping.

You know me, I like to wear stuff for a good long while before I review it, but this lovely soft thing has passed all tests of endurance.  I've worn it in all sorts of weather, too-- ranging from +100 degreeF temps with +80% humidity all the way down to weather in the 40s.  (Yes, indoors, but we don't use AC or heat.)  I've worn this for nogi as well as under a gi, but most of my wear was under a gi.

I'm 5'2" 135 lbs, and I wear a small.  The sleeves and torso are long enough that this could fit someone longer/taller than I with ease.. at least an extra 2-3" in each.  These rashies are made of bamboo-viscose which is touted as a more ecologically-friendly textile, as well as absorbing more sweat.  This seemed kind of unique to me-- unlike most rashguards which are made with a nonabsorbent material like polyester, the bamboo did seem to retain more water and left smaller pools on the mat when training nogi.

Pros: the best thing about this rashie, to me, is the texture.  Soft, soft, soft!  Fuzzy and comfortable and stretchy.  When I first put it on in warm weather, it feels a bit too warm, but I did not feel overheated while rolling.  I also like the design-- which is available in ranked colors-- because it looks kind of like a rugby jersey.  Surprisingly, the stitching connecting the black parts to the white parts was not too tight or restrictive or scratchy.  The neckline is not too small (usually I am not a fan of crew necks) and the bottom hem stays tucked into gi pants if that's where you want it.  If you leave it out of your pants, it doesn't ride up like crazy, either.

(Excuse the scraggledy hair and post-training face of fatigue.)

The branding is appealing-- a small circular logo over your heart, and a larger name logo vertically along your ribcage on the right side, under your arm.  But it is printed straight onto the material, which usually ends up cracking and peeling over time.  Still, in the six months I've worn this, I haven't seen peeling and only a small amount of cracking.

The red contrast seaming is subtle but aesthetically pleasing.

Cons:  This fabric shows wear.  I don't think it's actually getting thinner or abraded in any fashion that would impair its utility, but it looks "pilly" and rubbed.  (The color has stayed a nice even black, so any fading you see in the photos is just an artifact of flash photography.)

Also, this sucker feels warm when you first put it on.  As I mentioned, while you're training you'll feel fine... but hanging out waiting for class to start will be toasty.  If it's temperate or even chilly weather, you'll enjoy it.  If it's hot, well, you will be slightly warmer on a subjective basis (but then again, you might not choose to wear a long sleeve rashie under a gi when it's really hot!)

In summary, this is a quality product and something a little different from all the rest of the rashies on the market.  I think it would make a nice holiday gift for the grappler in your life who already would seem to have all the rashies they could use.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Comment policy

I am not publishing comments which contain profanity, the real name of the NYE survivor, or rude/hateful language.

I welcome open discourse even with people with whom I disagree... but I always reserve the right to protect others or to limit this forum to polite conversation.

Thank you :)

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Watch This Wednesday: the Barry Sanders open guard pass.

As always I can procrastinate any number of ways.  I really should be working on my guard, which is quite mediocre.  And I try, I do... I start rolls in the guard.  But the funny thing is... for me, guard doesn't feel like a place where I can submit people.  Guard is the place I want to get out of by sweeping them, so I can get on top and be in my happy place.

Short stubby legs and not great grips, you see.  So yeah, if I can get a triangle locked, you are mine.  And I will go for armbars and omoplatas a fair amount of the time.  But collar chokes... pah.  So yeah, guard is my let's-get-out-of-here place.

AAAAnnnnnddd.... that means that my dessert, the donuts of my grappling, is guard passing.  I love practicing passing the guard.  I love it!  LOVE.

Hence my adoration of BJJScout who breaks down so much passing and guard play.

AND my adoration of Keebler, the brilliant brownbelt Humaita leader in Cleveland.

Check out this short, dirty, sexy breakdown of a devastating pass.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Super cool project: 8-bit art! extended sizes! brand-new business! anti-rape ethos!

Dave Poyer is an American living, working and teaching in China.

He's also a jiu jitsu nut, a big dude, and a bit of a sucker for punishment.  He's starting a brand new company and needs our help on Kickstarter.

Nope, this isn't Dave-- but this IS the aforementioned homage to 8-bit videogame art.  Modeled at the ADCC 2013 by an excited fan.

One excited grappler couldn't resist the urge to try us on at ADCC 2013!  Thanks, Thein!

Here're a few words from Dave:

"I live and work right here in Shanghai, and since our idea was hatched in April 2013, I've criss-crossed this country visiting factories and talking to hundreds of textile experts worldwide to make sure that our products are not only made to our exacting specifications, but also that their workers receive a fair, liveable wage for their efforts. I've found some factories and suppliers that I not only trust, but that will allow me to personally oversee our production run from the factory floor when it begins!

Unlike others, Ikkari has a slightly more irreverent approach to fashion.  Our look is for serious athletes who don't take themselves too seriously.  We wanted to create some compression wear that pops!  With some art for a change.  You'll get a reaction when you show up to training wearing an Ikkari Rash Guard.

This business is an outlet for our creativity. . . .  But Ikkari has another mission:  make rash guards available in unconventional sizes.  I'm a Samoan guy.  We're mostly big dudes, and much to my chagrin, many of my favorite rash guard makers cut their sizes off at XL.  Worse yet, many of them also use the European OECD size charts, which make the sizes  even smaller!  That's no fun. We'll feature Men's S-XXXL; and Women's S-L.  Stay tuned for a detailed sizing chart.

We at Ikkari share a goal:  create a little business where we sell one limited-edition rash guard line at a time until the production run sells out.  Then on to our next rash guard theme and design.  This way we don't have to sweat the vagaries of wholesaling, or major inventory management."

For $60, you'll get a unique, limited run long sleeve rashie.  You can even send Dave your custom measurements and get a custom-fitted rashie for no extra charge!!  You'll also be supporting a small businessperson and you'll know the people making your gear are not children or sweatshop prisoners.  I asked him about his approach to advertising, and we ended up with a long conversation that included this:

"None of my ads will have anything derogatory toward women or anyone else.  In fact, I started Ikkari because I thought all brands took themselves entirely too seriously for my taste with names like Contract Killer, Hit Man, [and] Tap Out. . ."  The aim: to have something more lighthearted, like Art Junkie or even Reversal Gear, except I'm a Samoan and most of those companies don't even make stuff in my size. Oh, and cheaper too.  (It might be worth mentioning that with 60 bucks for a long-sleeve rashie +10 for shipping outside the US gets them a pretty sweet rashguard, something that I prefer to think of as a wearable piece of digital art, not sure if the VAT would apply to that.

  Yes, by all means, I support the anti-rape ranting!  My US-based business partner and friend Lindsay back in the US and I have been looking for a shelter or rape crisis center to donate some of our proceeds to, if we get our project funded.  We wanted to follow the Warby Parker Eyewear model of building by building a contribution to a charity in every single sale we make.  We'd kicked around the idea of having whatever cause's logo on the rashie's side-panel, but that's not really going to help if someone buys a rash guard that has the word 'rape' on on it.  So, it's a work in progress.   Lindsay is a former banker who gave up her lucrative career as a Securities Trader to return to school to become an LPCC, a mental health specialist [and she] has dedicated her life towards helping others put their lives back together after such a horrible experience."

Dave's kickstarter project has just one more month to go and it needs your help.  Click here to order your custom-fitted wearable art.  I'll keep you posted on where the donation will end up.

Friday, November 08, 2013

Sticks and stones...

The thing is, it does no good to turn to polemics and personal attacks. No matter what "side" you're on in this horrible situation, we need to be seeking understanding and trying to build consensus, to move forward constructively as a community. Name-calling doesn't help.

 I'm sure I am occasionally guilty of excess vitriol. I apologize in advance if that ever is the case!

Edited to add: found some other comments by this guy on reddit: (sorry the formatting is ugly, I'm on my phone.)  Look the last paragraph!

 267 Jujitsu ( submitted 6 hours ago by DeadPoolKatanaRama 134 commentsshare sorted by: best you are viewing a single comment's thread. view the rest of the comments →

 [–]succhialce 30 points 5 hours ago BJJ is without a doubt the best martial art for rape defense. My children whether male or female will train. permalink

 [–]Barneyk -9 points 4 hours ago At least 99% of rapes are not about being physically overpowered so it doesn't really apply very often at all. permalinkparent

 [–]DidNotJustShart 5 points 4 hours ago I get what you're saying, rapes often occur under other circumstances such as drugging or alcohol, but I would like to see where you get this 99% figure. Regardless, a woman who knows jiu-jitsu would do much better against a rapist than one who doesn't as long as other factors aren't in play. permalinkparent

 [–]timothytandem -4 points 4 hours ago She can try to jiujitsu herself out of a roofie. Huehuehuehue

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Upcoming Seminars by Hillary Williams to Benefit Sexual/Domestic Violence Survivors

Hillary is putting on a few seminars with all proceeds going to local organizations supporting survivors of sexual and domestic violence. She says, "The idea is much more important than me, so I hope others will do something at their gyms as well."


Sun Nov 17
Edmond OK
United Martial Arts 12-3pm
 Donations only: proceeds to YWCA, non perishable items to the Infant Crisis Center

Sat Dec 7
Seattle WA
Info coming soon

Sat Dec 14
Richmond VA
 Richmond BJJ Academy 11-2pm
Women's Open Mat 2-3 pm
Donations only: proceeds to YWCA, NVRDC

 Hillary is a certified bad*ss and world champion, phenomenal instructor, and has amazing insights into strategy and gameplans too. Please attend if you can.

 Her thread announcing this found here, I would imagine updates will be posted there as well.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

What are rape apologetics? [EDITED]

To say that someone is not a rape apologist because "they don't support rape" is an empty statement.  It's a straw man.  NO ONE SUPPORTS RAPE OUTWARDLY.  But their attitudes towards survivors end up supporting rapists just the same.

 From RationalWiki:

"Rape apology or rape apologetics are umbrella terms for any arguments suggesting that rape is infrequent, misreported, over-reported, not that big a deal, or that it is even excusable in some circumstances, such as within a marriage or if the victim was provocatively dressed. 'Apology' in this case means defense or justification, like in Christian apologetics, and not a statement expressing regret."

Rape apologists (like "The Truth Be Told," Michael Dill and Reed Shelger) may accuse women of misreporting rape, or "crying rape" to get what they want. Accusations of rape against partners or other acquaintances are sometimes disbelieved by others and perceived as a spiteful reaction to some other grievance.

Statistics, however, show that rape is dramatically under-reported.

Rape apologists contend it's not rape if...'s not "forcible"

Rape apologists frequently refer only to "forcible" rape when condemning rape or proposing legislation relating to rapes and their consequences. This explicitly excludes statutory rape, which is the only legitimate reason that the term "forcible rape" even exists. It implicitly excludes rapes committed with date-rape drugs, along with many marital rapes and those committed by people the victim knew, because those rapes are apparently less rape-y than the stranger-in-an-alley scenario, which is statistically less common.

 ...or if she asked for it!

The victim can be alleged to be either a promiscous whore who dressed like a slut or, more generally, put herself in a dangerous situation; if young, be a temptress and manipulative Lolita who was dressing, looking and behaving older than her chronological age: just ask some judges in Montana, lawyers in Texas or Polanski supporters.  Or ask a regular commenter on this blog, "The Truth Be Told," who commented after this post:

"Get your hands on the video and you will recant everything you wrote about her being left there. She didn't want to leave. she was upset about what happened with her "So called" boyfriend, who under testimony called her a booty call, snubbing her at the club and not paying any attention to her. So, what does she do? she goes around the club showing off her assets and then approaches him later on and punches him in the face. This is her testimony. If you are going to report get it right."

Another way to trivialise -- and implicitly normalise rape -- is to recharacterise it merely in terms of "rough sex" or "a gangbang" or euphemistic terms which take the emphasis off uncomfortable words like "rape" or "assault", and remind the reader or listener that, "hey, it's just sex, right?"  The message is pretty clear: rape's not such a big deal, but you should just put up with up and get it over it.

Worries about false rape allegations are pretty much statistically bunk.  Maybe 2-8%.  The 8% comes from the FBI which is recounting "unfounded" cases.  This statistic is almost meaningless, as many of the jurisdictions from which the FBI collects data on crime use different definitions of, or criteria for, "unfounded." That is, a report of rape might be classified as unfounded (rather than as forcible rape) if the alleged victim did not try to fight off the suspect, if the alleged perpetrator did not use physical force or a weapon of some sort, if the alleged victim did not sustain any physical injuries, or if the alleged victim and the accused had a prior sexual relationship. Similarly, a report might be deemed unfounded if there is no physical evidence or too many inconsistencies between the accuser's statement and what evidence does exist. As such, although some unfounded cases of rape may be false or fabricated, not all unfounded cases are false.  (Gross, Bruce (Spring 2009). "False Rape Allegations: An Assault On Justice". Forensic Examiner.)

Very few people would be so motivated by some other factor that they would willingly subject themselves to the hell that is rained down upon rape survivors. While our culture often makes reporting a rape worse than the rape itself, when it comes to male victims, it’s damned near impossible to report at all.

For those who stubbornly wish to believe that bitches be lyin’, I can point them at studies. I have before and will again. Or I could have them read this story.  [CONTENT NOTE FOR THAT LINK: Massive trigger warning for graphic description of violent sexual assault and horrific treatment by law enforcement.]

Now, some of them will say: “That’s just an anecdote.” And that is true. It is just one data point behind the 2-8%. Since we are Good Skeptics, we know to look beyond anecdotes.

So let me add in a study of police attitudes toward rape victims. It would seem EEB (in that story above) isn’t alone, then. And if we could factor in the victims who never reported at all because of stuff like this, that “false” rape allegation statistic would drop like a rock. Since they don’t, the statistics are skewed, making “false” allegations look more prevalent.

Now add the horrific treatment victims experience from defense attorneys who believe they’re scum. I can tell you from experience this can be worse than the rape. It can be a form of torture, and like torture victims, some rape victims will recant just to make the pain stop. Magically, their allegation is now “false.” But they’re no less raped, and the rapist is no less a sexual predator.

Add in the fact that some rapists have a lock on society or community and can crush their victims (potentially like this case, if the poor girl wants to keep training-- think about her walking into an academy and wondering if a training partner is thinking she's a whore, a liar, a bitch.) If their victims had the courage to report, they’ve soon got their buddies to sweep the crime under the rug. And another several ticks are added in the “false” rape allegation column.

Add in children who receive such a terrifying reaction to their attack that they recant just to protect themselves. More “false” rape allegations.

What about victims who aren’t supported by friends and family because many cultures make it easier to believe the victims are filthy, disgusting, crazy liars rather than people suffering from sexual assault? I think you know what happens to the statistics by now.

Add in the fact that some police departments don’t make a distinction between “reports that are actually, genuinely, provably false” and “reports that can’t be prosecuted due to statute of limitations, lack of evidence, or some other reason, but no doubt the victim was assaulted.” Both numbers end up counting under “false” allegations, although a sizable percentage weren’t false at all.

Add in about a trillion circumstances I haven’t remembered to include. Compare that to the enormous number of rapes and sexual assaults.

The reality is that false rape allegations are a tiny bit of flotsam on a sea of rape. Even if that 2-8% number were accurate, it would still be far too small to use to discount rape allegations out of hand. The fact that even that tiny percentage is inflated by cases like EEB’s should ensure that every decent human being treat survivors’ reports as provisionally true. The idea that most or even many rape allegations are false is an extraordinary claim requiring extraordinary evidence. Those who continue to insist otherwise have forfeited any right to be considered good people.

To be fair, here's a thought-provoking article titled Five Things To Consider Before Calling Someone a Rape Apologist.

BUT here are what I see as the leading apologetics about the acquittals in the NYE rape case:

1.  Those poor boys' lives are ruined.
2.  It's just buyer's remorse.
3.  She should be prosecuted.

People saying that garbage just don't get that losing a criminal prosecution doesn't mean the jury thought a witness or any witness lied.  It's not a finding that the complaining witness was perjuring herself.  It doesn't mean the jury believed no rape occurred.  It simply means the prosecution didn't persuade the jury beyond a reasonable doubt.

The boys' lives are not ruined except for the fact that they now think they are the persecuted victims, and they now know mistakes not to make should they ever choose another foray into crime.

The concept of this being a false claim of rape due to morning-after regret is disproven by the videotape showing her being dropped on her head while blacked out (hard to argue she wanted that or was not too intoxicated) and the testimony that she was left unconscious and naked on the cold concrete (not the typical way to leave your willing sex partner.)

There are mechanisms in place to penalize those who lie on the stand... they're called perjury prosecutions.  Just because those idiots were acquitted doesn't mean the survivor lied.  Get over it.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

More shameful rape apologetics-- UPDATED AGAIN

Thanks Michael Dill and Reed Shelger and JR Gore -- your opinions, including that the rape survivor wanted a threesome and was later beaten up by her boyfriend prompting her to "save face" with her "cry's [sic] [of] rape" dishonestly, are profoundly disturbing and ignorant of the FACTS revealed on videotape and testified to under oath by other witnesses....

Let me interject a big, sincere apology to Alex Weatherford... I was editing this post late at night and was not being as careful as I should have been.  While I highlighted your statement because it is an example of the phrasing that implies that two men taking advantage of a woman in a vulnerable [aka intoxicated] position is something less than rape, I readily admit that I was wrong to include your name with Dill/Shelger/Gore.  Please accept my apology!!

Remember everyone-- a not-guilty is not "INNOCENT."  A not-guilty means the prosecutor did not present enough proof.  It doesn't mean the survivor lied (and hey, she'd have to be pretty good to corrupt the surveillance camera footage AND Mateo's cell phone footage AND decide to lay naked on the cold concrete for almost an hour just to be more persuasive.)

EDITED TO ADD: Tonight Reed Shelger emailed me as follows:

"Please remove my name from your blog immediately.  I do not appreciate being called publicly a rape apologist.  I have never even met you, and you need to keep my name off your blog.

I declined.  More of our communication after this new screen cap:

His reply to me: "It isn't true because it wasn't rape.  I do not condone rape."  and "Calling my comments rape apologetics implies that I was defending rape.  My opinion is that rape did not take place (which was supported by the jury who had access to the evidence).  Again, you can have your opinion.  Please leave me out of it."

By now, Reed has deleted some of these offensive comments:

And here's some more comments I found amazing:

But Reed... purple belt at Paradigm Training Center in Houston...  

Your comments were accurately reported.  Yes? 

The screen shots were unaltered.  Yes?

You don't need to agree that she was raped to have participated in rape apologetics.

Just thinking that someone "sucking dicks in parking garages at all hours of the night" means what happened to her is okay-- HELLO RAPE APOLOGETICS!

Jury hangs on remaining misdemeanors, Schultz granted a mistrial.

The jury came back hung (couldn't agree) and so the court declared a mistrial.  The case has been continued so that the prosecution can decide how it wants to proceed.

Don't freak out, don't jump to conclusions.  Take a deep breath and let's think about how best to see positive change come out of this.  I'll be in touch.

Monday, November 04, 2013

Nicholas Schultz released on PR bond, two misdemeanors are all that remain...

11/04/2013 Event Resulted - Release Status: Event Resulted - Release Status: PR.

Jury started deliberations at 9:50 a.m. Jury returned verdict on Felony Count 7 but not lesser included. Two misdemeanor sex abuse counts remain. Jury to resume deliberation tomorrow at 9:30 am.

AUSA: Peter Taylor
Trial Resumed scheduled for 11/04/2013 at 9:30 am has been resulted as follows:

Result: Trial In Progress
Judge: LEIBOVITZ, LYNN Location: Courtroom 202
NICHOLAS SCHULTZ (Defendant (Criminal)); ; Ms NIKKI U LOTZE (Attorney) on behalf of NICHOLAS SCHULTZ (Defendant (Criminal)); Judge LYNN LEIBOVITZ

This is how they react to opposition...

There's an old joke around the courthouse.  When the law is on your side, pound on the law.  When the facts are on your side, pound on the facts.  And if neither are on your side, pound on the table.

Well, when the facts aren't on your side, Lloyd's little minions make insults about age, intelligence, status in BJJ, and virtue. I guess I'm happy they don't think I'm ugly?

Today, on facebook:

And yes, that whole baloney "Georgette cheated" blackmail thing apparently has a believer.... Jason Selva of Alhambra California (check out his very Lloydie website.)

This is what they did to the NYE rape survivor. Oh look, let's call her a whore, then no one will believe her.  This is what Jason Selva did by accusing me of cheating on my husband when he reposted that baloney "cheater report" website on facebook.

The "cheater" story doesn't even get basic facts right (I don't cheat on my husband, he isn't abusive, I'm not a DEA agent) and it used a picture that was public and all over the internet, facebook, my blog, etc.  I originally thought all the blackmail threats were connected to me outing a local instructor who is a registered sex offender.  Maybe it was Lloyd or a minion all along?

Celebrating Maldonado's Not Guilty? [EDITED]

I'm just wondering why people are celebrating Melo-donado's not guilty....

I've heard Lucas Lepri removed his post cheering the acquittal, though Adam's page is private now and I can't see for sure.

[EDITED TO ADD: several of his students have contacted me... and one had contacted me at least a day before I posted this... to strenuously assure me that Prof. Lepri had misunderstood what he was commenting about and had immediately retracted his comment.  I would like to note that I did not take this screen shot, nor did I make the red circle around Prof. Lepri's name.  However, I needed the screen shot because I wanted to share my disappointment that a woman, dating a former medal chaser, was applauding Melo-donado's acquittal.  So I used the screen shot and hoped that me saying Prof. Lepri had retracted it was sufficient.  Apparently some people were angered that he would even make such an error and wanted to still attribute bad intent to Prof. Lepri.  I have no reason whatsoever to think this is merited and because I trust the word of the three students who assure me still that he is not a rape apologist in any fashion, I am whiting-out his name on the picture below.  PLEASE do not look down on Prof. Lepri for his "typographical" error, thank you.]

I also see Keenan Cornelius's girlfriend cheering about it.

Saturday, November 02, 2013

Lloyd Irvin caught MISREPRESENTING his role in the IBJJF

Lloyd posted on facebook implying that he was helping the IBJJF write the new rules for next year:

Of course, this was misleading at best.  The IBJJF acted quickly, for once, to distance itself from Lloyd.


Paul Thomas Jiu Jitsu [EDITED- May not welcome] sex offender Nick Schultz

EDITED TO ADD (On Nov 4th)-- according to Alvis Solis, today:
"Alvis Solis
I talked to Paul Thomas today via phone and he promises NOT to allow Nick Schultz. He had kicked Nick out for other things a long time ago and I reinforced that decision for Paul. He should be making a public announcement soon"

Nick Schultz used to train with Paul Thomas Jiu Jitsu of Katy, TX (now called Katy Jiu Jitsu) before going to Team Lloyd Irvin.  And now I am told (by someone reporting to me a verbal conversation had with Paul) that Paul Thomas is willing to welcome Nick back, should he be acquitted in DC and need a training home.

Paul has some odd opinions and ways of expressing them.

(Don't worry, I downloaded those videos.  So if they get pulled from the inter tubes, let me know.)

Here are some posts on various forums about Paul:

And, some screen shots sent to me by an anonymous source.

 So-- I'm not saying any of the events reported here are true-- only that they have been reported.  However, until Paul Thomas chooses to disavow the primary issue-- that he would welcome Nick Schultz back with open arms-- I think it's relevant to ask why not, and make this public information (and inquiry)....

As a result I asked him to comment, tonight Saturday Nov 2nd at 10pm central... let's see what he says.

Thanks Kitsune for your public pressure:

"Public service message: Paul Thomas Jiu Jitsu and Kickboxing MMA school (Katy, Texas) has indicated that Nick Schultz (the guy who raped a teammate at TLI and left her semiconscious on a cement parking lot in the middle of a winter night) is welcome to come back and train there (he has trained at Paul Thomas before). Please help spread the word that Paul Thomas Jiu Jitsu Kickboxing MMA welcomes dangerous and immoral asswipes onto its mats to troll for their next victims among its students and their families.  Please also indulge me as I will be using this blog on an ongoing basis to publicize schools and sponsors who support rapists. We need to get this out into the light where everyone can see."

Q&A on the trial and videos-- part one

Been deluged with questions here and by email and on facebook so I will try to answer them one at a time. Here is part one! Pretty much the overwhelming theme I get is as follows: How could a crime like that be on video and those fellas not be found guilty? How can Aaron France give one account and the pro-defense people give another, of the same video?

YES, so frustrating that "eyewitness accounts" aren't more consistent. Welcome to the problems of ... eyewitness testimony! Everyone filters through their own worldview, it seems. Especially if they're watching something like this. OTOH I don't think necessarily someone/anyone is being dishonest.

People see what they know how to understand and stuff that's over their head or outside their box doesn't register or get remembered. People focus on stuff that scratches an emotional itch-- whether they want to justify a preexisting belief or shore up an argument or what have you. It can be entirely subconscious in fact. You and I would likely have to watch the tapes 6-7-8 times to glean most, not all, of the relevant data... once or twice just to take it all in, then another time or four with a notepad... sometimes to see it for State's evidence, sometimes to predict the Defense argument... etc. People who only saw it once (in pretrial motion practice for example) or twice (that plus trial) will likely not gather all the relevant data in their heads much less remember it. They may not even know what is legally relevant.

I received a series of emails from someone identifying themselves (by first name only so far) as a defense lawyer who watched the trial. I am not going to censor but I am trying to verify her identity first just to be as professional as I can with this journalism.

Anyway, she described for me her take on the video and why she believed a jury could find consent depicted in it. It started me thinking and so I'm sharing those thoughts even before I feel like I can share the content of her description.

Just dealing with one small fragment of what this this viewer described as the survivor moving her body in a certain way as evidence of consent. That is a definite physical movement [xxx]. But there are many layers of interpretation going into that description. Was it volitional movement? was she swaying from intoxication or fatigue or momentum from his force? was she moving moving backwards towards something behind her versus away from something in front of her? LOTS of ways to interpret what is seen-- not even really getting into WHY the movement happened.

Then if you KNOW what the movement really was, the MOTIVE for the movement is still not crystal clear. Let's assume the survivor moved, and moved towards the assailant, volitionally and not for any other reason like swaying from fatigue or intoxication... let's say for argument's sake moving her body closer to his.... the next step the viewer may take is to assume that this means the survivor was consenting. But not to be too graphic-- I'll just say that in my years of experience as a sexual assault crisis counselor meeting survivors in emergency rooms immediately post-assault, I have heard more than one survivor say that the most painful part of rape is the sawing back and forth, and that they tried to move closer to avoid as much of that motion as possible.

So, the framework of the audience will play a huge role in the interpretation. If you are watching to establish a list of reasons you could claim consent (i.e. if you're New Defense Attorney come to watch Heavy Hitters Showing How It's Done) then you will see movement where there is none... or you'll see movement towards penetration instead of swaying from drunk fatigue, as examples, and then that movement will register in your mind (like the so-called minds of the Phil Proctor-esque idiots yammering on the internet) as "backing it up."

Another example makes it clear that the difference of interpretation doesn't have to be intentional-- there's ignorance too. If the viewer has never been blackout drunk before, or terrified, or assaulted, they won't know that the survivor might not have even been aware she had a cell phone much less have the presence of mind to call 911 during these events much less have the courage (or stupidity?) to do it while passing in and out of consciousness or in fear (for her life?) or even just trying to dissociate... so this viewer may see not calling for help as consent instead of drunkenness/unawareness/focus on violation/fear.

Not trying to defend that viewer's perspective so much... just realizing all the slips 'twixt cups and lips, as they are also going to plague the jury. Our job as lawyers is to EDUCATE at least one juror so they can educate and influence the rest of the jury-- give them a candle to light the way out of the cave, so to speak. And seeing this as a black and white "someone is lying" picture is not always as helpful in that educational process...

Tomorrow I'll address the comments I see on the sub-reddit about Aaron France's statement.

Thanks for reading.

An eyewitness account of the surveillance camera video

From Aaron France, DC cop and BJJ brownbelt... this can be found on the BJJ sub-reddit and virally all over the web, really:

 "I have a few things to say about the Maldonado acquittal. First, the idea that juries are always correct, even when presented with very clear video evidence is a fantasy. I remember the Rodney King trial. They were initially acquitted by a jury, but when tried in federal court, they were convicted.

This leads to the next point; there is a difference between an acquittal and a summary dismissal or a finding of no probable cause. Prior to these two being arrested, Detectives had to investigate the case, a Lieutenant or higher had to sign off on the affidavit that they drafted in support of an arrest warrant, a section chief or deputy section chief of the US Attorney's Office had to review the affidavit and (in most cases) the video of the offense.

From there, a Judge read the facts of the affidavit, swore the officers to the fact that it was true and accurate, and signed it. After they were arrested, the two were presented for arraignment. An assistant US Attorney read the facts of the case to a Judge, and a defense attorney made an argument as to why they should have been released. The judge held them based upon the nature of the charges.

After that, a third judge held a preliminary hearing, where he found probable cause. He then heard arguments as to why they should be released, and denied that.

Then, a grand jury had to indict the two of them. 20 people had to sit in a room and listen to evidence about the case, and decide if there was probable cause.

That's a lot of people who are capable of saying "this doesn't seem right" before it's even brought to trial. I didn't sit through most of the trial. I had the opportunity to drop in every now and then, while on down time during other trials and court matters that I had to attend. I did get to see a few things, and at one point during all of this, I had the opportunity to view the surveillance footage of the garage.

What I saw was deplorable. The video depicted Schultz and Maldonado carry the victim into a parking garage. They brought her over to a wall of the garage, removed her pants, and had sex with her. I will keep some of the details to myself, but one of them was in front of her, and one of them was behind her.

During this, one of them hands her a phone, which we later learned was used to capture a video where the victim is heard telling them to stop. At a certain point in the video, Maldonado leaves, and Schultz continues. As I recall, Maldonado briefly returned, at which point Schultz was kneeling over her, forcing her into oral sex. She turned her head away numerous times and at one point Schultz drops her head onto the pavement. After that is said and done, Schultz leaves.

The victim is laying on the pavement, half-naked, at 3 am, when it was 38 degrees outside. Metropolitan Police Department Officers found her because someone heard her yelling for help, after being alone on the pavement for something like 40 minutes. None of this is speculation. This is my recollection of the video, which I viewed with my own eyes. I do not believe that either of them are innocent, or that they were falsely accused.

There has been a very small subset of people acting as an advocate for Maldonado's "innocence" claiming that he believed this was a consensual encounter. Ask yourself; if this happened to your wife, your daughter, your girlfriend, your sister, or even a close female friend, would you advocate Maldonado's innocence? Most of you would be calling for blood. Some of you would even take it yourselves.

So if we were to look at Maldonado's behavior, put criminal implications aside and give him the benefit of the doubt, here's the best thing we can say about him... He had sex with a woman who was intoxicated to the point where she could not walk, and afterwards he treated her like a piece of trash, by leaving her half naked on the cement floor of a parking garage, in the middle of the night, when it was barely above freezing. And that woman? She was his "teammate." Not many people outside of the Brazilian Jiujitsu Community can comprehend the bond that develops between training partners, due to the level of trust that training partners are required to develop in each other. ...

Yet there are a few people who believe that we should let him back into the Brazilian Jiujitsu community. These people believe that he should be allowed to continue to sharpen his skills, learning to choke people and cause their joints to stop functioning. They apparently believe that he should be allowed to do this in the presence of women and children. How can you possibly ever trust this man not to just hang onto a choke, or not hold an armbar after you tap? He's already demonstrated a propensity to do what he wants with another persons body, why should we believe it ends with sex?

Realistically, I know that he cannot be kept out of every gym in the country, and he'll probably be back on the mat by the time the weekend rolls around. So how can I make a difference?

What I can do is boycott any product that sponsors him and let them know why. I can hold up any sign I want at any tournament he's competing at. I could, if he decided to train at my gym, choose to give someone else my money (we'd never have him). I can do whatever I can to make him and those who support him feel uncomfortable. There people in this world that I am afraid of, and Maldonado is not one of them.

Remember, your outrage doesn't have to end today. Stay loud, my friends."