Tag: tonya craft

Jury Acquits Tonya Craft

A Georgia jury has acquitted Tonya Craft of 22 criminal charges relating to child abuse and child molestation. A remarkable outcome given the awful rulings of the judge during the trial.  Previous coverage here and here.   

When so many charges are leveled, the pressure to enter into a plea bargain intensifies–even if the accused is innocent.  The defense attorney will say something like, “Look, some kids are going to say you did something awful.  That’s going to happen.  We might persuade the jury to acquit on most of the charges, but there’s still a chance they will convict you on a few counts.  That could mean several years in jail.  Might be better to plead guilty to one charge, serve six months, and then get on with your life.”   Some people breezily proclaim that they would never plead guilty to a crime they did not commit, but when your own freedom is really on the line, the decision is not so easy.

More on plea bargaining here (pdf).

Today Show Looks at the Tonya Craft Trial

Tonya Craft is the school teacher accused of molesting children left in her care.  Until this morning, William Anderson was almost alone in scrutinizing the case, but the Today Show took a look this morning.  Here’s the segment.

I wish there had been a little more emphasis on the actions of the trial judge.  Child molestation is monstrous.  To be falsely accused of child molestation must be galling.  And to be falsely accused and then go to trial where the presiding judge is making lousy decisions left and right has to be terrifying.

It happens more often than most people want to believe.  For more, go here and here.

Trouble in Georgia: The Tonya Craft Trial

William Anderson has been blogging about a child abuse prosecution underway in Georgia in which  Tonya Craft is accused of abusing her daughter.  The daughter, some of her friends (and their parents), and Ms. Craft’s ex-husband are witnesses for the state — so Ms. Craft needed and obtained a good defense lawyer.  However, there is only so much a defense lawyer can do when the prosecutor and the judge in the case start breaking rules.  

Anderson’s account of the prosecutorial and judicial misconduct is shocking.  Here’s a sampling:

  • A Facebook status update written by the prosecutor, with comments left by witnesses for the pending trial.
  • A mother claiming on the stand that her daughter had never taken acting classes, yet with information on IMDB that suggests she’s taken acting classes in Atlanta (that information was dismissed by the judge).
  • The judge sitting on the case represented the defendant’s husband in their divorce, but refused to recuse himself from the case.

More here.  Some are comparing this case to the Duke lacrosse players who were railroaded by Michael Nifong.  That case — bad as it was — fell apart before the trial got underway.  This case is in trial right now and the judge is compounding the prosecutorial abuses.

Anderson had a recent article in Cato’s Regulation magazine.  For more Cato work on prosecutorial misconduct, go here and here.