Justice in Champaign-Urbana

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Patrick Thompson, a local community activist who has caused numerous headaches for police in Champaign-Urbana, is currently undergoing his third trial for charges that he forcibly entered his neighbor's apartment and assaulted her in 2004.

Thompson's supporters imply that the charges are trumped up, and indeed on the surface things look suspicious: there is no physical evidence, the police didn't investigate the crime scene when it happened, and the case mostly boils down to the word of the assaulted woman. Not being personally acquainted with the case, I refuse to take sides either way, but objectively, it's hard to see a conviction being handed down when it's her word against his.

That said, there was a major development this week when the judge in the case threw out the home invasion charge, on the basis that the defense "failed to present evidence...that Thompson was not a peace officer acting in the line of duty." The report goes on to report that the judge justified his dismissal by claiming that "'A significant segment' of the police population does not wear typical uniforms while working."

It's pretty obvious that Patrick Thomspon is not a peace officer. In fact, he's made a career out of making life difficult for "peace officers." There seem to be two possibilities here: 1) The prosecution is grossly negligent, because really, how hard is it to prove that somebody isn't a cop? or 2) The judge is trying to make this case go away.

Look, it's entirely possible that these charges are a mockery of justice, but throwing out a charge for failing to prove a negative doesn't advance the cause of justice.

UPDATE: Brian Dolinar says it's negligence. He's not exactly an impartial observer, but I don't think he's a liar either. The circus goes on.

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This page contains a single entry by Papa-Lu published on May 15, 2008 3:24 PM.

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