[Note: I have two hours to write this and then I have to go. I won't be back until late tonight. I know it is bad form to put up a diary and then disappear. Note also that this diary is focused on the journalism of the article itself. Others have already done a better job expressing the human side of this story, especially this thread
On the surface, the primary Freep article on this topic, A look inside Demar Dorsey’s recruitment to Michigan: What police records show; what U-M’s recruit says
(link is to printer-ready version, no ads), is not problematic. It gives Demar a voice, and it lays out most of the facts. Fine.
On closer inspection, however, there are two not-so-hidden agendas in the article that deserve our attention. One is its attempt to defend Drew Sharp by continuing to argue that "Dorsey will be able to play college football … thanks to breaks he has gotten from the law" -- that he received "special consideration from law enforcement authorities" because he was "one of the country's highest-rated defensive backs." The other questionable aspect of the article is in its attempt to portray Rich Rodriguez as being disingenuous in his "wrong place, wrong time" comment.
Neither of these gambits holds up under scrutiny.
Let's start with the first, which is a more subtle and pernicious version of Sharp's inflammatory "O.J." claim. One obvious point to be made is that in the summer of 2007, when Demar was still 15, he was not yet "one of the country's highest-rated defensive backs." He hadn't yet played as a sophomore in high-school. The consideration Demar received was the same the juvenile division gives any kid at that age in those circumstances. Maria Schneider, the assistant state attorney in charge, says as much in the article:
We are dealing with kids. The vast majority of kids stop offending. I hope this is one of them. … We try to take juveniles and judge them by the circumstances surrounding them. There are many, many things that can be taken into account.
The facts are clear. Dorsey was twice sent to a diversion program, once as a first-time offender, and once because he confessed to participating in two burglaries on the same day. The police told the second victim about Dorsey's promise as an athlete and asked him what he wanted to happen:
I responded that I didn’t want the guy to get away scot-free because he freaked me out, to be honest about it. … But I didn’t want to screw the kid’s life up forever.
So there you have it -- the victim/witness made the decision. Three older kids were convicted. Two younger kids where not. [I'm assuming that, because the Freep couldn't find a conviction for the other younger kid, there isn't one.] Okay, so there's some room for argument here. Demar's promising future was a factor. Just as it would be with any other kid with extenuating circumstances: high grades, class president, whatever.
However, where the Freep's thesis breaks down entirely is when it comes to the more serious felony armed-robbery charge brought against Demar later, when he was older. First, let me say that this is quite obviously what Rich Rodriguez was referring to when he said "You have to look into why he was in the wrong place at the wrong time." Dorsey was present in a car that was used in a mugging with a pellet gun. Here's what Demar had to say about it:
We was right down here going to my house. We dropped one of our players off, one of our teammates off. When we were dropping them off, they got out the car, tried to rob somebody. I was still in the car.
So what do you think the Freep follows up this quote with? A rational reader would expect a comment on how, yes, indeed, Doresey does seem to have been in the wrong place at the wrong time in this case. But no... Here's what the Freep writers follow the above quote with: "Dorsey’s admissions to police in the … burglaries contrast with the portrait drawn of Dorsey’s actions by Rodriguez." No mention at all of how the armed-robbery incident fits Rod's statement perfectly.
Plus, let's not forget the other big-picture point here. If Dorsey was getting "special consideration" because of his status as a star athlete, how is it that he was arraigned and brought to trial before a jury? If he had done it, he would have been convicted. Indeed, we can surmise that someone else was convicted of the crime from the judge's statement:
The defendants all blamed one another as to who committed the armed robbery. My guess is what it came down to was identification.
Was someone else convicted of this crime? Odd that the Freep would go to press without finding out this simple, verifiable fact. Let's also not forget that there is a jury verdict extant from the trial. It's right here
. The verdict says very plainly that Demar has "been acquitted by a jury." I'm not a lawyer, but this document seems to call into question the judge's recollection of dismissing the charge against Dorsey at trial. Funny that the Freep does not mention it.
That's about it, then. The Freep says Demar got a huge break, but he was brought to trial before a jury. That doesn't sound like much of a break to me. Moreover, a judge and/or jury decided that he didn't do it and that he was indeed in "the wrong place at the wrong time." Only someone with an agenda could possibly argue that Rich meant the burglaries, which Demar confessed to, by "the wrong place at the wrong time." The Freep jihad lives on!