Furman has been found not guilty on all three counts, thus securing his chances to remain on team.
Josh Furman found not guilty on all three counts.
no link yet. believe it is being reported by freep and aanews reporters in the courtroom.
Angelique Chengelis posted it on twitter FWIW.
I do see that it's also being reported by Scout, behind their paywall.
Wow, you have to pay for justice ...
I hope Josh takes the next step this off-season. I thought he could be a player for us after watching his high school film.
LOL at prosecutors who rejected the defense's plea bargain.
Here is a tweet from Snyder on why Furman rejected the prosecuters plea bargain:
Because of the UM FB assault policy, Furman rejected a plea and asked for the trial, so he had a chance to remain on the team.
I thought Furman's attorney previously said that it was the DA who rejected the offer. In fact, Furman's attorney couldn't make the offer if his client hadn't previously approved. Sounds like there were two offers--one from the prosecutor and one from Furman. Furman's for illegal entry, prosecutor's for assault. In the end, the DA still looking stupid.
Okay--the Prosecutor is looking plain silly here. Especially since she passed up a plea offer. What a waste of resources.
My tax dollars at work.
Separate the fact that he's a Michigan football player and I don't mind it as much. Prosecuters don't make d-ck for money and I'd rather them at least make it somewhat painful for people that make others feel unsafe/threatened. I'm glad he got off assuming he was not guilty but I'd rather the DA err on the side of protecting "victims" than not just because they could potentially lose. Know what I mean?
From all the evidence that should have been available before the trial, it looks to me like Furman—and the woman who was the subject of the original texts—were the only real victims. Certainly not the asshole cowering in the closet, nor the women who were yanking on Josh's hair who said they did not feel threatened.
As a resident of Washtenaw County, I'd much rather the prosecutors prosecute cases where there are clear-cut victims and obvious criminals. There's no lack of those.
That's why I put victims in quotations. I was mostly speaking in general terms about tax dollars being spent. The DA obviously has to pick battles intelligently and appears to not have done so here but I'm not all that concerned about a ADA losing a trial if it makes the defendant think twice about being in whatever situation he/she was again.
In essence, we're saying the same thing - that there is too much work to go around and the ADAs are so underpaid for the generally good they do to protect society. Its one thing to get an arrest and a completely other thing to get a conviction.
There are a whole lot of people who need to think twice about whatever situation they're in, and the cost of a DA, a trial, and everything that goes with it should go to situations like that, and not something like this. This had losing outcome and waste of time on it from day one. At the very least it should have been plead out if she felt so strongly about it, because she certainly wasn't going to win. Her attitude in her reaction tells me she was motivated by something other than protecting the community in this case. There's a whole lot of things Ann Arbor could use money on, particularly in law enforcement...and this wasn't close to one of them. If she had gotten a conviction, I would have felt no safer in this town. There are a lot of other things they could be doing that would help. This town have boondoggle projects all over the place, while ignoring the necessities of government. And it's not helping the case when the necessities are going to stupid stuff like this.
I have to plead ignorance about the particulars in Ann Arbor, unfortunately (I'd love to live there again). And I agree, in cases where there's less than,say, a 60% chance of conviction I say divert those funds otherwise earmarked for the trial to law enforcment costs (if that were, in fact, possible).
Just prosecute cases that are really necessary in a court system that is backlogged everywhere, and settle or dismiss this silliness. Even in department, I'd rather the money be going to investigate and try and get a conviction on, well, criminals, rather than personal disputes that should have ended with a police officer saying "go home, or else", and use those resources on anything from serial rapists to unending graffitti in town. Either end of the spectrum it's still more worthwhile than victimless "crimes". I can't see a reason for a case like this even if it did end up in actual "illegal entry" that should end up in a trial. Settle it. He wasn't walking in an open front door and grabbing a laptop.
And if you have to go to trial because the person insists he's innocent, and your witnesses are backing him up....swallow your pride and call it a wash.
This was the only resolution.
Why, why, why would you ever go to trial on a case like this? Good job, DA!
Sounds like it all was just blown out of proportion. Glad to hear the news. Now grow the dreads back and nothing like this will ever happen again!
What the hell was the prosecutor thinking? Does she hate athletes? Is she looking to make a name? Sparty alum?
Good for Josh. I bet he's got a big smile on his face and a load off his shoulders.
She must be a sparty. That is the only reason why this would go to trial in the first place.
Unless she has a farm on the side, I doubt it.
She went to Wayne State for law school and Michigan for physics before that. http://www.linkedin.com/pub/patricia-reiser/12/667/4b6
To give the prosecutor the benefit of the doubt, it is possible they felt dismissing the charges might subject them to charges of favoritism to a UM football player, and better to let the jury (or judge if a bench trial) just acquit the guy. Based on reports of the testimony, however, it sure sounded as if the charges should simply have been dismissed. In any event, an acquittal is better for Furman than a plea deal.
How about cowardice?
Another embarrasment for overzealous prosecutors determined to convict rather than get to the truth.
Too bad they face no consequences even if they are way out of line.
The only time I can think of a prosecutor getting in trouble is the Duke lacrosse case. There was the DA in Savannah, GA that was profiled in "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil," that manipulating tons of evidence in a capital murder case, neglected to provide the defense with facts, and yet was never reprimended.
There is a case in Louisana where the defense (after the guy has spent years on Death Row) found that the police and the prosecutor had tossed switched his DNA sample with the one foudn at the scene, thus implicating him...and the Supreme Court ruled that they shouldn't be punished.....rant over.
But cases like this show that to get into trouble a prosecutor has to do something exceedingly stupid and public, otherwise it isn't a big deal. The only thing that this prosecutor will likely face is a little public ridicule and it may inhibit the ability to get a job somewhere else, but likely this will be forgotten by the prosecutor's office within a month. Meanwhile, Mr. Furman is stuck with a likely hefty legal bill and even though he has been declared not guilty by the court, this will remain on his record whenever someone Google's him. God help him if he is ever accused of anything ever again.
Unless things have changed in the last six years, UofM students should still be getting a pro bono rep. He should be fine $$.
I don't know what the criminal statutes are like in Michigan, but this might come up on his arrest record. In Illinois, I believe it comes up when doing background searches, although it should indicate that he was found not guilty (not sure about this entirely since I just volunteer at an expungement desk). Still makes finding a job very difficult, especially for minorities and lower income individuals looking for jobs that have an flood of applications. This type of stuff, although seemingly trivial can have impacts on people's lives.
The whole tough on crime that seems to come with the job for most DA's tends to be executed to the overall detriment of society. Pointless prosecutions, arrests and sentences for people who really should not be in jail, etc. The whole send people to jail as rehabilitation is bullshit. More of get these people away from us mentality that really just helps perpetuate problems in lower income areas. Arrests and prison time makes it tougher to get jobs, pursue education, and leaves families, particularly children out in the street. Also leads to networking opportunities. But if someone wants to go somewhere from the DA spot (other political position since it is often a jump start position) you have to look "Tough on Crime" because if he isn't tough on crime then he isn't willing to fight for the innocent, serve the righteous citizens, yada yada yada. Too bad "Striving to Understand the Plight Lower Income Individuals Face, the Social and Economic Inequities Perpetuating Cycles of Further Poverty and Crime, and Working to Rectify These Structural Inequities" doesn't work as well as a political ad. Maybe its because it has too many words. Printing can cost lots of money.
*cough cough* Nancy Grace *cough cough*
In this case, it was an Assistant Prosecutor. She has a boss. Generally, DAs don't like their subordinates to lose at trial. My guess is that this didn't help her career any.
Speaking as a prosecutor here, if you haven't lost a case, you haven't tried any. I don't know a single state prosecutor with a perfect record. Most I know can't even count how many times they've lost. The system is set up for volume so it's hard to count the wins too. all you know is that you've tried a ton of cases in a short period of time.
Sometimes, your case just sucks. That doesn't mean you are allowed to shut it down. If I remember right from my time in Ann Arbor, Washtenaw County receives a lot of funding for its hard stance on domestic violence and I believe there was a domestic violence aspect to this case (real or imagined). I'm going to guess that the prosecutor didn't have an option of dropping the case so it either had to be pled out or tried. If Furman can't take the plea deal and stay on the team, he can tell the state to pound sand and demand a trial. The prosecutors then put the case on and couldn't meet the burden. State loses, NG for Furman. Prosecutor picks up the next file and moves on. Happens all the time.
Believe it or not, the system worked. Prosecutors put on their evidence, the accused put on a defense, and the trier of fact found that the burden of proof was not met. End of story.
Very informative. My only problem is that for the rest of his life, when he applies for a job, he has to check the "yes" box next to whether he's been arrested and explain that he was tried and found not guilty. He's going to have to explain it to every girlfriend's parents if they decide to look up his record. He made a mistake. I don't know how big a mistake--I wasn't there--but I'm not sure it was so bad as to deserve this. Prosecutors should not have their discretion to drop a case taken away.
If the gloves don't fit, you must acquit! Seriously though, the details that came out made this look like a misunderstanding that was then blown out of proportion by the prosecution. Glad that Furman is free.
I'm happy for him. Hope he comes out this fall with a chip on his shoulder.
Sadly, I feel that he is going to be a marked man by the police. If he jaywalks he might get arrested, the authorities don't like to be embarrased, no one does, but the authories have the ability to do something about their embarrasement. I hope that he stays in the straight and narrow and is productive for his remainder in A2.
Does anyone know if he will be reinstated onto the football team?
To your first point, any DA/prosecutor who takes something this minor personally will never get re-elected/should be fired. He is not a marked man.
As to your second point, this came out an hour ago. Patience.
We joined the Wolverines because we wanted to live our lives by a certain code, and we found it in the Team. Now you're asking us to sign a piece of paper that says we have no honor. You're asking us to say we're not Wolverines. If a court decides that what we did was wrong, then I'll accept whatever punishment they give. But I believe I was right sir, I believe I did my job, and I will not dishonor myself, my unit, or the Team so I can go home in six months... Sir.
Or something like that.....
Excellent movie reference! Double points for how it was done.
How will missing Spring football affect Furman? I'm assuming he will be reinstated to the team. Missing practice the last month doesn't help his prospects. I would guess he is too old to redshirt, but unless something radical happens, I doubt Furman sees the field, other than perhaps on special teams. Still, the fact that he went to trial (so as to have a chance to stay on the team) shows that Furman really WANTS to be part of Michigan football. That's the kind of attitude you want.
I believe he already took his RS. Isn't he a RS freshman or a RS sophomore? He has time to make it back and definitely make an impact on special teams this year. Might hurt his ability to backup Thomas Gordon (assume he is still penciled in as a FS, but if he isn't he won't be passing Marvin Robinson as backup SS), but if he puts in the time he most likely can pass Jarrod Wilson as he will need to do some physical developing.
Here's a helpful link: http://mgoblog.com/content/michigan-depth-chart-class-0
...but then who is the cat burglar?
The AA prosecutors' office has a reputation for overreaching. No surprise here. Glad Furman got a favorable outcome.
He ought to be fully reinstated, with nothing more than a private conversation with Hoke about what to do in those kinds of circumstances and some step-running.
Players have to realize that at a fishbowl like UM, there are always going to be assholes in bars and clubs and private houses looking to make a name for themselves by trying to get into it with an athlete. It's pretty much a no-win proposition for the athlete, unfortunately, but they have to be able to walk away from the asshole comment by the asshole.
“Bully for him that he’s 6-foot-whatever and weighs 200-whatever-pounds and he didn’t use his full might against them,” she said." - Prosecutor Patricia Reiser
Well, here's part of the issue - it is a half-researched argument. This data is easily found at MGoBlue.com.
Seriously though, the whole thing seemed overblown from the time the allegations were made public, and I am glad that he took the route he did (because pleading would have meant be removed from the team, I believe) and that he got the desired result. The case seemed thin from the start, and it seems like Reiser is going down whining on this one. Hopefully, there is an announcement about his reinstatement forthcoming.
I hope to see Josh out there this fall.
Someone else might call it exercising restraint.
This is the last time I post from this blasted iPad.
Though the site has been working slowly the last few days, with a lot of 503 errors and suc h. I wonder if there are upgrades being done. It's not traffic, for sure.
on the blog is loosely correlated with overall blog hits, so I'd venture to guess the Levenberry announcement 503's/504's were traffic-related.
The rest of the time, though, we're in deep off-season.
Deep off-season is the best time of year around here.
In defense of the prosecutor, in a criminal district court bench trial the parties almost always know the result before the trial begins. Alot of times it is the best way to get rid of a case without the backlash of dismissing it. EIther party is capable of demanding a jury trial if they don't want the bench trial. I would bet money that that all parties knew this result prior to the trial beginning and this way the prosecutor doesn't appear to be favoring Michigan athletes by dismissing a case. It doesn't make sense, but is routinely done.
It's called "walking the dog" and it's done in every jurisdiction in America. Very good chance the defense took a bench knowing full well this wouldn't end in a conviction. Good job on their part.
The prosecutor is still saying he did it, the witnesses backed off what they said earlier, etc. Pretty classless way to take a loss. I no longer think the prosecutor deserves the benefit of the doubt, she just seems mean and vindictive.
Maybe the prosecutor really believes he is guilty, but generally there are numerous pretrial and settlement conferences prior to the trial, and judges tend to let you know what they think of your case. They can make it very tough on you. I don't know why on earth you would take a bench trial if the judge gave you an indication that it wasn't going to end well for you unless you just wanted to be done with the case in the quickest manner possible. That being said, maybe the judge didn't tip the parties off as to which way he was leaning. Bench Trials aren't very common things in very adversely contested cases. I bet the Pros office new they were screwed way prior to the result. Like I said, this is speculation but in most circumstances defense attorneys wouldn't take a bench trial unless they knew they would win.
Good to hear. It's just too bad the kid's name was attached to this kind of thing. Welcome back Josh
To those attending the home opener and his name is announced, if you feel moved, please make sure he feels welcomed to the team and to its supporting fans.
He probably won't be listed as a starter, so he won't be announced. I'm sure he'll feel all the love he needs just by running out of the tunnel and touching the banner.
and you'll be right, but I very much doubt that if just one essential fact were changed in this case, with all other facts being exactly the same, that the charges would have been pursued. Namely, if instead of the alleged assailant being a large African-American athlete with dreadlocks and tattoos, the alleged assailant was a blond, blue-eyed B School student from Bloomfield Hills or Grosse Pointe, the whole thing would have never seen the criminal justice system, because the prosecutor would have assumed that John Huntington McRichguy III would never assault a nice girl like that.
From my understanding, it tends to be the race of the VICTIM that is most strongly correlated with decisions to prosecute, rather than the race of the accused. People are more likely to be prosecuted if the victim is white (and the disparity increases as the severity of the crime increases). I don't care to speculate as to the reasons. Just thought it was relevant and interesting.
I've seen studies in which decisions to seek the death penalty were apparently mostly* influenced by the race of the victim, as you say, but also influenced by the race of the defendant. A disproportionate amount of the victims in death penalty cases (per what I've seen) were white, and a (less) disproportionate amount of the defendants in those cases were black.
*"Mostly" relative to the races of the various actors in the situation. There was no account for the underlying facts of the cases.
5, 4, 3, 2, ......
I'm sure these last few months have been very stressful on him.
Having worked as a prosecutor, I disagree with a lot of what has been said in this thread about the DA's decision to take the case to trial. I do not see it as a waste of taxpayer resources.
First, I found that the prosecutor's office I worked in was extremely ethical, weighed the merits of each case as best they could, and was very willing to drop cases that were based scant evidence. True, there are cases where the prosecutor would rather lose at trial on less than slam-dunk evidence than accept a minimal plea---but those were frequently cases where the crime involved a gun (where they had minimum standards for plea bargaining such offenses) or the victim was a child.
I have seen many assault and battery cases dropped because the witnesses were not reliable. It appears that the witnesses in Furman's case changed their story and the prosecutor thought there was still a case for illegal entry and battery without their more favorable testimony (e.g, relying on the 911 call). My guess is that prosecutor considered their initial statements to be more reliable and supported by other evidence like the 911 call. Moreover, I have seen many such witnesses tell the prosecutor one thing immediately before trial only to change their story while giving testimony on the stand.
If prosecutors dropped every case where a man is alleged to have assaulted a woman and the woman withdrew her prior statement, very few domestic battery cases would ever get tried. Sometimes it really is better to let a jury (or in this case the judge) decide whether a crime has occurred.
It sounds like Furman was entitled to the acquittal and I am gald he got it. But I take no issue with the prosecutor's decision to let a finder of fact determine the outcome at trial.
If the DA dropped every case (or even most cases) where the alleged battery was considered slight or no big deal, then citizens would be equally up in arms when defendants who were allowed to skate on a prior battery charge go on commit a more heinous act in the future. As a policy matter, it is not very different than allowing an abusive husband to go unprosecuted for inflicting minor beatings on his spouse (where the wife recants her testimony) only to see the extent of his violence increase down the road.
Prosecuting smaller batteries--even where the witnesses recant--is not necessarily a waste of tax dollars. For example, Josh may think twice before going over to someone's home seeking conflict while he is upset. Likewise, some defendants will be found guilty despite a witness' efforts to recant and they may be deterred from committing a more serious crime in the future or be positioned for a more sever punishment if they do it again. Also, there is also a general deterrant effect that comes with knowing that even minor batteries will still subject a defendant to prosecution.
When I tried a case, I tended not to let the results of the trial change my view of whether the case should be tried. Rather, I had a duty to put the honest facts before the jury on behalf of the state--be they better or worse for my case--and let the jury weigh the merits of the facts. The facts are what they are. I couldn't change them. As long as I presented them ethically to the jury, I was comfortable with the results conviction or no conviction.
Not every crime is a rape or murder. But, that does not mean that it is not in the state's interest in prosecuting more minor offenses or that a trial on such charges is a waste of resources. Furman got his day in court. The state got its day in court. Furman prevailed. It's a perfectly good outcome for both.
Maybe the PA had issues with Mark Furman and this was as close to getting on TV
Whoever decided to prosecute should be fired. It was the kind of thing were, thirty years ago, the police would have given everyone the choice to calm down or be arrested, and simply told Furman to go home.