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October 13, 2006

Strib: A Fine Case Of Bias

Nothing about Rochelle Olson and Paul McEnroe's story about Alan Fine's 1995 arrest for "domestic abuse" passed the stink test for me, from the very beginning. Men - especially in Hennepin County - don't get arrested for domestic violence and then go on to get their arrests expunged, much less win custody of their minor children, if there's anything to the charge. It is a truism that is nearly physically immutable. While much about the Domestic Violence industry beggars common sense, this is one part that adds up.

Which was only the first reason Olson and McEnroe's story didn't add up.

Scott Johnson - as seems to be the case on this story, two days behind me but with the facts - hauls off on the story in a piece in Powerline yesterday.

He has some details about the case, culled from Henco court documents, that imply that my nose was correct:

In 1996 Fine's wife was awarded full physical custody and Fine was awarded joint legal custody of their son. Based on a review of documents provided to me, I have ascertained that Fine's ex-wife was herself subsequently charged with domestic assaults involving her boyfriend in one incident and Alan Fine's son in another incident in July and November 2003.

Fine was granted temporary full physical custody of his son in 2003 as a result of the incident betweem his ex-wife and her boyfriend and a child protection order was issued prohibiting the ex-wife from "acts of domestic abuse against the child." The November 2003 incident resulted in a criminal charge against Fine's ex-wife for assault and for violation of the protection order; the November 2003 incident also resulted in a subsequent court order limiting his ex-wife to visitation only under supervision.

Johnson's summary - and, I'd suspect, the court papers themselves - hint at what must have been a really awful situation for all concerned - including Alan Fine and, especially, the couple's son.

They also hint at something else:

At the current time Fine has joint physical and legal custody and his son primarily resides with Fine under a court order entered in 2004. In short, I believe that the Star Tribune left so many relevant facts out of the story that it cannot withstand scrutiny.
Scrutiny is, indeed, what we'll be trying to give the story tomorrow on the NARN. We are, as this is written, scheduled to interview Rochelle Olson during the 2PM hour.

Johnson adds to the timeline:

The Star Tribune story ot this past Sunday does not cite a single fact other than the word of Fine's ex-wife to support the assault charge against Fine; the only physical evidence cited from the police report fails to support the assault charge against Fine. [If you follow the domestic abuse industry for any time, you realize that any "physical evidence" short of having a Ginsu stuck in his throat isn't going to keep the average guy out of jail when a woman calls in with any charge - real, imagined or tactical. When cops are called to a domestic dispute, they usually have to arrest someone - and that "someone" is almost always the guy, barring beyond-overwhelming evidence that the woman was the attacker, and sometimes even then. It's one of many parts of the system that beg for reform.] In an April 2004 court order involving the divorce of the ex-wife's twin sister, Fine's ex-wife was prohibited from seeing her niece without supervision "because of alleged incidents of domestic violence." For some reason the Star Tribune story leaves out all evidence suggesting that Fine's ex-wife is a woman with a documented history of violence and anger management isssues.
So the timeline looks like this:
  1. Fine's marriage was a mess.
  2. There was an altercation one evening in 1995. The cops were called. Although Fine was the only person showing any damage, he was hauled off to jail.
  3. Fine's ex-wife was, pro forma, given custody of their child...
  4. ...which she lost over the next eight years, during which she rang up a record of domestic violence all her own (and during which time Alan Fine's life was apparently fairly tranquil)).
  5. The incidents combined to prompt the court to reverse their custody findings - which is, by the way, extremely rare in family court; while the standard for initially setting custody is "the best interest of the child" (a phrase that has a settled legal definition), reversing a custody finding in Minnesota courts requires showing that the change is vital for "the health and safety of the child" (a more stringent and difficult standard). Fine did this.
  6. Finally, the evidence in the original arrest was so weak (and yet so damaging to someone's future career, in or out of politics) that Fine was able to get the record expunged.
In domestic court, men are almost always tacitly considered guilty until proven innocent. That Fine was able to keep a job and live a productive life is telling; that he could go on to get custody of his son and expunge the un-charged, un-tried arrest from his record should be dispositive to any reasonable person.

Hopefully on Saturday we'll find out why the Strib didn't think any of this was important enough for you to read.

Posted by Mitch at October 13, 2006 07:05 AM | TrackBack
Comments

Mitch,

Check out Babalu today. I think you will like it.

Chris

Posted by: chris at October 13, 2006 07:44 AM

You have to give Mr. Fine a ton of credit here. He was on Jason Lewis' program last night and Jason pushed and prodded and gave Fine opportunity after opportunity to get this all out in the public discussion and like the gentleman he is, he refused to discuss the details as it was embarrassing to his wife and children. My respect for the man, based on that one hour, rose immeasurably.

Posted by: The Lady Logician at October 13, 2006 10:25 AM

Hey Mitch, you see Air America just filed for bankruptcy?

Posted by: angryclown at October 13, 2006 12:07 PM

You mean "guilty even after being proven innocent", don't you?

Posted by: htom at October 13, 2006 12:56 PM

AC said,

"Hey Mitch, you see Air America just filed for bankruptcy?"

So did Northwest Airlines but I'll still be flying to Mexico in a few months. I might just bring a few Mexicans back in my Garment bag just to freak out Mitch.

Posted by: Doug at October 13, 2006 10:17 PM

"So did Northwest Airlines but I'll still be flying to Mexico in a few months. I might just bring a few Mexicans back in my Garment bag just to freak out Mitch."

But you DO know the difference, don't you?

No, I bet you don't.

Posted by: mitch at October 13, 2006 10:41 PM

If Richard Jewel moved to Minnesota, and ran for high office as a Republican, the Star Tribune would no doubt imply that Jewel got off on a technicality and could be arrested at any moment if new evidence came to light (in the Atlanta Olympics bombing.) And we wouldn't want that.... Especially if Jewel had a chance to win. For some reason, the Trib editors have sold their soul to the DFL, and sold it so cheap that it boggles the mind.

Posted by: RBMN at October 13, 2006 10:52 PM

Mitch said,

"But you DO know the difference, don't you?"

Yes Mitch. I do. A Mexican is a person from the country of Mexico and a gament bag is a piece of luggage that is used to keep your clothes in when you travel.

You can tell the difference between them pretty easily. The Mexican is the one that get's hired illegally by American companies and corporations for about a fifth of what they could pay US citizens and allows you to buy a shirt at Walmart for $3.27. A garment bag is the thing that so many Republican leaders will be packing after November 7th.

Hope that helps

Posted by: Doug at October 14, 2006 08:06 AM

Wow, Doug, dodge the actual point much?

Here, I'll boil it down so it's nice an non-dodgeable:

You do know the difference between Air America filing for bankruptcy and Northwest Airlines filing for bankruptcy, don't you?

Unless you think both institutions are equally important--which I suppose is entirely possible in your mind--the answer should be screamingly obvious.

Posted by: Ryan at October 14, 2006 12:17 PM

Ryan said,

"You do know the difference between Air America filing for bankruptcy and Northwest Airlines filing for bankruptcy, don't you?"

Yeah Ryan. It means you restructure while you try to find financing all the while continuing to operate.

Dumbass.

Posted by: Doug at October 14, 2006 07:06 PM

I know the difference between Air America and Northwest filing bankruptcy. In Northwest's case the taxpayers of Minnesota are SOL. In Air America's case it all those poor kids from Gloria Wise.
Al Franken is too stupid to steal from a state. He has to steal from children. But he'll get his $300 grand, the greedy little fraud. And the DFL will make him a martyr.

Posted by: Kermit at October 14, 2006 07:22 PM

"It means you restructure while you try to find financing all the while continuing to operate."

Pfft. Unfortunately for Airhead America...Gloria Wise Center for the aged and underpriviledged is tapped.

On subject: Mitch, I caught your interview with Rochelle today..no offense man, but what was that?

You have to stop stumbling over yourself to be nice and proper and get the wood chipper going baby!

You guys hit all the points after she was gone...that's a day late and a dollar short!

I was pheasant hunting, sans cell phone, or I'd have love to dug into that bitch myself. Call me..we'll talk ;^)

Posted by: swiftee at October 14, 2006 08:08 PM

Kermit said,

"Al Franken is too stupid to steal from a state."

Yeah. If he were smart he'd hook up with guys from the CIA and the defense department to start his network and steal it from the American taxpayer.

Posted by: Doug at October 14, 2006 11:08 PM

A network that steals from the American taxpayer already exists, Doug. It's called NPR.

Dumbass.

Posted by: Paul at October 15, 2006 06:57 AM

And where in this thread do I advocate that NPR should be funded through tax dollars?

If you're really concerned about the poor, put upon American public having to pay for media bias, how do you feel about the former chairman of the CPB who now runs the official propaganda radio media outlet for the US Government?

And by the way Paul, NPR is funded primarily through the CPB. The board members are weighted Republican, the current President and the co-chair are both Republican.

I can't listen to NPR anymore because it's embarrasing listening to them trip all over themselves trying to demonstrate they're balanced.


Posted by: Doug at October 15, 2006 09:22 AM

Doug, do you make this stuff up as you go?

Posted by: Paul at October 15, 2006 09:57 AM

Make up what, Paul?

That CPB is stocked with Republicans? It is.

Let's go further, that it's total public subside is 15% (it is), of which 2/3rds (10% of the total) comes from CPB programming (it does). Don't believe it, go read the published docs which are easily available from NPR.

Contrast that with Haliburton which recently declared it's $15 Billion "contract" to rebuild the oil infrastructure "complete" even though of course the oil isn't flowing at much more than a trickle.

Double-standards are the specialty of wing-nut land, Doug. Good to see another person ready to point it out.

Hey Mitch, considering the vast network of volunteers Karl Rove put together throughout the US, the "Machine" in the Klobuchar vs. Kennedy race really was the GOP Machine, including all the funding funneled Kennedy's way. Now that the National GOP has figured out they chose too much of a step-and-fetch-it neo-Nazi for a candidate, and have essentially pulled out because Kennedy is trailing (according to Rassmussen, Pew, Harris...etc), will you be putting out the AKlo vs. the Machine AKlo 1, Machine 0 bumper stickers?

Posted by: ted at October 15, 2006 01:08 PM

Doug, you keep dancing around the obvious fact that airlines are, you know, extremely important for maintaining a stable economy in this global age, whereas Air America's about as important as the cat puke I stepped in this morning.

And, since signing off with "dumbass" seems to be the thing to do in this thread:

Dumbass.

Posted by: Ryan at October 15, 2006 04:48 PM

Ryan said,

"Doug, you keep dancing around the obvious fact that airlines are, you know, extremely important for maintaining a stable economy in this global age"

Ryan, you're an idiot.

I said AAR is still going to be operating JUST LIKE NORTHWEST continues to do even in bankruptcy. I didn't ask for a lesson on "the economy in this global age..." Cliffy Claven.

Run along and play in the street or something.

Posted by: Doug at October 15, 2006 08:32 PM

Right Doug. People will keep flying Northwest and they'll keep ignoring Snore America. If Al wants to steal from the taxpayer for his radio gig he just needs to get a job in St.Paul with Garry Keillor. Lake Wobegone boy has been sucking at the public tit for decades.

Posted by: Kermit at October 15, 2006 10:23 PM

"I said AAR is still going to be operating JUST LIKE NORTHWEST continues to do even in bankruptcy. "

Right. And I asked you if you knew the difference between the two.

And you have yet to answer that.

The conclusion is obvious. Shall we run with it?

(And Ryan's right - you outghtta quit sighning off with calling people "Dumbass")

Posted by: mitch at October 16, 2006 05:30 AM

Mitch said,

"Right. And I asked you if you knew the difference between the two."

Sure Mitch... One is an airlines and one is a radio network.

I said that they will both continue to operate under chapter 11.

Here's a thought Mitch... If you have a point you would like to make, make it. The whole passive aggressive, patronizing thing is getting old.

Posted by: Doug at October 16, 2006 08:11 AM

"If you have a point you would like to make, make it. The whole passive aggressive, patronizing thing is getting old."

Translation: "C'mon..give me a hint! I realize that I always come off looking like a tool, and I hate it."

Posted by: swiftee at October 16, 2006 09:43 AM

Swiftee said,

"Translation: "C'mon..give me a hint! I realize that I always come off looking like a tool, and I hate it.""

Translation: "Mitch et al doesn't really have a point - yet... But this gives them time to scramble to get the latest talking points from Hannity, Limbaugh and O'Reilly - in 5, 4, 3, 2, and go...

Posted by: Doug at October 16, 2006 10:11 AM

Mitch said,

"(And Ryan's right - you outghtta quit sighning off with calling people "Dumbass")"

I wasn't sighning (sic) off with calling Ryan "Dumbass". I was endorsing a fabulous new book all about your illustrious leader...

Here it is...

http://www.buzzflash.com/store/reviews/371


Enjoy.

Posted by: Doug at October 16, 2006 12:37 PM

"Translation: "Mitch et al doesn't really have a point - yet... But this gives them time to scramble to get the latest talking points from Hannity, Limbaugh and O'Reilly - in 5, 4, 3, 2, and go..."

"Talking point"? Waiting for Rush?

You really *don't* have an original thought in your head, do you?

Goodness knows you won't/can't answer any of the actual points in my post.

Posted by: mitch at October 16, 2006 11:01 PM

Mitch said,

"Goodness knows you won't/can't answer any of the actual points in my post."

I've taken the liberty of collecting each of your "actual points" in one quick and easy response. Here they are...

_____________________________________________

But you DO know the difference, don't you?

No, I bet you don't.

_____________________________________________

Right. And I asked you if you knew the difference between the two.

And you have yet to answer that.

The conclusion is obvious. Shall we run with it?

_____________________________________________


Wow. Those are some strong points you made Mitch. I should learn never to tangle with a guy with such powerful persuasive skills.

Posted by: Doug at October 17, 2006 09:33 AM

My skills of persuasion can't possibly measure up to your evasion and obtusion.

The Strib omitted the central fact - Fine's innocence of the charge for which it was arrested.

Dodge that, snark-boy.

Posted by: mitch at October 18, 2006 02:25 PM
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