Saturday, February 10, 2007

They couldn't win in court so they smear a teen in the press. The Matt Bandy case returns.

I have posted extensively on the attack by the Maricopa County Attorney’s office on teenager Matt Bandy. You can read our posts here, here and here. If you know nothing about the case you will need to read these before this makes sense.

Our report was picked up by Wendy McElroy on She ran a very critical article on the case of her own. ABC News ran some very critical material including a rambling interview with Country Attorney Andrew Thomas where he bumbled his way through with nary a coherent sentence. All the bad publicity is hurting his political ambitions so out comes one of his lackeys to defend his reputation.

Rachel Alexander is the deputy county attorney In Maricopa, which is basically Phoenix, Arizona. That means she works for Thomas, who is basing his political ambitions on a reputation of being a hard ass. Well, he’s half right at least!

Alexander has written a long, deceitful attack on those who question the actions of Thomas and his department (her department too). This is no longer a legal matter. The case is over and Thomas didn’t get what he wanted. Matt Bandy is not in jail. Matt Bandy is not a registered sex offender. Thomas lost! He got a token admission that the boy showed a copy of Playboy to some friends. Stop the world! That’s worse than the ovens of Auschwitz!

Since this is not a legal case anymore, what is Ms. Alexander doing here? She is not doing the work she is paid to do. She is doing Public Relations work for Mr. Thomas -- again.

And who is paying for that? Where was she when she wrote her “rebuttal?” Was she at work? Was it on county payroll time? Did she run it past the ambitious Thomas in his office for his approval? Was he on county time when that was done?

All interesting questions. Don’t expect her to answer any of them. But, I would hazard a guess that there is a very strong likelihood that Mr. Thomas and Ms. Alexander both were involved in this PR campaign and both were being paid by the taxpayers at the time. That really would amount to theft in my view. But, thinking of Mr. Thomas merely as a thief would raise him several notches in my estimation.

Let us look at what Ms. Alexander wrote. She says this whole incident is “the result of the juvenile defendant’s parents denial of the evidence of their son’s guilt and unfortunate initiation (sic) of a media disinformation campaign.” Oh. A media conspiracy, maybe even a “liberal media” conspiracy, "liberal" like the column at

Matt’s parents believe him innocent. So do I. In fact Matt is legally innocent. That is what Thomas and Alexander don’t want to acknowledge. In the end they couldn’t convict him on the charges their department wanted to use. They had their chance in court and they failed!

Even the judge was appalled at how they were acting. Oh, wait, that must be one of those “activist judges” in cahoots with the “media” to defame the hard ass county attorney. No doubt ABC even scrambled the interview with him so as to make him appear incoherent, illogical and stupid. When he stumbled all over himself on camera that couldn't be real.

Most of Alexander’s tiresome rebuttal is a repetition of what Thomas’ team claimed in court. They didn’t win in court. So I don’t see how repeating the claims clarify things. In publicAlexander doesn’t have to prove her case, just sound plausible. In court she would have to prove her case. And it was in court that her office lost and in court where the judge very openly slapped them down for their actions.

Alexander lies in her rebuttal. She says that the experts who write on the Bandy site “were not given the specific facts of Bandy’s situation; they were simply asked broad questions about viruses hijacking a computer.” That is a lie! I mean a lie, a outright, total, intentional lie.

Who is the expert that is quoted on the Bandy web site? It is Tami Loehr. Alexander claims the experts quoted were only asked broad questions. Loehr was not just asked some broad questions. After the Bandy’s fought for access to the computer, which Country Attorney Thomas was trying to deny them, Loehr actually inspected the computer. It was not merely some broad questions but a forensic on-hands examination of the actual evidence. Why did Alexander lie about this?

Ms. Alexander is not under oath in the court of public opinion. So she is free to invent lies to make her ambitious boss look better in light of the fiasco of the Bandy case. In court she would not be allowed to make this statement. You can read Loehr’s detailed report regarding the computer. (PDF) This proves Ms. Alexander is a liar. You will also read in this report how the office of Thomas and Alexander kept trying to delay Loehr so she couldn’t examine the evidence.

Alexander says that her, and Thomas’, office had “overwhelming evidence” that Matt was guilty. So overwhelming that they were unable to secure a conviction! Evidence so “overwhelming” that they tried to make the case go away by pleading the matter down to him showing a copy of Playboy to some friends.

She is clever with her wording, clever in the way attorneys can be, so as to say one thing but make it appear that something else was said instead. Matt “admitted to detectives that he visited pornographic web sites as well as an online group known for sharing pornographic images of children.” The first part is irrelevant. The second claim is not. But, what is she actually saying? More importantly, what is she not saying? Aware of libel laws, she is being very careful. She doesn’t want to actually accuse Matt of downloading child porn, but she wants to make it sound as if she has. She is planting an impression with the reader.

She says he visited a web group. She says that somewhere someone on this group traded child porn. She does not say Matt knew it was being done or was involved in doing it. Let us take another example. You walk into a restaurant in “Little Italy” for some lunch. Some men in dark suits, who look rather threatening, are eating across the room. You don’t really notice them. You finish and head off back to work. The next day some petty bureaucrat says “you ate lunch at a known Mafia hangout.” The implication is that you are a criminal. The actual wording only says you ate at the restaurant. The statement is devoid of any importance but gives the false impression that it is very important. Alexander’s statement about Matt visiting a Yahoo group where child porn is alleged to have been traded is the same kind of statement.

Be aware that almost any group used for file sharing can be used to exchange pornography -- legal or forbidden. And thousands of people may be using this group. It may be “known” to someone that a few of those people traded such images. That doesn’t mean you knew it or that you traded them. A lot of people were in Dallas when John F. Kennedy was shot. That doesn’t mean they were involved. A lot of people go to file sharing groups, that doesn’t mean they share every file that someone may put there or exchange there.

The Bandy’s had a CD in their computer. Some images appeared on that CD. Alexander contends “that a virus could not have burned those images to a CD” and the “fact that child pornography was found on the CD at his home cannot be ignored.” Sounds strong. So why no conviction on those charges?

First, she is correct to say a virus couldn’t do this. But no one every claimed it could. Again she is intentionally dropping context in her PR campaign. A virus didn’t do it. But “zombie” software could do it. In other words, other problems with the computer could have done it.

Alexander has sent us on a wild goose chase after a virus while knowing the virus was never the object of interest. She conveniently ignores the ways in which this could have happened to concentrate on a way it didn't happened. She’s not interested in facts just the reputation of her boss and her department.

It is quite possible that a trojan could put the images there. I’m not expert, but I’ve had numerous experts explain it to me several times. Surely Ms. Alexander has access to the same information -- even if she would rather ignore it.

As I understand it, if a trojan gives a remote person control of your computer they can write files to various drives. One place that might appear as a drive is a CDRom. This person may write his files to that drive thus placing them on the CD. And, if the CD spends most its time in the computer, he could come back and use the computer to send those images to others. One day you might come along and take the CD out. Unless you open the CD and inspect everything on it you wouldn’t even know his file was there. And, if the file he planted is buried several layers deep, as it was on the Bandy computer, you would never know it was there. So again, I think Alexander is being dishonest.

She intentionally focuses on a claim not made while ignoring the actual claims that were made. She did not do this unknowingly. I think that is Lie #2.

She claims that the police detective who conducted the investigation for the County Attorney “is certified by the International Association of Computer Investigative Specialists.” Who are they? Some prestigious association of computer experts perhaps? Nope.

According to the Association itself the IACIS is “composed of law enforcement professionals dedicated to education of police officers”, that is people working for the prosecution. And they are so dedicated to their work that their next conference is being held at Disney World! Just in case they might want to skip a few sessions to spend time with Mickey Mouse. But, then if you work with Andrew Thomas, time with Mickey Mouse would be a bit redundant.

Let us be clear here. This is a group of cops who certify other cops. They are not independent experts at all. Alexander doesn’t mention that fact does she? She gets more absurd by attacking the expert the Bandy’s hired because her “resume does not indicate she is certified with IACIS”. Since one must be a “law enforcement professional” (apparently with a passion for Disney World) then it is obvious that the Bandy expert would not be a member. In fact, it would be almost impossible for the Bandys to hire a member of the IACIS, since they are cops working for police departments and prosecutors.

To attack Tami Loehr for not being a member of the IACIS would be like attacking Matt’s defense attorney for not being a county prosecutor.

Again, Alexander is being deceptive. I think it is an intentional deception since the IACIS is a group of cops. She couldn’t say the following and be taken seriously: “The Bandy expert is not a police officer therefore she doesn’t have credentials.” That statement would be ludicrous on the face of it. Instead she made the same statement in a roundabout way. I think that is another lie on her part. Lie #3.

Remember that viruses can do nasty things to your computer, but the problem with placing images on the machine would also be related to having trojans on the computer -- software that allows others to control your computer. We have covered this in our earlier posts on this topic.

Alexander says that Bandy is guilty because the courts “upheld the child pornography conviction of a defendant who blamed a virus for placing child pornography on his computer. In that case, the prosecutions’ forensic analysis of his computer indicated there were viruses on his computer, but they were not capable of downloading child pornography.”

How is this relevant to the Bandy case? It isn’t. This is Alexander blowing smoke as part of her PR campaign. First, not all viruses are alike. Your computer could have 50 viruses and mine could have 50 viruses and we might not have the same viruses at all. It is possible to have a virus on your computer that does one thing while I have a virus that does something entirely different. It is irrelevant what viruses were on this other computer. Again she is ignoring the trojans. Interesting how she forgets them in her rebuttal.

Alexander is practically weeping crocodile tears by the end of her PR piece. She implores people to understand that her office didn’t plea bargain down so far because “we did not have a strong case. This too is not accurate.” No, not at all. They did it because they had a strong case. Okay the Bandy’s didn’t think so. Neither has anyone in the media who has looked at the case. Oh, and the judge wasn’t very impressed either. But really they had a strong case -- they are just old softies. See, Thomas isn’t a hard ass but a soft ass.

And Alexander informs everyone: “Our office never intended to ask for a sentence of 90 years in prison, as has been so greatly exaggerated.” Yes and no. She’s not be totally honest here -- again. The law says that if they file these charges then Matt will be sentenced to 10 years in prison, consecutively, per image if found guilty. When the prosecutor files these charges he does so knowing these are the only penalties that can be incurred.

Thomas and crew filed charges that would have put Matt Bandy in prison for life! They knew that would happen if he was convicted. For Alexander to say that the County Attorney never intended to ask for the sentence is more deceptive smoke. You decide whether she is being deceptive enough here for it to be classified as a lie. I think it is.

Then she goes into political rhetoric with lots of smoke and lots of bull. “The victim in this case is not Matt Bandy. The victims are the children who are exploited and made virtual sex slaves.” Excuse me, but the only child in this case was Matt Bandy. These other children were not in the case. They were not participants, witnesses or involved, though photos of them were -- photos which could be 50 years old for all we know. And Matt Bandy had nothing to do what may have happened to these children somewhere else. He did not make any children into “sex slaves” as Alexander drags up. The most she claimed was that he downloaded those images and even that charge didn’t stick when it went to court. Now, she makes it sound as if he was out enslaving small children to gratify his sexual desires. Shameful.

She is trying to divert attention away from the victim in the case. Matt Bandy was a child abused by her department. She and Thomas are, in that sense, child abusers. Since Matt did not take those photographs, and did not enslave any child, she is muddying the waters with emotive rhetoric to distract attention from the questionable actions of her own department. Shame on her.

She says “This case is not about pornography, it is about child pornography.” Well, sort of. But let us not forget that they were running into real problems when they made that claim in court. Those problems were sufficient enough that they dropped the charges of child pornography against Matt. If you drop the charges of child porn, and instead convict him for showing a copy of Playboy, well, then it is about pornography, not child pornography. At the very least she is being deceptive -- yet again.

She says: “Our office did what it thought was right in this situation...” No doubt they did. That’s what is so scary. The worst tyranny is always done in the name of a greater good.

Alexander laments that a “media disinformation campaign cannot change the overwhelming evidence of Bandy’s guilt.” Again that “overwhelming evidence” failed in the end. Matt Bandy was not convicted of the crime for which she claims they have “overwhelming evidence.” That means that he is “innocent until proven guilty.” They haven’t repealed that yet, have they? So Matt Bandy IS innocent in every legal, and I think actual, sense of the word. For Alexander to say he is guilty is once again deceptive.

She then whines that “the court removed the sex offender registration terms from Bandy’s guilty plea so he will not receive the treatment he needs to avoid this happening again.” Why would the court do that? Oh, yes, they thought the prosecution was full of crap! Apparently they were unconvinced by the “overwhelming evidence.” What is needed to make sure this doesn’t happen again is for Thomas, and I dare say Alexander, to both lose their positions. Thomas should go work as a rodeo clown. The costume fits and he’s used to working with lots of bull. And Alexander could sweep up the bullshit after the show. Much as she is doing now.

One final word as to why I am so disgusted with Alexander’s PR tactics for her clownish boss. She once again smears Matt Bandy as a “sex offender” in need of psychiatric help. She implies that if he doesn’t get that “help” he will attack children. She is smearing a teenager who has not been convicted of any crime remotely similar to that of attacking children.

This is a vile, libelous attack on his character. Her department could not win the case in court, where facts count. Instead she mounts her own “media disinformation campaign” to publicly smear Matt Bandy in the worst way possible. That is a disgusting thing to do to a teenager. It is unprofessional and inhumane. Rachel Alexander is not fit to hold the public trust. In fact, she isn’t fit for most things. What she has done is disgusting to the hilt. I would be tempted to give her our Moron of the Week award. But this is far lower than being a moron. There literally are no words that adequately describe the moral character of someone who would do this. No words at all.

Now for some facts on Ms. Alexander. She is a Right-wing partisan. A Right-wing web site she runs says: “Rachel Alexander and her brother Andrew are co-Editors of Intellectual Conservative.” (Talk about a contradiction in terms.) She is identified on the site as a “Deputy County Attorney with the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office.” No wonder the expose of her office’s antics on Fox News so unrattled her. It was Fox News after all. That had to hurt.

We also get some insight into possible reasons they were so anxious to prosecute Matt, in the end, for showing Playboy to some friends. Rachel has something of a passionate hatred for the magazine based on her religious beliefs. (Anyone want to lay odds on whether or not she is a fundamentalist, or at least a Mormon?). I suspect the former, more than the latter myself.

Rachel wrote an essay as to why men shouldn’t look at Playboy. She knows men don't buy it because they read the articles, she says. She uses herself to explain why. She notes that she likes men. Oh, good! I can sleep better knowing that. And she doesn’t look at male bodies “for three very simple, obvious, important reasons: 1) it is immoral from a Biblical perspective, 2) the men I date do not approve of it, and 3) it has been proven to destroy relationships and become an addiction transforming the brains neurons.” Rachel Alexander lives in The Twilight Zone. She then mentions an additional reason, I guess that is reason 3A, it would be embarrassing “if anyone found out.”

She does what every authoritarian I’ve ever met in the Republican Party does (and she is a Republican--but you guessed that didn’t you?). She plays up how she is “fairly libertarian” followed by a real explanation of why she isn’t remotely libertarian at all. She says “naked pictures” are not speech and not protected by the First Amendment. Strictly speaking she could be right on that (she isn’t), but she is no libertarian even if she is right. She clearly wants the images banned and that disqualifies her from the libertarian label. Ms.Alexander, I have known libertarians all my life. I am an libertarian. You are no libertarian. You are not even “fairly libertarian.” To be precise, you are socialist of the soul, a collectivist when it comes to one's private life, an advocate of big government and the Nanny state. You just want Nanny to do different things than your comrades on the Left.

Of course, right after saying she is fairly libertarian, she begins attacking libertarians. She also says that erotica is: “Trying to show through pictures that some people are stupid enough to allow themselves to be exploited so others can feel superior to them is not something the founders intended to protect.” Now, you don’t have to like erotica. But, that has to be the lamest psychologizing I’ve ever seen concerning why erotica is produced.

She mentions that she had “dated a man 12 years ago who had” who read Playboy and she didn’t like it one bit. Now, I wonder how much of a role Rachel Alexander had in the Bandy case. We might have an explanation for why he was banned, even when he turned 18 years of age, from looking at any erotica as part of his probation (for the crime of showing Playboy to friends.) I said at the time that it was clear that the probation requirements were part of a campaign against adult erotica. If Rachel Alexander was part of the case we may now know why. It is immoral according to the Bible, and she doesn’t like it. But, then she and Thomas a ideological peas from the same pod and I suspect his whole department is now riddled with Theopublicans.

Ms. Alexander, according to one Right-wing group does “pro bono” work for a Religious Right outfit called Alliance Defense Fund. You can find the outfit here. They promote a video interview with a teen who is claiming his religious faith was under attack because of a “religious” T-shirt he was wearing. The video never tells anyone that the t-shirt was an attack on gay students. His “faith” was wearing a t-shirt which attacked other students for being gay. What would happen if teens wore t-shirts to school attacking people for being black, Jewish, Catholic or such? Of course the school would forbid it, as it is really an attempt to pick a fight by flinging insults. The Fund is a major group promoting a theocratic Religious Right viewpoint. One of their law suits is to try to force the Michigan Family Independence Agency to place abused children with “Teen Ranch a Christian-based facility.”

The state agency asked Teen Ranch to stop religiously indoctrinating children placed there by the state with state funds. The group refused to comply and the state stopped placing children there. Apparently Teen Ranch could only survive on state funds and without access to children and funding from the state it closed down. Rachel Alexander, the “fairly libertarian” attorney gives “pro bono” work to the group that is fighting this case. Seems she got the definition of libertarian wrong again.

Photo: The photo is the "intellectual conservative" Rachel Alexander herself.

UPDATE: See our post on Alexander and her role as PR frontman for Thomas.

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