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Crimcast is a virtual resource devoted to critical conversations about criminology and criminal justice issues. Our blogposts, twitter feeds, podcasts and other content provide an overview of trends, research, commentary and events of interest to criminal justice practitioners, academics and the general public. CrimCast is sponsored by The Center for Crime and Popular Culture, St. Francis College, Brooklyn, NY.

National Center for Reason and Justice issues Response to DA Report on Friedman Case

Nickie Phillips

In June the Nassau County district attorney released their long-awaited review of the Jesse Friedman case. Friedman was convicted in 1988 for child sexual abuse and the case was highlighted in the documentary Capturing the Friedmans which raised concerns among many viewers as to whether Friedman was wrongfully convicted. In 2010, Friedman's conviction was "reluctantly" upheld by a federal appeals court that acknowledged concerns about the fairness of the trial and the notion that investigators may have been "swept up" in a moral panic surrounding child sexual abuse.

The Nassau County district attorney re-examined the case in response to the concerns. Their report stands in sharp contrast to the federal appeal court's conclusions. The District Attorney report states that

Jesse Friedman was not wrongfully convicted. The four principal concerns raised by the Second Circuit are not substantiated by the evidence. Further arguments for exoneration offered by advocates for Jesse lack the merit or weight required to overturn this conviction. In fact, by any impartial analysis, the re-investigation process prompted by Jesse Friedman, his advocates, and the Second Circuit, has only increased confidence in the integrity of Jesse Friedman’s guilty plea and adjudication as a sex offender.

In response to the district attorney's report, the National Center for Reason and Justice has released their response, describing the re-examination of the case and their conclusions as "politically motivated." The Center stands by Friedman's claims of innocence, writing

NCRJ’s knowledge of the case makes it glaringly obvious that DA Rice’s report cherry-picks every bad fact about the defendant and every negative innuendo, while re-interpreting and dismissing all records and witness accounts that support Mr. Friedman’s claim of innocence. The report prosecutes Mr. Friedman outside of any courthouse but inside the court of public opinion. To further manipulate that opinion, Rice has not stopped with the Report. After releasing it, she has gone on to feed the media slanderous misrepresentations about Mr. Friedman.

Go here for the Center's full response.