Steubenville Rape Case: A Conflict of Interest Handled Properly

The guilty verdict is in, handed down by Judge Thomas Lipps in the Ohio teen rape case that gripped so many: Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond guilty of raping a 16-year-old girl.

“Arrogance” was the hauntingly descriptive word used by Yahoo! Sports reporter, Dan Wetzel, in his hard-hitting, in-depth article, Steubenville High School Football Players Found Guilty of Raping 16-Year-Old Girl, posted yesterday.  Mr. Wetzel used the word “arrogance” to describe the two teenagers, their friends, and the culture that pervades the larger-than-life football program that is Big Red football at Steubenville High School.  He writes:

Arrogance? Arrogance is looking at a girl in desperate need of help, looking at a friend who was committing an obvious felony and deciding what the moment called for was an impromptu porn shoot.

It also was this colossal arrogance that doomed the defendants and everyone involved. The hubris of their high school good life causing a downfall that will be felt – even by those who escaped prosecution – for a lifetime.

Mr. Wetzel also reported on how the Steubenville prosecutors handled the clear conflict of interest that arose in this tight-knit community: 

When understandable conflicts of interest – only 18,000 people live in the city and everyone knows everyone – arose in the local prosecutors office, the case was handed over to the state’s attorney general out of Columbus. A judge was brought in from across the state, near Cincinnati.

LPR applauds the local prosecutors and judges who recognized the conflict of interest and handed over a high-profile case so that there would be no appearance of impropriety.

Lawyers should all take note: THIS is how to properly handle a conflict of interest – by putting the interests of justice above your own.

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