Scientific Anthology: Failure as a Stepping Stone

Introduction

Failure is often seen as a negative part of scientific discovery. Failure is inherently bad. But failure is not completely bad. When it is not a completely indomitable failure, it provides an opportunity for growth, and quite often is a stepping stone towards success, or brings you one step closer from achieving your goal.

This anthology is a collection of 15 carefully curated pieces which reflect the importance and the nuances around failure and its role in the scientific world. As you will find, failure is not only an irremovable component of science and progress, but a driving force into scientific discovery and advancement.
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Scientific Anthology: Failure as a Stepping Stone

The Aftermath

As Pointing From the Grave comes to a close, it is evident that Weinberg forms a relationship with Frediani that would raise a couple eyebrows had she developed the relationship during the trial. In my opinion, it was strange for Weinberg to continue a working relationship with Frediani after his conviction. Did she have doubts? In addition, did she think Frediani was capable of love? At first, I did not believe Frediani could be capable of real emotions because of the stereotypes surrounding sociopaths and his history of manipulating and hurting his partners. But I was wrong. “Inside the Mind of a Sociopath” describes the type of love Frediani was capable of.

“whatever it is that we feel affection, for me it’s maybe 70 percent gratitude, a little bit of adoration, a little bit of — if it’s a romantic relationship — infatuation or sexual attraction”

It was still wrong, in my opinion, for Weinberg to get wrapped up emotionally with Frediani, but we benefited as readers because we read more of Frediani’s personality and gained possible evidence that he did commit the crime.

The Aftermath

Planting Evidence: Would it have Mattered?

A passage that struck me in Chapter 12 brought up the subject of planted evidence. Weinberg recalls Fredriani’s statement during an interrogation regarding his DNA under Helena’s nails:

“As far as DNA evidence, oh, I’m sure you’ve got some DNA evidence that probably points to me. Where you got it, how you got it, that’s a whole different matter. I’ve been in your custody for a long time.” (Weinberg, pg 335)

After these words, he addresses the likelihood that police planted his DNA at the crime scene in order to the close the case. I searched for how often cases of planted evidence are recognized and found a website with several examples of shady policework; surprisingly, very few criminal cases a year involve planted evidence. Usually the officers involved in evidence planting have a vendetta against their targets, who can range from high profile suspects to ex-girlfriends and wives. Regardless as to whether Fredriani’s DNA was planted, I am not particuarly surprised that such an action, which is legally a crime, would be committed especially concerning the runningtime for this case and a longstanding, powerful desire to see Fredriani brought to justice.

http://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/how-often-do-cops-plant-evidence-no-one-knows-for-sure

 

Planting Evidence: Would it have Mattered?

Frediani’s Life in prison

Weinberg’s decision to visit Frediani in prison was not something that surprised me. However, what did surprise me was that she decided to visit him multiple times. Trying to gather all the information she could regarding the case, it makes sense to talk to the central figure of her future book. Being in an environment for an extended period of time with a convicted sexual offender and murderer takes a tremendous amount of courage, yet Weinberg does not flinch. Frediani’s typical response would be to avoid Weinberg, but he slips back into his natural state of being a cool, calm, and collected individual who can lie his way out of a difficult situation.

Frediani’s Life in prison

What Makes A Sociopath?

“Sociopaths tend to be nervous and easily agitated. They are volatile and prone to emotional outbursts, including fits of rage. They are likely to be uneducated and live on the fringes of society, unable to hold down a steady job or stay in one place for very long.” (Psychology Today)

We talked a lot about Frediani possibly having some sort of personality disorder but we never really came to any conclusions. I believe Frediani is a sociopath because of many of his personality qualities and actions point to that fact. According to Psychology Today, Frediani has many sociopathic qualities such as being easily agitated, volatile, prone to emotional outbursts, fits of rage, and unable to hold down jobs or stay in one place for very long. Additionally, “any crimes committed by a sociopath, including murder, will tend to be haphazard, disorganized and spontaneous rather than planned” (Psychology Today)  which is similar not only to Frediani’s first sexual assault, but, the murder of Helena Greenwood; both of these were spontaneous events and were not carefully planned or thought out. Interestingly enough, sociopaths also have difficulty forming attachments and relationships with other people, this could point further to Frediani’s illness because throughout the book he had difficulty staying in relationships with women.

 

Source:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/wicked-deeds/201401/how-tell-sociopath-psychopath

What Makes A Sociopath?

Sociopaths and Relationships

“Frediani has the personality of a sociopath: Charismatic, impulsive, hedonistic, smart, manipulative, faithless in sexual relationships, and ultimately remorseless” (Weinberg Chapter 21, pg. 339)”

Chapter 21 of Pointing from the Grave explores how Frediani has personality traits of a sociopath. The quote above mentions how Frediani is faithless in relationships and that trait attributes to a sociopath. Throughout the story we learn that Frediani falls for women very fast and he sees himself together with his women for a long period of time. In his relationships everything is all good until suddenly something happens and Frediani begins to have aggressive behavior. His partners find it very hard to trust him because of his sudden behavior changes. I found an article discussing sociopaths in relationships that explore personality patterns.

Essentially sociopaths in relationships are confusing. They are confusing because their emotions are completely different from their partners. They lack empathy which is “the ability to understand or share feelings with another person” (Oxford English Dictionary).  Sociopaths tend to be extreme with their emotions, one minute they are caring and the next they are angry. With this type of behavior, sociopaths are able to manipulate their partner. Their partner may not feel comfortable speaking about the harsh times of the relationship because the sociopaths can easily switch back to being sweet and kind. The relationships are a whirlwind of emotions that generally affect the person dating the sociopath. I was shocked learning about this type of relationship and truly hope anyone involved in a situation like this can find a way out of it.

relationships

The image above was taken from Google.

Works Cited: Website

Sociopaths and Relationships

Disguise

“Paul is the kind of guy who sends Christmas cards and thank you cards on time. I keep thinking, did I miss something? Did I see any anger brewing up where it might have become uncontrollable? And the answer is no.”-Weinberg (p.341)

Frediani is described many times throughout the book as having multiple personalities. Many tried to link him to someone with multiple personality disorder and Kathy testifies to this idea. As she states, its apparent that Frediani had, or at least created the illusion that, he was two-faced. We’ve known thus all along so why is this significant? Well, if someone is unable to comprehend Frediani as committing these crimes than he must’ve had to have been a very genuine person. If someone states a fact and you still have trouble understanding, your counterargument must be very strong. We may not be able to comprehend it to the extent of Kathy because we are viewing the situation from an external point of view. But, if we put ourselves in her shoes and try imagining this in our own lives, Im sure it wouldn’t seem so crazy. If someone you knew very well and you admired was accused of the same crimes as Frediani, I’m sure we would all have our doubts. But, that is what separates us from felons. We don’t wear guiles to cover who we truly are. Frediani was a murderer and he was crazy enough to hide it. He was two people in one, and the worse half got the better of him. Our perception on the whole case is skewed because we cannot truly understand the emotions that run high during a time like this. But, Frediani was tow faced as we know, but it placed the most significant part in his life, and was ultimately the reason for his demise.

Disguise

Profile of the Sociopath

“3-4% of the American male population can be characterized as sociopathic” – Weinberg p. 339

In chapter 21 of Pointing from the Grave, Weinberg discusses her belief that Frediani is a sociopath. After reading this quote, I read into traits of sociopaths online . A common trait is superficial charm, something Frediani definitely possessed. Frediani was able to even charm Weinberg into feeling empathetic for him; she said that it was though he could put people under a spell. Another trait of sociopaths is an exaggerated sense of entitlement. They feel as though they have rights to things simply because of who they are. In this chapter, Weinberg states that if Frediani had killed Helena, he might not even feel that he is in the wrong. Rather, he might feel that his act was justified. Sociopaths also have somewhat of an incapability to love. Throughout this entire book, Weinberg ruins his relationship with women one after another due to his violent nature with them. Another trait of sociopaths is a need for stimulation and the inability to deny impulses. Frediani sexually assaults and murders Helena and there seems to be no true motive behind the acts. It’s suggested that perhaps he committed both of these crimes due to his own impulses that he just couldn’t deny. After reading all of these traits of sociopaths, I am convinced that Frediani is indeed a sociopath.

Profile of the Sociopath

Sociopaths

Chapter 21 of Pointing from the Grave presents a quote which states that:

“3-4 percent of the American male population can be characterized as sociopathic; in prisons, this percentage rises to 20” (Weinberg p. 339).

This quote allowed me to realize that I have watched a lot of crime shows and movies, and heard the word sociopath thrown around a lot, but I never really knew the actual definition of it. I wanted to know what characteristics made up a sociopath, and from there be able to determine if I considered Frediani to be one or not.  In my research of sociopaths, I found out that the ten characteristics that make them up are: charm, intelligence, lack of remorse, spontaneity, hatred of losing, incapability of love (real love), intense lying, poetical speech, lack of  apology, and thinking that the things they say are truth even if they are not. By these characteristics, I would definitely classify Frediani as a sociopath, what do you guys think? Read a little more about sociopaths here, and let me know!

 

This is a photo of Jack Nicholson in the famous movie The Shinning, where he played a Sociopath.
This is a photo of Jack Nicholson in the famous movie The Shinning, where he played a Sociopath.

The image above was taken from Google.

Sociopaths

Sociopath

“I spoke to someone who had been involved in the case on the defense side, a psychologist. She said that, in her view, Frediani has the personality of a sociopath: charismatic, impulsive, hedonistic, smart, manipulative, faithless in sexual relationships, and ultimately remorseless.” -Weinberg, pg 339

I thought it was interesting that, following a discussion in class regarding possible personality disorders Frediani may have had, the book closes by addressing this idea.
But I’m also intrigued by the fact that a psychologist had been involved in Frediani’s case and had never testified. It seems she was able to create a relatively strong profile of Frediani as a sociopath–her description fits Frediani very well. Although the jury isn’t supposed to let themselves be swayed by emotion, building on the suspect’s character seems to be a key part of both the prosecution’s and the defense’s arguments. If the prosecution could suggest to the jury that the suspect is a sociopath, I’m sure they’d think it much more likely that such a person could commit murder.
Of course, it looks like this psychologist was working with the defense, and Bartick certainly would not have wanted the jury thinking his client was a sociopath. We don’t even know if the psychologist in question shared her view with anyone apart from Weinberg.
It certainly makes me wonder about the role of psychology in the courts.

Sociopath

Frediani, a Sociopath?

At the end of the book, Frediani is repeatedly referred to a Sociopath. How can he be diagnosed as one without a formal psycho-analysis? Can you diagnose a Sociopath purely based on behavior and surface characteristics, or is it something hidden deep within the mind? Sociopaths have several key surface characteristics. Frediani is charming, during his young days with his roommates, he seduced several women a week and many people found him pleasant company. He clearly is very spontaneous and showed very little planning behind his sexual assaults of which he never showed any guilt or shame of committing. Paul also is capable of forming intense lies, like his alibis he created in court, and will do anything to win. He proved he was willing to kill Helena just to avoid prison time for his assault. Frediani, in my opinion was also incapable of love, he abused any person he was ever in a relationship with. And last but not lease, in this novel at least, we never hear an apology from Paul for either the assault or the murder. In my opinion an obvious sociopath.

Frediani, a Sociopath?

Is Frediani Really A Sociopath?

In Chapter 21, I found the statement from the Psychologist about Frediani’s personality to be intriguing:

“Frediani has the personality of a sociopath: charismatic, impulsive, hedonistic, smart, manipulative, faithless in sexual relationships, and ultimately remorseless” (Weinberg, 339).

This was not the first time the possibility that Frediani had a sociopathic personality has been brought up in the novel. However, following the end of the trial I was inclined to believe that Frediani was indeed sociopathic. I looked up information about connections between sociopathic personalities and violent or murderous behavior. I found an article titled, “The Sociopath-Serial Killer Connection.”  This article stated that many of the qualities that are common in serial killers are also common characteristics of sociopaths. Frediani was not a serial killer, but I was interested in seeing how many of these qualities were similar between Frediani and serial killers. The article listed some of the same qualities of a sociopath as the psychologist Weinberg quoted: “a disregard for laws and social mores, a disregard for the rights of others, a failure to feel remorse or guilt, and a tendency to display violent behavior.” These are all qualities that Frediani displayed over and over again. The article also stated that sociopaths are “easily agitated” and “prone to emotional fits of rage.” This is consistent with Frediani’s behavior around his girlfriends. He showed a pattern of getting easily agitated and ended up physically enraged with them.

However, there were also a few statements made in this article about sociopathic behaviors and killers that do not resemble Frediani’s behavior throughout the novel. The article states that sociopaths “often live on the fringes of society . . . are unable to hold down a steady job, and are unable to stay in one place for very long.” This is not descriptive of Frediani’s typical behavior. He lived in a highly populated city. He was usually able to hold down a job and even managed to get promotions. He lived in San Francisco for years, moving only when his circumstances changed. The article stated that sociopaths often appear to be disturbed. However, whenever any of his close friends or coworkers were asked about Frediani’s behavior prior to his crimes, no one saw anything unusual in his behavior. In fact,  they often wondered, “was there something that I missed?” And finally, the article states that sociopathy is often thought to be the result of a person’s environment, such as childhood trauma or abuse, rather than an “in-born characteristic.” Frediani, however, was raised with a relatively normal childhood. He found his parents to be quite strict, but we weren’t informed of any life-changing trauma or abuse in his past. The reader is left unaware of any event(s) in Frediani’s past that would likely be the underlying cause of this antisocial personality disorder.

I am left wondering, was Frediani a sociopath and therefore his actions are less surprising, or does he simply display some sociopathic tendencies and in truth he is just a murderer?

 

Is Frediani Really A Sociopath?

Frediani and Nature vs. Nurture

The close of the novel was a very interesting one. Frediani was found guilty and brought to prison; however, his time in prison was what stood out most. Weinberg stated that Frediani was part of a psychological case study that dealt with parenting styles and behavior, very similar to the nature vs. nurture debate that states that either it’s your genes that make up your behaviors or its the external forces and influences of the environment that shape behavior. During this case study Frediani suggests that his parents were very strict, his dad had a macho attitude, and his mother rarely stood up to him. During his adolescent years Frediani stated that he had built up an enormous resentment towards his parents and started acting out. This idea was very interesting because it was also brought up but quickly overlooked at the very beginning of the novel. It is interesting to think about whether it was Frediani’s life and the influences of his parents that made him have mood swings and exhibit irregular behavior at times. While genes make up the traits of an individual, there is a heavy influence of external environment and parenting styles that shape the behavior of an individual. It was also interesting because Frediani was referred to as possessing the characteristics of a sociopath early in Chapter 21. This makes an interesting connection between the way in which Frediani described his young life and the behaviors exhibited in his new self. Below is a link that explains the nature vs. nurture debate in more depth and it is interesting to see the connections between Frediani’s external influences and how that shaped his behavior with the debate below.

Frediani and Nature vs. Nurture

Bartick’s Interesting Argument

In chapter 18, Frediani’s lawyer David Bartick takes an interesting approach regarding the DNA evidence being used in the case.  He specifically states, “DNA stands for deoxyribonucleic acid, but in this case, what the DNA is going to stand for is, DOES NOT APPLY.”  I think it is very interesting that Bartick takes such a negative stance regarding the new technology and science that could prove his clients innocence.  One would think that Frediani would be an extreme advocate of the use of DNA in hopes that it would finally set the truth state regarding his criminal activity.  If Frediani had really not committed the murder, I think he would be much supportive of using DNA tests to prove that.  All he would need is to prove that his DNA did not match any of that found at the crime scene.  However, Bartick with his theatrical opening statement and negative view of DNA, seems almost desperate.  Anyone who so blatantly claims their innocence would want to prove their case in the most accurate and efficient way possible, which for Frediani would be the use of DNA. DNA testing has not always been kind to Frediani, but he understand the weight it holds in court and if he could use that to his advantage, I don’t see why he wouldn’t.

Bartick’s Interesting Argument

Planted or Not?

In Chapter 17 of Pointing From The Grave  by Samantha Weinberg, David Bartick, the defense lawyer hired by the Frediani’s considers using the defense of planted evidence to get Paul acquitted of his charges. In tv shows on a regular basis cops plant evidence on criminals to get convictions. But how often does this happen in real life? how many times do the police get caught doing it? This article sheds some light on cops planting evidence. It would have been completely possible for police to plant Frediani’s dna since it had already been collected by law enforcement, so is there a federal agency watching over this case like in the ones mentioned in the article? Perhaps the lab did in fact plant the dna to get a conviction since Frediani was the only suspect.

Planted or Not?

Frediani’s Demeanor

When Frediani was first questioned and trialed for the sexual assault of Helena Greenwood, he was described as having these intense change of emotions. He would go from looking frantic to bored to nervous. It causes me to wonder how Frediani uses his emotions against the jury, does he manipulate them? Another instance of his changing demeanor:

“Laura and Vic were trying every tactic the could; cajoling, riling, persuading, threatening. But Frediani did not break… Frediani barely raised an eyebrow” (Weinberg 230)

In this point in time, I see why it would be convenient for Frediani to keep his cool without a presence of a lawyer, especially as an established white-collar worker. But why did he make no move to defend himself? Why does he possess so much confidence when the odds are stacked against him? His actions tie into our class discussion on anti-social personality disorder and bipolar personality disorder.

Frediani’s Demeanor

Not All Investigations Were Created Equal

 

Lately in class we have been talking police cover-ups and planted DNA at crime scenes to convict certain individuals, which poses the question, how would someone manage to do this? Moreover, if authorities are in control of all of the evidence present in a case, what are the chances that the police decide “speed up” a case progression by planting evidence, or convicting the wrong person? I recently read an article about tactics police sometimes use called “coaxing”, which is a tactic that tries to force a confession out of person, guilty or not. This method was brought to the public’s eyes after Stephen Avery (Netflix series Making A Murderer) was wrongfully convicted of a crime he never commit. Aside from disregarding some potentially case changing evidence that would have cleared Avery’s name, they forced his cousin into a confession without the presence of council. Unlike something like a murder, planting evidence usually doesn’t leave behind any traces of and is probably most unexpected thing a prosecutor/detective would be looking for. With our sophisticated methods of analyzing DNA and matching it to people, it would be extremely hard for a jury to believe something that the DNA evidence doesn’t directly point to, especially in a case like Helena’s where DNA evidence and 1 measly fingerprint were the only tangible evidence against Frediani. In this decade we have seen hundreds of overturned cases and people exonerated of their crimes because of the incredible technology we have at our disposal. However, sometimes I believe that too much faith is put into our justice system, and certain unfortunate individuals are caught in “wrong place, wrong time” moments and find themselves staring at life in prison for a crime they didn’t commit.

Not All Investigations Were Created Equal

Planted DNA

In Chapter 15 of Pointing From the Grave, Frediani is arrested for the murder of Helena. They bring him in for questioning, and that is when he is told that they found his DNA on Helena’s  body. Regarding the DNA evidence, Frediani says,

 

“As for the DNA evidence, oh, I’m sure you’ve got some DNA evidence that probably points to me. Where you got it, how you got it, that’s a whole different matter” (Weinberg p.230).

Frediani is trying to imply that the DNA evidence that was found at the scene of the crime on Helena’s body was planted. I started to brainstorm and I wanted to know a little bit more about planted evidence. I found an article in the New York Times that I thought was interesting. It takes planting DNA to a whole new level, and describes how DNA can be fabricated, and a crime scene can practically “be built”. Check it out its pretty cool and the link is below.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/18/science/18dna.html?_r=0

 

 

Planted DNA

Shying Away from Capital Punishment

In Chapter 15, the idea that Frediani’s case may be a death penalty case arose. Death penalty cases are controversial, and in 2000 when this case was being tried, the law in California surrounding cases of capital punishment was different than it is today. But they sentence from this chapter that caught my attention was

“Bartick was confident that he had a better than evens chance of persuading the jury of Paul’s redeeming characteristics–in the event that he was found guilty of murder” (Weinberg, 236).

I didn’t realize death sentences were given a separate trial from the original murder trials. This explains why character references may play such a strong part in the sentences. California has not sentenced a prisoner to execution since 2006 so the laws have changed since this trial. However, in 2003 the New York Times wrote an article about jurors sparing the lives of prisoners in exchange for life without parole. The article claims one of the main contributors to this change was an increase in defense attorneys convincing jurors the lives of their clients are worth saving. This is definitely what Bartick was planning to do with Frediani if he was found guilty of murder.

http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/sentencing-news-and-developments-2003-2001

Shying Away from Capital Punishment

A New Life?

Frediani’s post-jail life is highlighted in Chapter 12. It seems as though he is off to a typical, clean life in the beginning of the chapter. He starts at lower, entry-level jobs post-bail but soon manages to make it into the white-collar world. I wonder why Frediani was able to succeed so well after three years in prison, when so many struggle with issues such as homelessness, unemployment, and drug/substance abuse. What mentality did Frediani have that made him succeed? How was he able to pursue an MBA? It makes you think that maybe he was innocent because he was so willing to make a 360 right out of jail. However, when discussions of his anger started to arise later in the chapter, it confirmed (in my mind) that Frediani must have been guilty on some account. His temperament issues might be the switch that makes him commit crimes.

A New Life?

Fredriani, the Real Victim?

In chapter 12, we get a closer look at Fredriani’s personal life after the trial. He manages to find a decent paying job as a truck driver before working his way into corporate society again, reconcile with his family through Andrea, and find love again with Eileen. Despite the sting of fortunate events, ruin continues to follow Fredriani’s every step as he loses both of his new families. I feel the most important factor to consider is Fredriani’s tendency to repeat destructive habits in his relationships; it seems that his wild side always pops out after a certain length of time with a new flame. Andrea’s comments about his physical abuse and Eileen’s concerning his “two personalities” may hint towards a fractured psyche that the man may just be unable to control. Regardless of whether Fredriani killed Greenwood or not, the man is in clear need of psychological help, which would address his emotional stability and pathological drive to extremely passionate relationships.

Fredriani, the Real Victim?

Jail, and then what?

Today in class we discussed Frediani’s behavior and life after he was released from prison, and how he completely turned around his life and got back on a productive and successful track. Now granted, this was over 20 years ago, so how hard would it be for someone like Frediani in 2016 get a job and follow a different road after a prison stint? All companies do some sort of background check on their employees, so getting a job would surely be a tough thing to do. Furthermore, imagine what kid of changes to society someone misses by spending a decade in prison? Smartphones, laptops, instagram, and so many other advancements are just some of the examples that former-prison inmates would need to adjust to once out of prison. Frediani only did a few years in prison and was a well-rounded citizen before his stint, so his release probably motivated him to get back the life he had. But for people who come from low-income backgrounds, and don’t have much experience in the workplace, do you think they are as lucky?

http://interactive.aljazeera.com/aje/shorts/life-after-prison/

Here’s a quick video about a man who has spent over 30  years in prison– and he talks about his return to society.

Jail, and then what?

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

“Eileen remembers his ugly temper, and also his emotional, romantic side. ‘He has two personalities,’ she said, ‘just like a Jekyll and Hyde. He even looked different when he was in a rage, his nostrils flaring, these wild eyes, this rage…'” -Weinberg, pg 185

I was very struck by Eileen’s comparison of Frediani and Jekyll and Hyde. The story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is one I’m pretty familiar with–an incredibly kind and well-meaning scientist who attempted to create a formula that would separate the evil and good inside men, only to have it turn him into a murderous (and in some adaptations of the story, lust-filled) monster. And it’s frightening how easy it is for readers to see the connection between Frediani and the Jekyll and Hyde, especially Hyde.
But there’s a major difference between Frediani’s fits of rage and Dr. Jekyll’s transformations in Mr. Hyde–Henry Jekyll has no control over the change, and as evidenced by the new name he assumes after the transformation, he becomes an entirely different person. No longer Dr. Jekyll. Only Edward Hyde. But Paul Frediani is always Paul Frediani, and as far as we know, he has nothing to excuse his temper and his violent outbursts. We know from the book that during the first assault trial, he was seeing a psychologist regularly; it’s unlikely he suffers from any kind of mental disorder, especially any kind that might encourage violence, or else the court psychologist would have made it known during the trial. And Frediani certainly can’t put the blame on a science experiment gone wrong. It seems the most likely explanation for his violence and short temper is that it’s simply a part of the man’s personality. Tell that to a jury, and it just might increase the likelihood they’ll see Frediani as the sort of person who’d commit a sexual assault, or a murder.

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

A Plea of “No Contest”

“On May 18, 1989, David Paul Frediani changed his plea from “not guilty” to “no contest” to the burglary and sexual assault. It is essentially an admission of guilt, and carries a criminal record, but unlike a straight guilty plea, it cannot be used against the defendant in a subsequent civil action based on the same facts” -Weinberg, p180

I found this information about Frediani changing his plea extremely interesting. Firstly, I did not know that you could change your plea after you have already been found guilty by two separate juries. Secondly, it was very intriguing to learn that if you plead “no contest” you are basically admitting that you are guilty, but it lowers the consequences of that guilt. I wanted to learn more about the basics of a “no contest” plea so I read a question and answer forum on the Ohio State Bar Association website. From this website I learned more about how a “no contest” plea cannot be used against the defendant in future criminal proceedings. This website also stated that when a defendant pleads “no contest,” the judge still must find the defendant guilty or not guilty. This information about a “no contest” plea makes me question Frediani even further. Since be basically admitted to being guilty of a sexual assault, why should he be released from jail early for good behavior and not have this  case held against him if he is in fact guilty of sexually assaulting Helena? Especially since Frediani had a history of domestic violence and public indecency, it seems to me that a “no contest” plea is a way for people like Frediani to find loop holes in the system and escape the punishment that they deserve.

A Plea of “No Contest”

Life After Prison

While reading chapter 12, I was fascinated by how quickly Paul adjusted to life outside of jail.  It seemed in a matter of no time he had another corporate job, another girlfriend in Eileen, and had regained a sense of freedom in relationship with himself again.  This got me thinking about how prisoners in general feel when they first step foot outside of prison and how they fit back into the society they have not been a part of for years.  Paul was in jail for a  relatively short sentence, unlike Otis Johnson.       This link provides a short video detailing of what life is like for 69 year old Otis Johnson, who served 44 years in jail.  In Otis’s case, life evolved so much since he was incarcerated.  He thought people walking around on their phones were members if the CIA because that was the only use of headphones he could remember.  Based off the video, I would say it is impossible for Otis and other people who served long sentences to become fully accustom to a new life outside of jail, but, like Otis, they can still enjoy the fact that they are free and the fact that the past is the past.  Otis seems like he will always find new things in society that he doesn’t recognize, however he still is optimistic about his future of being free.

Life After Prison

Appeals

 It was the end of a  sultry San Francisco July, but when Paul Frediani took his seat in the Redwood City courtroom on the first day of the second trial, he looked less of the summer beach bum of two years before, and more like a seasoned old lag (weinberg 161).

So how did Frediani receive a second trial? What processes of the US court system allow for this appeal? This article covers how appeals work in the justice system. The article states that you cannot just request an appeal. Most cases require proof that the process of a fair trial were violated and there was a mistake during the trial. For Frediani, we can assume that this evidence was that the detectives statement was not shared. But more interestingly it states that appeal courts will not hear new evidence. And yet in this court case the new evidence of the eye surgery was brought up. This is qualified as neither a mistrial or a second trial but is simply an appeal of the first verdict by a higher court.

Appeals

Sex Offenders

Since Frediani was released from prison he was listed as a sex offender, but this oddly enough did not seem to bother him. He was ready to start a new life. Although he did have a parole officer that he had to check in with every month. This made me start to wonder if there is a certain set of rules that sex offenders have to follow.

I found an article that listed all the rules that they have to follow. There are many restrictions that I would never have even thought about. Sex offenders can not have any contact with pornographic entertainment and can not go to places that promote this. It also states that they must tell any new relationships that they get into about their past. This answers the question that Frediani must have told his new girlfriend about everything that had occurred. One thing that did surprise me is that they are no longer to purchase weapons. This list from the article really brought a new view to the book and even Frediani’s new lifestyle. It makes me stop and think why he was so willing to accept the title of a sex offender when so many negative things came with that. http://www.doc.wa.gov/community/sexoffenders/rulesincommunity.asp

Sex Offenders

Matching Hairs and Blood Types

Two types of evidence found at the crime scene of Helena Greenwood’s assault were three strands of pubic hair, and a semen sample. Mona Ng, the criminologist who examined each piece of evidence, noted that:

“Two of the hairs could not be associated with the suspect Fredriani. The third hair could not be excluded as possibly coming from him.”  – Weinberg, p89

After checking the FBI website for information on forensic hair analysis, I learned that hair evidence can easily determine the race of a suspect and even the sex or age, albeit with more difficulty. Even though two of the strands found couldn’t be linked to Fredriani, the third could have belonged to a number of other men of the same race; Dr. Ng further explained that 14% of  population shares the blood type found in the semen sample, a statement which also expands the number of possible suspects when applied to the Bay Area alone. For these reasons I find it slightly illogical to convict Fredriani with what appears to be coincidental evidence.

https://www.fbi.gov/about-us/lab/forensic-science-communications/fsc/july2000/deedric1.htm/

Matching Hairs and Blood Types

Murder and Sexual Abuse

In Chapter 6, Helena Greenwood is fatally murdered on her way to work. This came as a big shocker to me. I did not expect her to die in the middle of the trial, but because it is a quite a lengthy, I suppose I should have suspected something to occur. At first, I was angry that Helena died without really figuring out who her abuser was, but then this made me suspect Frediani even further. His story did not match up to what it should have. I began to wonder how many victims are attacked when they are going through a trial, what protection are they granted from potential threats? Is it common for sexually abused victims to be murdered? Further, was Helena’s murder an accident? Or a result of excessive force and power during another sexual abuse attempt?

Murder and Sexual Abuse

Questioning Trial Protocol

There have been many posts in the question forum pertaining to the courts decision to restrict the jury from learning about Helena’s death while the trial was going on, and I thought that I would address both sides of the argument of whether or not the Jury had the right of knowing. If you can picture yourself as one of the jurors, how would you react towards Frediani knowing that the woman he is on trial for sexually assaulting has just been found murdered? I think if the jurors found out about Helena’s death, then any of their existing impressions upon Frediani may have been more explicit. Naturally you would feel bad hearing about such a crime, and when the man potentially responsible for a similar crime is on defense in front of you, your emotions may take over. On the other hand, if the defense and prosecution must share all evidence with each other, the judge, and the jury, why shouldn’t the jury be informed about the victim’s murder if all other parties are aware?

https://www.wicourts.gov/services/juror/docs/deliberate.pdf

Not too relevant to my post in particular, but here are the Wisconsin state guidelines for jury deliberations. It highlights how jurors are supposed to dissect evidence and think about the different pieces of evidence involved in the case. Also, it discusses how the importance of evidence is arrived at, and how jurors “judge” how strong certain parts of the prosecution and defense arguments are. It’s important to note how juries are formed from everyday citizens in our country and are expected to learn how to judge law in a certain period of time, nonetheless determine a person’s fate.

Questioning Trial Protocol

Loving Lovin’

Since the dawn of humanity, mankind has been perplexed by this strange attraction we call love. People have tried to define love as a joining of two halves of a whole, a union of two bodies, and even as simply an act of asserting dominance over others. However, modern interpretations of love are much more emotionless, as shown by this article from Fusion.com, which even goes as far as to show what is happening in your brain during different “stages” of love. In my opinion, Frediani gets stuck in these early stages in his college and early-20’s life, and this immobility contributed to his problems with Helena Greenwood in the late 80’s. Love is a complex emotion, based in a variety of sciences from neuroscience to anthropology to most fields of biology. All in all, it is a highly interesting field and I cannot wait to find out more about it in the future.

Loving Lovin’

The Need, Right, and Want To Know

It was suspicious that the prosecution had never mentioned at the time that Mrs. Liu had seen a black man in the neighborhood on the night that Helena Greenwood was attacked. “In all fairness, do you want your government to suppress that kind of evidence? To hide it from you?” (Weinberg 106).

This quote ties into another important issue that is seen in court cases all of the time – deciding how much information and what kinds of information to reveal to the public. This issue brings up the questions: how much is enough? How much is necessary? What kinds of information need to be revealed? Often times, there is not a definitive answer, but I am aware that a general standard of how to handle the disclosing of information does exist. The revealing/secrecy of information can be categorized in three ways: the right to know, the need to know, and the want to know. The right to know would include most governmental information that the public should be knowledgeable of. For example, the public has the right to know of governmental meetings. The want to know includes information that the public would want to know for their general pleasure, an example being entertainment news. Lastly, the need to know would be information that is critical to everyday life. An example here would be information that affects the safety of the public, such as harmful threats or severe weather conditions. In the case of Helena Greenwood, I think the public has a right to know that a black man was in the neighborhood the night of the attack. Who knows, this could be a key piece of information. But then again, the court needs to investigate further into who this man is and find out what other characteristics he possesses. It is possible that he could be Frediani, who also has rather dark, tan skin. 

The Need, Right, and Want To Know

Reliability of Physical Signals

I think it is very interesting that Collins made a counterpoint on Murray’s point that Frediani was visibly shaken when told that his prints were identified on the teapot– his shoulders sank and his face became flushed. That is also when he made the statement about being drunk during the act. But Collins reacts by saying that most people who are interviewed in a police station are physically altered or affected, and their physical features can give away their nervousness. So people are not always calm or collected, even when innocent.

This idea reminded me of our discussion of lie detector tests and their reliability. If lie detectors measure heart rate, isn’t it possible that someone who is nervous in general can give a false positive? Maybe someone had a lot of caffeine or is excited about something, or maybe they are simply nervous about being given a lie detector test or being in that setting.This question of the reliability of physical signals also affects court hearings themselves. It is possible that a sorrowful looking or unremorseful-looking person can subconsciously affect the way a just makes their ruling. The physical aspects of a defendant can also affect the physical aspects of the jury, for better or for worse, and truly or artificially.

Reliability of Physical Signals

Who did it?

strangulation is a very physical crime, and requires great strength. It is also an intensely personal way to kill, hand on neck, flesh to flesh: there are few strangulations between strangers. (76)

There was a deep gash in the back of Helena’s head, caked with dried blood. (75)

The first quote essentially excludes any random stranger as a suspect for Helena’s murder. Also any stranger would only kill her for money and things like that, but her wallet and other possessions were not removed from the scene. This means that the crime had another motive. Because strangulation is so personal it suggests to me that perhaps Mr. Frediani committed the murder to get himself out of the sexual assault case. The fact that he had traveled to the region only weeks before also suggests a recon mission before the crime. Because Helena had a deep gash in the back of her head, which was later shown by the detective to be from having her head slammed against the gate, it shows me that the killer had a deep anger. A deep anger that drove him to not just strangle Helena but also bash her head in. All this evidence points to Mr. Frediani as the killer. What other evidence do police need to arrest him?

Who did it?

DNA or Product of Environment

In chapter 5 of the book, a good amount of time was spent discussing the childhood and teenage years of Paul Frediani.  He had a lot of health problems as a kid and also did not get along with his father especially well.  He didn’t have a great child but that in no way means that he would end up on the wrong end of a sexual assault case as an adult.  Is a person’s personality and character traits more a product of DNA, engrained in them since birth?  Or is it more about the environment you are raised in, which shapes who you are through experiences and interactions with the people surrounding you?

DNA or Product of Environment

Lowering the Bail?

Weinberg recounts in the preliminary hearing that Martin Murray, the prosecution against Paul Frediani, is very  much against the lowering of Frediani’s bail from $100,000 to $25,000. The judge originally says she has reason to believe Frediani committed three offenses, but after Murray challenges the bail, she just says the reason for the $25,000 is for his exposure in front of the young girl. Additionally, he is going to therapy a few times a week and he has cooperated so far, not showing any signs of running.

This whole situation is a bit strange to me. I don’t understand why Murray was so against lowering the bail to begin with. Even though Frediani does not appear to be struggling with money, the difference between $25 and $100,000 for a regular person don’t seem to be that much. I don’t think Frediani could have managed either on his own anyway. But he gets very vocal when the judge suggests lowering the bail. From this angle though, it is hard to understand why the judge lowered the bail, even if that was the standard bail for exposure in front of the little girl. The judge seemed to think there was enough evidence to convict him of three crimes in trial, so why would she suddenly be okay with lowering the bail? She goes along easily with the defenses claims that Frediani was cooperating with police, even though this was his second time in court. Finally, what does this argument in the first place tell us about the importance of bail in criminal proceedings?

Lowering the Bail?

Photo’s

Jennifer Jomes studied the pictures for about a minute, then picked out the one numbered 5. “If i had to pick one, it would be this one,” she said, pointing to a photograph of  Frediani…”This is spooky, he really looks like the guy.” Her roommate, Catherine Scott, again thought that photo 5 looked like the man from the nose area up, but she also said she couldn’t be positive. Her sister, Lyssa, wasn’t sure it was any of the men in the photographs. Roseanne Melia thought that number 5 was the closest.  (Weinberg 26)

In every crime show on television there are photo id scenes or the classic suspect lineup. In this situation several women thought they could identify #5 as the rapist, but when asked if they were positive they could not confirm. So what do police do in a situation when they know the Frediani is most likely the culprit but lack proof? Perhaps this question is what lead scientists to search for another way to convict a suspect, DNA profiling. Because the memories from assaults can be blurred from trauma it is easy to understand how none of the women could be 100% sure that #5 was their rapist, maybe DNA will serve a purpose in this investigation and assist detectives in convicting Frediani.

Photo’s