Previously devoted to an attempt to appeal to a possible better angel of Biff's nature, on the faulty assumption that there might be such an angel, this blog will now track the progress of Varlo's civil suit against Biff and the sundry other characters who participated in dragging him through hell, pitching him out the other side, and leaving him for dead.
Varlo filed his civil complaint in January, and the counselors of the state AG's office have now responded to it. What follows is an account of the AG's attempt to have the egregious shenanigans of Mark Houser, Biff, Don Reid, and others, dismissed--with prejudice. If this tactic is successful, these folks won't have to answer for cooking up a phony criminal case, suppressing evidence, etc.
I. Varlo's complaint asserts that his right to due process was violated. Now this seems like a no-brainer. After all, as the evidence shows, Biff and others concocted a plan to frame Varlo for a crime (the alleged "assault") that they knew did not happen. How did they know it did not happen? Among other reasons, it was because Don Reid had reviewed the video footage from the security camera that was in the classroom. Now, if you've followed the case at all, you may recall that Mr. Reid (we should call him Bishop, because of his ecclesiastical service in that capacity)--Bishop Reid claimed under oath in a court of law that there was no video footage of the incident because there never had been a video camera in the room. Yes, that's right, Bishop Reid, who also teaches "criminal justice" at DSU, allegedly either suppressed or destroyed evidence that would have prevented the case from ever going forward (he probably has a special lecture for his students on the emotional demands of lying in court; he tears up, no doubt, when presenting it). We know this because according to his own notes on the matter, the video did not support Cassidy Sorensen's claims. And it was for this reason also that our man Biff, no doubt after consulting that strange book of "family values" of his, ordered the camera removed from the room and any evidence of the presence of said camera to be covered.
There's more, but you get the point. Like I said, shenanigans. And like I also said, egregious. We'll have occasion to take a look at other aspects of this. First I want to focus on the response, on the AG's motion to dismiss the case against these actions and others involved in the bringing of the false charge. The AG's office has moved to dismiss everything related to Varlo being falsely charged with assault. This includes, Mark Houser's fabrication of evidence in the form of statements that he himself wrote but attributed to students; Bishop Reid and Biff, as previously mentioned, colluding to suppress/conceal the existence of security video footage of the alleged assault that did not support Cassidy Sorensen's (or Mark Houser's) fabricated accounts. It includes the Biff's and Paul Morris's two part plan to (1) leak false information suggesting that Varlo was guilty of some unknown but soon-to-be-revealed misdeed(s) and (2)--with the help of Bishop Reid--to get him charged with a crime. Recall, all of this was done for Biff's sake, to try save him from his incompetence, to persuade concerned faculty and others that he really is fit for the job. Perhaps you are still wondering, like I am, where the outrage is over this? Why does Biff still have his job? Why does Bishop Reid still have his job? Why does the DSU Faculty Senate do nothing to force them to account for themselves? But, alas, I digress.
The AG's argument as to why this particular part of the case should be dismissed is as follows: there really was no violation of Varlo's 14th Amendment right to due process because--get ready for this--he was found not guilty. That's right, it's as if they are saying "Hey, no harm done, so let's just forget about it." It all hinges on the definition of "process". The defense attorneys argue to limit the definition of "process" to the "trial." Accordingly, all of the aforementioned shenanigans are excluded from the "process," because the "process" is the trial only. Absurd as this may seem, they are able to cite some case law to support it. I'm not a lawyer, so I really have no idea how strong their argument is. It seems absurd to me in the true sense of a reductio ad absurdum, since if true it would mean that it never matters if people are brought up on false charges as long as they are found innocent. Their rights are violated only if they are found guilty on the basis of the false charges. But surely we don't have a legal system that allows for apparently dirty cops, like Bishop Reid, and apparently dirty university presidents, like Biff, to fabricate cases against people and to suppress evidence that would prevent the charges from ever being filed in the first place. Surely we don't have a system that allows such actions to be outside the definition of the "process" due to a citizen of the United States. Surely we don't have a system that allows such cases, cases that have serious and multiple negative effects on the lives of those so framed, cases that are prosecuted not for the sake of any alleged victim but just to make someone avoid looking like the incompetent administrator that he is. I say, surely we don't have such a system, one where a defense attorney just has to say "Hey, no harm done here. It's all good." Excluding all of the nefarious nonsense perpetrated by Bishop Reid and others from the definition of "process" should not work as a defense. If it does, then there may be a genuine constitutional question in this case that needs to be revisited by a higher tribunal.