The sad, sorry, outrageous saga of Eric Frimpong's abuse at the hands of the American legal system, like the Energizer Bunny, just keeps going and going.
And just when you thought it couldn't possibly get any worse...well, read on.
You'll recall that Frimpong, a Ghanian student at UCSB who featured on the Gauchos out-of-nowhere NCAA Div I Soccer Championship in 2007, was accused of rape by an alcohol abusing young woman admittedly prone to blackouts who changed her story as often as she changes her clothes and who had no memory of several key events until days later when the police graciously volunteered to help her fill in the blanks.
Despite a signal lack of physical evidence - the only DNA found on her underwear was from her ex-boyfriend - and anything like eyewitness corroboration, an all-white jury found him guilty and he was sentenced to 8 years in prison.
(If you're not familiar with the shoddiness of the case against him, this series from The Independent provides an excellent summary. A warning: be prepared to be morally outraged.)
Frimpong was incarcerated in the California Correctional Facility at Tahachapi as two appeals wound their way through the courts to their almost inevitable denials.
The recent discovery of new evidence and new witnesses generated a request for a Writ of Habeus Corpus which, incredibly, was heard by the original trial judge, the Hon. Brian Hill, who is on public record saying that in his entire career he had never seen a single case where the evidence of guilt was so "compelling", a statement which, based on the fact that the evidence was essentially non-existent, would seem to indicate a certain level of bias against the accused.
The decision is now in and to no ones' surprise, he has turned it down.
If you're of a legal mindset you can read the full decision here
Close followers of the case evidence will recall that the DA presented an expert witness who testified that a bite mark on the victims face matched up perfectly with Frimpongs dentition, a claim which is apparently just short of utter nonsense as related by this engrossing article from an impartial forensic specialist entitled, tellingly enough, CALIFORNIA JUDGE REVIEWS OPPOSING BITEMARK OPINIONS AND DECLINES TO BE PERSUADED BY NEW RESEARCH PRESENTING DISTURBING FACTS OF PROSECUTOR’S CASE .
The jury has said that this testimony weighed heavily on their decision. In his ruling, Judge Hall says, basically, "I don't care".
Frimpongs hard-pressed friends, led by Paul and Loni Monahan who are the parents of a former UCSB teammate, will now push ahead with an appeal to the California Supreme Court.
Meanwhile, seeing as how this is a case featuring ugliness without end, Eric Frimpong has been transferred out of Tahachapi.
In fact, he's been transferred out of the State of California.
He's now being housed in a 1200 inmate facility owned and operated by the Corrections Corporation of America ("America's Leader in Partnership Corrections") in Eloy, Arizona, which specializes in aliens whom the US Government is hoping to deport.
Apparently I can't give you live link but here's a video about this wonderful joint where the only thing everyone seems to agree about is that you have no rights at all and if you complain about it your situation will be reviewed by The Corrections Corporation of America, after which you'll be placed in segregation.
At this point of course being deported to Ghana would be preferable to sitting in a corporate prison where the guards look the other way when someone starts kicking crap out of you because filing a report is frowned upon.
All of which leaves one to wonder: just how much injustice can the system dish out to one lonely kid who came here with the highest of hopes and aspirations to live a dream which has long since become the ultimate nightmare?