Thursday, July 11, 2013

'The Death of Paul Broussard, the Parole of Jon Buice: How the News Media Have Played and Were Played'

Author and journalism professor Michael Berryhill, whose book The Trials of Eroy Brown was published in 2012, asked Grits to publish an essay on an infamous murder case out of Houston in which he alleged the media allowed themselves to be manipulated by victim advocates into spreading falsehoods and libels about the offender during the parole process, including falsely accusing a prison chaplain of having sex with him and other inmates. Berryhill even turned the episode into a graduate seminar to demonstrate to his journalism students, "How the News Media Have Played and Were Played." Find his extended essay after the jump.

To the Readers of Grits for Breakfast,

Last summer I wrote a letter of support for the parole of Jon Buice, a young man who pleaded guilty to the stabbing death of a 27-year-old gay man named Paul Broussard in 1991. Buice comes up for parole again this summer, and chances are his case will again become a public spectacle. Broussard’s mother, Nancy Rodriquez and her ally, the Houston victims rights advocate, Andy Kahan, will continue to argue that Buice should serve 27 years, one year for every year his victim lived.  What follows is a revised version of that letter to the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles.

 I became intrigued by his case during the summer of 2011 when his parole was approved and subsequently reversed after a great deal of publicity.  I decided to make Buice’s case the subject of a graduate seminar in journalism at Texas Southern University, where I am associate professor and chair of the department of journalism.  The title of our project was “The Death of Paul Broussard, the Parole of Jon Buice,” and the subtitle was “How the News Media Have Played and Were Played.” Six graduate students and I delved into the history of the case. In addition to researching the media history of Buice’s story, we interviewed Jon Buice’s father, Jim Buice; the gay activist who drew media attention to the Broussard’s murder, Ray Hill;  and the victims’ activist who is determined to keep Buice from obtaining parole, Andy Kahan.

Our goal was to understand how the news media works: how Hill used the news media to see to it that Buice and other young men who were with him were characterized and captured, and how Kahan has used the news media and politicians to see to it that Buice continues to stay in prison.  Jon Buice is caught in the middle, as is, I believe, the parole board. 

The theme is this: What is the meaning of forgiveness, legally, morally, religiously, ethically and politically? And how will the Texas parole board respond to the pressures of politics and publicity in this case? Will it do the right thing?

This story is about messages, and Andy Kahan, the City of Houston victims’ advocate said it best during an interview in November 2011. Kahan took credit for the reversal of Buice’s parole in the summer of 2011. He is proud of doing whatever it takes in using the news media to make Buice an example of his power. During our interview he questioned whether Buice should even be brought up for parole annually.

“It’s disappointing there haven’t been more setoffs,” Kahan said. “I’ve been barking in the media about this.”

Paroling Jon Buice “sends the wrong message,” Kahan said. But question is who is supposed to receive that message? Does paroling Jon Buice send the wrong message to teenaged boys out on a drunken night on the town? Are kids like this likely to even know of Jon Buice, much less connect his tragic actions to themselves?

Perhaps by sending the wrong message, Kahan means that the parole board should be afraid of him, that if it does parole Jon Buice, the parole board will pay with bad publicity that Kahan will generate. The news media are not fair, he reminded my class. It will report what Kahan and Buice’s victim’s mother say without checking the facts. Quite likely Kahan will urge politicians to weigh in on Buice’s parole, or again face bad publicity.

Let me propose that there is a third sort of person to whom the parole board sends a message when it decides the fate of Jon Buice: the inmates in Texas prisons who are serving time for all sorts of crimes. If the parole board caves in to the publicity machine that Andy Kahan generates and ignores Jon Buice’s tangible efforts to rehabilitate himself and ask forgiveness of the gay community and Paul Broussard’s mother, what kind of message does that send to other offenders?

It tells them that the system is politically controlled and unfair. Jon Buice will stand as a well-publicized example of what Texas justice means.  It means that an inmate can do everything possible to educate and rehabilitate himself, but if he is in the spotlight of a publicity campaign led by Andy Kahan, he doesn’t have a chance for forgiveness.

Recent stories in the Houston Chronicle and the Austin American Statesman have high-lighted the improvements to Texas parole. Texans have come to realize that incarceration is expensive and not necessarily the best option for many criminals. Wouldn’t it be better to have Buice out on parole earning a living and paying taxes, rather than costing the state at least $18,000 a year to house in prison?

The question the parole board has to answer, is not whether Andy Kahan will create so much bad publicity and political pressure that Buice should be held longer. The question is whether imprisoning Buice longer serves any purpose in his rehabilitation. Is Buice likely to come out of prison and commit a similar crime? Is he a rabid hater of homosexuals who will return to the Montrose and look for someone to kill? Who is Jon Buice today?

We know a few things for certain about him. At the age of 17 he pleaded guilty to stabbing Paul Broussard in a Montrose parking lot near a gay nightclub called Heaven. On July 4, 1991 Buice and nine other friends had driven in two cars from their homes in the Woodlands to the Montrose area.  They had been drinking heavily and taking drugs. They challenged three men walking down the sidewalk and got into a fight and chased the men. Paul Broussard, 31, was cornered in a parking lot, and was defending himself well. Buice took a pocket knife and stabbed Broussard twice.

Broussard lay conscious on sidewalk for a long time before the EMS showed up. He asked the drivers to take him to the St. Joseph Hospital Emergency Room rather that one of the better-known trauma hospitals such as Ben Taub.  According to medical records, it took several hours for Broussard to be diagnosed. He had showed few signs of external bleeding, but was bleeding internally and died the next morning, some would argue from medical negligence as well as the stab wounds.

Not long after the ambulance took Broussard to St. Joseph’s Hospital, gay activist Ray Hill was called to the scene. He theorized that the ambulance crew was slow to arrive because paramedics were fearful of contact with the blood of a gay victim who might have AIDS.

More importantly Hill feared that the Houston police would not aggressively investigate the attack if he didn’t bring massive publicity to the case. Hill organized a demonstration in Montrose and a thousand demonstrators were seen on the evening news protesting the crime as gay-bashing. (This was seven years before the shocking and deliberate murder of a young gay man named Matthew Shepard in Wyoming. Shephard’s murderers beat him nearly to death and left him hanging on a barbed wire fence in a field outside Laramie.)

The death of Paul Broussard and the subsequent demonstrations by the gay community made national news. Before long the police got a tip from a friend of one of the ten young men. When Hill found out that they were from the same north Houston area, he christened them “the Woodlands Ten.”  The news media now had an easy handle for the criminals.  They were relatively privileged young men who seemed to be out to beat up gay men, and kill one if necessary. All of them pleaded guilty.

Jon Buice pleaded guilty and accepted a sentence of 45 years.

Because no trial was ever held, the facts of the case were never contested in court. Over the years various statements about the night of July 4, 1991 have entered the story and taken on a life of their own. For example, early news stories based on police reports stated that the young men brandished boards with nails in them, though none were found by police at the scene. The boys were said to have used steel-toed boots to kick their victim, though that detail has never been corroborated.

The most gruesome description of the death of Paul Broussard has been spread by his mother, Nancy Rodriquez, and repeated by Andy Kahan.  In 2007 Rodriquez told a Houston Chronicle reporter: “You should see the autopsy report. They just didn’t stab my son, they gutted him.” In June 2009 Andy Kahan put it this way: “They chased down Paul and two of his friends. They hit him with boards. They kicked him with steel-toe boots. Then, finally, Jon Buice pulled out a knife and basically gutted him like a deer.”

What Jon Buice admitted to and did, was bad enough. But as the autopsy report indicates, Paul Broussard was not gutted like a deer. And as my students discovered, reporters are not likely to contradict an anguished mother or a victim’s advocate by locating the autopsy records and asking difficult questions. But that is the lesson of the Buice case. At some point someone in the news media has to dig into the case and lay out the facts.

Ray Hill has discovered that once he got a horrific story of gay bashing going, it was hard to change direction. As a prison activist, Hill decided that once he had played a role in getting Buice convicted, he had to play a role in his redemption. He had fanned the flames of a story about gay-bashing homophobes deliberately looking for victims in Montrose. Now he has changed his mind.  In 2007 Hill told the Houston Chronicle that he had gotten to know all of the Woodlands Ten.

“I know them,” Hill said,” and I’ve come to learn that they are not homophobic. I am a gay man; they are friends of mine.”

“There is more to life than revenge,” he told KHOU news. “There’s also restoration, forgiveness, understanding. If we have lost of our human kindness traits, why do we still breathe this air and occupy this space?”

Last summer he told KHOU: “There was an exchange of words, a fight broke out and somebody died. It was alcohol and drugs, not hate.”

Hill knows something about drugs and alcohol. He is a reformed alcoholic who counsels inmates on his radio program to come to terms with their addictions. Hill has learned how hard it is to undo a story once it has gained a life of its own.  “I called it a bashing, and we demonstrated,” he told my class. “I confess to being a media manipulator.”

From doing everything he could do to put Jon Buice into prison, Hill is now committed to getting him out. He is trying to put the genie back into the bottle, and his implacable foes are Buice’s mother and Andy Kahan.

If Buice had killed a man in a bar fight, chances are would have long ago been paroled. Most murders are crimes of passion, committed under duress and intoxication. But he did not commit an ordinary murder. He committed a publicized crime, a crime with labels and exaggerations.

By 2010, Buice had become an invaluable member of the work team at Wynne prison, which rehabilitated old computers. Microsoft had awarded him certificates for his technical expertise, certificates that would enable him to work in the free world. Prison officials at Wynne constantly called on him to help them with computer problems. He had completed an undergraduate college degree in prison and was in line to be accepted in a graduate program. His disciplinary record was good. He was doing everything the prison system expected of an inmate to win parole.

Then an inmate sent a letter to Nancy Rodriguez through a Houston attorney claiming that Buice was not the candidate for parole he seemed to be.  On December 10, 2010, Chris Vogel, a writer for the Houston Press, published an excerpt from the anonymous inmate , charging that Buice had been having sex with the Wynne unit’s Catholic chaplain, Linda Hill, a long-time employee of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. 

Vogel quoted from the letter: “The tales of the group sex and perversions…were so sickening I thought they were being made up. Spy cameras and microphones were planted in Hill’s office in the chapel….Staff at the unit are still remaking that the film, ‘Debbie Does Dallas’  ain’t got nothing on the [surveillance] film, ‘Linda Does Dorm 5.’”

At that point Vogel could have turned the words, “I thought they were being made up,” into the truth. The stories were made up. And then he could have had a different story. Why were inmates making up stories to get at Jon Buice and Linda Hill?

But Vogel took the easy route.  He quoted another anonymous inmate.

“Rodriguez also received a phone call from a former inmate who claimed to have been incarcerated with Buice. He corroborated the letter, telling Rodriguez that TDCJ had disciplined Buice and the chaplain over their relationship.”

"I did some time for theft," says the former prisoner, who did not want his name used, saying he feared retribution, "and I know there is a stigma attached to me. But I also believe that I went to prison to make sure that Jon Buice does not get out too quick, because when I lived with him he was extremely malicious. And I believe in my heart that if he comes out too soon, he is going to hurt somebody."

Then Vogel took it all back. He couldn’t prove that any of these salacious attacks were true, so after printing the anonymous accusations of two convicts, he qualified them:

“Rodriguez knew that the letter and phone call were just rumors, of course, but she couldn't help thinking this might be the smoking gun she'd been looking for all these years. For though Buice had never won any of his parole hearings, he was gaining ground.”

“Just rumors, of course,” Vogel wrote, but he put them into the top of his story, where they drew the most attention, and nobody could check them out. None of the salacious acts that Vogel’s anonymous sources wrote and talked about materialized by the end of the story. TDCJ officials in the story say Hill was fired for letting inmates make phone calls, and for letting Buice give her a soft drink, but the stain of sexual perversion stuck. Linda Hill told me last spring that she has been painted with a “scarlet letter” that she didn’t deserve it. I believe her. 

Vogel had a story on his hands, but he took the easy way out. Two forces were clashing: Andy Kahan and Paul Broussard’s mother, against Ray Hill and Jon Buice.  That was the obvious story: He said/she said.

But there was another possibility, a riskier possibility but not improbable. Suppose Jon Buice, an intelligent, young and good-looking trustee who was succeeding in prison as a trusted employee, and who had established a strong relationship with a chaplain, had attracted the animosity and malice of other inmates? And suppose those inmates, knowing the background story of Buice’s crime, fed information to Kahan and to prison authorities that led to the surreptitious videotaping of the chaplain’s office?
 

Inmates—better known as offenders in the language of TDCJ—will often turn on one another for small favors from prison officials. Ray Hill has offered a theory that Southern Baptist factions within the prison might have had it in for Linda Hill because she was Catholic. This is far more in the realm of probability than that Hill, a mother of six and a Girl Scout leader, was conducting a sex ring. But once these absurd stories were proposed, they took on a life of their own.

The results of the videotaping are now well known. There was nothing improper between Linda Hill and Jon Buice.  She was doing her job as a counselor. If Linda Hill had the money, she could have sued TDCJ for improperly firing her and most probably won. 

Vogel’s use of prison inmates as confidential sources, I told my class, was one of the worst violations of journalistic ethics I have seen in thirty years of reporting.  Instead of spreading these rumors, Vogel should have investigated who was spreading them and why.

What was worse, the Huntsville Item followed up on the Press story and aired out the same false charges, summarizing event this way: “TDCJ secretly videotaped counseling sessions and other meetings between Hill-Smith after officials there received complaints from staff about an inappropriate relationship between the chaplain and Buice. The Houston Press article describes the relationship as sexual — a conclusion that TDCJ did not confirm and with which Hill-Smith’s attorney adamantly disagrees.”

Near the end of Vogel’s story in the Houston Press, he quotes Andy Kahan’s disagreement with the confidentiality of the parole process:

Under state law, an inmate's disciplinary record is kept private. Rodriguez, however, has long believed that victims should have the right to it so they can be fully informed and prepared for parole hearings.

TDCJ "isn't going to tell you anything Buice does wrong," says Rodriguez. "Anything against him is confidential. But in this case, things just started falling into place. If it hadn't been for the letter and the phone call, we would never have found out about anything. I said, 'Somebody is looking out.'"

Or, as Kahan puts it, "It was like the parole gods were smiling upon us."


Who are these “parole gods” that Kahan alludes to? Inmates and prison officials? Or does Andy Kahan have access to Buice’s parole files? In a classroom interview last fall, Kahan said several times that he knew of information in Buice’s parole file that would prevent his parole. He said this information was not related to the Linda Hill incident, but he would not say what it was.

I have since learned that Kahan has said on camera that he has secured Buice’s file, possibly from a sympathetic state legislator. This would be a violation of state law, both on Kahan’s part and the part of the legislator. But according to Bill Habern, Buice’s parole board, the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles appears not to have kept track of who checks out the supposedly confidential files of prison inmates.

It is clear that Kahan will do whatever he can to keep Jon Buice in prison, not because he has really knows something about Buice, but because keeping Buice in prison gives Andy Kahan power and publicity, just as putting Buice in prison gave Ray Hill power and publicity back in 1991.  Hill has had a change of heart. Kahan will never have a change of heart because the message he wants  to send is about his own power. Like Inspector Javart, who torments the former convict Jean Valjean in Les Miserables, Andy Kahan will pursue Jon Buice forever, attempting to ensnare Texas legislators and the board of pardons and paroles in his obsession.

There is only one question before Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles, and it is an important one. If you parole Jon Buice, is he likely to commit the same crime again? Is he going to let loaded on LSD and beer and drive with a bunch of other young men into Montrose looking for action? Is he really a monster who has cleverly disguised himself by earning a college degree, two associate’s degrees and becoming a trustee? A parole board’s worst nightmare is to let a man out and watch him kill again.

Recent stories in Texas newspapers indicate that Texas is increasing its paroles and slowly reducing its prison population, a wise and economical move on the part of the state.

There are men inside Texas prisons who probably can’t be safely released. But Jon Buice is not one of them.


MORE: See a an opposite viewpoint at Off the Kuff.

26 comments:

Michael Berryhill said...

Important correction from the author: "On July 1, 1991 Buice, (not Broussard) and nine other friends had driven...".
Michael Berryhill

jimbuice said...

Thanks Mr. Henson and Mr. Berryhill for finally putting some clear light on this. For 22 years I have witnessed first hand the malicious untruths told by Andy Kahan. It is time that he is exposed for the person he really is. For further reading on Andy Kahan's character see "Justice For Some", article - Houston Press. OCt.3, 2002, page 5.
Jim Buice

Michael Berryhill said...

Authors correction again : I wrote Buice's mother when I should it should say Broussard's mother. I apologize.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Fixed 'em, Michael.

Anonymous said...

How and why does the Houston Police Department allow AndyCon man to Office at 1200 Travis? If an Officer conducted him or herself the way he has they would be disciplined or fired. Andy roles on spending the taxpayers dollars to lie and cheat.

George said...

I tell you what's truly shocking--the length towards which Berryhill is willing to go to mimimize the crime committed by Buice:

"They had been drinking heavily and taking drugs."
Sure, before going to look for some gay guys to beat up.

"and was defending himself well"
Wow, those gay guys were making it a close fight!

"lay conscious on sidewalk for a long time"
I'm sure Mr. Buice dialed 911 as soon as Mr. Broussard dropped.

"asked the drivers to take him to the St. Joseph Hospital Emergency Room rather that one of the better-known trauma hospitals"
See! Broussard's stupidity is the real reason he is dead!

"died the next morning, some would argue from medical negligence"
SOME would argue that means Buice really isn't as guilty!

That is just a revolting display of equivocation across the board.

There are men who should be paroled--both because they are rehabilitated AND because they have served a sentence commensurate with the severity of their crime. I'm not sure if the former condition applies--but claiming it is some terrible injustice that a murderer isn't being paroled at the halfway point of a 45 year sentence is absolutely absurd.

Ray Hill said...

Grits for Breakfast, Thank you for helping expose this story. and Thanks to Michael Berryhill for using his amazing talent as a journalist to plumb it all out.

Anonymous said...

Is this article about gay murder Buice or the so called "power hungry" victims rights activist Andy Kahan? Buice did in fact murder an innocent man. I'm sure that he's sorry. He's in prison of course he regrets what he did. Mr. Henson should take the time and go speak to the many parents of murdered children and mothers, fathers, sisters, husbands and wives who have experienced loss at the hands of these murderers. Ask them about Andy Kahan. Then he'll find out about the many sacrifices he's made on his own time for these victims. They'll hear countless stories about him just being there with them, without the cameras and the fanfare. We need more Andy Kahans and less Jon Buice Ray Hill Henson characters. God Bless Andy Kahan.

DEWEY said...

Mr. Kahan used to be employed by The Board Of Pardons And Paroles. He is no longer employed there. Why ??

Anonymous said...

Why don't we ask Mr. Broussard what he thinks..........oh, right............

Anonymous said...

A provocative, thought-provoking piece - it's premise (unintentionally) supported by the essay's first line, "manipulated by victim advocates." I was expecting to read about a cabal of providers exposed but it appears that the issue is with a single advocate.

Anonymous said...

Yo DEWEY, do you know the exact years he was on the TBP&P payroll and his title and duties?
Aprich8it.

Anonymous said...

To George B.S.

sunshine said...

witchlig 91Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.

Phillip Baker said...

I remember this case. No, in fact I remember the media side of the case. As pushed by the media, it seemed an horrific act of hatred. Turns out, not so much. A drug/alcohol infused confrontation on the street that resulted in Broussard being stabbed.

George chooses to parse every statement favoring Buice as some cabal to allow this man to escape justice. Go ahead, but don't try to label it as anything less than further manipulation of the case.

I marvel at the attitudes of people who favor 30, 40, 50 year sentences. I remember an inmate I worked with in the fed prison at Bastrop, who said he learned everything he would ever learn about the consequences of his actions and of the punishment in the first 6 months. The remaining 15 years was just surviving.

What is truly served by such sentences? "Justice"? Prevention of crimes? Rehabilitation? No, just gut revenge. This first time offender has spent his youth in prison- 27 years is a very long time. The role of alcohol and drugs played on those 10 young men was not considered. There is no evidence that his intention was to kill Broussard, and he has done all that we ask convicted offenders to do- take responsibility for their transgressions, learn from their mistakes, show by growth and change through their incarceration that they are not the same man anymore.

Hill should be ashamed of his initial ill-informed call to arms, but he has been man enough to repudiate that and try to undo some of the damage. Kahan is just another bottom feeder in the media making a living off the fear and anger stirred up by tragedies and highly publicized crimes. Pathetic.

And before anybody starts throwing out accusations I'm just a bleeding heart liberal who would change his tune if this happened to him, know upfront that both my father and wife were murdered, and I am an open gay man. I believe in forgiveness and second chances. Using "what if's" to excuse this campaign against this man's parole is a sorry substitute for a reasoned approach to this particular case. And it is unjust.

Anonymous said...

Andy Kahan has never been more than a self-serving opportunist, who has exploited Victim's of violent crime for his own purposes since he was fired for theft from the Board of Pardons and Paroles. The theft involved his pattern of falsifying his parking reimbursements.
He has alienated the vast majority of the legitimate victim's advocates in Texas, and has actively betrayed the few people who defended him, and unfortunately helped keep him in the Mayor's office, after allegations arose in 1996-1997 regarding his sexual harassment of a rape survivor. This can be verified by a search of the Houston Chronicles archives.
He has been an embarrassment to the victims movement for years.

Anonymous said...

I'm beginning to think that victim's rights advocates, paid by government entities, should be subject to formal training, and licensing, and that there should be a disciplinary process in place for when they get out of line. Comforting and aiding victims is entirely appropriate, but too often these people are pursuing their own - or law enforcement's - agenda, rather than trying to assist people through dark times in their lives. I'd love it if someone in the media could investigate other abuses of the victim advocacy function. As a criminal defense lawyer I've seen other examples of "advocates" seeming to be more interested in inflaming a situation than in legitimate victim assistance.

Anonymous said...

His case is a public spectacle because of those supporting his release throwing out untruths! Nancy Rodriquez, Andy Kahan, and any other person has the right to argue that Buice should serve his sentence of 45 yrs! Buice is lucky that Nancy is a fair minded lady and is only asking for 27 years, some victims would not be as generous. Mr. Berryhill, who are you to put on timeline on Paul's life and his absence in Nancy's? Who are you to undermine and question a mother's grief? How dare you question her motives or dismiss her description of how Paul was killed.Nancy even met with one of the other offenders! You are also wrong to judge Andy Kahan's motives for what he does. Have you ever attended any Parents of Murdered Children
meetings??..he is at EVERY meeting (can't say the same for other advocates from Houston or Harris County).He attends to cases which get no publicity at all.He humbly helps ALL victims.Andy does work of which you will never hear about.But you will hear from him when you go after a victim or their loved ones! Also, Andy did not take credit when parole was reversed, he will tell anyone who asks that is was a team effort. And what station did Andy tell on camera that he had access to Buice's file?? Surely if someone had proof of this they would have filed a complaint and "used the media" to spread the word.

You stated you decided to make Buice's case the subject of a graduate seminar, however, what you are not disclosing is that you did not make this known to Andy Kahan when you had one of your students contact him requesting he speak. If you are so FAIR then why would you create a "set-up" for someone who disagrees with your views? What I know of Andy is that he welcomes fair, clean debates on many issues.Why wouldn't you contact him yourself and explain the topic so Andy would have been able to give the correct presentation to your students? I'm sure you gave Jim Buice and Ray Hill such a courtesy. It seems you only brought Andy in to show your students National Enquire tactics.Why didn't you contact Nancy after the holidays as you told her you would? Nancy has been approachable throughout this terrible tragedy and has handled such with a fair and open mind. It appears to me that your project was very one-sided.

Murderers can have forgiveness but must pay the price for their choices. And criminals need to know-they will be held accountable.

Question-you stated Paul was cornered and defending himself well?! Really?!And you know this how?Just how can someone defend themselves "well" against 5 assailants beating him?

Pocket knife??The blade was 6" plus.Even if you want to use the terminology "pocket knife", Buice is still the one who chose to pull it out and stab a defenseless person.Drugs or no drugs, hate or no hate..Buice should still be held accountable for his actions and serving less than half of his sentence is not what the justice system should be about.Don't compare this to a bar fight...it was not one-on-one!

Bottom line is Buice's case is not a miscarriage of justice. I don't understand why his supporters try to turn this into something it is not.Everyday there are victims fighting against parole of an offender..Buice is not being treated any differently..he just has "bigger players" on his side than the common offender.And if he was so remorseful then why didn't he say such at the beginning instead of when it became convenient for him..his show of remorse didn't come until he was eligible for parole...talk about timing.

I am sure there are offenders who have been over-charged or their punishment is too severe for the crime committed-why not help those people? Buice is not one of them.

Paul's mother and many others would be fighting his parole with or without Andy. It is my understanding that even Democrat legislators have shown their support in the fight to deny Buice parole.

Anonymous said...

Legislators will lend their support to whatever gives them the most media coverage and votes!

Alan Bernstein said...

Considering Michael Berryhill's skepticism about the motives of inmates quoted anonymously by media, how skeptical should we be about the results of the federal government's anonymous surveys of jail and prison inmates?

Gritsforbreakfast said...

I'd say less so than in this case, Alan. The feds' sample size is much larger, not just anecdotal. I don't think you get to blow off the sexual assault figures from that survey, much as you might prefer to.

Anonymous said...

Note to author: Since you are so well versed in this case, you could at least get Paul's age correct. He was 27 not 31!!!!

Alan Bernstein said...

OK, less so. Meaning we both allow room for some degree of skepticism on the subject. Good. And I might NOT prefer to blow off the figures.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Alan, the feds' sample size was large enough to have a plus or minus 5% confidence interval (i.e, there's a 95% chance it's within two standard deviations of the number). The sample size in this case is two.

I'll allow for a degree of skepticism - in the case of the sexual assault survey, a statistically defined one. But I won't allow that it's valid to compare anonymous survey results with two anonymous sources in a specific case where video disproved their allegations. Very much apples and oranges.

Anonymous said...

If this article was about the dragging case of the gentlemen Mr. Byrd who was dragged behind a car until death. Would you be defending his Killers so vehemently?
If anyone should be released from prison for BS crimes it should be for non violent drug crimes as in caught for less than one once of Pot. But this case is about murder and I think if it were one of your family you would have a much different view. let him serve his time. All of it.

Anonymous said...

I knew Paul from college days and he was quiet, sweet and not all that violent. He was simply headed home and attacked by these awful idiots.

Really hate the way Hill seems to forget that these ten little monsters drove down to Montrose to beat up the fags. Listen to Paul's mother I want to scream.

Even worse to me he seems like the trolly old gay man taking some action thinking he might be rewarded later in some creepy sexual way. Not much the gay hero activist to me after reading this. Sour legacy sir.

RIP Paul, you deserved better.