Quiz for Dustin McDaniel 

click to enlarge Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel image

In light of the state attorney general's recent, successful arguments against paying Gyronne Buckley the $460,000 that the Arkansas State Claims Commission said Buckley deserved because he'd spent more than 11 years in prison due to a conviction obtained by bad behavior on the part of state officials, we think an exercise parsing Dustin McDaniel's logic may help him think a bit straighter.

1. As you have never been convicted of a crime, when you get out of bed in the morning, are you guilty?

Careful. We know you're our state's top prosecutor and that "could be" jumps right to mind. But remember you represent the law and this is a legal question. We suggest "no" for the right answer.

2. If a police officer looks at you but concludes you've done nothing wrong, did you get off on a "technicality"?

Slippery question, we know. Hint: the answer is "no."

3. If you are arrested, are you guilty?

Let's pretend you say "no," just 'cuz you went to law school.

4. If you are charged with a crime, are you guilty?

Despite that autonomic response, we're going to credit you with a "no" in hopes you recall hearing something about "innocent until proven guilty."

5. If the prosecutor drops the charge against you, are you guilty?

Now we're getting tricky. In your prosecutor's gut you probably figure you sure as hell are. But, darn it, sometimes the evidence to prove guilt just isn't there. That said, we're hoping that some part of you above your gut realizes that, again, the legal answer is "no."

6. If, instead, you go to trial and a jury finds you not guilty, are you guilty?

C'mon. "Probably" is not a choice. We have a simple thumbs-up or thumbs-down system. So which is it? You can do it, Dustin. Suck it up. Go with the jury. Say "no."

7. If a jury finds you guilty, but a court later rules that your trial was unfair and orders a new trial for you, are you guilty?

Whoa! Now we're really pushing the limits of legal nuance. Let's see. How might you look at this? You can still be charged and held in jail while awaiting this new trial, so that looks pretty guilty. But wait. That old verdict has been vacated, and you haven't been tried again yet ... So that means you haven't been proven guilty yet ... So that means ... No. (Amazing, isn't it?)

8. If the prosecutor drops the charges instead of pursuing a second trial and sets you free, are you guilty?

Breathe, Dustin. Think hard from that place above your gut. Try to answer as a legal professional. Remember: "could be" is not a choice. And neither is: "That does not make me innocent." So let's try that one again.

8. If you are charged with a crime but never brought to trial — thus never proven guilty — are you guilty?

It's pretty simple, isn't it? You are innocent until proven guilty, which you have not been, so, legally speaking, you are not guilty. Wow!

But this raises a few more questions:

What if federal prosecutors charged you, Dustin McDaniel, with all kinds of awfulness? What if they won their case and got you imprisoned for years? What if you fought and managed to get your conviction overturned? And then, what if the feds decided that, on second thought, they really didn't have the evidence to convict you again — maybe really hadn't had it in the first place? Might you still feel you'd been harmed?

Confusing, isn't it? Having just won the legal fight of your life and gotten yourself out of prison, we'd understand if you felt you'd been pretty darn wronged. You might even be tempted to seek compensation.

But, after all your rants about Buckley, we figure you wouldn't. Instead, you'd go out of your way to remind us that you'd only gotten out on a technicality and that just because the feds let you go, we shouldn't consider you innocent.

And we imagine you'd talk yourself right out of any lawsuit seeking compensation for those years you lost in prison. Nah. We expect you'd tell us, "I sure don't deserve some big financial windfall, seeing as how I'm un-innocent."


Speaking of Gyrone Buckley, Dustin McDaniel

Comments (2)

Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

More by Mara Leveritt

  • Illustrating the governor's message

    Our prisons burst with disparities. Eliminating them will take courage. Let's see if the Arkansas Parole Board can heed the governor's message with one matter currently before it.
    • Dec 3, 2015
  • Mara Leveritt offers governor a symbol for sentencing reform

    Gov. Asa Hutchinson said the state needs to get serious about sentencing reform if it is to cope with its exploding prison population.
    • Dec 1, 2015
  • Parole board hears arguments on parole for Tim Howard

    The hard-fought battle over the fate of former death-row inmate Tim Howard intensified on Thursday when John Felts, chairman of the Arkansas Parole Board, held a hearing at Cummins prison to consider Howard’s eligibility for parole.
    • Oct 9, 2015
  • More »

People who saved…

Readers also liked…

  • Arkansas condones child abuse?

    If Harrises and Duggars go unpunished, yes.
    • Jun 4, 2015
  • Must address racial inequities

    We mourn for the families of the dead at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. As we grieve it's time to rekindle a conversation about race in America and press for the changes that the Emanuel congregation championed for centuries — changes that also made it a target.
    • Jun 25, 2015
  • Racism is systemic

    In a speech on Sunday at Bethel A.M.E. Church, Gov. Asa Hutchinson played directly into the narrative of respectability politics, where white people tell people of color how they should respond to a situation and condemn responses from others in the community experiencing anger, rage and other expressions of grief.
    • Jun 25, 2015

Most Shared

Latest in Guest Writer

  • Don't blame trigger warnings

    "Trigger warnings" have recently resurfaced in the news because of a letter from a University of Chicago dean of students that warned incoming freshmen to not expect advance notice of potentially upsetting material in the classroom
    • Sep 22, 2016
  • Schlafly's influence

    Phyllis Schlafly, mother, attorney and longtime antifeminist, died recently. What Schlafly promoted was not novel or new. Men had been saying that men and women were not equal for years. However, anti-feminism, anti-women language had much more power coming from a woman who professed to be looking out for the good of all women and families.
    • Sep 15, 2016
  • Global health is local health

    First with the 2014 Ebola outbreak and now with the Zika virus, Americans are becoming reacquainted with the fear of infectious disease. But although Ebola and Zika are both serious public health threats, they pale in comparison to three other diseases in terms of inflicting suffering and loss of life around the world — tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and malaria.
    • Sep 15, 2016
  • More »

Visit Arkansas

Logoly State Park dedicates new visitors center

Logoly State Park dedicates new visitors center

Arkansas’s first environmental education state park interprets the importance of the natural world and our place within it.

Event Calendar

« »


2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31  

Most Viewed

  • The big loser

    So now the big crybaby says he's losing because his opponent is crooked and the referees are blind.
  • Trumped in Arkansas

    After two solid debates and the release of a video and corroborating testimony that further confirmed the misogyny of Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton is favored to win the presidential election Nov. 8
  • Arkansas 2016: the microclimate election

    In the lead-up to the past four Arkansas election cycles, the forecast has been a fairly simple one: strong winds blowing in the GOP direction.

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: The big loser

    • Upon further investigation: the victim (of course) never knew about Clinton's affidavit, which was denied…

    • on October 20, 2016
  • Re: The big loser

  • Re: The big loser

    • Dear Investigator, if you want to move up the food chain, to reporter, you need…

    • on October 20, 2016

© 2016 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation