On October 11, 2016, the Washington Post published an article by fact-checker Glenn Kessler refuting the claims about the psychiatric evaluation and the polygraph:
On October 18, 2016, PennLive reporter Colin Deppen interviewed me. His article ran the next day:
As the article reflects, he was able to reach Shelton’s “advocate”, Attorney Candice E. Jackson of Vancouver, Washington. Jackson acknowledged that Shelton admitted that she might have “misremembered the psychiatric exam and conflated memories of law enforcement interviews[.]” (Deppen’s words.)
The article also states:
Jackson said some confusion was to be expected and that Shelton’s current recollection “is that she was threatened to undergo a psychiatric exam, but didn’t go through with it.”
Jackson went on to say:
Kathy has always been consistent and clear in how she felt dragged through the process under the pressure of ‘You’re lying and making this up,’ and that ‘It didn’t happen, but if it did, you wanted it to happen[.]’
And, according to Jackson, Shelton stands by her claims of undergoing intensive polygraph testing, but is no longer sure if Clinton requested the tests.
Now, I understand about confusion. In my family law practice, I regularly deal with new clients who are unable to give me a cohesive account of past proceedings.
However, the motion for the psychiatric examination in this case was filed on July 28, 1975 and denied the following day. This doesn’t leave much time for Shelton to have felt threatened.
Clinton would have had no control over how police or prosecutors questioned Shelton in the course of preparing for trial. Here’s what Josh Rogin’s 2014 article stated:
She didn’t even know Clinton was the lawyer who defended her attacker until [Glenn] Thrush showed her Clinton’s book and she had no other information about what had happened behind closed doors in that courtroom when Thrush approached her, she said.
The victim doesn’t remember ever meeting Clinton in 1975; she says her memories from that ordeal are spotty.
Shelton has, to my knowledge, never said anything that would contradict what I quote above. She has never claimed that she testified.
Shelton may not be sure whether Clinton was responsible for the polygraph examinations. I am sure that she was not.
Plain and simple: no attorney has the ability to compel any witness to submit to a polygraph examination.
Under the circumstances, any claim that Clinton “tormented” or “terrorized” Shelton is groundless. If Shelton’s life was ruined, Thomas Alfred Taylor ruined it.
Shelton still seems to think that if Clinton were really a feminist, she would have helped her. She has never said what she thinks Clinton could have done to help her. Shoot her client, perhaps?
Clinton did laugh in the course of discussing the case with Roy Reed, but Shelton was not the target of her laughter. There is not a word in the conversation that is the least bit derogatory to Shelton.
Clinton found it comical that the prosecution would initially resist her request to see the only item of physical evidence — her client’s undershorts — and would then present her with a garment from which the significant portion had been cut out. I understand that.
She sounds a bit giddy when she describes the tail end of the Brooklyn consultation and her return from it. I understand that as well.
She was recalling the rabbit-hole experience of reluctantly taking on the defense of a man who was charged with conduct she abhorred, and then burrowing in on the task of exploring every avenue of defense. Add to that the experience of venturing into an unfamiliar and possibly unsafe Brooklyn neighborhood — with her client’s undershorts in her bag — to consult with an eccentric expert who worked out of his basement. (Probable address: 64 Rutland Road in the Prospect-Lefferts section of Brooklyn.) She was probably relieved to get back to wherever she had caught the taxi to Brooklyn from, and even more relieved to get back to Arkansas. Her laughter reflects that, as well as her great relief at not having to try the case.
Finally, I understand laughing about a judge to whom a female lawyer was such a novelty that he did not want to question her client about the offense with her in the courtroom.
There are people who think that if you laugh when discussing a violent crime, you must think violence is funny. Anyone who believes that should spend some time in a squadroom.
I believe that Clinton’s request to her own client to submit to a polygraph, her consultation with the Brooklyn expert, and her motion for a psychiatric examination of Shelton were all attempts to settle the question in her own mind: exactly what did Taylor do?
The motion for the psychiatric examination is awkwardly worded. The underlying question in Clinton’s mind appears to have been Shelton’s ability to distinguish fantasy from reality.
There were, according to the retired investigator Thrush interviewed, “serious inconsistencies” in Shelton’s statements about what had occurred. And it is highly unusual for a twelve year old to be polygraphed. Obviously, Clinton was not the only one who was puzzled.
I am not going to respond to everything that has been said about this case. This is a blog, not a book. I will toss out (at the risk of repetition) a few facts that should be borne in mind by anyone trying to sort it all out:
The offense took place around 4:00 am on Saturday, May 10, 1975.
Less than an hour later, Shelton and her mother walked into a hospital emergency room.
A report was made to Springdale police by Shelton’s family, the matter was referred to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, and Taylor was arrested at approximately 6:30 am that day.
Taylor was not charged with aggravated assault or any offense other than rape.
Arkansas law did not and does not require that a rape charge be corroborated.
The vast majority of rape cases are tried without any evidence relating to the defendant’s underwear.
DNA matches, whether from blood or from other bodily fluids, were a pipe dream in 1975.
I’m leaving it at that for now.