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Danehy

Hassan Adams' acquittal was a travesty of justice

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I was going to do this lame thing telling you how I'm going to vote next Tuesday, but who really cares? Just know that I'm going to go to the polling place, stand in line with my fellow Americans and do my patriotic duty. And if by chance that disgusting vote-by-mail thing passes, I'm still going to go vote at the polling place, because I don't want anybody to mistake me for some lazy Oregon turd.

I will say that despite the fact that I genuinely like Randy Graf as a person, I'm going to hold my nose and vote for Gabrielle Giffords, if only for the prospect of hearing those six glorious words: Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. And I don't even like Pelosi all that much, but the thought of two straight years of Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld having to testify before a non-butt-kissing Congress is just too much to pass up.

There's that old joke about what's red and lies in the corner, moaning and squirming? The original answer is: A baby with a razor blade.

The updated answer will be Sean Hannity and all those other fake-ass Republicans screaming about how the world is coming to an end, because they can't have everything to screw up for another two years.

But enough about politics. I want to talk about something far more disturbing: The "trial" and acquittal of former UA basketball player Hassan Adams.

As you may know, Adams, perhaps best known for dribbling too long and then bricking a desperation shot at the end of the UA meltdown against Illinois in the 2005 Elite Eight game, was arrested March 5 and charged with two counts of drunk driving. It was his second arrest of that particular school year, bringing the arrest total for that entire UA basketball team to ... two.

So Adams and his attorney, Stephen Paul Barnard (best known for keeping drunk-ass Diana Ross from serving any real jail time), chose a jury trial for reasons that would become abundantly clear. (Let's just say that it's always been pretty obvious to me that neither side in a court proceeding wants overly smart people sitting in the jury box.)

The six-person jury was impaneled, and the trial began. It was pretty mundane, really: an explanation of Adams' behavior on the night in question, followed by the results of the Breathalyzer tests that were administered. Pretty cut and dried.

Unless, of course, you've got bucks and can buy the testimony of toxicology expert Marc Stottman, who makes a living dissing Breathalyzer results and putting drunks back out on the street. Wouldn't we all love to have that gig?

Anyway, Stottman goes through this whole spiel about what could affect the results of the tests--blood absorption, body temperature, breathing rates--and then dropped this whopper of a number on the jury: Stottman said that the Breathalyzer could have results that were anywhere from 20 to 50 percent off.

Pretty stunning stuff, if true. But let's say Stottman had it right, and the machine was off by somewhere in that percentage range. I'll try to keep this simple, in case one of the jurors is reading. Let's work backwards and assume Adams' blood-alcohol level was 0.08, legally drunk. If the reading were off by 20 percent, it would be 0.08 x 1.20 = 0.096. If it were off by 50 percent, it would be 0.08 x 1.50 = 0.120. Both of Adams' findings were above even that number.

The problem is that people who don't understand math would hear the numbers 0.124 and 50 percent and assume that the corrected reading would be 0.062, but that's wrong. Interesting that no one on the jury caught that. It's even more interesting that the prosecuting attorney didn't understand and/or point out the incriminating math, either. I didn't know that we had hired Marcia Clark and Christopher Darden.

Some will ask if it was really that big a deal anyway. Is society served by putting such a person in jail? My answer is that every single person who drives drunk should go to jail and that those who repeatedly drink and drive should go to prison. This won't bring back my sister-in-law and her husband, but maybe it will keep some other poor soul from going through life with a couple of permanent holes in their existence.

Arizona coach Lute Olson, whom I revere to the point of being almost gay for him, released a statement that read, in part, "Generally in cases like these, athletes are presumed to be guilty ..."

Oh yeah, poor athletes. All they get is free room and board, a free education, the adulation of thousands, their pick of women and a chance to audition for the NBA. In exchange, they're asked to go to class and not break laws. Seems like a good deal.

For his part, Adams took the proceeding so seriously that when the trial was over, he joked to the New York Daily News, "I thought I killed somebody."

Maybe next time.

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