Thursday, August 09, 2007

THE THREAD: ALSO REFUSING POLYGRAPHS


Before he talks about this case, C&F should make it clear that he has never tried out for any sports team, never played any team sport more organized than the local flag football league -- and didn't do that very well.

That said, he still finds it difficult to believe that the disappointment of losing a competition for the starting punting job at a Division I-AA team could lead someone to try to harm another human being, to stab the leg that was earning a student his education.

But that's exactly what a jury found Mitch Cozad did when they convicted the backup punter of second-degree assault even as they rejected a charge of attempted murder.

His mother, Suzanne Cozad, shouted at prosecutors, "You all know he passed the polygraph, you all know it."
Gavaldon told reporters that Cozad had taken a lie-detector test and had passed, but he said polygraph results are inadmissible in Colorado courts. ...
Gavaldon told jurors it was Kevin Aussprung, a student living in the same dorm as Cozad, who stabbed Mendoza. After the verdict, Gavaldon said Aussprung declined to take a polygraph test.
Aussprung adamantly denied he was the attacker.
His attorney, Bill Crosier, said Aussprung wanted to take a polygraph but was angry and nervous over the suggestion that he might be the attacker, feelings he thought might cause the machine to falsely indicate he was lying.
Crosier said he suggested Aussprung take the test another day, but "the operator didn't call me again."
District Attorney Ken Buck ... a former college punter himself whose son is a freshman linebacker at Army, said the verdict sends a message that Americans take sports too seriously.
"The message is that it's never, ever appropriate to try to hurt somebody, first of all, and second of all, over something as stupid as starting on the football team," Buck said.

C&F would like to take this moment to point out what many people don't know: Polygraphs are not admissible in most courts because they are best used as an investigative tool. They read whether or not a person is nervous and upset. If you're overly nervous about giving an answer that would exonerate you, an interrogator knows to push harder.

On the other hand, a pathological liar (and C&F is not in any way implying that Cozad is one) can pass a polygraph with little trouble. So the whole issue of who would and wouldn't take a "lie-detector test" is a red herring.

Meanwhile, at Northern Colorado, there's football to be played, a game against Hawaii on the docket. And the players just want to move on. But you have to wonder how. How can a team move on when one of its members is trying to survive a horrific attack, while another is now preparing to be sentenced for that act? And how much harder does it make it that all of that is tied to the very sport you're trying to play?

This has been a story for months. And still none of it makes sense.

Elsewhere:
--Person has an interesting post on how players' heights and weights on the official roster can be ... er, different than those listed when they were being recruited.

Brian "Hollywood" Maddox, the Anderson tailback featured on ESPNU's "Summer House" series, began camp at 5-10 and 214 pounds (shorter and lighter than his 5-11, 225 listing in February).

Can the entertainment biz really give you an eating disorder that quickly?
--A would-be case against the UCLA receivers coach will not result in charges under odd circumstances.

Prosecutors rejected the case against Scott and his cousin, Timothy Williams, because witnesses and victims were either unavailable or uncooperative, said Jane Robison, a district attorney's spokeswoman.

A coincidence, I'm sure.
--More bizarreness from Nuttistan, as the father of a former player alleging steroid use in the program, recounting the atrocious manners of the Ayatollah Housteihni and labeling one coach "a dumb ass." C&F is unsure whether Mr. Tucker meant "a dumbass" or an unintelligent burro. Discuss amongst yourselves.
--SI surveys the players and finds that a plurality would like to play for Pete Carroll if they weren't on their current team. Bless you, angels. NC favorite is Southern Cal, while McFadden takes the preseason Heisman, both running away.
--Finally, the text-message ban will stand, at least for now. "that sux," Urban Meyer texted C&F in an exclusive interview. "nbd. well win ltr"

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