Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Not so blind justice

You face less heat when you're a "heater."
News of the Sept. 23, 2013 incident quickly shot up the ranks. New Orleans' police superintendent and top prosecutor were briefed. In the weeks that followed, police records show that Williams gathered evidence. He got a warrant to collect a sample of Sharper's DNA. It matched a swab taken from the woman's body. Witnesses told of seeing Sharper with the intoxicated woman at a club, and later at his condo. Video footage confirmed Sharper and the woman had been together.

It wasn't enough for the district attorney's office. This was a "heater" — police shorthand for a high profile case. Prosecutors were hesitant to move too quickly on a local football hero with deep pockets and savvy lawyers, according to two individuals with knowledge of the investigation. They held off on an arrest warrant.

"If his name was John Brown, he would have been in jail," one criminal justice official with knowledge of the case said. "If a woman says, 'He's the guy that raped me,' and you have corroborating evidence to show they were together and she went to the hospital and she can identify him, that guy goes to jail."

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