Spring is in the air. Summer is just around the corner. What a great time of year. Everyone's energy levels should be up. Summer is the time for getting things done. As for me, I'm still reflecting on a bank robbery that occurred in the winter. I can't seem to shake it off. Maybe if I award the whole fiasco the flub-a-dub award, I can get it off my mind.

You rob a bank in your home-town, wear no disguise, and show up for work the next day as if nothing has happened. What's wrong with this picture? Either the robber has an IQ of 36 or it never went down that way. But then, who would ever take the time to think about such a common sense notion? Arrests now days are made using science, not logic or common sense.

A confession is had, a photo lineup is completed, an arrest is made, and the rest is history.

At least almost history. By a stroke of good luck, an interested party happens to see footage of another bank robbery that occurred miles away and about one month later.The footage clearly shows, once again, a disguise-less robber who looks like the local robber but who can't possibly be the local robber, because he is in jail for the local robbery. One of two deductions now needs to be made: either the local robber has an identical twin brother who has also turned towards the bad, or someone is running around robbing banks, with an IQ of 36, who the authorities can't catch, who looks very similar to the would-be local bank robber.

Hopefully you're still up with me. Now the fun begins. The interested party gets word to the parents of the would-be local robber concerning what it is he has seen. The parents inform the authorities. Obviously, everyone is stunned. How the heck did this guy get out of jail to rob that second bank? Discounting that possibility, they were confronted with a shocking reality: Did they have the wrong guy? But remember, there was a photo lineup and a confession.

Photos are shown to at least one bank employee involved in the robbery of the local bank. The would-be local robber's photo is included. The employee cannot make a positive ID. That information is not passed along to the appropriate individuals. Why complicate matters?

But there is a confession. Seems the authorities corralled said robber's wife and had a heart to heart talk with her. Did you and your husband rob that bank? And by the way, if you don't tell us yes, we'll have DCFS come and take your children away. You do remember DCFS? Interesting technique. Most likely not legal, but then, who's counting? The wife says yes, indeed, we did rob the bank. Seems she attempted to recant the confession not long thereafter, but no go, even the judge says it was not coerced. After all, there were no broken bones.

The FBI seemed to do a real thorough job. They looked at the photo taken at the local bank of the would-be local robber and agreed. Yes indeed, we have our man. I like that. No wasting of taxpayer dollars on any type of scientific match. As the case was progressively deteriorating, a more scientific comparison was finally done. As it ends up, seems the bank photo of the robber, and the would-be robber who is in the local jail, don't match after all. Darn the luck.The explanation: This is the FBI agent's first bank robbery case. Probably should be his last.

Now the whitewash begins. Who can blame who for the mistakes? Seems at this point nobody made any. No reprimands, no apologies, no firings. Only excuses.

While all of the principals were fumbling around trying to look professional, the couple are in the slammer for close to 120 days. I'm sure it cost them a bundle to defend themselves against nothing, and Lord knows their lives have been significantly altered.

As for the legal system, well, it's just another day. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. For those who think this kind of thing can only happen in the city, welcome to the real world. Today you're guilty until proven innocent. I wonder if this will still count for one of their three strikes?

The story almost ends here. A tragic miscarriage of injustice. But there's more. In order to save face, or at least a nose or ear, the wife is found guilty of obstruction of justice for having made a false confession. She can plead innocent and remain in jail until trial or plead guilt and be freed immediately. She pleads guilty to making a seemingly illegally obtained confession. And they say one and one don't add up to three.

I'm not sure what the moral of this flub may be. Perhaps it is never set foot in a bank. Maybe consider shooting anyone that happens to look like you. Or at least make them promise to never rob a bank. It could be ''Always expect the worst.'' But I think I'm going with ''When electing a state representative, make sure the person is observant and, at the very least, watches a little TV.''

To the legal system in Knox County, this flubs for you.

Uploaded to The Zephyr Online May 24, 2000

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