Dean Turner Suspended

UVa Dean of African-American Affairs M. Rick Turner has been placed on administrative leave after admitting that he lied to federal investigators in a drug investigation, Bob Gibson reported in Friday’s Daily Progress. Turner signed an agreement with the U.S. District Court stating that he’d intentionally misled investigators about “the activities of a known drug dealer,” placing him on a year of probation with the feds to avoid prosecution. Turner will be assigned a probation officer and will have to be tested regularly for illegal drug use in order to keep the charges at bay. What in the world is going on remains unclear, but presumably more information will become available this week.

21 thoughts on “Dean Turner Suspended”

  1. How does one say “schadenfreude” in English? So finally this self-righteous, demagogic, wallower in victimology gets his comeuppance – and at the hands of the man, no less. What’s the over/under on UVA firing him? I’ll start the betting at 90 days.

  2. There is no English equivalent. But I have no idea why you assume Rick Turner wasn’t a victim of targeting by the federal government due to being head of the local NAACP. Oh, it must because this government would never target the NAACP. Oh wait, they DID, they had the IRS threaten the national group’s tax exempt status because of one anti-Bush remnark by the director while Falwell and Robertson make political comments constantly and their tax-exempt status is undisturbed.

    I don’t know what happened, you don’t know what happened, but I find it sad and almost pitiable that someone would take pleasure in this man’s troubles. It’s not like he let people die after a hurricane or took us into a needless war costing thousands of lives or, or….

  3. I have no idea why you assume Rick Turner wasn’t a victim of targeting by the federal government due to being head of the local NAACP.

    He confessed to lying. I can’t see how that leaves much question in the matter.

  4. I’d really need to know more than we do. If someone lied to protect their child or other family member for instance, I wouldn’t want them prosecuted or in other words, I would not find that offensive.

  5. personwho Says:”But how often are people actually prosecuted for lying to the feds?”

    I believe the charge is usually “false statement”, not limited to the feds, and I often read of prosecutions. I think the usual reason when it is not prosecuted is, as in this case, the “false swearer” recants in some fashion.

    I think you can “lie all day” to the feds (or anyone else) except don`t do it under oath and don`t sign it. Of course the feds take it to federal court which may make it a little hotter to handle.

  6. “Schadenfreude”

    There are many words in german which have no english equivalent.

    I believe this is primarily due to the german use of compound words such as “Rhineflussschiffkapitan” (hope I spelled that correctly) which in english would be “Rhine river boat captain”. The german language uses many of these compound words.

    We`ll never match that.

  7. But I have no idea why you assume Rick Turner wasn’t a victim of targeting by the federal government due to being head of the local NAACP.

    i dunno. usually when somebody confesses, the first thing i think is “they did it.” not, “they’re a victim of a massive government conspiracy.” but then, m. rick’s always a victim, right?

  8. Turner needs to go. I love the way they molly coddle these big wigs-ie Tom Gausvik-when they screw up. They fired Dena Bowers for nothing but they let a cokehead dean keep his job. How anyone thinks he could ever get up and teach a class or mentor kids is beyond me.
    Maybe they’ll let him retire and hold on to a tiny bit of his rep.
    This local NAACP is not at all powerful or effective. I highly doubt if there is some big conspiracy going on.

  9. For all these bloggers commenting, I can see from these comments that most are naive, clueless citizens who have not had any experience with the federal prosecutorial system and how it operates in the real world. Having had a wealth of experience from the inside of our “injustice system,” you need to seriously do your homework on the use of “this tactic” in today’s system (on whom it is most often used, how and why), before you make such ignorant comments.
    But then, again our government relishes the ignorance of such people. As a result, this government has manipulated the majority of this population into senseless wars for profit and power, seemingly endless death, destruction, and world-wide chaos and economic prosperity for the already wealthy at the expense of the major population who are everyday working people.

  10. OK, so we’re ignorant, naive, and clueless who — worst of all — have never served hard time in federal prison. Perhaps you could enlighten us, rather than simply insult us?

  11. TO: WALDO
    No one ever said anything about serving hard time so where did you read that into my response and no I happen to be an honest, concerned, law-abiding American citizen. You simply need to know a lot more about “YOUR SYSTEM OF JUSTICE” before making comments about it. But then again, maybe an arrest and run through it may be most enlightening AND THE FASTEST EDUCATION YOU COULD GET!!!!

  12. You continue to imply that you have some sort of special knowledge that the rest of us lack, but continue to fail to impart that knowledge. I’m not sure what the point of your posts is, other than to hint at how important you are and how foolish we mere mortals are.

  13. Waldo & “Will Dance” – much as I truly do not mind seeing Rick Turner’s departure – I abhorred the man, largely based on my observations of the way he behaved towards his own children, and the way he interacted with others in many non-political settings, nevermind the Griffin fiasco – I would not be surprised if he was “pinched” by the prosecutors.

    What happens in our wonderful criminal justice system is that most of the due process takes place in negotiations between police, DAs and significantly weaker public defenders – for the average black male, this means you get one someone making under $50k/year with a very high case load up against several someones making quite a bit more individually (the prosecutor’s office) and collectively.

    Our legal code is a labyrinth of “add-on” charges – think of the way banks operate w/ fee income on accounts and credit cards – for example, if you commit murder, you don’t get charged with just murder – you get one charge for that, and then one or more add-on charges for the method used to commit the murder. This gives prosecutors very powerful leverage because they can put you in the position of facing an effective life sentence for the primary/foundational crime which by itself carries say, 10-15 years. The “Project Exile” use-of-a-gun-in-a-crime statutes are a great example of this.

    That turns all the pre-trial negotiations for ‘guilty pleas’ into very high stakes games. Even with a skillful attorney (well-paid private defender, preferably a former prosecutor), you may only be in a position to negotiate a good plea by which I mean, a full admission of guilt for the foundational crime and acceptance of that entire sentence with no opportunity to test the prosecution’s case regarding your guilt or innocense for the foundational crime in front of a jury. Both parties agree to forgo the jury trial, and just submit the completed deal to a judge. It’s over in minutes.

    Remember, the police and prosecutors are not hired to obtain justice; they are hired to arrest people and convict them. If you are in their sights, they are not your friends. The ‘justice’ is supposed to flow from the outcome of an adversarial system where all matters except the details of the case at hand are presumed to be balanced and equal. That means equal access to evidence, and equal resources (money and people) to prepare the case. The OJ trial is a rather notorious example of what happens when the balance is the reverse of the norm. Virginia is a rather notorious example of a state where the institutional stacking of the deck (beginning with the 21 day rule) against defendants is extreme.

    Remember, this has nothing to do with whether you’re really guilty or not – it is simply a matter of how good you think your odds are, and the fewer resources you have ($$$) to mount a good defense, the weaker your odds are. When you are the defendant and have a 60-70% chance of winning, but risk your entire life if you lose, you’ll quickly realize it makes sense to “cut your losses”. I don’t know the exact numbers, but over half of all criminal casework proceeds this way. You can get better information on this from the Sentencing Project.

    With regard to Rick Turner – I have no idea the circumstances of his knowlege of the drug dealer. I have no idea if he’s a cokehead. But, as they say, ‘the harder the come, the harder they fall’ or, ‘live by the sword, die by the sword.’ Turner made war, not infrequently, in very aggressive and vicious ways. He should have long expected his enemies to be gunning for him in this way, and he was a fool to give them an opening. If you’re going to play hardball, you better be prepared to take it as well as dish it out.

    He was a counter-productive lightning rod, and UVa was smart to just hasten his retirement, and let this go away. Turner had already announced a while back that his retirement was imminent.

  14. Most welcome – I’m sure an attorney could do better.

    The more I think about it, I do wonder if they didn’t go after Turner as a pre-emptive move to silence him. He is the kind of guy who can afford a good attorney – which makes me suspect that they had him pretty squarely for this. He would definitely save his own ass if it were seriously threatened. He was probably able to negotiate down to probation in exchange for not using his bully pulpit as chair of the NAACP (someone the Feds would not touch lightly, as opposed to, say, joe petty drug dealer) to charge them with racism.

    I would imagine he was approached for knowlege he may have had of some of his student advisees’ activities, and viewed himself as a psuedo priest – party to a relationship with special confidentiality privileges. He’s the kind of hothead who wouldn’t call his lawyer first. This would then be a way to shut him up in case he was threatening to use his role as a UVa Dean and NAACP Chairman to politically go after the prosecutors for their actions against the original targets. Rather than make himself a target with such threats, he would have done better to call his lawyer first, and then cooperate nicely. Guess he thought that would undercut his street cred. – one has to engage in lots of threats, posturing and bullying to maintain ‘cred’.

    Pure speculation! It is 100% of a cloth with the way he’s operated since I first really became aware of him 10 years ago – via the school system. It’ll be interesting to see what the full terms of the deal are, and what it was in relation to – assuming it’s not sealed as part of an on-going investigation. I expect not though – usually this stuff doesn’t happen until the original business is resolved or at least moved beyond the investigative stage.

  15. You OBVIOUSLY don’t know the Man! You can Bet, he has all his ducks in a row, and I highly doubt there will be a case against him……..he won’t be prosecuted! So……… to all the Critics, Judges, Racist, etc. out there, I know this may be a shock to you, but this incident WON’T silence him, sorry. It sounds like alot of you have been praying for his downfall for a long time? Did he OFFEND you? Libertarian, you said he made threats…. well if he threatened people as you said, wouldn’t there be charges bought against him for that…with so many dispising him and all, or is it a fact that you and so many of your kind (Waldo, listen up) were scared of him for no good reason accept he is a Black Man that talked loud? If you Mother Teresa’s (you have never told a lie…….yeah right, you would never ADMIT to it!) are sitting on your little pink thumbs expecting him to be crucified, you have a long wait. Fact : he will continue to be a concerned member of this community, concerned about his own race, all students and education (yes, your right, this must make him an Evil man……….Not!). He is also loved, admired and Adored by many! He may have made a mistake (No one else has), but knowing that he’s alive and well must have you witches and
    “HATERS” fumming, and ready to sew a letter on his back!

  16. is it a fact that you and so many of your kind (Waldo, listen up) were scared of him for no good reason accept he is a Black Man that talked loud?

    Uh. Why would I be scared of Rick Turner? I’m not a student. I have nothing to do with him, nor any of the organizations that he’s targeted.

    Your post is really over the top, rather in the style of Turner. “Crucified”? “Sew a letter on his back”? You’ve deliberately chosen the terminology of martyrdom, leaving entirely the existing realm of reasoned discussion, painting those involved in this discussion as racists rather than people — myself included — who have only pointed out that the man pleaded guilty to committing a crime.

    If you want to persuade people, I think you’ll find you’re more successful if you don’t start off by insulting them.

  17. yeahso – a couple of things:

    – I speculated about what happened – perhaps one should never speculate publicly, but I did make it clear that it was just guessing. I expect we will find out when the details of his plea agreement come out. That brings me to:

    – You say, “he won’t be prosecuted,” when what you really mean is there won’t be a trial. That’s because he’s already plead guilty. Turner himself has admitted to lying to investigators. Waldo and I were simply discussing how such an admission might have come about, even in the absence of guilt.

    If you would learn to read, or take the time to do so, you would see that “Haters” like Waldo and I were actually speculating that it was possible that Turner isn’t guilty and was arm-twisted into a plea. In fact, in my first comment, I made it clear that I dislike the man, not so much for the policies he advocates, but for his personal behavior and tactics. I said, nevertheless (because I keep an open mind and not led entirely by my emotions), that he might have been the victim to some small degree of prosecutors in this case. Of course, understanding that requires calm, rational thought, and that isn’t really suited to Turner’s style, nor apprarently, yours, which amounts to naked appeals to blind emotional rage.

    Turner would never have resigned nor signed a plea deal if they had nothing at all on him. He is a fighter. He is also pretty shrewd (smart). He was cutting his losses.

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