Tim Murphy

Tim Murphy

Reporter

Tim Murphy is a reporter in MoJo's DC bureau. Last summer he logged 22,000 miles while blogging about his cross-country road trip for Mother Jones. His writing has been featured in Slate and the Washington Monthly. Email him with tips and insights at tmurphy [at] motherjones [dot] com.

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How Tallahassee Police Blew the Jameis Winston Case

| Fri Dec. 13, 2013 9:31 AM PST

Last week, prosecutors in Tallahassee announced they would not press charges against Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston, over allegations he had raped a former FSU student in December of 2012. Investigators had sat on the case for almost a year, and an attorney for the accuser (who withdrew from school after coming forward) alleged that Tallahassee police had told her to tread carefully, because she was in a "big football town." The press conference announcing that no charges would be filed was interrupted frequently by laughter from the (mostly male) attendees.

On Friday, the Tampa Bay Times broke down just how lax the Tallahassee Police Department's investigation really was. After interviewing the accuser in January of 2013, police were presented with a number of obvious sources to follow up with: they knew the bar where she'd been drinking; they knew she'd taken a taxi; and they knew that a football player named "Chris" had walked in on the alleged rape. Among the details:

  • "More than 200 pages of documents showed no signs that police ever questioned anyone at the bar or requested surveillance footage. The bar had more than 30 cameras that could have shown how much the woman drank, if she interacted with Winston and whom she left with."
  • "Police also seemed to quickly give up on finding the cab or its driver, though a specific company (Yellow Cab) was known to offer student discounts."
  • "Back then, police also didn't look for the freshman football player named Chris. A simple review of the Seminoles' 2012 roster shows Chris Casher was the only true freshman on the team with that first name. Investigators later learned that Casher was Winston's roommate and had walked in on the sexual activity—in part to record it on his cellphone. By the time investigators interviewed Casher in November, the recording had been deleted and the phone discarded."

That last item may be the most damning—there was literally a video of the alleged crime and police never tried to find it.

That's not to say Winston would have been found guilty. Maybe the leads investigators never followed might have led them to the same conclusion they ultimately drew. But the nature of the investigation made it clear that the odds were stacked against the accuser from the start. It would hardly be the first time.

America's Best Hate-Reads, 2013

| Thu Dec. 12, 2013 4:00 AM PST

The year is almost over. Thank God. If you're anything like us, you spent a good portion of the last year tearing your hair out over something you read on the internet. (Did you know millennials have a sense of entitlement? It's true!)

Here are 46 stories we couldn't stop complaining about in 2013:

Modern Times

"Eric devoured the sandwich as if it were a five-star meal, diving in with large, eager bites. 'Babes, this is delicious!' he exclaimed."

New York and Not-New-York

"The brunch is all the same."

Washington Post Columnist Richard Cohen

"Miley Cyrus twerked. I had to look up the word since my indefatigable spell checker had no idea what I meant."

Money

"The preferred terms, he said, are 'hackers,' 'makers' or 'coders.'"

Politics

"Now, let me be clear. I love the gays. I have gay friends, gay mentors, gay acquaintances and associates."

"Women, How Do They Work?"

"When you puzzle over why the elegant Huma Abedin is propping up the eel-like Anthony Weiner, you must remember one thing: Huma was raised in Saudi Arabia..."

Love Actually

"Love Actually says, yes, you're crazy, but other people are crazy, too, and you should find out if maybe they're crazy about you."

Meet the Senate Candidate Who Might Be Too Crazy for Texas

| Tue Dec. 10, 2013 8:31 AM PST

Rep. Steve Stockman (R-Texas).

Rep. Steve Stockman (R-Texas), the weirdest member of a Congress that also includes a Santa-impersonating reindeer herder and this guy, is challenging Sen. Cornyn (R-Texas) in next year's US Senate primary. In an interview with WorldNetDaily, a birther website that once reported that President Obama had perhaps hidden his gay life in order to run for president, Stockman explained that he was entering the race—just before the filing deadline—because Cornyn had "undermined (Sen.) Ted Cruz's fight against Obamacare" and was guilty of "stabbing fellow Republicans in the back."

If his very short career in Washington is any indication, Stockman will at least give us a reason to tune in. Some highlights from his second term in Congress:

undermined (Sen.) Ted Cruz’s fight to stop Obamacare
Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2013/12/tea-party-favorite-takes-on-gop-big-name/#EWwys4WrHXRiUYdf.99
  • His campaign bumper sticker: "If babies had guns, they wouldn't be aborted."
  • This tweet: "The best thing about the Earth is if you poke holes in it oil and gas come out."
  • And this one: "Democrats are playing the knockout game with your health insurance."
  • The time he raffled off an AR-15 as a campaign fundraiser.
  • The second time he raffled off an AR-15 as a campaign fundraiser.
  • His interview with Ted Nugent, in which he wondered whether victims of gun violence who advocated for gun control were "useful idiots"?
  • His decision to bring Nugent as his plus one to last year's state of the union.
  • His (empty) threat to impeach President Obama over gun control.
  • The time he compared Obama to Saddam Hussein.
  • The time he explained he would vote against the Violence Against Women Act because it helps "men dressed up as women."
  • The $350,000 in income that's unexplained in his personal financial disclosures.

And that was just his second act. As I reported last January, Stockman has mellowed some since the days when he was caught smuggling 30 mg of valium into jail by hiding it in his underwear. Or the time he showed up at the airport to go to his sister's wedding wearing nothing but a speedo. Or the time he publicly fretted that his interest in ceramics would cause voters to "think I'm a fag." But if Stockman can't beat Cornyn, he'll have to wait a while to get back to Washington; by Texas law, he can't run for re-election and seek a Senate seat at the same time.

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