Breaking: David Daniels, arrested, faces extradition

Breaking: David Daniels, arrested, faces extradition


norman lebrecht

January 30, 2019

The countertenor David Daniels and his husband Scott Walters were arrested in Ann Arbor, Michigan, yesterday on a warrant from Houston Police.

They have been charged with sexual assault, accused of raping a 23-year-old singer, Samuel Schultz, whose account of the incident was published in Slipped Disc. Both suspects face extradition to Texas.

Daniels, 52, is presently on paid leave as a professor at the University of Michigan. He has denied the charges.

More here.

Wedding pic with Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg


  • Caravaggio says:

    Surely we will soon be hearing from defenders of predation disguised as presumption of innocence here on SD.

    • Jack says:

      Uh . . no. In the United States, persons accused are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. I gather you must not be from the US.

      • Doug says:

        Where have you been hiding for the last two years?

      • ThrownOutOfTheKremlinForSinging says:

        The presumption of innocence is a joke in USA. If you get charged with a crime, you pretty much have to plead guilty. There’s something called (informally) the “trial penalty”. It has basically three parts:

        1. Defendants who go to trial almost always get convicted. Prosecutors are VERY good at their jobs and the government puts a huge amount of resources into figuring out how to win. The Department of Justice is as serious about figuring out how to win trials as the Department of Defense is about maintaining USA’s nuclear arsenal. It’s a big, unified, coordinated, long-standing “study-every-aspect” project. Even the best defense lawyers are way outclassed. More than 95% of Federal trials end in “guilty”. (I’m talking about the Federal gov now, not so sure about states, but I think Texas prosecutors are very strong too–that is certainly their reputation.)

        2. If you go to trial rather than pleading guilty, the prosecutors will often hit you with extra charges. Including, sometimes, charges which have nothing to do with your original crime. An accused drug-dealer refuses to plead guilty, and then finds himself facing additional charges of domestic violence or money laundering, as well as numerous charges based on the drug-dealing event rather than just one count or two. Prosecutors justify this by saying “we’re bringing justified charges, and offering to drop some in exchange for a guilty plea” but that’s rationalization, it’s really a form of blackmail.

        3. Judges typically sentence defendants MUCH more harshly for being found guilty of each charge than for pleading guilty to the same charge– as much as three or four times more fine-money or jail time PER CHARGE/COUNT. They rationalize this by saying “pleading guilty shows remorse, shows that the defendant is taking responsibility for his crime, so, deserves a more lenient sentence” but it’s really another form of blackmail. Between the bigger sentence per charge and the additional charges (see item 2) you can find yourself facing ten times more total time (and fines) if you go to trial than if you plead guilty.

        Now, I’m talking about a typical, ordinary-bozo defendant here. Things may be a bit different for a celebrity like Daniels, just as they were for OJ Simpson. On the other hand, celebrity can work against a defendant too!

        In Texas, the penalty for simple sexual assault is two to twenty years. But for AGGRAVATED sexual assault it’s FIVE TO NINETY-NINE years. Whether a rape is classified as simple sexual assault or aggravated sexual assault can depend on which drug was used to put the victim to sleep. The law specifically mentions Rohypnol (the “date-rape drug”) and ketamine as possible elements of aggravated sexual assault. The law also specifically mentions a possible enhancement to aggravated sexual assault if a second person is involved in the rape; as I recall the accusation includes Daniels’ husband as well as Daniels himself, so, if he doesn’t roll over, the prosecutors will find it quite easy to justify bumping the charges up to aggravated sexual assault.

        If Daniels gets charged by the State of Texas, or if he gets charged by the Federal gov, he will have to think very very seriously about whether to go to trial. If he does, he will incur a very significant risk of spending a long time behind bars.

        This is NOT an occasion to hire a lawyer like Dr. Blind!

        • Tiredofitall says:

          Are you what they call a troll, or just a run-of-the-mill nut? Get a hobby. Innocent until proven guilty in the US.

          • ThrownOutOfTheKremlinForSinging says:

            Let me guess: you do not know any American defense-lawyers, or prosecutors, or criminal defendants or former defendants, do you.

            You live in fantasy-land.

            The real-life criminal justice system in USA is very very different from what you learn in high-school and from what you see on “Perry Mason”. Most defense lawyers in USA spend almost all of their time negotiating plea-deals, not defending people in court trials.

          • Eddie W. says:

            Yet you’re all fired up to cast yr vote for Kamala Harris, the former prosecutor. And you still have an #imwithher bumper sticker crookedly attached to the back of yr Volvo. She of the “super-predator” comment in ‘96.

          • ThrownOutOfTheKremlinForSinging says:


            You know nothing about me. The last time I voted for a member of the Democratic Party was 1988, when I voted for Mike Dukakis over George Bush the Elder.

          • Volvo says:

            dang, why you gotta bring volvo into this…

          • ThrownOutOfTheKremlinForSinging says:

            Do you want to learn something? Do a bit of research and look up the following two numbers (should be easy for you to find):

            1. What percentage of criminal cases in USA get resolved by plea, and what percentage go to trial?

            2. What percentage of criminal TRIALS in USA end in a “guilty” verdict, and what percentage end in “not guilty”?

            (Finding these numbers for Federal cases will be easy; it might be more difficult to find them specifically for the State of Texas, where Daniels and husband are charged.)

            Go on, don’t take my word for it.

        • Karl says:

          Good, well informed post. There is too much pressure to accept a plea bargain. The penalty should not be harsher if a person demands a trial. I know someone who pleaded no contest to a charge he was innocent of because of that.

        • Maria says:

          A cure for insomnia!

        • Saxon Broken says:


          While Europeans find the US criminal process seriously scary, your point (1) has been understood. It could be that the reason why most trials secure a conviction is that only cases where the evidence is over-whelming are prosecuted.

    • Sue Sonata Form says:

      Except that this isn’t gossip; the police are involved. Note the word “extradition”. But the terrifying part is that some people here don’t know the difference between gossip and innuendo and being under arrest. It explains a lot, though.

  • Homer D. Buggbee says:

    For non-gays: is David Daniels then Scott Walters’s wife?
    And where is Justice Ginsburg amidst the coordinated mainstream media blackout?

    • The View from America says:

      Recuperating at home.

    • Ramon Figueroa says:

      She’s fighting cancer. Would you like her to be arrested too?

      • buxtehude says:

        Do you have info that might lead to her arrest and conviction, for anything? President Trump asked me to ask you.

    • Fliszt says:

      They are each other’s husbands. And Officiating for a couple’s wedding doesn’t render the officiator responsible for that couple’s future behavior. Geez…

    • Jack says:

      I know three gay male couples. They all refer to each other as their husband. I suspect you knew that, though

    • Paul Brownsey says:

      “For non-gays: is David Daniels then Scott Walters’s wife?”

      I expect you get bought drinks for remarks like that down at the Dog and Bigot.

    • Sue Sonata Form says:

      I’d like to answer the first part of that by using a quote from Glenn Close when receiving her award at the recent SAG Awards…”There can’t be a Wife without a husband”.

      • Bruce says:

        She’s entitled to her opinion. Legally, of course, she’s wrong.

        • Saxon Broken says:

          Umm…I wasn’t aware that the law defined married couples of the same sex as either “husband and husband”, “husband and wife” or “wife and wife”. Let alone which party is which in the relationship.

          Of course, one should let the two people themselves describe their relationship. But that isn’t a matter of the law.

      • Paul Brownsey says:

        But that’s false, isn’t it?

        It’s not made true because Glenn Close said it. She might say “Snow is not white,” but that doesn’t make it true.

        Do learn that arguments from authority are often suspect, particular when the supposed authority quoted has no relevant expertise.

    • Doug says:

      Meeting with the signatory of her contract. “Pleased to meet you…won’t you guess my name?”

  • Thomas Andover says:

    This is big news but hardly unexpected. Daniel’s career is most certainly over now. I am not sure how strong the case is against him and his husband, but Bill Cosby is in jail for the same exact thing. I wonder how long the U. of Michigan will keep him before they fire him.

    • Jack says:

      I don’t know the details of this case, so I hope that the truth (focus on that word) will win out in court. In the meantime, the way it works in this country is innocent until proven guilty.

      • Sue Sonata Form says:

        Except if you are Supreme Court nominee.

        • ThrownOutOfTheKremlinForSinging says:

          Supreme Court nominees don’t get, and are not entitled to expect, the same benefit-of-doubt as criminal defendants. A Supreme Court justice is supposed to be beyond all POSSIBLE reproach. Everyone remembers Bork, but most people have forgotten that after Bork was rejected, President Reagan nominated a guy named Douglas Ginsburg (no relation to Ruth Bader Ginsburg), and he was rejected too. Ultimately Anthony Kennedy got the seat. Go look up WHY Douglas Ginsburg was rejected– you’ll learn something about standards for Supreme Court nominees, at least, about how they were, before the confirmation of Clarence Thomas set a new low.

          By the way, if anyone reading this is a composer, the confirmation of Clarence Thomas would be a great subject for an opera. He himself has a magnificent, rich bass-baritone voice; numbers would include an aria for him saying “this hearing is a national disgrace, a high-tech lynching” and an ensemble (maybe a fugue) based on Anita Hill saying “he said his favorite porn-star was Long Dong Silver.”

  • Karl says:

    It’s sad to see so many people who don’t believe in the concept of “innocent until proven guilty.” The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, article 11, states: “Everyone charged with a penal offense has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defense.”

    I bet they would be for it it they were falsely accused. No one can pin down how many accusations are false either. Studies have come up with numbers ranging from 2% to 90%.

    • JLE says:

      I’ve been both sexually assaulted and in a completely unrelated instance been falsely accused of something horrible. Which is worse? Once the legal gears start grinding it is a crap shoot for either situation. I do not believe that DAs are overly punitive.

  • Charles Rhodes says:

    The law is not about the truth, it’s about who has the better lawyer.

  • JLE says:

    I think the whole thing is horrible. I will tell you that people that have been violated loathe having to go through this. The reasons victims do file charges are because they want the assaulter(s) to know what they did was a crime and hurt them. There is also the motivating factor that this is a pattern and if you don’t speak out someone else gets hurt. Now this belongs to the DA. They have determined that a crime, with enough evidence has been committed to convict. I doubt that the deck is stacked in an unjust way. Time will tell.

    • Saxon Broken says:

      JLE writes: “They have determined that a crime, with enough evidence has been committed to convict.”

      Strictly speaking this is not true. They believe (they may be wrong) that there is a case with a significant chance of a conviction. But they do not decide the guilt of the accused; that is a matter for the courts. [Moreover, they have not seen the case for the defence.]

  • Dave T says:

    The article states that the alleged event occurred in 2010 and that the accuser is 23. Does that mean that he was 14 at the time? If so, this could get a whole lot worse for the Wolverine couple.

  • Bruce says:

    Just by the way: a court of law is not the same as the court of public opinion. In the court of public opinion, people can express whatever opinions they want, based on any evidence or no evidence.

    The whole idea that somehow people are denying him (or Dutoit or Gatti or any of them) something he’s entitled to by law, is dumb.

  • David H Spence says:

    The victim has been credible in what comments he has made, sounds entirely so. There is indeed probable cause. Not the same as guilt as of yet, true, but trust me Daniels and Walters will be lawyered up to the nines. Otherwise, the state of Texas has likely sufficient evidence to go for aggravated sexual assault, that is, if the charges were to go with what the nature of the crime as described credibly was. Drugged aggravated sexual assault.

    There has also been cited here quite a pattern of behavior as well, some of which may have become compelling to investigators into this matter. Let me remark too that in regards to the wedding that RBG officiated, which was in 2014, the charges address prior behavior to the wedding, not what was then future behavior.

    Also, consider just how many victims are willing to put lives, perhaps even careers on the line to come forward. Not necessarily too many. The plaintiff in this case, it has already started, as had to already endure being smeared by the defense counsel for David Daniels in this case.

    One other thing to consider is that the alleged incident happened on property leased out at the time to Houston Grand Opera on a corporate account of theirs. Just what pattern of behavior has started to be tolerated downtown here and in similar venues, of abuse, harassment, what have you, etc., that there may have been perceived to be room for this to occur, through similar non-profits, related venues elsewhere as well?

    The state of Texas, and is doing so in a restrained way for whatever reason, has the right to prosecute, then likely throw the book at these guys, once all is proven beyond a reasonable doubt, after what very well may be an uphill battle for prosecutors, for the state. We have probable cause; I live here. Not to mention what the abuse of the art form has been downtown and elsewhere.

    Enough is enough, folks.

  • Adam says:

    Is it possible for everyone to differentiate between what they think or feel, and what they KNOW.

  • HR265 says:

    They are obviously attacking the alleged victim’s character. So; this should be a rough road of litigation ahead. Prayers for all to be transparent as the only peace that will be found in this is if they are honest throughout. They will be under oath. So—hopefully they will respect the process and only look for peace in their hearts. And with this peace; their lives may change but will forever feel honest and with integrity going forward. The world and God (If you believe) wants honesty. Let’s go all. Believers or not. Don’t lie. Even if you don’t remember all; admit that you don’t remember, please! The heart does not lie; the ego does.