Wednesday, July 6, 2011


Most people enjoy the drama, suspense, mystery and, yes, glamour of a criminal trial. Be it in movies, t.v. or real life, it is a unique and fascinating genre (oh, daddy, listen to me!). Even the Mesdames and Messieurs of the jury (dat's it with da French ting) have their own special allure. And, it's all about justice. A trial is a search for the truth which is translated into justice when the guilty go to jail and the innocent go free. But, that's not the way it really is.

Ya see, the fuel each lawyer depends on, is the desire to win and the truth be damned. The courtroom is the  amphitheater and opposing counsel are the gladiators who are in it for the juice of being the more effective persuader. Because that's what brings home the verdict. All the training, and the just plain hard work of preparing, is for that singular and very personal moment. Few attorneys will openly acknowledge this. They will cling to their respective folklore. The prosecutor represents the people against the bad guy, while defense counsel clings to the constitutional right of an accused to due process of law. True enough. But that's not what drives them. It's the high of the win.

Look at all federal and state criminal statutes. Choose any offense. Look at its elements. You will never find "motive". Legally, it does not have to be shown by either side. Practically, it's the most persuasive component of everything that you ask the jury to believe. If you claim a person did or did not do something, they want to know why. It explains human conduct. In the Casey Anthony case, there was abundant evidence as to why she committed some degree of homicide. She had the motive to kill. Sick as it was, she wanted nothing to stand between her and the swingin' life. Her motive to lie was to conceal her oh-so-dirty hands. To believe her lying was the result of past sexual abuse, requires a complete abandonment of common sense. Like asking someone to meet you at a corner where the streets don't come together. She had the motive to commit the crimes charged. That is why the verdict is so astounding. Today, the talking heads were all over themselves in trying to explain the thought process of the jurors as focusing on insufficient evidence. A desperate attempt to explain the unexplainable by reading minds. The jury should have been able to touch, feel and grab onto motive, which permeated the prosecution's case. Add to this mix, the nonsense of wanting to make an accident appear to be murder, and one is tempted to stick one's head in the oven. The truth did not win out, the defense counsel did. The people did not lose, the prosecutor did. In this case, an aberration.

I may sound overly cynical in all of this. Lay people and professionals may criticize me. That's o.k. If everyone agreed with me, I'd question myself.

1 comment:

  1. Judge! I love reading your commentary on this case. The verdict and this case is such hype in the media, for obvious reasons – a mother who is allegedly a killer. It is super interesting for me to read how you perceived the outcome – thank you for sharing ;-)