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7/6/11

Is Justice Blind, or does the media spotlight taint the trial?

OJ Simpson

Phil Spector

Michael Jackson

Kobe Bryant

Casey Anthony

What is it about high profile trials that always end in shocking verdicts, outraged spectators, and a media frenzy?

I am starting to believe the hype and the insanity is a REQUIREMENT in high-profile cases.  Who cares about the person on trial, or the victims?  The trial quickly becomes about the spotlight.  The book deals.  The attorneys on both sides making names for themselves.

I love reading about these trials in the newspaper.  Most people forget to think like a juror: Wait until you hear both sides before making a judgement.   Too many times we see the Prosecution go first, and everyone is shouting "GUILTY! GUILTY!"  The trial becomes a witch-hunt, and the reporters make sure to feed their rabid readers.

Now, I'm not saying that I think Casey Anthony is innocent.  I waited until I read about both sides before coming to the conclusion she did it.  I mean, to me it seems like the lack of evidence is because she had a month to cover her tracks, but that is neither here nor there...

What I am saying is the initial reaction for any major trial is GUILTY by the majority, and outrage if "the criminal gets away with it."

The second this trial started, I had a hunch things would go the 'Not guilty' route.  Why?  There were too many people calling for her head.  What would get the biggest buzz on the news channels?  What would get the most people using Facebook / Twitter / etc and talking about the verdit?  Why, not guilty of course...

Besides, now you have 12 jurors with 12 stories, all clamoring for book deals.  Who will be the first to tell their story?  Who will have the best selling book?  Place your bets...

Whether she is really guilty or innocent, the verdict has been cast.  Justice, in all its twisted glory, has been done.  All I ask is that you do not lose sight of the biggest tragedy of all:  A little girl, one way or the other, lost her life.  My heart mourns for her.

Another thing that shocks me is the little publicity coming from a story in Ohio, where an HIV-positive father was arrested for raping his 6-month old son (find the story here).  He knew he had the disease, and therefore intentionally tried to give his son HIV.

In my opinion, this crime is worse than murder.  At least with murder the child's life has ended, and with it the suffering.  This poor child was (allegedly) raped, and given HIV by his father.  How do you cope with that?  I couldn't imagine...

I hope this trial stays out of the major TV channels.  This way daddy might actually get a 'fair' trial, and a guilty verdict could be possible.
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23 witty retorts:

Ally said...

Wow, that's so true about murder being better than intentionally giving your child HIV. What a sick world we live in :(

Kev D. said...

Seriously horrifying.

Thank, Q said...

Good post. The media does fuel the hype machine. I watched Nancy Grace and she was showing photos of Caylee and playing sad music in the background. People get too emotional and it clouds their judgement. Did Casey have anything to do with the murder? Maybe. Was she a bad mom? Definitely. Unfortunately, there wasn't a "bad mom" charge. I did think the child neglect would return a guilty verdict, but according to Florida law, I believe there is a difference between child neglect and child abandonment. Maybe the prosecutors went after the wrong charge since they were so dead-set on murder. Great post! It's nice to know that regardless how people feel about a court case, that they still abide by the law's requirement before speaking on it. If anything, people should be mad at the law, not the jurors. They did their job as instructed. None of us would want to go to jail for being tried by a juror full of Nancy Grace fans and judge with their heart instead of their head.

Melanie said...

I have to agree with you - its all about ratings and money. It is disgusting. And the story about the father in Ohio...my heart is breaking all over again. I have NEVER and will never understand how someone could harm a child.

Matthew MacNish said...

It's almost impossible for an outsider to judge the merits (or lack thereof) of the case in such a situation, especially given all the misinformation and opinion-as-fact that is spread by the media.

But you make a good point. Let's forget the hype, remember that a little girl lost her life, mourn for her, and pray that she rests in peace.

Zombie said...

I think as soon as the media gets involved and hypes it up its doomed...

Random Girl said...

Good perspective on this post. With all the emotion that is stoked by media coverage and opinions, it's hard to remember that the jurors are given a very strict standard to base their verdict on and the duty is on them to stay within that standard and judge only based on the cases presented. I would not have wanted to be a juror on this or any high profile trial. And thank you for highlighting that there are no winners in this case because little Caylee is still dead and someone still committed that act upon her. That is the truest tragedy.

Tony Van Helsing said...

Jurors getting book deals, does anyone do anything without trying to make money out of it?

Drake Sigar said...

I wouldn’t go far as to say the media circus affects the verdict (although when there’s so much money splashing around you have to wonder), but those who are shamelessly selling off the lives of human beings are still better than the public who practically get off on reverting to a mob mentality.

Al Penwasser said...

How dare you bring sanity and common sense into this? The fact a little girl was killed seems to have gotten lost in the shuffle. Too bad, like you said, that this trial was held publicly (wasn't there a time when cameras weren't allowed in courtrooms? AFTER cameras were invented, that is). Then the truth might have come out without being tainted by the "Bread and Circuses" mentality.

Not the Hero said...

I probably have a totally different perspective on this.

I'm Canadian so I have a slightly different view of the media. As in I generally get a more unbiased view of the story. (I'm looking at you Fox News.) It's very surreal to see how Canadian media covers a story then to see the American way of covering the same story. Very different, the states have way more "doom" put into the news.

Anyway. I honestly wasn't following the trial closely. I did however go read about the evidence and testimony that was given.

My verdict would be the same, not guilty. Not because I don't think she did it. It is my opinion that she did it, but beyond a shadow of a doubt. No. The not guilty verdict comes from looking at the evidence. There wasn't any. Sure there was some circumstantial pointing at her, but there was nothing that actually tied her to the death of her daughter.

I think she is a terrible person, but sadly you can't send someone to prison for being terrible. You need to prove they broke the law, and in this case I don't think the prosecution did that.

Adsila said...

I don't know if we will ever know what really happened to Caylee, but the bottom line is, a little innocent girl was murdered and this breaks my heart.

Bart said...

maybe your just mad because your biased. ?? :D

Chunky Mama said...

Your take on "which verdict will get the most publicity?" is really interesting.
Disturbing, and I hope you are wrong about it, but WOW. Very interesting.

Nia Langley said...

Nice post, sir. At the end of the day though, they all had good lawyers. I guess that's how "justice" works here..

nialangleyspeaks.blogspot.com

Alice X said...

I say we put the media on trial!

The Onion Gypsy said...

we will never truly know justice until it is equal for all...race, status, religion, ect. sad but true

Mama Spaghetti said...

Horrifying...all of it. I don't understand people who can hurt their children.

No "justice" will ever give the lives back these poor children. Sometimes, people are frightening.

A Beer for the Shower said...

The man that gave his 6 month old HIV by raping him chills me to the bone, and I agree, it should be murder. Same goes for anyone who sleeps with someone and gives them HIV/AIDS on purpose. The penalties for that are way too lenient.

Technosauce said...

Capital punishment seems to fit this man. Raping a kid 1/2 a year old? Strange stuff.

tamezisclutch said...

This post is so true.

A Daft Scots Lass said...

Dark and Twisted. the way I laaik it.

Dale said...

OMG..I cannot believe that story you mentioned in Ohio. I hadn't heard about that, it's beyond evil..that is SO sad. I've been following the Casey Anthony case too and it's not really surprising she got off Not guilty but I can't believe she is getting out so early. I thought she'd at least get 10 years in prison. Hope you had a good 4th of July
-Dale

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