Tag Archives: Media

July 27, 2011: Random News

NFL Lockout is over, former UGA players get calls, murder suspect with lengthy juvenile history, school dropouts, remember Jesse Owens, speaking up in representative government, and ATF guns to drugs dealers.

Good luck, Go Dawgs! Former UGA players get calls about free agency. As one young man put, “basically, I’m still trying out.” Yep. We’re all still trying out every day of the week. Good luck.

Too little funding, too little interest. This young man’s story is not uncommon. Juveniles are the most overlooked aspect of society. We don’t fund treatment for kids, we don’t properly fund schools, we don’t properly fund medicaid, we don’t properly fund the Department of Juvenile Justice, kids with big problems result. The deputy should not have died. Could someone or something have changed this child’s outcome?

Exploring School Dropouts and the Cause. NPR is running a series on School Dropouts. Children who live in chaos have no vote about the chaos. They cannot focus on school because their short lives are in a constant state of fruit-basket turnover.

Remembering Jesse Owens at the Berlin Games. What a great accomplishment! Jesse Owens.

Speak up! Whatever your politics. Apparently, people did speak up. 40,000 calls per hour! Let Congress know how you feel. One day of complaints is NOT enough. Unfortunately, my Congressman is a single minded dolt who listens to know one. But you all have hope! Keep calling.

Tough choices, complicated results. While I don’t envy the choices that the ATF must make in dealing with the drug war on the Southern Border of the U.S. One must wonder about the wisdom this particular choice.

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Hype’s Double Edged Sword

Yesterday, news outlets reported that Casey Anthony’s attorney was actively engaged in negotiations for “pay to play” interviews with Anthony and the networks. Initially disgusted, I ignored the story. The report continued to nag at me. Why should she profit from the death of her child?

Regardless of the verdict, most people believe she caused her daughter’s death. Why would anyone pay her? Usually, acquittals go unnoticed by the general population of the world. Why her?

Then, I remembered. Nancy Grace made Casey Anthony famous. In building up her own television show, Grace used the Anthonys’ story to pump up her ratings. Without regard for the effects her style of analysis and punditry would have on the viewing public, Grace created the feeding frenzy around Anthony-case information.

And now, those media-frenzied chickens have come home to the media to roost. Casey Anthony will win her golden parachute, all thanks to Nancy Grace.

What an ironic twist of fate. Had this missing and murdered child been relegated to less news reporting after the initial reports instead of the lead splashy headline every night for months, Casey Anthony would not be shopping for a million dollar media deal.

Thanks to Nancy Grace and the other over hyped, over blown media this particular mother  has the opportunity to profit from her child’s death. Their splashy headlines, newsy tidbits, and general vitriol created a media monster.

Perhaps she’ll neglect to pay the IRS. The government might give her the Al Capone treatment. Ms. Grace, you could cover the scintillating tax trial. Boy, that’ll boost ratings. Snooze.

Regardless, one hopes the media will learn a lesson from this case. Foolish to think though, since they didn’t learn anything from O.J.’s trial and Anthony’s case was merely a repeat on a much larger media base.

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July 20, 2011: Random News

Georgia’s Death Penalty Controversy Continues, Randy Quaid dodges arrest, fashionable perp walk. In non-court related news, new Harvard weight-loss study with significant diet research.

Death Penalty Debate Rages On. As the drugs used for execution shift and change, the impact and “humaneness” of the acts is subject under increased scrutiny. I understand that Judge Tipton Lane wants to be able to review the process, nothing good can come from a video recording of the death chamber process. Digital media proliferates too quickly and is inherently uncontrollable int he wrong hands. I hope Judge Tipton Lane can control this media. Otherwise, we will return to the days of public hangings.

Sleep and dash? Randy Quaid and his wife are now officially on the lam. Currently, they are in Canada. No Christmas Vacation reunion movie in his future.

Court dates are important. If you’re dodging the police, be careful who you trust. One woman was arrested in her weeding dress for failing to appear in court. Boy, that jail probably wasn’t her favorite honeymoon suite. Proving a case may present challenges but finding people and using human information sources to find folks is a whole lot easier.

Budget cuts delay court appearances. How do the budget cut affect justice? People sit in jail longer. Why should you care? The longer a minor scofflaw spends in jail, the more food, amenities and supervision is required. Instead of funding the smooth justice system, the public spends more money on necessities. When will government discover the wisdom of a fully funded justice system.

Careful who you hire…This article highlights something I’d never thought about who is your locksmith?

When the facts and rules are against you attack the investigators. Congresswoman Maxine Waters is attacking the Congressional committee staff who investigated her corruption charges. What will come of this I wonder.

New Weightloss Advice. “The beauty of the new study is its ability to show, based on real-life experience, how small changes in eating, exercise and other habits can result in large changes in body weight over the years.” Further, “The foods that contributed to the greatest weight gain were not surprising. French fries led the list: Increased consumption of this food alone was linked to an average weight gain of 3.4 pounds in each four-year period. Other important contributors were potato chips (1.7 pounds), sugar-sweetened drinks (1 pound), red meats and processed meats (0.95 and 0.93 pound, respectively), other forms of potatoes (0.57 pound), sweets and desserts (0.41 pound), refined grains (0.39 pound), other fried foods (0.32 pound), 100-percent fruit juice (0.31 pound) and butter (0.3 pound).”

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Strauss-Kahn Continues

As the specter of the Straus-Kahn case lumbers on under the radar for a few days, recent reports brought to mind a frequent expectation that I deal with in the practice of criminal law: get my case dismissed. The credibility problems for the primary victim do not automatically create a situation where the case MUST be dismissed.

Much of the prosecution process is discretionary. The prosecutor has the discretion, or the opportunity to decide whether the continue with the prosecution in the face of a discredited witness and a collapsing case.

When clients tell me “that witness lied” we must prove that as a fact like any other to a prosecutor or to a jury. The lie oftentimes comes down to my moma said her brother heard the witness say he’d refuse to testify for $2000.00. But when you ask the brother, the most important witness, he doesn’t recall, or reframes the context.

Criminal cases and criminal trials are a perilous matrix of decisions and moves and choices, somewhat like a game. Unfortunately, we do not all start out with an even playing field in the courtroom. This game affects lives. Like the Strauss-Kahn case, some allegations take on a life and story of their own. The gossip grapevine of the street can be just as merciless and the high profile media.

Strauss-Kahn will likely suffer the fate of many other alleged sex crime defendants, a trial based on discredited testimony before 12 regular folks. Guess we’ll see what happens. Perhaps the prosecutor has some evidence that’s not quite public yet.

Doesn’t look like this case is getting dismissed anytime so, or perhaps, at all.

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Media Sensationalism

What’s the problem with the splashy headlines and “experienced” legal analysis offered by our 24/7 media news cycle? How is it that Casey Anthony could be acquitted when talking heads and lawyers convicted her in the media?

Bombastic repetition of speculation and suspicion is no substitute for facts and evidence. After initial media reports, I suggest that the bombardment of the public with an unrelenting media campaign failed Caylee. The full-court-press media coverage created unrealistic expectations for jurors that the actual evidence and prosecutors could not match.

Jurors selected after consideration by both parties sit in a room and watch. They observe the attorneys, they carefully consider the witnesses and their testimony. Real people can differentiate between sonorous rhetoric and evidence. If you ask jurors whether a person should lose their life based on a circumstantial case, make sure your evidence is enough to make real people, regular folks comfortable with that choice. Lawyers tend to acquire tunnel vision.

Take it from one of the trial jurors…

One of the jurors in the Anthony case, Elizabeth Ford, told ABC News that the 51-year-old Grace was not fit for television.

“I think a lot of things she says fuel the fire and they’re based on nothing,” Ford said. “I’m obviously against making decisions based on just speculation and opinion.”

The media spectacle will live on after the spotlights shift to the next “criminal.” Casey Anthony is now marked. She will have trouble finding employment. She will be ostracized by family, former friends and the public. Regardless of how you feel about the trial, Casey Anthony may have avoided the death penalty, she did not avoid a life sentence to being a pariah. So, perhaps the media did win.

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Random News: July 4, 2011

Interesting stories from around…

Worth reading today. All Americans should read this document at least once a year. The Declaration of Independence marked the beginning of the our experimental government. Our Great Republic has seen good days and bad days but the thoughts and sentiments in the Declaration have endured. Take a few minutes to read this.

Exploring the Founding Fathers. This op-ed explores the opinions of our Founding Fathers.

Truth of Ellis Island. On this Independence Day, a story of the truth Ellis Island, not the white-washed flag waving story. I find more comfort in the truth.

Choosing to Serve. A look at who chooses to serve our county and protect the Government the Founders fought so hard to obtain.

Our experiment at Work, or not. Minnesota government shutdown on Friday, July 1. Instead of battles over control, we have civil governments and protests are peaceful. Shouldn’t we be thankful for this?

Independence in Jail? We want porn! Convicted armed robber wants porn in jail. Claims a constitutional right. That, ladies and gentlemen, is the beauty of this great country. The Court will determine this case. What do you think?

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Random News: July 2, 2011

Stuff you might have missed that might be interesting…

Population control with incentives!? A drought stricken region of India is offering prizes for people who submit to sterilization. The government is worried that the country’s population will surpass China in less than 20 years. A car in exchange for future children? Is it worth it?

Outraged, anyone? Apparently the statute of limitations on felonies for Nike endorsements has passed. Nike and Michael Vick signed an endorsement deal. Please let me know if this really surprises anyone…

Bob Frith, the nicest guy you’ll meet. Bob Frith is a man of many talents. I worked with him in the Western Circuit DA’s office. Check him out Monday at 10 playing at Watkinsville’s Eagle Tavern. He’s treat.

Dope and cell phones in jail? You betcha! Apparently the enticements were too much or the hiring policy at Fulton Co. is so lax or perhaps the economy is so bad…one Fulton County Deputy and three jailers were arrested by the FBI after YEAR LONG investigation. Nothing can excuse the behavior. Perhaps now jail can return to being punishment again.

The NY Strauss-Kahn Drama continues. Our second day of trial practice focuses on witness credibility. A recorded phone call unraveled the entire case, maybe.  In particular, the alleged victim says on the recorded call “She says words to the effect of, ‘Don’t worry, this guy has a lot of money. I know what I’m doing,’ ” the official said. Gold digging is not what jurors want to hear. End of lesson.

And media criticism begins…Some pundit wonders what Vance’s odds of keeping his job are...He highlights some other failures by Vance’s office. But the Strauss-Kahn matter is a great leap quite frankly. Prosecutors using their discretion appropriately. The stigma of an arrest for a sex crime will always provide a splashy headline and the dismissal of such charge yields a scandal.

Hi-tech shoplifting. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Just read it. Necessity is the mother of invention. Ingenuity provides creative solutions…

Don’t believe the hotdog labels…Why do we keep the FDA? Apparently, the “no nitrite” hotdogs still have nitrites and no one’s telling us this. Seriously, what’s the point of all the labeling B.S. if the label can’t be trusted? Really.

The dog poop investigator, really?!? She’s a woman on a mission, a mission to hold dog owners responsible for their dog poop with canine DNA. Really? Apparently, peer pressure is no longer enough. DNA is necessary. Geez!

Spate of new laws take effect July 1. Here’s a survey of laws now in effect around the country.

“Laziness promotes Invention” Sounds like as good a justification for goofing off as any. Somebody’s study indicates that Americans are lazier than 4 years ago. Go figure!

E.coli from seeds. The world market food chain is highlighted following the investigation of the German E.coli outbreak. Egyptian seeds sold in 2009 and 2010 are believed to have caused the E.coli outbreak.

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