Tag Archives: News

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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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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The Trouble with Being a Prosecutor

This morning the New York Times is reporting problems, stunning problems, with the case against Dominique Strauss-Kahn. People commenting on the news page’s website range from: all that matters is whether she  was assaulted to those prosecutors were power hungry (I’m paraphrasing).

Whether the alleged victim was assaulted is an important question. The problems with her credibility make the case very difficult to prosecute. I have no knowledge of this case beyond the above-linked report. I have prosecuted and defended sexual assault cases.

A criminal case such as the one against Strauss-Kahn hinges on the credibility, reliability, and honesty of the alleged victim. A jury of 12 regular people must believe this alleged victim. The defense has the right to present her lies in this case and possibly lies or inconsistencies she’s made a prior sexual assaults (depending on state laws).

The jury must decide whether they believe this woman without the assistance of tabloid rhetoric. Hopefully the knee-jerk jurors who would automatically vote to convict or vote to acquit had been removed. Hopefully, the jury would be made up of people who will consider all the evidence.

Jurors, like anyone, will evaluated the alleged victim’s credibility, or ability to tell the truth. Just as anyone, if a person has a history of lying and lying about this particular type of incident, a juror, and any person, would find it more difficult to believe a witness or alleged victim who has an established history of lying.

Prosecutors MUST provide this information of a history of lying by the alleged victim or any other witness to defendants.

The prosecutor also carries a higher obligation. The prosecutor is sworn to find the truth and seek justice. If this alleged victim’s credibility is so damaged that the prosecutors do not have a good faith belief that she is telling the truth or that they cannot meet their burden of proof, then the prosecutors are OBLIGATED to dismiss the case.

The public believes that the prosecutors function as public attorneys. This perception fails to encompass the entire role of a prosecutor. Sometimes victims, usually property crime victims, and law enforcement push and press cases that cannot meet the burden of proof “beyond a reasonable.” The prosecutor SHOULD make difficult choices about whether a case can meet that burden.

Prosecutors in some cases fail to appreciate this enhanced obligation.

The prosecutors in smaller localities often pursue cases because of the public’s misapprehension of dismissing or reducing such cases creates sensational headlines that may hinder reelection. Tough choices made due to facts that are not necessarily available to general public make life more difficult for elected prosecutors.

Instead of vilifying the DA’s office in this case, the public should respect their good faith investigation. The public should honor this DA for doing what is right even when faced with the “egg on the face” that may come from abandoning this sensational, high profile, tabloid fiasco.

The tabloids and incendiary media should step back. If the case was prosecuted, the salacious details would be headlines and the prosecutor would skewered for pursuing the case all together. This prosecutor is making the best choices for the community.

I just hope people see the wisdom of the choices. These choices do not mean that Strauss-Kahn did not commit the acts charged. The choice means that the case cannot establish Strauss-Kahn’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. If the case can’t be proved, then the prosecution should not go forward.

But folks just don’t understand that.

Here’s a link to an outline of the problems with the case.


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Sensationalism, Why?

Dear Media,

Please stop showing ME the pictures on the cigarette boxes. I don’t smoke. I don’t need to see them. I distinctly recall my grandfather with his oxygen tank working to breathe. Thank you emphysema.

Why do you persist in grossing out those of us who haven’t spent an arm and a leg on cancer sticks? Yes, the images are disgusting. But the images are not meant for me. So STOP it.

Thank you.

Salmon and Grits

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