the penalty phase within a system of death
I cannot think of a single case where the death penalty is warranted because I think the death penalty is inherently wrong in every sense.
Our United States has a system of Justice that we claim is the best in the world, and I believe it is when we allow it to work. If it is not allowed to work, as in the O.J. Simpson murder trial, then it behaves as a United States system of Judgment because justice is not served, passions are.
In the O.J. Simpson murder trial, fear of racism was served via jurors who had fame on their minds.
Clearly O.J. committed the heinous murders of the handsome Ronald Goldman and OJ’s lovely ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson.
For the jury, following the evidence in that case should have been so simple and yet much of the “evidence” was supplanted with exterior issues such as a racist cop writing a screen play about other racist cops; gloves that wouldn’t fit due to OJ having plastic gloves on underneath; and by all kinds of extraneous issues related to sometimes outrageous testimony and colorful courtroom characters.
All of these superfluous items took the jurors eyes off the prize and we never got to a penalty phase, though there surely should have been one.
I will never forget the look on Kim Goldman’s face when the jury read the verdict in that case. I felt so badly for her and her family. It was as if the jury had murdered her right then and there. It was as if death was pronounced on the family of the victims. Well, it was a death sentence of sorts to the families of both victims.
“What if this happens in the Anthony case?”, I often hear people say. Well, chances are it will not. That is if Judge Perry continues on his straight and narrow path that is today focused full steam ahead.
As required in Florida death penalty cases, the Defense is preparing to put on witnesses for a penalty phase, which comes directly after a verdict is decided.
According to news reports, the Anthony defense has until the end of this month (Tuesday) to outline its witnesses for this phase. But, very recently the defense filed a motion requesting its penalty phase witnesses be sealed due to fear of reprisal, stalking, harassment, etc., should the witnesses names be known.
I won’t be popular for saying this, but I hope the defense wins at least a gag order on this one. I want Casey Anthony to be able to fight the death penalty with all the gusto her team can muster!
Now, I don’t believe that witnesses will be harassed or bothered to the extreme, like the motion supposes, but anything could happen with this case, and anything usually does!
Anthony penalty phase attorney, Ann Finnell, recently filed this motion to seal penalty phase witnesses and discovery, stating if the Judge cannot grant this motion, they would like a hearing on the matter. Furthermore, Attorney Finnell argues, should the evidentiary hearing on this matter be unsuccessful, the witness list should not be made known until such time as the penalty phase of the trial begins.
The main thrust of this argument is the negative media “spin” on the case with regards to the defense of Casey Anthony – that it would scare away potential witnesses from wanting to testify. There is some truth to this argument, in my opinion. However, the problem here is how to balance the people’s right to know the names (on the witness list), with the rights of someone potentially sentenced to die, having been convicted of capital murder? And then, there is also the question of the individual witnesses rights, I would think. (Perhaps witnesses are not protected – I am not quite sure.)
I think this raises some tough issues and will be a delicate one to decide. If I were to wager on this one, I’d say that Judge Perry will err on the side of the people’s right to know and will release the names of the witnesses. But, I do hope he is able to apply a gag order. I think that would be a fair solution…. So says Judge Andrea!
This motion, plus a prosecution motion about defense spending, will take center stage on Monday, November 29, 2010, at 1:00 pm.