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9
Jan

a fair trial with Baez?

Our rights under the Constitution of the United States of America, afford us rights in criminal cases (Amendment V) and rights to a fair trial (Amendment VI).  Casey Anthony MUST have a fair trial, though it appears that her Sixth Amendment Right (to a fair trial) is looking severely compromised, ironically by her own attorney.

It is terribly important that Casey Anthony have a fair trial, though she doesn’t seem to care one way or the other.  She is fighting for her very life and she appears giddy and silly and flirtatious with the lead counsel on her defense, Jose Baez.

There is no denying that Jose Baez is not doing Casey Anthony any favors by his two year proclivity to grand-stand in front of the media about his case.  As the Orlando Sentinel aptly points out, Baez has up to now, tried his case in the public, using the media to float theories about other suspects, other evidence, and different time frames to indicate that his client is, in his words, “innocent.”

Needless to say, he has a tough client in Casey Anthony, but as legal scholars and practicing attorneys such as Bill Shaeffer and Richard Hornsby point out, Baez is in way over his head, and the defense case is in trouble.

Last year the Honorable Stan Strickland filed a complaint with the Florida Bar upon learning that Dominic Casey was on record as saying that if he were to find the body of Caylee Anthony, Dominic should call Baez before calling law enforcement.

The Florida Bar ruled for Baez, indicating they found no probable cause to support the complaint.  As of today, Baez is in good standing with the Florida Bar, though that was not always the case.

Jose Baez has only been practicing law since 2005, though he graduated law school eight years earlier, he was denied entry into the Florida Bar due to financial and ethical problems.  When the Florida Bar refused to let him practice law, Baez appealed to the Supreme Court of Florida, who agreed with the Florida Bar, and denied his entry.  In response to Baez’s’ appeal to the Supreme Court, they wrote an opinion, part of which concluded:

Each of these instances of financial irresponsibility standing alone may have been subject to reasonable explanation; however, we find that when considered together and with his violation of the court-ordered child-support obligations, these events show a total lack of respect for the rights of others and a total lack of respect for the legal system, which is absolutely inconsistent with the character and fitness qualities required of those seeking to be afforded the highest position of trust and confidence recognized by our system of law.

You may read the Florida Supreme Court opinion on the matter of J.A.B. here:  FLORIDA BOARD OF BAR EXAMINERS RE: J.A.B. Note:  in the Supreme Court appeal, the initials J.A.B. are used to hide the identity of the claimant, but the Orlando Sentinel uncovered documents that point to the identity of J.A.B. as Jose Angel Baez.

An Orlando Sentinel article, Can Jose Baez Rise to the Challenge of Casey Anthony Case? touches upon some very serious concerns that Casey Anthony herself should be questioning.

It’s difficult to understand how someone who is fighting for her very life would settle for, if not the worst, among the worst lawyers practicing in Orlando.

Could Baez be promising Casey Anthony the moon with a silver lining?  Is he whispering sweet nothings in her ear?

She is shielded from much of the news – no television or newspaper.  Is it even possible that Baez is leading her to believe she will be found not-guilty and set free?

Anything is possible, certainly, but not that!

Oh, please, not that.

9
Jan

in the cross-hairs

When the vitriolic rhetoric of some Americans in politics, in radio, or in television, graphically targets others, using cross-hairs on a hate map, we are in trouble.

When horrific hate-talk threatens the very essence of sensibility and civility, the rights that we cherish are in danger.  Political hate-talk, if left unchecked, threatens what Thomas Jefferson called our rights to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”.

We constantly hear angry mouthpieces like Sarah Palin who cry, “Don’t retreat, reload.” And Bill O’Reily, Rush, Joyce Kaufman, and their ilk, who sensationalize hate and killing and guns using maps and websites that brazenly depict political districts as if they were war-zones.  What does this say about us as a country?

Why do we allow our government servants to target one another by virtue of a political bent?

What can we do when politicians or talking heads say things like: “if ballots don’t work bullets will?”

I don’t have an answer.  But, I would ask the people who are the mouthpieces in this country to realize that people listen to them, and take seriously their hate talk. People who are not quite all there mentally, who can buy a gun as easily as I buy chewing gum, to settle imagined or delusional scores, do listen to you. Words ARE weapons.

I feel helpless in this fight.  I stand by and watch this hate and ignorance spread and feel hopeless because there seem to be so few answers.  And, those in government who do have answers, aren’t talking.

I hope and pray that, as a result of yesterday’s tragedy in Tuscon, Arizona, we will let dialogue, not diatribe, stretch and reach out across the land, silencing the hatred that political animosity has created – is creating.

We need to take some deep, deep breaths in this country. Let’s regain our civility as a people, as a nation of human beings with empathy for the common good. Of course, good for one does not translate into good for all, but we can start with civility.

Let’s hope that our 112th Congress, as they take this coming week off to regroup after the tragic events in Tuscon, will put aside their political brains and use their human brains to realize that hate speech engenders more hate, and more hate, and more hate and more hate until we become a nation of gun-toting, trigger-haired, lunatics.

Listen to Keith Olberman.

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