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27
Feb

murder on a sunday morning

If you don’t mind humoring me… I haven’t all of a sudden lost my mind or given allegiance to the Anthony defense team, I promise!  However, I want to share with you some interesting facts I have learned about Ann E. Finnell, attorney on the Casey Anthony defense team.  Perhaps you have already looked into her background and already know about her credentials?  Or, maybe you are like me and hadn’t looked her up or given her much thought.

I am incredibly impressed by what I have learned about her and her work.

A documentary about a case that Ann Finnell and her associate Pat McGuinness tried in 2000, won an Academy Award for best Featured Documentary in 2001.  And this was no ordinary case, I promise you.  This was a case in which a young man, all of 15 years old, was plucked off the street, in Jacksonville, Florida, for no other reason than walking down the street while black “walking while black.”  It is a terrible story of corrupt Jacksonville police taking this young man, and like sculptors, carving out false and tragically lackadaisical evidence – making it falsely fit him.

The young man’s name is Brenton Butler, a handsome and bright looking kid who spent, I believe, nearly 6 months in jail for a crime he did not commit.  Brenton was being charged as an adult in this case, and police thought they had their man – they literally beat a false confession out of the young man.

The crime was murder.  A couple, visiting from Georgia and stopping on their way to South Florida, were just leaving the Ramada Inn with coffee in hand.  As the couple emerged from their hotel room, a skinny and tall black man approached the woman to steal her purse.  The coffee she was holding sprayed the man.  It infuriated him and he shot her in the head, killing her.

The police arrived, and in their initial investigation of the scene, the victim’s husband told the cops the perpetrator was a skinny black man.

At about that time, Brenton Butler was walking on the sidewalk, on his way to fill out an application to work for the nearby Blockbuster video store. He never made it there.

The police, having just heard the victim’s husband say a skinny black man was responsible, when they saw Brenton, pounced.  They put Brenton in the back seat of their patrol car and asked the husband of the victim if he recognized Brenton.  “Yes, that’s him,” the man said.  The witness positively identified Brenton Butler as the gunman.  From that moment on, what Brenton Butler suffered in the hands of these corrupt and despicable law enforcement officers would make your skin crawl.

Two detectives interrogated Brenton for 12 hours, they beat him, they would not allow him to see his parents, or a lawyer, they denied him food, they denied him every one of his constitutional rights.  They were good ole boys enjoying themselves as they tortured a 15 year old child.

Anne Finnell and Pat McGuinness saved this child’s life. He was found not guilty.  And, soon afterward, Anne Finnell’s partner, Pat McGuinness, had a hand if finding the real killer.

Brenton Butler is a grown man now and has written a book about his experience called, “They Said it Was Murder.”

Ms. Finnell is currently in private practice, in Jacksonville, Florida.  She is still working as partner with Pat McGuinness, who was given great accolades for his work in the film.

Below is the first part of the film you can watch on your computer.   Here is the link to all of the twelve parts of the film. This is the best way to keep all the parts of the film within easy reach.

I remember seeing this film, but I had long forgotten it and the story and the characters.   I never recognized Ann Finnell as “the” wonderful lawyer in that film.

I  have always had a great deal of respect for Defense Attorneys; we would not have a free society without them.  That is why I get so incensed at the lack of scruples shown by Jose Baez.

I wonder how Ann Finnell can stomach the antics of Jose Baez, but then I think, maybe it’s because of Jose Baez that she took this case – hoping to save a young woman from the death penalty, as Baez, in my view, is walking Casey Anthony right down the path to the chair.  I can’t begin to know what her reasons are for taking this case.  I only know that when the time comes for the penalty phase, Casey will be in very capable hands.

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27
Feb

the king’s speech speaks to me

The Academy Awards are tonight!

I hate to admit it, but I have not been in the movie-mode this year and have seen only 3 of the ten nominated films: Inception, The Kids Are All Right, and my favorite, The King’s Speech.

I enjoyed Inception to a certain degree, though I was surprised to see it among the nominees.  On the other hand, The Kids Are Alright is a wonderful film – a slice of life that is beautifully rendered.

I enjoy watching the awards, but rarely stay up to wait for the best picture award because I don’t want to be a zombie at work on Monday.   Tonight will be different – I’m staying up tonight!   It will be a nail biter because I hope, hope, hope that The King’s Speech earns the award for best picture.  I think it will.

Granted, I am a little prejudiced since I have not seen all the movies nominated, but the quality of The King’s Speech leaves it nonpareil in my eyes.  Not only is the acting divine, the story is captivating and it is made all the more intriguing because it closely follows the history of George VI ‘s succession to the throne.

He was “Bertie” to his family.  He was a shy but hot-tempered man with a speech impediment – he stammered.  What he went through to overcome the stammer, which so embarrassed him, took sheer will and painstaking work.  And the relationship that grows between Bertie and Lionel Logue, his speech therapist, is captured with tenderness, richness and great heart by the filmmakers.  … I won’t tell you more if you haven’t yet seen it!

It seems this was a good year for film-makers because there are 10 films are nominated.  They are:

Black Swan,
The Fighter,
Inception,
The Kids Are All Right,
The King’s Speech,
127 Hours,
The Social Network,
Toy Story 3,
True Grit, and
Winter’s Bone.

In the event you are interested in the history of the reign of George VI, these two videos are fantastic documentaries.  Each one is 15 minutes long.  I enjoyed watching them this morning!  I hope you do, too.

Part One:

Part Two:


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