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Posts from the ‘Crime’ Category

11
Sep

eleven tears – in memoriam to AMEX 911 victims

Update: September 11, 2013

Can it be 13 12 years?  I cannot fathom the passing of so much time, but time does march on, doesn’t it?  I decided to re-post this entry to honor the families of the American Express victims, as well as all who suffered losses unimaginable.

Original Post:

For me, September often makes for a rough landing.

There is the heartbreaking reminder of 9/11; today being one of the most poignant reminders due to the passage of ten years.

It hardly seems possible that 10 years have passed.  The memories are so vivid it seems like it was yesterday our world was shattered.

September is also the month we see an increased number of hurricanes  here in South Florida.

And, September is my birthday month, which I won’t talk about, even though I just did.  Getting older means I have to remember a new number (I often forget how old I am).

World Headquarters of American Express – The Aftermath of 911


September 11, 2001

Eleven Tears Memorial at American Express World Headquarters

It was a Tuesday.

Monday night I stayed very late at work.  It was already September 11th (after midnight) when I left work at the American Express Service Center building in Plantation, Florida.

I was working late with Wayne, an Instructional Design colleague of  mine in Operations Training, at American Express. Wayne and I were putting the finishing touches on our Diversity Appreciation Display, which was to be situated in the huge open atrium space, at the center of the building. (Note about Diversity at American Express:  The company didn’t just “talk” about the importance of diversity, it “walked the walk” in a way that I have yet to see in any other company I’ve since worked for.  They supported diverse employee networks; WIN (Women’s Industry Network, BEN (Black Employee Network), SALT &  CHAI (Christian and Jewish employee networks), and quite a few more.)

Every year, the Diversity Team would dedicate one week to spotlight the importance of diversity at American Express.  The 2001 event, however, was going to be a scaled down version of our usual diversity celebration.

This year we were going to have four smaller events (not one big yearly event).  The four small events were to focus on different sections of the globe, and the impact that American Express had on that part of the world.

The kick-off of our celebration of the Middle East region of the globe was slated to open at 11:00 a.m., on the morning of September 11, 2001.

Because I had worked so late the night before, ensuring that everything was ready for our Middle Eastern celebration, I did not plan on getting to work until 10:00 a.m.

At about 9:00 a.m. that morning, Wayne called my home and I could tell something was very wrong, but I didn’t know what.  He asked if we were going to cancel our celebration.  I didn’t understand what he meant – what he was talking about.  Then he asked if I had television or radio on.  I didn’t.  “Turn the TV on,” he urged.  I did.

American Express World Headquarters

The first plane had just hit and I watched the aftermath.  I knew American Express had a huge office in NYC, with thousands of employees.  I wasn’t certain if our Headquarters was located in one or both of the World Trade Center buildings.  Later I realized that the American Express building was a building adjacent to the towers, and every employee was accounted for.  Sadly, that turned out not to be true.

Although the American Express building stood very near the towers, it suffered damages that looked like bite marks in the side of the building, resulting from the explosions.   The building was structurally sound and could be saved.

When the first plane hit, a few American Express employees were out in the street, just getting to work and suffered serious injuries as a result of the falling debris.  These employees nearly lost their lives, but by the grace of God, survived.

There were American Express employees in one of the towers.   

September 11, 2001 is seared in my memory.  I will never forget how I felt, where I was, or how so many of us cried together as we saw the second plane hit.

The American Express company, which I worked for nearly seven years, handled the horrendous event and aftermath with incredible class.  They have done such a good job to remember the employees who were victims.

Pictured below is the stunning tribute that stands in the lobby of the Headquarters building.  I have never seen it, but have read the countless comments describing how remarkable it is.  The architect’s name is Ken Smith.

Here are additional photos of the memorial.  http://www.flickr.com/photos/rejuvesite/sets/72157603291655578/

I was not able to find pictures of all the eleven victims, instead I used a picture of their memorial stone.

I would have loved to include all the victims who died that day.  Instead, I am honoring the 11 employees who perished that day, as well as the family members they left behind.

There were more than 4,000 American Express employees working at the corporate headquarters in NYC, these 11 worked for the American Express Corporate Travel office, located on the 94th floor of the World Trade Center’s north tower.

The Eleven Tears – American Express Employees:

  1. Paul Zois
  2. Sigrid Wiswe
  3. Lorretta Vero
  4. Benito Valentin
  5. Karen Renda
  6. Anne Ransom
  7. Lisa Kearney-Griffin
  8. Bridget Esposito
  9. Lucy Crifasi
  10. Gennady Boyarsky
  11. Yvonne Bonomo

The Diversity celebration that was to start on September 11, 2011, was not “celebrated.”  We kept a movie that the created, available for employees, and some photos were left up, that was about it.

It was too emotionally draining to think about a celebration.  But, we also didn’t want to discount what we’d planned –  it was hardly a celebration of a culture.

We knew the terrorists were of Middle Eastern descent, as were some of our employees.  We could not very well show any distaste for that part of the world  – that was not a reasonable thing to do, obviously.  In the end, it didn’t matter, the sadness and our mourning was not about hating a counrty of people, it was about trying to understand how a small group of human beings could / would attack us as they did.

I think every American felt like they were collectively  kicked behind the knees that day.  It’s difficult to get up from the floor, though we will and we have.

Prokopios “Paul” Zois “Sense of humor”

Sigrid Wiswe “Loved NY Harbor”

Loretta Vero “Fiercely loyal” Credit: Blatherfrombrooklyn

Benito Valentin “Osito” (Little Bear)

Karen Renda “An Angel”

Ann Ransom “The heart”

Lisa Kearney-Griffin “Boisterous & friendly”

Bridget Esposito “Big heart” credit: blatherfrombrooklyn

Lucy Crifasi “Exceptionally Nurturing”

Gennady Boyarsky “No Problem” was too big

Yvonne Bonomo – “Endless Energy”

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27
Aug

“off with his (cracked) head?”

Update:  August 27th, 2013. A great deal has happened in my part of the world since the terribly sad outcome of the George Zimmerman trial. Read more »

2
Apr

“off with his (cracked) head?”

Update:  August 27th, 2013.

A great deal has happened in my part of the world since the terribly sad outcome of the George Zimmerman trial.

I wrote about Zimmerman in the past, the article below I wrote in April, 2012.   I wanted to write about the Zimmerman case, as I had written about the Casey Anthony trial, but couldn’t bring myself to do it – knowing that once I started, I wouldn’t be able to stop.

That may sound odd, but the truth is, the horribleness of this case, and now its outcome, is terribly depressing.  Life is hard enough, I thought then, why go down that road of despair?  How could I write everything that needs to be said about the case and the verdict?

It’s too important to be taken lightly or to simply “blog” about.

I feel that writing about this moment in history is so serious and would take such devotion on my part, that I’d need to give it my full, undivided, attention – to do it justice.

So, instead of writing about it, I let it simmer in me.

The simmer – what I feel is not exactly “rage”, but its cousin.

I think of this case and its outcome every single day and now, today, Mark O’Mara, Zimmerman’s lead defense attorney, is asking the state of Florida to cover Zimmerman’s bill! Yes, a million would cover it, thank-you-very-much-Florida.

So, I’m outraged more.  Paying Zimmerman’s legal bill????

Really?!!

It’s UNFAIR.  At least on moral ground.  As for legal ground, I don’t know, I’m not a lawyer. It must be legal for O’Mara to ask, and I don’t blame him for asking – that’s what lawyers do.  But, shouldn’t O’Mara at least try to walk on a higher ground?  Couldn’t he let the people of Florida get over this before pouring salt into this still bleeding wound?  Haven’t we suffered enough over this terrible tragedy?

Makes me angry. Really angry.

Zimmerman never apologized, as far as I know. And during the trial, he never showed one ounce of remorse for the murder (it will always be murder no matter what the verdict of 6 people.) of a defenseless young teenager.

A child with loving parents. Strong parents. Good parents.

The jury didn’t see Trayvon the child.  They didn’t see him for the child he was; they saw him as a young hoodie-wearing-soon-to-be-hoodlum-because-they-knew-that’s-what-all-young-black-men-are.

Had the jury thought of Trayvon as THEIR son, as THEIR child, I don’t think they could have let Zimmerman walk away, get away, with murder.

No. The jury didn’t see their child.  They didn’t see their duty to protect this child – their child.

The jury saw a young black man, probably up to no good, and a good, upstanding man with a license to kill, doing what good white men do – stand their ground because they have a gun to do it with.

What does this say to young men today? It says: Beware – you are targets in Florida.  Don’t drink your Arizona Ice Tea or your Skittles while black.

I have friends who, over the years, have referred to their status as a citizen behind the wheel of an automobile (especially an expensive car), as “Driving While Black.”  They have to be hyper-vigilant and it’s incredibly sad – beyond the beyond of disgusting.

It’s a given that young black men are racially targeted; it’s a given they are profiled; it’s a given they are increasingly disadvantaged economically and socially, but must we pour more money to the Gun-toting Southern white man’s sense of superiority?

Let’s give more money to the cracker-ass white men like Zimmerman who think nothing of starving their beast.

But, don’t get me started.

April 2, 2012: In Richard III, one of Shakespeare’s greatest tragedies, the character of Richard – who will do anything to be King of England – accuses Lord Hastings of all things foul, and thus Hastings is murdered.

In a video revealed today by ABC News, George Zimmerman’s head (as he’s being led out of a police car), appears injured and red.  Does the fact that Zimmerman appears to have an injured head make any difference?

No. No. A thousand times, no.

Photo by Getty, courtesy Huffington Post.

However, it IS important insofar as it supports Zimmerman’s claim to have acted in self-defense, claiming he’d been  attacked by Trayvon Martin.

Yeah. And, so what?

As we know, Zimmerman claims he shot Trayvon Martin in self defense, stating that the young man, armed with a very dangerous bag of Skittles, pounded his head into the ground and bloodied his nose……

Wait.  Back up.  We don’t know if that is true or not!  And even if it is true, so what?!

Like the sign the guy in the above photo is holding – “They never stop & frisk old white guys like me.”  (I love that he’s wearing a blindfold like Lady Justice in the photo.)

It’s true.  We live in the land of the free, where people, no matter who they are, should be able to walk down any street while eating candy as it rains.

Just My Opinion:

Here’s what I think may have happened that night:

  1. Zimmerman sees a young man in his neighborhood that he does not recognize and calls the police.  Why?  Because Zimmerman realizes that the boy is black.  Strike one against Trayvon, he’s walking while black.  Clearly in Zimmerman’s mind that spells trouble.
  2. While Zimmerman is talking to the police operator, during his first call, it sounds like he’s walking.  Was he following Trayvon?  (Oh, he’s following in self-defense – that’s right, I forgot that detail.)
  3. Trayvon surely must sense that he’s being followed, or stalked by a man he doesn’t recognize.
  4. Does Trayvon fear Zimmerman because he’s white?  Possibly.  But more likely, he’s afraid because he’s being watched and followed.  I would be terrified.
  5. Zimmerman hangs up with the dispatch, talks to the Police who tell him NOT to take action.
  6. Does Zimmerman continue to stalk / follow Trayvon?  Does Zimmerman get too close?  Does he purposely appear threatening?  Does he brandish his gun?
  7. If Zimmerman brandished his gun, Trayvon may have, in a fight for his life, attempted to disable Zimmerman – separate him from his gun, to save his young life.
  8. Did Zimmerman lay hands on Trayvon maybe to question him?  Why?  He’s not a police-person.
  9. Common sense tells me Zimmerman was likely holding his gun.  People who carry guns do so because they want to use them. That’s just common sense, right?
  10. Did Trayvon see that gun and try to save his life by jumping on Zimmerman to try to disarm him?
  11. Was Zimmerman too strong for Trayvon?
  12. Did Trayvon, realizing he is no match against Zimmerman, now try to run away to save his life?  Or did he fall, screaming out and afraid of the man and the gun?

These things we may never really know, but we do know that Trayvon was crying out, afraid that he was going to be shot.  Who shoots to kill someone who’s unarmed and crying?

I will not go so far as to say Zimmerman murdered the young Trayvon because I do not know what really happened.  I only know there is something very wrong and a young man with an Ice Tea and a bag of candy should not be gunned down.

Florida and it’s NRA – written, Jeb Bush backed “Stand Your Ground” law is horrifying, senseless, and unconstitutional as far as I am concerned. The Second Amendment to the Constitution did not want a bunch of Zimmerman’s running around, in my opinion.

So, I won’t say “Off with his head,” about Zimmerman.  If he’s guilty of manslaughter or murder, he’ll have his day in court.  He’ll face Florida laws, which is what I’m afraid of.

26
Mar

Let Justice for Trayvon Shine

I’ve been very upset about the Trayvon Martin tragedy.  I’ve started to write about it a few times, but I end up so angry and frustrated that I have to walk away from the computer.

That poor child, all of seventeen, had not even begun to live his life!  A handsome and bright-eyed boy full of promise….. and he’s gone, in the rain.  Guilty of wearing a hoodie.  Guilty of walking while black down a Stanford Florida street teeming in ignorance.  The ignorance of the Neanderthal white man cannot be tolerated!

There was the sad and tragic case of Emmitt Till.  And now, some sixty, or so, years later, we have another tragedy born of the same white Neanderthal ignorance.

Jeb Bush and his ilk are nearly as guilty of the death of Trayvon Martin as is the Florida nutcase who pulled the trigger.  Zimmerman was made bold by the 2005 Stand Your Ground law in that says it’s okay to shoot when threatened.  But Zimmerman was NOT threatened, as we all now realize.  Zimmerman clearly murdered this young man in cold blood.  In Cold Blood.  This law is being misconstrued to call a “perceived” threat a real threat.  That’s what Zimmerman believed – he perceived he was threatened by a young man in a hoodie, in the rain.

This Florida law, so despicable, disgraceful and bold is often misunderstood with TRAGIC consequences that are too many to list here.

I remember 2005 and the arguments about this law’s passage.  I remember being outraged by it.  And I remember feeling hopeless because Jeb Bush was then Governor of Florida.  Need I say more?  (Jeb’s middle name may as well be NRA.)

If you live in Florida, as I do, you know the harm that Republicans like Jeb have done in this state.   Just as his brother did so much damage to the United States, so too did Jeb to Florida.

I wrote about a similar situation last year about the NRA drafting a Florida bill.  (That’s no typo – yes, the NRA helped write a Florida bill.)  I kid you not.

The Florida law makers make gun laws like the Wild Wild West because they believes more guns will improve the crime problem.

Below is a snippet from my blog post.  To read the full post, click Oh, That NRA Second Amendment.

….lawmakers in Tallahassee are pushing a new gun bill that is backed / written by the National Rifle Association (NRA).

The purpose of the bill?  To loosen current regulations on the use of gun and ammunition ownership, and to prohibit lawmakers in Florida from fashioning stricter gun laws that would change or supersede the law.

Senator Joe Negron (R), has been working with the NRA for six months to craft this bill.  Negron said it’s entirely coincidental that this bill was filed this week while the tragedy in Tuscon was unfolding.

As if that is not bad enough, Senator Greg Evers (R), and Rep. Jason Brodeur (R) filed identical bills that would make it a felony for health care professionals (doctors or any medical provider), to inquire about whether a patient has access to firearms.

Currently in Broward County, a three day waiting period (a “cooling off” period) is in place, and has been law since 2001.  Negron’s bill would do away with the cooling off period entirely.  In addition, the law would prohibit all lawmakers from making changes to the gun laws once this bill is in effect.  All of Florida would have to abide by one state gun law, one standard as opposed to variations from county to county.

Trayvon’s blood is on the hands of the good ole boys of Florida.

How many more young black men have to be killed???  The media and the politicians might call this tragedy a “culture” issue.  I call it a hate crime.  I call it murder.

I can’t write anymore …..

Below are flowers for the Martin family, and for all of us who grieve….  I named this photo, Shine Shine Shine!  Let justice shine for Trayvon, and soon.

Photo by Andrea O'Connell, 2012. All rights reserved

 

12
Jan

why rosie?

It’s been a long time since I’ve seen such a gross display – such a horrible, horrible sight.  I don’t understand how, rather than smiling at the dead carcass of that incredible shark, they are not puking off the side of the boat.

I don’t understand.  Rosie Rosie Rosie?  Why?

( Courtesy Mark Quartiano ) Rosie O'Donnell has taken her children on several fishing trips off Miami Beach with the well-known shark fishing guide Mark "The Shark" Quartiano

I don’t understand how anyone could do this to such a magnificent creature.  Imagine the pain that shark endured? and now the ocean is absent another of its most mighty creatures.

I’m amazed that Rosie O’Donnell would celebrate such a thing.   Sure, people have a thing against sharks.  But, to kill one like that?  Why?  It makes no sense!

Granted, there are poachers in the seas all over the globe raping the waters of its treasures.  Clearly Rosie isn’t doing that.  It’s just that…. looking at that image – celebrating the death of that shark – it’s so wrong.

It is enough to make me cry.

This is not a little Snapper or Salmon.

So, what happens now?

Do you need this shark to feed your family, Rosie?

What will happen to the carcass?  Will some local Miami Taxidermist get a new project?  Or, God forbid, was the parading of the carcass only for the sake a picture?

I’m sick to my stomach.

5
Jan

casey anthony video diary is calculating, shallow but authentic

-Surprise, surprise…. she’s baaaaack!   And, in an oh-so-calculating, monotone and self-promoting way that only Casey Anthony could deliver.

She says, “I’m so excited,” like you or I would say, “I like cold beer.”

This YouTube video diary of Casey Anthony donning a sports bra, her bobbed hair dyed blond, and wearing tinted glasses, has surfaced and has gone viral in the media.

One of her lawyers, says the Orlando Sentinel, has confirmed it is indeed the queen herself, but the video’s release was (cough, cough) unauthorized – An unknown account was hacked into, they say.  Okay…..

Watch the video and listen to the number of “bleeps” which indicate names having been dubbed over.  If this video of Casey-loving-Casey and her toys, was hacked, the audio would not be edited with bleeps.  A hacker wouldn’t attempt to edit what he or she steals.

I am convinced this is a manipulative publicity stunt – no accident.  Casey Anthony is savvy with computers and the Internet and would not “accidentally” release something she didn’t want to release.

She alluded detection for 31 days while her child was “missing,” she kept her mouth shut for three years of jail confinement, therefore I don’t think she’d make the mistake and ooops, release her diary!

Hacked?  Truly I don’t believe it for a minute!  This is Casey promoting Casey as only Casey can – in a an icky self-loving show of “look at me now with my new toys.”  She’s talking about her new life, she’s very satisfied with herself, too.  Her monotone drone, however, belies the fact that she’s a happy camper.  She needs attention – really wants it badly.  She wants us to know, she’s cool, she’s down with it, she’s hip and ready to play again in life, because life is normal now that she “actually owns things.”

She’s as shallow as a washed up shell.

It’s a bid for attention; she missed it, needs it.

It’s sad.

What a waste.

28
Dec

looking back

English: Casey Anthony has been booked into th...

Image via Wikipedia

2011 is coming to an end.  The year has flown by.  Every year don’t we all say, “My, this year has really flown by?!”  And the years do go by pretty quickly, especially as we age.

Time seemed to crawl when I was young.  Was it like that for you, too?

This year flew, though it seemed to stand still, too, at times.

I wrote a blog post every single day in 2011.  To date, I have 608 posts. This one will make 609.

I never thought I’d actually write something every day for an entire year, but I did.  In fact, I wrote a post every day in December 2010 so this is month 13 of my Post-a-day challenge.

It was pretty easy, really.   The Casey Anthony saga gave me so much material!  There were the lawyers on the defense team – how bizarre they were.  The defense attorney’s gave me a lot of colorful content.  And, the Anthony family, Cindy and George and their antics, provided all kinds of fanciful copy as well.

I was very critical of the Anthony defense team, especially Jose Baez, because he deserved it. His courtroom antics were gross and demeaned the legal profession, at least in my opinion.  However, as far as George and Cindy Anthony go – I was too hard on them, at times.  Most bloggers were.

The mainstream media helped sensationalize the situation, as did the overflow of documentation made possible by Florida’s Sunshine law.  Still, bloggers had a field day with the Anthony’s.  I did too.

I am sorry I jumped on the bandwagon and made hay out of the George and Cindy stories – the discovery that was released in the case.  I feel badly, looking back at the last three years of this case, that I judged and criticized them too often, as I know I did.

I think, in hindsight, that I forgot they were real people.  They are hardly perfect and as capable of making stupid mistakes as I am.  I think that comes from being human.

I have never lived under a microscope, I have never had a daughter or a granddaughter, I have never known anyone who either committed or was a victim of murder, not to mention a murder as heinous as Caylee’s was.

During the trial, I felt sorry for both Anthony’s.  In hindsight I realize they only ever wanted to do the right thing for a daughter they doted on.  As despicable as her acts were, the Anthony’s loved her.  She is their daughter.  She destroyed them and they allowed it to happen because they thought that was love.  They thought they were loving and perfect parents.  I think all parents believe they are.

I did some research and reading about how parents – whose children were murderers, behaved and learned that the Anthony’s were not so unusual after all.

Some parents will protect their children no matter what the cost.  Even the most law-abiding people will convince themselves their son/daughter couldn’t possibly be guilty, despite solid evidence that says otherwise. Parents will usually ride a ship called denial across the Nile river for the rest of their lives, if that’s what it takes to maintain their sanity and their love for their child.

It’s easy to believe I’d be different from the Anthony’s, but until I’ve walked in their shoes, how can I know?

Having seen George brought to his knees by his own daughter during the trial makes me feel badly that I judged him.  Watching Cindy Anthony literally crumble on the stand as she relived the pain of loosing both her daughter and Caylee, makes me feel very badly to have judged her at all.

Weren’t the Anthony’s just ordinary people who were thrown into an extraordinary Orlando firestorm?    I think so.

All the crazy proselytizing Cindy did in the media to make Casey into a saint and a good mother helped to make the Anthony’s seem all the more dysfunctional.   Little did they know they were inadvertently putting themselves in front of their own daughter’s version of a firing squad.

The video tapes we saw of the Anthony’s were of them at their most vulnerable.   George and Cindy Anthony seemed to take a wrong turn and make the wrong decision constantly, and we saw it unfold, moment to moment.

I’d like to think I would have acted totally differently in every regard.  But then again, I’ve never been in the lion’s den for three years, let alone three minutes.

The Anthony’s were living their lives as best they could.

27
Dec

Casey Anthony – can we give her the not guilty verdict, finally?

As my Orlando vacation nears its end (I’m heading home tomorrow morning), I suppose it’s fitting to discuss the Casey Anthony saga, which like the Energizer Bunny, just keeps going and going and going….

Since the story began, in 2008, I was enthralled with it.  Anxious to know the truth about how and why the darling Caylee Anthony, just two years old, could have been murdered, I read nearly everything about the case.  I even signed up for daily Google emails that provided links to the bigger stories related to the case.  I still receive the Google daily emails since there continues to be plenty of stories about the Casey Anthony saga in the news.

Today my Google email contained a link to Hal Boedeker’s blog, in the Orlando Sentinel.  Hal is the “TV GUY,” and regularly writes about the Casey Anthony coverage on TV.  I always enjoy what he has to say.  He never fails to deliver the goods.

And then there was a story from “The Examiner dot com,” which is a local online news outlet.  The Examiner is kind of like a big blog that delivers news stories that don’t usually make it to the big media outlets.

The Examiner’s Casey Anthony story today makes the claim that Casey Anthony took “The Fifth” in her recent deposition for the Zenaida Gonsalez civil law suit, because she may fear Federal charges.

It is amazing that a news outlet would even proffer that idea!  Perhaps the Examiner simply wants to stir up their audience.  As most news media know, the Casey Anthony story continues to sell. So, milk it, milk it, milk it!

The facts, however, remain.  Federal charges are just not going to happen in this case.  Clearly some followers of the trial in which Casey Anthony was found Not Guilty, desperately want Casey Anthony to pay for a crime she is believed to have committed.

The Examiner was wrong to write such a story without providing details and facts. Instead, they say:

Anthony’s decision may have less to do with financial repercussions resulting from pending law suits and more to do with the very real possibility that Anthony may be tried in Federal court for her role in the child’s death.

Since Anthony’s acquittal, numerous petitions have been brought forth by angry members of the public demanding that justice be served. Petitions filed include those directed at the United States Attorney General, seeking federal charges against Anthony.  Link to story here.

The Examiner provides a link to the petition, but fails to report that the petition is no longer active.

Not Guilty means Not Guilty

The Casey Anthony verdict was very upsetting, there is no denying that.  However, the verdict was final.   There is nothing anyone can do to Casey Anthony about the murder of Caylee now.

Casey Anthony is NOT guilty.  She’s free, physically, but hardly free in any other sense.

She will be looking over her shoulder for the rest of her life, afraid of the nut-cases in the world who would like to do her harm.  And, that is very, very sad.

I will take flack for saying this, but I have some compassion for her situation.  She is legally free – our system let her go.  She should be able to have a normal life, but she never will. Well, perhaps when she’s an old woman, has changed her name, and moved well away from Florida she may experience the freedom the legal system handed to her.

And so, the Examiner story is not only misleading, it’s also not credible.  For Casey Anthony to face Federal charges would be double jeopardy under our legal system.

There are plenty of bloggers who disagree with me, and tell me as much when I write about this topic.   People like to bring up a law called “Dual Sovernity.”   These bloggers contend that the FBI and the Federal government should prosecute.  Our system doesn’t work that way.  Without going into a long description of dual sovernity – Here’s a big-picture definition: It affords the US government certain rights, allowing them to retry certain aspects of a case, even when a defendant was found not guilty.  I believe it’s a law rarely used.

The important fact to remember, in the Anthony criminal case, the Federal government had no jurisdiction whatsoever – they still don’t.  Plus it is the State who brings the charges in a criminal matter.

The argument I hear people make is, “Well, Casey Anthony lied to the FBI.”

No, she did not lie to the FBI. She was never interviewed by them.

The day Casey was indicted, when the two FBI Agents spoke to her (which we all saw on video), she was protected by the US Constitution, particularly, by her Sixth Amendment right to counsel and her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.  (This is commonly a protection that people use when they “Plead the Fifth,” which Casey Anthony has done in the law suit brought by Zenaida Gonzalez.)

So, when the FBI talked with Casey the day she was indicted, she had already invoked her right to counsel, therefore, anything she said could not be used in a court of law against her.  Period.

This is how our US Constitution protects us – you and me and Casey Anthony, too.  Be happy about that.

If the Federal government were able to press charges against Casey Anthony, that would mean the government would have absolute power over the citizens of this country.

Without the protections of our US Constitution, although I am not an expert on it, we would be nothing more than slaves to another entity, a government or a dictatorship, or a King…..etc.

So, give Casey Anthony her Not Guilty verdict.  She has earned it. Sad it is, but she is not responsible, under the law, for the death of her daughter.

For all of these reasons, I find it profoundly sad that any media representative would hint at Federal charges in this case.

Smarmy!

The other story I wanted to talk briefly about was Hal Boedeker’s article about what Jeff Ashton said on HLN with Vinnie Politan, about Jose Baez.  Ashton called Baez “smarmy.”  I nearly choked on the yogurt I was enjoying as I read that!

Oh how most of us agree!

According to Hal Boedeker, Ashton also discussed the “lies” (Ashton’s words) told by Jose Baez during the trial!  Holy Cow…. Oh Golly, Miss Molly!  He actually said THAT?  Yeap!

You’ll just have to read it the Boedeker piece!  It’s too good to miss.  Here’s the link.

I heart Jeff Ashton – big time!

22
Dec

Tonight from Orlando.

I was going to forget about writing a blog post tonight and went to bed at 11:00 (after falling asleep on the couch at about 9:30.)

Sometimes, I surprise myself at my own sheer stubbornness. I made a promise to blog every day in 2011 and by hook or by nook, I will do it. And the iPhone makes that easy – I’m lying in bed blogging on the phone!

I am pretty darn tired after the drive to Orlando. It’s not a difficult drive, but it’s 3.5 hours of driving, and that tires me out completely.

So, I’m in Orlando! It’s interesting to be here, post the Casey Anthony saga. I still don’t want to visit the site where little Caylee was thrown away like trash, because it’s so near the Anthony home. I think they need to left alone – they have been through enough and people driving by out of curiosity doesn’t seem right – for me, I mean. I would feel like a busy body, I guess.

There’s a new story out today that the former defense team wants a judge to hold former prosecutor, Jeff Ashton in contempt for what he (Jeff) revealed about sealed Psychiatric interviews in his book. I am anxious to write about this one and will tomorrow. As the wonderful Judge Stickland once wrote, “The irony is rich.”

Indeed.

10
Dec

Dismembered and unceremoniously cremated American soldiers – anyone surprised?

The story of how the US Military handled the remains of soldiers fighting in the Middle East, continues to weigh on my thoughts.

When the Iraq invasion began, in March 2003, it was supposed to be a quick in and out, over in a couple of weeks, remember?  The Great US was going to liberate the people of Iraq.  Life would be so much better for them, we were sold, I mean, told.

“W” aka George W. Bush, and the military and the rest of the liars in the Pentagon and Washington, knew Americans had a short attention span for these things.  They wanted Americans to move on to another story, and they did everything within the power of the President as a bait and switch marketing game for the gullible among us.   And, for a while it worked.

W jumped on the Marine boat looking utterly ridiculous in his soldier costume. The pomp and circumstance with the MISSION ACCOMPLISHED banner waving in full view, was sickening.  Anyone with a brain thought it was the most ridiculous spectacle of propaganda we’d ever seen.  It was absolutely sickening.

It was a ruse to change what Americans thought about what was really going on in Iraq.  It was pure propaganda.  Period.  And, of course, it soon became clear the Mission Accomplished was a farce – no, worse than that, it was a lie and a clear ruse to pull the wool over the collective eyes of the USA.

As the numbers of dead American Service men and women began rolling in, the callous W., et al, made sure to ban any pictures or video of coffins coming home to America.  Was that because the military was not handling the corpses with any respect or honor?   Not photographing coffins, I thought back then.  There is only one reason to keep that out of sight and out of mind, I thought.  The reason?  If those coffins were shown on the evening news it would be emotional for everyone – it would show the reality of those dying over there to people who pay attention to the news.

It could incense Americans to the extent that we asked the hard questions about Iraq.  Why were we there?  Why are we killing women and children over there?  Where are the weapons of mass destruction?  That’s why we are there – to get those weapons, right? Well, we know now there never were any weapons.

So, because the whole affair was a lie, was that why the dead were not  given the respect of a coffin with a flag?  Were the remains of the dead just dumped together – toe tagged maybe, into a bin like dead fish as they were brought back home to this country?

My intuition tells me that there were no coffins to photograph.  I have an idea that because the invasion was so expensive, the cost of ceremony over the dead was only a “nice to have” but not important enough to be a must-have.

When the rule about no photography of the coffins coming home from Iraq, it gave me an uneasy feeling.  It didn’t make sense.  Why would W and the Pentagon want to shield us from the reality of Iraq?  Could it be that the reality was not in the least bit aligned with our expectations?  Apparently so.

I would absolutely expect this country to treat its own this way.  Any government who’d defy the Geneva Convention and torture in ways so heinous, is a ruthless government.  Ruthless is our government.  Inhumane is our government.

Hell, the men and women in Iraq didn’t even have the equipment they needed to maintain their presence there.  Hummers were falling apart.  Soldiers didn’t have what they needed to do their jobs, which is why I have convinced myself that W and the Pentagon would be loath to pay for coffins, or any kind of pomp and circumstance to honor anyone. Plus, the American forces in Iraq had to be a smoke-screen to hide the real reason we were there – Money.  Contracts.  More Money. Big Contracts.   Remember Blackwater?

Sorry, I got off topic for a moment…. back to the main story.

There was a special counsel appointed to investigate the cremation and despicable treatment of the corpses.  You can find the report at this link:  http://www.osc.gov/FY2012/Scanned/10-04%20DI-10-2151,%20DI-10-2138%20and%20DI-10-2734/Analysis.pdf

Here is a small piece of the report (below).  I am including this to illustrate that the military has rules about the treatment of those who died in service to his or her country.  Here’s a snippet from the report that I referenced above:

Dignified Transfer of Remains

The dignified handling of remains. Image by Beverly & Pack via Flickr

… the Port Mortuary is required, under AR 638-2, to process remains in a manner reflecting “the highest standards of the funeral service profession.”  ….. “[r]emains will be handled with the reverence, care, and dignity befitting them and the circumstances …..   Port Mortuary Embalmers are required to hold a state Embalmer or Funeral Director’s license; however, most states provide only general guidance or are silent on specific prohibited embalming procedures.  It also notes the military’s policy that every effort will be made to prepare the remains of personnel so that service members’ families may view them in uniform.

And then there is this, below, also taken from the report, regarding the destruction of a corpse so he’d fit in a coffin for the family viewing, and for burial.   Warning…  The below is very disturbing.

Preparation of Remains of Deceased Marine
Mr. Parsons, an Embalming/Autopsy Technician, disclosed information concerning an incident that occurred in February 2010, involving the preparation of the remains ofa deceased Marine. He alleged that Port Mortuary Director Quinton Keel determined that the remains in this case should be made viewable for identification, despite the assessment of several Mortuary Specialists/Embalmers (Embalmers) that the remains were non-viewable and should be wrapped in a full body wrap, with the unifonn placed over the body, rather than dressed in uniform?
Mr. Parsons noted that while a full body wrap was necessary, the Marine’s head and face were in good condition and would have been preserved for viewing by the family, if desired. He stated, however, that Mr. Keel instructed him and an Embalmer to prepare and dress the remains in uniform. When they were unable to position the Marine’s left arm so that it would fit into the uniform, due to massive injuries sustained in that area, they sought guidance from Mr. Keel. In response, Mr. Keel instructed them to saw off the left arm bone and place it in the right leg of the protective undergarment inside the uniform, where the lower portion of the leg was missing. Mr. Parsons refused to cut off the bone; however, the Embalmer complied with Mr. Keel’s instruction and Mr. Parsons placed the bone in the right leg of the undergarment.

I’m going to continue to dig for news about this story.

I won’t be happy until people are arrested and charged with war crimes over this and the war itself.

4
Dec

what’s in a name? Not “Fernandez”

I haven’t completely lost interest in the ongoing fallout from the Casey Anthony murder trial, which resulted in the surprising Not Guilty verdict earlier this year.   Every now and then I get sucked back into the newsy-ness of the remaining civil lawsuits against Casey Anthony.

I’m particularly interested in the defamation lawsuit that Zenaida Gonzalez has brought against Casey via the prominent Orlando law firm, Morgan & Morgan.  This lawsuit is becoming ugly as a result of Anthony defense attorney Charles Greene’s public statements that demean Zenaida Gonzalez quite badly.

Initially, Zenaida Gonzalez never signed up for being dragged into a national media maelstrom.  It appears now she is enjoying the lime light.

For the first few days of the case, as the supposed nanny, she’d been under the microscope of the media as a potential suspect in the disappearance of Caylee.  But, in no way was she a lasting suspect, nor was her involvement a theory in the case because the police were pretty secure about Casey’s involvement.  After all, before you could say Zenaida Fernandez Gonzalez, Casey was behind bars.

These images come up with the search of Zenaida Fernandez Gonalez

It all started in July 2008 when Casey Anthony blamed her “Nanny,” a Zenaida Fernandez Gonzalez, as the one responsible for absconding with her daughter, the adorable Caylee Marie Anthony.

Caylee  was about a month shy of her third birthday when her mother, Casey, went on the lam for 31 days without so much of a mention that anything untoward had happened to her daughter.  When Casey needed a cover-story for Caylee’s whereabouts, she made up the Zenaida Fernandez Gonzalez kidnapping story. We found out soon afterwards that story was a fantasy and Casey knew where her daughter was but refused to share any information.

As we know now, Caylee was already deceased while her mother partied, stole from friends she was living with, and basically thought she’d finally found “the Good Life” or, Bella Vita, as she had tattooed on her back.

When Casey told the police that her nanny, Zenaida Fernandez Gonzalez, had taken Caylee 31 days ago, the Detective assigned to the case immediately followed up.

The Detective learned that a Zenaida Gonzalez had filled out a guest card at the Sawgrass Apartments where Casey claimed Zenaida lived and where shed’ dropped Caylee off into Zenaida’s care.    The police interviewed the Zenaida who’d filled out that  Sawgrass Apartments guest card.  It was an odd coincidence that Zenaida had visited Sawgrass Apartments where Casey claimed she’d often left Caylee.

Zenaida denied knowing Casey.  And, Casey, when shown a picture of this Zenaida Gonzalez, claimed she was not her nanny.

Sooooo, what’s the fuss, you might be thinking.  Well, Zenaida was wrongly portrayed as a potential kidnapper and was in the glare of the media.  And that, she claims, harmed her reputation and defamed her in the public.

The irony is she is now in the glare of the cameras constantly.  Had she remained in the shadows, her name would have been forgotten within a week of when the police cleared her as a suspect – which they had done immediately, I might add.

But, we’re only human and Zenaida was looking at her chance appearance in the over-sensationalized Anthony case, as a cash cow.

When she hires the law firm Morgan and Morgan (who have a big reputation and bigger voices), they dove into the story and fast.

Morgan and Morgan had a grand time inserting themselves into the media driven soap-opera that had become a circus of many characters and clowns.

It never seemed to be about justice for Zenaida Gonalez.  (But, it was a good bit of media attention for her and her lawyers.)

When they (Morgan and Morgan), video-taped George, Cindy and Lee Anthony’s depositions and released them to the media, it was a gold mine for them – the videos made the national news, and so did Morgan.  The Anthony family was not at all liked by the populace and they were recalcitrant and harsh in the video depositions which made Morgan and Morgan smell like a garden of roses.

Fast forward to 2011 and the same Zenaida Gonzalez lawsuit is full steam ahead, but seemingly getting derailed by their own hubris.

Now we find out that this Zenaida Gonzalez does not have “Fernandez” in her name.  Well, her lawyers used Zenaida Fernandez Gonzalez in the civil lawsuit against Casey Anthony…. and no one corrected the media that she was not Fernandez-Gonzalez either.  Everyone was led to believe that her full name was Zenaida Fernandez Gonzalez.

Is that deceitful?  If not, it is curious.

Zenaida Gonzalez now says she doesn’t know why her lawyers put that name on the lawsuit.  Could it be they thought their suit might get more attention if the names matched?

Zenaida claims she got unwanted attention as a result of being interviewed by the authorities in connection with this case, though she was never charged with anything.  And now she is saying she wants an apology from Anthony.  And now she claims that she wasn’t fired from her job – she quit her job.

The Casey Anthony case has always been about band-wagons – jumping on the band-wagon for the attention, payout, notoriety and national media attention.

Back in September, 2008, Zenaida filed her law-suit and shortly after appeared on Good Morning America (GMA), to announce it to the nation.

Her lawyer, John Morgan, was on the GMA show as well.  Neither blinked when they referred to Zenaida using the middle name “Fernandez” as you can see in this ABC news story:

Though Fernandez-Gonzalez was cleared by police, she said she lost her job, cannot find an apartment and received threats from Anthony supporters. She filed a defamation lawsuit Thursday against Anthony.

Fernandez-Gonzalez, a 37-year-old mother of six, said today on “Good Morning America” that she looked at an apartment and filled out a form at the complex where Anthony said she dropped off Caylee before she disappeared.

“I just went to look at an apartment and filled out an information card,” Fernandez-Gonzalez said in an exclusive interview today with “GMA.” “My suspicion is they probably gave her [Anthony] the information from the card.”   The card included the names of two of her daughters and the make and color of her car, which is the same information that Anthony gave the police, said Fernandez-Gonzalez and her attorney John Morgan.  Link to GMA Story:  click here.

In every story and every appearance I have seen in relation to the civil law suit, the name Zenaida Fernandez Gonzalez, is referred to.

The Anthony’s knew this and they tried to point it out during their humiliating video-deposition in the civil lawsuit.  No one really listened at the time.

I wonder if anyone is listening to the latest bits of intrigue?

Take a peek at these stories:

http://www.wftv.com/news/news/local/full-deposition-be-released-civil-suit-against-cas/nFnrx/

http://www.cfnews13.com/article/news/2011/december/352401/Who-is-Zenaida-Gonzalez.html

http://blogs.orlandosentinel.com/entertainment_tv_tvblog/2011/12/casey-anthony-her-attorneys-say-zenaida-gonzalez-is-sad-and-bad.html

28
Nov

so much for your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free

I have written about the hedonistic immigration laws in Alabama in the recent past.  What prompted me to write about this again was the Op-Ed I read today in the New York Times titled The Price of Intolerance that examines the economic and social toll the immigration law has taken on the state.

Even though Alabama’s Immigration Law is fairly new – less than 6 months old – and is modeled after Arizona’s aggressive law, its problems are becoming increasing painful for Alabamians.  Whether or not Alabama will revoke the laws because of the economic issues, is another thing altogether.

Regardless, this law is doing damage to nearly all sectors of Alabama’s economic and social stratosphere.

Few words are more famous or more evocative than these from Emma Lazarus's "The New Colussus": "Give me your tired, your poor,/ Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free." Inscribed on the base of the Statue of Liberty, they have come to represent America's promise. Institution: American Jewish Historical Societquite a while to come.

Let’s hope the fallout in Alabama will be a critical warning sign to other states, like Florida and California, hoping to pass a similar law.  Florida, where I live, is one of the few states considering a similar law to Arizona and Alabama’s.   Florida is also building its own Immigration prison slash detention center.  They don’t like to call it a prison, though we all know that is precisely what it is.  It’s a prison for immigrants who are CAUGHT without papers.  SLAM goes the door to the cell that will hold mothers and fathers of children who did nothing to deserve having their life destroyed  other than being born in the USA.

Apparently illegal immigrants are being held in Florida’s criminal jails.  Maybe I’ve been under a rock, but I didn’t think this was happening.   I know that immigration facilities existed, but I was under that impression that people held there were also criminals.  WRONG, Ms. Ostrich.

In a recent article by Laura Wides-Munoz of the Associated Press, the plans are laid out:

The proposed facility is part of the federal government’s new plan to move immigrants from jails to detention centers it says are better for holding people with no criminal background. The centers are also supposed to be easier to reach for detainees’ relatives and lawyers  (Arizona Republic, Nov. 19, 2011).

I find it difficult to wrap my head around this.  It makes me sick to my stomach to think that the Immigration Detention center will jail people without any criminal record.  They will be criminals just as soon as they’re caught without paperwork.   I have also learned this Florida Detention center will be privately run – i.e. not run by the government. That is scary in itself.

As far as the impact to Alabamians, the damage is just now coming to light, according to the New York Times.   For instance, workers who’d normally work on farms are largely, if not all, immigrants. Americans don’t want these jobs.

In Alabama, workers are fleeing for fear of being jailed.  This means the farmer’s crops are dying on the vine, work is not getting done in other businesses supported by an immigrant population.

The New York Times Op Ed asks, how will Alabama deal with the extra police needed to handle the immigration dragnets?  Alabama is not exactly a wealthy state -far from it.

Who will step into the jobs held by the immigrant populations?

Undocumented immigrants make up about 4.2 percent of Alabama’s work force, or 95,000 people in a state of 4.8 million. For all the talk about clearing the way for unemployed Americans, there is no evidence that Alabamians in any significant numbers are rushing to fill the gap left by missing farm laborers and other low-wage immigrant workers (New York Times, The Price of Intolerance ).

Recently in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, a manager from the Mercedes-Benz company was visiting the local work site.  The manager was found driving without a driver’s license or any legal identification documents and he was taken to jail since he was potentially an illegal immigrant.

Now, that’s a cautionary tale.   We are America, the land of the free?

“Give me your tired, your poor, / Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,” wrote Emma Lazarus in her sonnet, The New Colossus, written at the base of the Statue of Liberty.

Not so much.  Not anymore.

27
Nov

when justice isn’t

When criminal trials are only about winning or losing like in a sporting event, the outcome will not always be justice.   The best team doesn’t always win.  The Police and State Attorneys are not always as honest as the fine men and women who worked in the Casey Anthony case, in Orlando.

Orlando had exceptional people working on the Casey Anthony case – with the exception of Deputy Cain, that is.  (In case you don’t recall, Cain was the Officer who responded to Roy Kronk’s August 2008 call to police about seeing, in the swamp off of Suburban Drive, what appeared to be a human skull.   Cain was summarily fired for not following through on the investigation of the area that Kronk identified.  Afterwards, to make matters worse, Cain told lie after lie.  His long lies did him in and he was fired from the Orlando sheriff’s Office.)

But, this whole idea of justice can be a slippery slope when one side or the other (Prosecution or Defense), throws their scruples out the window in favor of winning at any cost.  It begs the question then, what is justice anyway? Like in football, or any sport, the best team may not win. Flukes happen, people have bad days, we’re only human….  That’s why the bar is high when it comes to the Government proving its case “beyond and to the exclusion of any reasonable doubt.”   That’s a high burden.  It’s a high-stakes game in the courtroom.

The stakes couldn’t be higher when an innocent person is charged with a crime by a relentless prosecutor who refuses to admit a mistake.  That is the worst possible outcome because there is truly no justice.  I guess you could say it’s anti-justice.  Is there anything worse than an innocent person being jailed for a crime they did not commit?

Likewise, when all roads lead to the ultimate conclusion that one perpetrator of a crime is the one sitting at the defendant’s table but a jury, realizing they will be in the spotlight, wish to err on the side of caution and let a murderer go, there is no justice, either.   However, it is a far better thing that Casey Anthony walked free than for an innocent person to be convicted. 

Was there justice for Caylee Anthony?  Hardly.

I still do not believe the Casey Anthony Not Guilty verdict was the result of the Prosecution’s case being weak.  I cannot accept that.  I honestly believe the jurors cared more about themselves than they did holding Casey Anthony liable for murder.

Life is not fair but the justice system should always be.  And it usually is fair, but not always as you’ll see in the sad case of little Holly Staker who, in 1992 was raped and murdered as she baby-sat for neighborhood children.  Holly was only 11 years old, and the person charged with the crime was 19-year-old Juan Rivera.

This story in today’s New York Times Magazine, is about winning and losing and the fact that justice took a holiday for Rivera just as it had for the People of Orlando, Florida in the trial of Casey Anthony.

The facts in the Rivera case have to do with Rivera being arrested, tried, and convicted of the rape and murder of 11-year-old Holly despite there being scant evidence of such crime.  The only “evidence” is the four-day police interrogation of Rivera in which, on the fourth day, he confessed.  He finally confessed to the crime and that is what convicted him.    Despite overwhelming evidence that Rivera is innocent, a confession was beaten out of him and it was that evidence alone that nailed him to the cross.

Murder/rape victim Holly Staker. Photo credit: New York Times

As a result of DNA testing, Rivera was excluded as a source of the semen found in the victim.  It didn’t matter. The Prosecutors made up scenarios that the jury believed. Namely, that the victim was sexually active. A ludicrous suggestion that the jury bought.

There was no physical evidence connecting Rivera to the crime scene.  It didn’t matter.  Rivera confessed so he must be guilty.    The prosecution’s argument (one of them) said that 11-year-old victim was sexually active which explains why Rivera’s DNA was not present.

The outcome of this trial, the life sentence of Juan Rivera, is far more heinous than the not guilty verdict in the Anthony case.

The story is somewhat long, but very good.  The link is below for your reference.

The Prosecution’s Case Against DNA, by reporter Andrew Martin, New York Times.

11
Oct

will it be belly up to the bar for Jose Baez?

It has come to pass that Jose Baez, Lead Defense Attorney for the acquitted  Casey Anthony, is in the cross-hairs of the Florida Bar.  The Orlando Sentinel reported just today that there are two separate Florida Bar complaints against Mr. Baez.

Two complaints!  We don’t know the seriousness or the purpose of the complaints.  We don’t know who filed them.

What Led Up to the Current Bar Complaints? 

Jose Baez has been the subject of a lot of criticism.  His personal and professional life has been extensively reported on by the media.

Mr. Baez’ past is marked by behaviors that delayed his acceptance into the Florida Bar as a lawyer for a few years.  The Florida Bar took its time before it granting Mr. Baez his license to practice.   It was only in 2006 that he was admitted by the Bar.  He became involved in the Casey Anthony case in July of 2008.  Hardly time for the water to dry behind his ears, though that didn’t stop him.

It didn’t matter to Jose Baez that his experience was minimal at best in criminal cases, and he had NO experience with Capital Murder cases.   And, boy did it show.  He was like the court jester; but no one was laughing with him, they were laughing at him.

To be (somewhat) fair, Mr. Baez did improve as the months and the years wore on.  Oh, but his rogue-dog attitude never left him.

In my opinion, having closely watched his performance, I thought he was completely lacking ethics.  He was, in my opinion, a total sell-out to the truth.  Granted, Defense Attorneys have to be zealous advocates for their clients and ensure the government can prove the charges beyond any reasonable doubt, the goal should be to seek the truth, or am I being naive?

Both sides of the attorney aisle are adversarial by design.  They have tricks under their sleeves, but they usually don’t sell their soul to the devil to win a case.  Right?

Jose Baez in court. Photo credit: Red Huber, the Orlando Sentinel June 21, 2011

Jose Baez put his entire career on the line with this case; but he won it.  He won the case of a lifetime.

Was it a fair win?  I don’t think so, personally, but I accept the verdict because it is final and it is binding.  No one will be able to investigate Casey Anthony’s involvement into Caylee’s murder again.  It’s over and Casey Anthony should be left alone to live out the rest of her life.

If, like OJ Simpson’s foray into crime after his acquittal, she should engage in another criminal act, and get caught, she may see those grimy jail bars again, just like OJ did.  Time will tell if she can be rehabilitated.

Perhaps someday Casey Anthony will have an anonymous and happy life.   It’s debatable – the deck is stacked against her.

Who Filed the Complaints, and What is the Cause?

Of course, I am only guessing about this, but I have an idea of a couple of individuals who may have filed the complaints.

Judge Belvin Perry?

At the end of the trial, Judge Belvin Perry planned on having a hearing with regards to what sanctions to bring against Jose Baez.  However, when the defense won the case, nothing further was publicly addressed about this issue.  It was left on the table.  I thought at the time that it would seem like sour grapes, or prejudicial, to bring the sanctions up so soon after the verdict was announced.

I tend to think that Judge Perry took up the issue with the Bar in the form of a complaint rather than address it publicly in the Orlando Court.

I wrote an article about the violations that plagued the trial; it’s titled, Yet Again, Judge Perry says Legal Violation by Baez.

The fact is, Judge Perry and the State of Florida, particularly Jeff Ashton, had constant run-ins and legal battles regarding Discovery rule violations by Mr. Baez, who pretended he was unaware of the Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure which details EXACTLY how lawyers are to obey the rules of Discovery.

Was it Jeff Ashton?

Did one of the complaints come from Jeff Ashton?  Mr. Ashton was constantly thrown under the bus by Mr. Baez’ deliberate refusals to turn over evidence or expert reports.  (Perhaps it was  another attorney in the State Attorney’s Office, though I can’t see Linda Drane-Burdick filing a complaint, it’s certainly possible.)

There was a big issue about expert reports that were not filed.  Mr. Ashton wrote a motion that requested the Court hold Jose Baez in contempt.  I wrote an article about this, titled:  Show Cause or Else Be In Contempt.   This motion required Mr. Baez to argue why he should not be held in contempt.   As it turned out, he was not held in contempt, he was sanctioned – I believe the total was approximately $500.00.

Was it Stogskill Court Reporting?

Then there was the Court Reporting Fiasco in which a firm outside the state of Florida was used by the defense.  The issue here was the defense wanted to pay Stogskill Court Reporting Services, (after the work had been done) a rate that was lower than what the firm charges.  The owner of the firm wrote a letter of complaint to Judge Perry, stating he was lied to.  It is possible this firm could have written to the Bar.  The story is titled, More Defense Woes? 

Could it Be Brad Conway?

Maybe Brad Conway filed a complaint?   Was Mr. Baez aware that Laura Buchanan was going to falsify Texas EquuSearch (TES)  documents?  Brad Conway was inadvertently put in the middle of the TES fiasco.  Here’s a story about that issue, titled: Big Trouble for Baez?          

How a Bar Complaint Works 

According to the Anthony Colarossi, Orlando Sentinel Reporter, the two Bar complaints are concerning professional conduct during the Casey Anthony trial.   There are different levels a Bar complaint has to wind its way through.  The first level is a staff review.  Apparently, if the complaint ends at the Staff Review, it will go no further.  The other complaint against Mr. Baez stopped at this level.  In this instance, however, both complaints are headed to a grievance committee.  Below is how Anthony Colarossi explains it:

The Florida Bar confirmed Tuesday that two complaints over professional conduct filed against Casey Anthony attorney Jose Baez have progressed to a grievance committee.  This means the complaints have not closed without discipline and moved from staff level to the next point in the process.  The volunteer grievance committee is the rough equivalent of a grand jury. The nine-member panel will ultimately help determine whether to bring charges against Baez under Florida Bar rules of conduct.  It is not exactly clear what the two complaints involve, but they do cover Baez’s representation of Casey Anthony, according to Francine Walker with the Bar.

I’m told that Bar complaints take a while to process through the review phase.  It will continue to be a waiting game for Mr. Baez.  Something tells me he’s not worried; he’s beat these complaints once already….

I wonder if his Teflon will hold up?

25
Sep

I am Troy Davis

I am struggling with the murder of Troy Davis by the state of Georgia.

“I am Troy Davis,” cried the throngs of supporters who battled to turn his death sentence around.  Indeed, we are all Troy Davis – we could be charged with something in the blink of an eye simply by being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

For a black American male, the reality of “I am Troy Davis” is quadrupled.   Black men have been stopped by police because they drive a nice car.  Sadly referred to in South Florida as, “Driving while Black.”   The stereotypical scenario that an expensive car and a black man, in some areas, is a red flag.  The first suspicion?  The car was stolen.

How can a racist nation; a nation that murders people, be thought of as civilized?  It can’t.

It seems the criminal  justice systems of the deep south have three versions of criminal law – separated by the classes.   The very poor black man is guilty until proven innocent; the same is nearly true in the sluggish criminal justice system for the middle class; and there’s the rich person’s justice where fat-cats play and money is made via pay offs.

As an idealist, I am loathe to see this divide.   But when a white man is given clemency by the Georgia Parole Board the very next night as Troy Davis’ murder, there is clearly something wrong!  Read the Reuters story about Samuel David Crowe’s clemency. 

We know the original United States Constitution denied black persons the same rights as white persons.  That sacred set of rules by which we live was originally littered with racism.   There is no denying that America, at one time, judged people by the color of their skin.  Throughout history white persons were afforded privileges well above and beyond the meager allowances of black citizens.

I remember, as a little girl growing up in South Florida, there were “colored” beaches, and beaches for everyone else.  My mother has told me for years that as a child I wanted to drink from the “colored” water fountain because I thought it would be colored water, like fruit punch.  I thought “colored” people were made of primary colors.  I suppose I associated it with my colored crayons.

Fortunately, I had an advantage over other kids my age.  My father was a teacher in a black school, in the sixties, and I grew up knowing his students, and fellow teachers.  He and my mom made sure I went to segregated schools.  I never knew how racist the United States really was until I entered college.   Well, I knew about slavery before college, but had a difficult time believing it until the television mini-series “Roots,” aired and I learned how I saw the world and how it really was, were very divergent.

I wasn’t a very good student in high-school; I only cared about singing, dancing and acting.  What was on my mind back then was practicing how to write my signature when people wanted my autograph, coming up with different stage names, creating scenarios for when I met Barbra Streisand and what I’d talk to her about.  (I had pages and pages of things to talk to her about – and I’d practice the conversations, too.)    She was my obsession and I was so sure I was going to meet her as soon as I was famous.

Sorry, I was talking about Troy Davis.

I don’t know that Troy Davis was innocent.  I don’t know enough about the crime itself (yet) to really pass judgement on “innocence” though many people are making that leap of faith.  What is bothersome to me is all the doubt that people are saying existed in this case.

The murder weapon was never found and seven of the “eye” witnesses recanted their testimony.  There was no DNA, Troy Davis has denied being the trigger-man, and is insisting he is innocent.   (A lot of criminals go to their grave denying they committed the crime – look at Casey Anthony.)   Just because a defendant maintains their innocence means nothing in the big picture – criminals will lie.

In the Troy Davis case, because enough doubt has been raised over the years should have at least raised the white flag of surrender to clemency for Davis, don’t you think?

The fact that Georgia and the Supreme Court did not err on the side of life for Troy Davis makes a statement.  The statement, in my estimation, is one that informs us that Georgia is callous as it concerns race relations.   I was sure the Georgia Politicians would be sensitive about race, and therefore do the right thing – so as to not suffer the consequences of political suicide.   The fact that Georgia lawmakers and politicians did not take a stand on this issue is alarming.

The politicians must believe that the populace prefers a lynching rather than what Spike Lee called, “Doing the Right Thing.”

The cartoon by Chan Lowe was published September 23, 2011, by the Sun-Sentinel, a Tribune Company.

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