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????
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.
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:
- 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.
- 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.)
- Trayvon surely must sense that he’s being followed, or stalked by a man he doesn’t recognize.
- 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.
- Zimmerman hangs up with the dispatch, talks to the Police who tell him NOT to take action.
- Does Zimmerman continue to stalk / follow Trayvon? Does Zimmerman get too close? Does he purposely appear threatening? Does he brandish his gun?
- 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.
- Did Zimmerman lay hands on Trayvon maybe to question him? Why? He’s not a police-person.
- 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?
- Did Trayvon see that gun and try to save his life by jumping on Zimmerman to try to disarm him?
- Was Zimmerman too strong for Trayvon?
- 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.
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.
Marriage is a symbol of love between two human beings, usually. Well, unless those two human beings are the same gender. If two human beings are the same gender, such a symbol is not available for them to own – well, only in a few states.
But, in the US, marriage is the union of two persons. Simple, right? Not for the Gay, Lesbian, Bi-sexual and Transgender (GLBT) people. Such a union is mostly outlawed, like in the wild-wild-west.
It’s difficult for me to understand what is the problem with same-sex marriage?
If Tom and Teresa can own the symbol, why can’t Tom and Terry? Ahhhh, it’s how we perceive Tom and Terry or Sue and Karen – they are not like us therefore they are beneath us therefore they are not deserving of the basic human rights you and I enjoy.
To deny persons who are part of a GLBT community the right to marry, or to deny them anything at all based on sexual identity, is so obviously absurdly wrong! Well, to me it is. Well, to most of us it is.
The people in power, those with religious power especially, cannot allow people who are hated as a group, any benefit that might encourage them to be happy. Marriage would make people in the GLBT community happy. That’s not good. No no no no no.
If the GLBTs were happy the religious leaders would hate the political leaders for allowing that to happen. That would be bad for the political leaders – they’d not get re-elected. Then the religious leaders would put someone with more hate into power and everyone would be worse off. If society got anymore hateful, a fertilized egg after a one-night-stand would have rights. In fact, if the really hateful religious leaders had their way, a fertilized egg would have more rights than the gay, lesbian, bi-sexual or transgendered person.
It’s bully-ism on a large-scale. (Not sure bully-ism is a word, but you know what I mean, right?!) I think hate is synonymous with Bullying. GLBT (and too many others, namely immigrants), are the prime targets of school bullying.
We sit aghast at the stories coming from elementary and high schools about bullying and the resulting suicides. But, do we realize that children, when they terrorize other children, are mirroring what they know adults and flaky pastors hate?
By the way, I don’t hate religion – I don’t hate anything, other than inequality. I hate only hate.
I hate the hate of a Religious Right kind of hate because I see it becoming systemic in America.
What am I talking about?
I’m referring to the Religious Right who are not really religious but who thump the Christian bible because they think it will translate into political power. I’m talking about the “Christians” who think God tells them to hate and to deny the rights of people they don’t even know. I’m talking about the people who claim they take the bible literally but when push comes to shove they can’t but are loath to admit it. I’m talking about the hate that is, religiously speaking, ironic because it promotes separation and racism. I’m talking about the hate that denies equality to large segments of society who are as deserving as you and I.
When two consenting adults wish to symbolize or honor their partnership, just as heterosexuals do, it should be a non issue. It goes without saying that divorce trumps the statistics of those who stay married, that’s a non-starter though. The issue is really not about that – that’s adding a negative to a the positiveness of love between the partnership of two people of the same-sex.
How in the world can people hate who they don’t know? Why would anyone deny persons they don’t know the chance to experience happiness? Who gives Sam – who has never left the state of Texas – the right to tell Joe, in Florida – a stranger to him, that he cannot have this or that piece of happiness?
So, what is marriage to the haters? What is marriage to the GBLTs? It’s the same thing – or will be when the GLBTs have the right to it. The real difference between the GLBT marriage and the Hetero marriage is that one is more often made up of a love that is lasting.
This video explains it so much better than I ever could.
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.
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.
The Florida vs. Casey Anthony murder trial is long over, but I am still very interested in the legal ramifications, and the civil case fallout, which continues to fall out.
Now, that Anthony has civil lawsuits to contend with, this interesting but bizarre story will continue to draw a media audience.
It was reported in the media just today that a Orlando Judge refused to throw out the lawsuit filed by Tim Miller of Texas EquuSearch. As you know, Tim Miller is trying to recoup thousands of dollars worth of time and resources that were poured into finding Caylee.
Tim Miller should have his day in court, especially since Baez admitted in his opening statement that Caylee was never missing but drowned on July 16th. And since Anthony was found not guilty, she has to answer for her fraudulent claims.
She’s got Baez to thank for that. Since, as a result of Baez’ telling the jury that Caylee was “never missing,” and because Anthony was found not guilty, Baez has essentially confirmed that Casey Anthony fraudulently duped the public and the public servants into believing that Caylee was alive.
Not for a moment do I believe that Baez thought Anthony would be cleared of the murder charges. If he actually thought he had a chance to win the case, I doubt he’d ever admit that Anthony knew all along that Caylee drowned.
I wonder if this story and the George and Lee Anthony abuse allegations were just a last-ditch Hail Mary? I can’t imagine that Baez would go out on a limb with such stories had he known there would be financial consequences, or perhaps those impacts never entered his mind.
If Anthony had been found guilty, she’d not be responsible these tremendous costs that will continue to pile up. That’s one reason I honestly don’t believe Baez thought he’d prevail in this case.
The State Attorney had more than enough evidence to convict – everyone believed it, too. No one in their right mind thought Baez could or would win this case! But then, no one counted on his ability to connect so well with the jurors, who to the defense’s benefit, turned out to be spineless followers only interested in getting out of Dodge.
Everyone was sure Casey was going to spend many years behind bars.
Until the perfect storm blew in from Clearwater, Florida.
On another note, Charles Greene, Anthony’s Civil Attorney, has a motion on the table to stop the release of the Morgan and Morgan recent video deposition of Anthony. Greene filed an emergency motion to seal the video. A Judge will hear arguments tomorrow.
Let’s face it, if the video is released, and I’m sure it will be, it will only serve to rekindle the public’s anger toward Anthony.
It’s time to end the hate – that does not mean forget, it means public vitriol against Anthony is uncivilized. Just my opinion.
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 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?
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.
The Troy Davis story is yet another reason to rage against the death penalty.
It is inconceivable to me that a single person should die for a crime they did not commit, or could not have committed due to evidence corruption.
When there are countless executions of the wrong perpetrator, shouldn’t that tell us something? Shouldn’t that be reason enough to STOP this practice of killing people?
The possible execution of Troy Davis is yet another travesty resulting from the clearly arcane Death Penalty sentence.
Despite no physical evidence, and countless “eye witnesses” recanting their original testimony that Mr. Davis committed the murder, he is nonetheless scheduled to die on Georgia’s Death Row on September 21, 2001 for the 1989 murder of Savannah police officer Mark MacPhail.
When a police officer dies, it is a horribly tragic event, there is no denying this truth. Likewise, if there are countless witnesses saying they were wrong about Mr. Davis being the killer, and name another subject as the killer, it is also wrong. Sadly, this is the scenario with the Troy Davis case.
The fact is, no physical evidence connected Davis to the murder. Seven of the original nine witnesses have recanted, with many saying their testimony was a result of law enforcement pressure. Of the remaining witnesses, one is highly suspect and the other could be the actual culprit in the officer’s murder.
Now, despite these and other facts, the state of Georgia has taken the final steps toward Davis’ execution — and only the Georgia Board of Pardons and Parole stands between Davis and the lethal injection chamber. ~The Color of Change.org
Troy Davis, was at the scene of the crime, and is an accessory to the murder – but too many new witnesses have come forward and implicated the person Troy was with, Sylvester Coles, as the shooter. EVERY witness BUT Sylvestor Coles now puts the murder weapon in Coles’ hands. Not surprisingly, Coles is the only witness who has not changed his story.
This is a case in which the meaning of Reasonable Doubt is turned on its proverbial head to mean any doubt will do.
The application of Reasonable Doubt is the cornerstone or our criminal justice system, but when it goes awry and innocent people die because of it, there is nothing more heinous.
This dangerous game of Russian Roulette with the life of a fellow human being should never happen. But it is happening. It is wrong, wrong, wrong in every sense of the word.
This is the Huffington Post story I read this morning that got my blood boiling hot: The Execution of Troy Davis – – A Mother’s Story, by Martina Davis-Correia, as told to Jen Marlowe and Monifa Bandele.
Ever since reading about the fight for Troy’s life by his sister and nephew, I have tried to do what I can to get the word out about this case.
If you have a moment, I hope you will, too.
Feel free to reblog, tweet or share this post on Facebook, or MySpace, etc.
Better yet, go to the multiple sites (listed below) who are bringing attention and support to Troy Davis.
Visit these sites for further direction on how you may take action:
- NAACP – http://www.naacp.org/pages/troy-davis-a-case-for-clemency
- AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL – http://www.amnestyusa.org/news/news-item/usa-clock-ticks-on-troy-davis-execution
- The Innocence Project – https://secure2.convio.net/ip/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=227
- Color Of Change – http://colorofchange.org/campaign/save-troy-davis-life/
- ACLU – http://www.aclu.org/blog/capital-punishment/standing-solidarity-troy-davis
The uncertain fate of Georgia Death Row inmate, Troy Davis, is plain wrong. Please help to educate your friends and family regarding this case, and the Death Penalty.
I recorded the Dr. Phil interview with the Anthony’s today. Anxious to see it, I sat on the couch to watch it and…. fell asleep about ten minutes into the show.
From what I saw, Cindy Anthony is still paddling down da’ Nile river.
Like her daughter insisted on the Nanny story with clenched jaw determination; Cindy has a strangle-hold on denial.
I heard more excuses than ever. I truly believe that Cindy cannot live with the idea that her daughter is capable of murder. Maybe she accepts the truth privately? Otherwise how can she and George stay together given the fact they are on totally different wave lengths on this issue. You would think there is incredible tension between the two. That’s why I wonder if, privately Cindy knows what’s true, but publicly, she must deny it to save face.
Cindy blamed seizures, postpartum schizophrenia, and a possible a brain tumor as excuses for Casey’s behavior. I kid you not. She said brain tumor.
Of course, with all the excuses, she is also telling us that she knows Casey is responsible. If she believed Casey had no part in Caylee’s murder, there would be no need for excuses, right?
I wonder if it was Cindy who came up with the idea, when Casey was pregnant, that the bulge in Casey’s tummy was a tumor, not a pregnancy? When Casey was appearing pregnant, her brother Rick said that Cindy said to him, and I paraphrase, “Casey is not pregnant. She’d have to have sex to be pregnant.”
In the ten minutes of the interview that I was able to see, it seemed to me that George was more forthcoming with the truth- though he did side-step – he attempted to lay it out there.
George was also quite rigid, I thought. Almost cold.
Cindy was pleasant, her blue eyes are lovely, but that constant deception that comes out when Cindy speaks, even though she repeats phrases like: “To be honest,” or “honestly” or “truthfully,” she is not being honest. She is saying what she wants to believe, nothing beyond her fairy tale idea of what occurred.
Maybe she needs da’ Nile river to maintain her sanity?
The second installation of the show is tomorrow. I’ll try to watch both, but can’t promise I won’t fall asleep!
The Washington Post is reporting that Jeff Ashton is in the process of writing a book about the Casey Anthony case. According to the Post, the book, aptly titled “Imperfect Justice: Prosecuting Casey Anthony,” is due out in November.
This is one book I will read.
I’ve included the Washington Post Story at the bottom of the page.
The Dr. Phil show is already marketing its interview with the Anthony’s. The show is billed like its got something salacious to say: Casey Anthony’s Parents Spill Death Secret on My Show!” Can we believe Dr. Phil will get the Anthony’s to say what they did not say in court? Anyone’s guess. I don’t guess there will be much truth told.
The Dr. Phil video promo wants to persuade viewers that the Anthony’s are going to spill some major beans about who they believe killed Caylee.
Dr. Phil obviously thinks people are going to buy into this silly promotional nonsense. It’s annoying. When shows or networks try to hype something this way, I think it’s because the show will have little substance at all.
Other innuendos on the video promo have Dr. Phil advising Cindy Anthony that the country “…wants to shake you awake.” Dr. Phil also says, “You know the truth, don’t you?”
With regards to the drowning story, Dr. Phil asks, “Do you buy it was an accidental drowning?”
The Anthony’s don’t talk in the promo piece. Heck, they wouldn’t want to give anything away! Franky, I sincerely doubt there will be very much truth told, nor anything shocking, but I will record the show. So, if you don’t want to watch it, no worries, I’ll tell you everything! I have included a link to the story with a video, but not the video itself, at the bottom of this page.
It’s really only about money now. Maybe it always was.
One last bit of news…. The next hurricane will be named “Jose.”
That’s all we need!
The Washington Post article about the upcoming Jeff Ashton book, Imperfect Justice: Prosecuting Casey Anthony, is here
The story about the Dr. Phil Show is located here, on TMZ.
Have you read or heard the shocking news about Arlington National Cemetery? This revered cemetery of hallowed ground is now facing a criminal investigation! Reading this story nearly knocked me off my feet – it’s shocking and so sad.
The problems at the cemetery were apparently discovered in 2010, as noted in this recent msnbc article:
In June 2010 an Army inspector general’s report cited widespread problems at the cemetery, including more than 200 unmarked or misidentified graves.
In August 2010 officials revealed one grave site at Arlington was found empty, another contained the wrong remains and a third had two sets of remains, only one of which matched the headstone’s name. Read msnbc article.
Because urns of the veteran soldiers, many who died in battle, were unmarked, it has been difficult to identify to whom they belonged. One clue, however, allowed the identity of Gwyn Stecher to be revealed. A photo of a young ice skater was found with the remains of Gwyn Stecher. The photo turned out to be that of 19 year old Granddaughter, Rachel Stecher, now a Cadet in the Air Force Academy, says the NBC report.
The urn containing the ashes of Gwyn Stecher were supposed to be buried with her husband, Adolph Stecher, a retired officer who served in World War II, and North Korea.
What does this say about society today? I hardly know what to think. It would seem absurd to place blame on the whole Arlington National Cemetery itself, though there obviously are individuals there without respect, concern or care for the honored soldiers, or family of soldiers.
This horrible story regarding Arlington National Cemetery makes me think conscientiousness and respect are in the process of eroding. Aren’t we a God fearing society?
The Right-wing Extremists like Michelle Bachmann, Rick Perry, and others, say you’re damn right we are!
I don’t look forward to the upcoming Presidential election, by the way. The religious fervor in politics is alarming – that’s another post for another day.
The hypocrisy holler!
I abhor hypocrisy, especially as it relates to the actions of those who are supposedly beyond reproach like ultra-religious priests, pastors, ministers, clergy. I’m also talking about the regular guy/gal wearing a big cross around their necks as they murder or rape or steal in between preaching engagements. That’s who I am referring to.
Speaking of hate, the judgmental pastors, who are more like loud car salesmen than anything else, who march up to the podium to condemn any state allowing Gay and Lesbians to marry, also also Politicians and Washington Lobbyists. They are anxious to tell us, repeatedly, that marriage vows are exclusively for a man and a woman. Really? Yes, says the Bible. Since the Bible says so, it must be true.
The good book also tells us that: “Entering the holy place without wearing bells can result in death.” And, “A man has an obligation to produce a child with his brother’s widow. If he refuses, his sister-in-law is to spit in his face in front of the elders.” Click for citation.
I don’t know a single Gay or Lesbian with those aspirations!
The Civil Rights that we depend on weren’t only for African Americans, and other minorities. Civil Rights belong to everyone. Nowhere do our Civil Rights discuss sexual preferences.
This is what angers me about politics today. The fact that we are not screaming bloody murder over what some immoral politicians promote because they think it will get them elected.
There are too many Americans who have, stupidly, gotten swept up in a fervor, believing that a good politician is chiefly a good Christian. A white Christian, at that.
I have a problem with religion that is taken to the extremes. I respect all religions, as a matter of course, but religion has begun to scare me.
Religion is like an oxymoron when hate mongers threaten to destroy the rights of people who are different, like gay and lesbians.
It scares me to see Bible-Thumping goons promising to heal; their devotees shaking and shimmying with the spirit, singing, “Praise the Lord” as they fall to the ground, shaking and shuddering, writhing in pain.
Who wants to do that?
Wouldn’t it be nice if our religions were loving, caring, soft and private? Religion is scary when it’s loud. Religion shouldn’t be loud.
So, I am ranting about religion tonight because of the likes of Pastor Dale Richardson, held without bail for kidnapping and raping three women at gun point. A serial rapist. And a Pastor.
When rapists, murderers, and thieving criminals, are God-Fearing, what God are they listening to? Is that the God you and I believe in? It does make me wonder.
Dale Richardson believes and depends on the Word of God, say his followers. If there is one God, I don’t think I want Pastor Dale’s version.
What God do the Catholic Priests pray to when they rape little boys? When these God-fearing criminals are caught, I wonder if they blame God?
To those of you who will think me blasphemous, I don’t apologize. I’m just a little fed up. Sad, too.
Here is the story about Pastor Dale Richardson – this story is what prompted this post:
I had Mencken on my mind today. I read him today until my eyes stung.
Although I have not read very many of Henry Louis Mencken‘s books, essays or articles, I have read enough to appreciate his point of view.
He was and still is known as “a man of ideas,” since he frequently espoused ideas and ideals that could be considered controversial.
I found the following quote from Mencken especially interesting. At first I looked at these words with the Casey Anthony trial in mind, since the Burden of Proof, liberty, and law is, seemingly, a part of his argument.
But Mencken is not referring to criminality. What is he referring to here? Is it prejudice, honesty and truth, or something else?
I believe in liberty. And when I say liberty, I mean the thing in its widest imaginable sense — liberty up to the extreme limits of the feasible and tolerable. I am against forbidding anybody to do anything, or say anything, or think anything so long as it is at all possible to imagine a habitable world in which he would be free to do, say, and think it. The burden of proof, as I see it, is always upon the policeman, which is to say, upon the lawmaker, the theologian, the right-thinker. He must prove his case doubly, triply, quadruply, and then he must start all over and prove it again. The eye through which I view him is watery and jaundiced. He is the enemy of everything I admire and respect in this world — of everything that makes it various and amusing and charming. He impedes every honest search for the truth. He stands against every sort of good-will and common decency. I am against him until the last galoot’s ashore.
–H.L Mencken, 1923
Do you think Mencken hated law, law enforcement, clergy, or conservatism when you read this quote? I’d love to hear what you think.
So, that’s it for me tonight. I will write more about Mencken another day. As for today, it’s “rest-up” day, which means reading, napping and a lot of thinking.
Today, as expected, Judge Belvin Perry held up Judge Stan Strickland’s amendment to his original order of probation in the Casey Anthony Check-Fraud case.
It has always been my opinion that Judge Strickland was right to amend the order for probation when it became apparent that his order of probation was not followed.
We are governed by laws and penalties for breaking laws for a specific reason. When a law is broken, as in the Check-Fraud case in which Casey Anthony plead guilty, there are sentencing guidelines that include probation. Judge Strickland specifically ordered probation, and his order from the bench, in open court, was not applied. What is more, the defense team KNEW Judge Strickland’s order of probation was not applied as ordered.
And, what’s more, Jose Baez ARGUED, back in 2009, that Casey Anthony’s probation NOT be applied while she was in jail. It was Prosecutor Frank George who argued for probation while Casey Anthony was in jail! (The State was so sure they would get a conviction in this case, hence their request for applying the sentence.)
Whereas, Jose Baez was certain that Casey Anthony would be found guilty of a lesser charge and eventually be released from jail. Baez wanted her to serve probation for the Check-Fraud charges, I believe, rather than probation on a more serious felony, like manslaughter.
You cannot pull any wool over the eyes of Judge Perry, Mr. Baez!
Today’s order from Judge Perry is a thing of beauty – it is brutally frank and professorial in its lecture and criticism of Jose Baez. I must quote some of the most telling pieces of Judge Perry’s order for posterity, and also because his narrative comments in the order explicitly tell Jose Baez that Judge Perry questions his judgment, candor, and advocacy as an officer of the court.
First, Judge Perry cited established case law that indicated it was within Judge Strickland’s jurisdiction to amend an order that, because of a clerical error, did not correctly reflect the spoken court order. A defendant should not benefit nor should they be harmed by a human clerical error.
With regards to the defense argument of “double jeopardy,” Judge Perry wrote:
This case does not involve additional punishment proscribed by the double jeopardy clause nor does it involve a punitive effect by requiring the Defendant to serve probation twice. The Defendant was in jail and unable to meet the goals and requirements of the probationary sentence. The Defendant could not comply with the standard thirteen conditions of probation while incarcerated on a[nother] pending charge.
Probation is a rehabilitative tool that facilitates the Defendant’s reentry back into society after being found guilty of a crime. “In society” is the operative word and is the testing ground of the probation period. The defendant is being tested to determine if he or she will be able to maintain themselves in society and not causing harm to others. Being in jail during probation is hardly equal to being in society.
With regards to allowing Casey Anthony to forgo probation, Judge Perry wrote:
To permit the Defendant, whose counsel was well aware that the probation was to begin upon the defendant’s release from jail, to avoid serving probation now, would take a lawfully imposed sentence and make it a mockery of justice. This would allow a defendant to take advantage of a scrivener’s error and be rewarded. This is not the message the courts want to send to the public or the defendants.
One’s duty as an Officer of the Court
Because the next section of the court order is so impeccably written, and so on-point with regards to the defense shenanigans, I want to provide you with these candid, and rather searing, words:
Finally, this Court would like to address the issue of what duty does an attorney, an officer of the court, owe to our system of justice to see that the lawful orders of courts are followed. The defense acknowledged in court that Mr. Baez knew about the error, but contended he did not have any obligation to inform the court.
It was absolutely blistering comment from Judge Perry’s, when, toward the end of the ruling, he cites specific conduct from the Florida Bar’s Rules of Professional Conduct. Judge Perry clearly believes that Mr. Baez may find good counsel via studying the standards of conduct set forth by the Florida Bar.
Belly up to the Bar, Baez!
PS…. The order is priceless. Click here to read.