Friday, May 30, 2014

1338 Back to You, Jodi

Television star, former waitress and former murderer Jodi Arias will not have the pleasure of amusing you each day at her penalty phase trial set to begin next month, barring incident.


The pneumatic problematic babe was convicted of aggravated first degree murder of her former boyfriend and every minute of the trial was carried on live television.


It was one of two great arguments for banning TV in the courtroom. Everyone played to the camera.  We suffered the insufferable prosecutor, an attack dog who would strike fear into the heart of angel convicted of jayflying in the Arizona desert.


The defense “team” was a ragtag couple of state-paid lawyers one of whom seemed to sleep through the proceedings while the other didn’t know what to say next.


The defense witnesses were ridiculous “experts” in abuse and who talked in the riddles common to their trade.


The jury deadlocked over whether to send her to the chair or just lock her up forever.


Arizona law says the murder conviction stands but the state can form a new jury to consider the punishment.


If the new jury deadlocks, the judge will impose sentence, but the chair will have left the room.  The decision is life without parole or life with eligibility.


So… the cameras can come in and record every thrilling moment of the trial.  But their owners can’t broadcast the pictures until the whole thing is over.  Not a single frame.  Not a millisecond of sound.


What we’ll get instead is standups from reporters who’d been in the courtroom, once they’ve moved to the great lawn in front of the building.


And we’ll get the constant drivel of the legal analysts, law enforcement analysts, psychologists, court watchers, historians, media critics, profilers, butchers, bakers and candlestick makers.


The first trial lasted for a million days.  Jodi was on the stand for at least 100-thousand of them, spinning lies, trying to tone down her cheap pinup image with a pair of glasses and fake upset.


The TV decision was a wise compromise between people who think television should never be in a courtroom and those who think every nose blow should be shown to satisfy the “public’s right to know.”


The other case that showed why cameras shouldn’t be on was the OJ Simpson circus where everyone played to the camera and the beleaguered judge, Lance Ito, lost control of his courtroom.


There are those who say OJ would never have been pronounced not guilty if there weren’t cameras. The jurors wouldn’t have had to go home and face angry friends and neighbors for voting “guilty.”


The camera ban is a minority view in the world of journalism.  Most reporters, editors and producers want every bit of the action on video.  Especially during sweeps week.  Especially when there’s a hot girl accused of a miserably brutal crime.  Especially when the victim’s family sat in the courtroom and cried consistently.


We have had enough of Jodi and the whole case.  And that’s beyond a reasonable doubt.


I’m Wes Richards.  My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
Please address comments to wesrichards@gmail.com

© WJR 2014

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