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« Open market | Main | Prof Gerry »

Jul 06, 2011


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Who is Nancy Grace?

Brandon Burgess

I think I know what trial you are talking about.

12 of her peers looked at all the evidence and listened to all the testimony, objectively, then made a decision. It worked for the founders of America and it works for me.

Before the trial began, I heard a number of people say "I hope she gets the death penalty". I didn't hear anyone say "I hope she gets a fair trial".

Grace and her fanclub might have got their conviction if the death penalty did not exist. I would guess that 12 people would be much more willing to convict with no confession, motive or evidence, if the possibility of sending an innocent person to death row did not exist.


With a system that errs on the side of the guilty going free over the innocent being imprisoned, this is an example of our system working ... that is assuming she is guilty. ;)

Before the trial began, I heard a number of people say "I hope she gets the death penalty". I didn't hear anyone say "I hope she gets a fair trial".

Like. Quoted in a comment thread on Facebook, with attribution. Hope that's OK, BB.

Brandon Burgess

Michele, I don't mind.

The case does raise some interesting philosophical questions for me.

For instance, some folks say the justice system failed. I don't see it that way. But if the woman confessed to murder, later on, would I feel the same way?

Account Deleted

It was the prosecutor who failed by trying her for capital murder and thus boxing himself into a potential loss, when a charge of some type of manslaughter or negligent homicide, in combination with felony child abuse and other lesser charges, could have won a significant conviction with ample jail time.

Like many, I've only been paying attention to the details since 2:15 pm yesterday, but it seems pretty clear that the jury felt that the prosecutor failed to prove the elements of his first degree murder charge, and thus failed to put the woman in a place where the other two felony charges could have stuck.

Bill Yaner

I agree, the prosecutor blew this one. Pre-meditated with cause is what he failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt, and once again 12 men and women rose to the occasion and did the right thing.

Andrew Brod

Maybe the prosecutor didn't blow it. Maybe the evidence just wasn't sufficient to outweigh reasonable doubt.

Look, all I know about trials is what I see on Law & Order (though that's more useful than Nancy Grace, based on a few random viewings of the latter), and I recall a number of times when Jack McCoy couldn't overcome a swarm of competing theories and confounding facts. What little I know about the Anthony case sounds similar: a high noise-to-signal ratio. The mother sure looked guilty, but the sense I get is that the jury focused on the evidence rather than appearances.

Account Deleted

Andrew: The first time I covered a guilty plea in a murder trial I almost had to leave the courtroom as the evidence was presented. It's the evidence that is either compelling and convincing or not. I covered about a dozen murder trials and guilty pleas involving murder charges after that, and about twice as many rape and molestation charges, and I would have sworn up until the moment the clerk said not guilty that that woman was toast, literally, but that is the fascinating/amazing/breathtaking thing about the system of law that we have: average people sit in judgment of the most powerful government agents (police and prosecutors) and ultimately decide if they proved their case or not.

I do think the prosecutor erred by seeking vengeance in an emotional context (the death penalty) as opposed to a just punishment that fit the crime, or in this case possibly accident.

In my opinion, that makes the case even more startling in that the government agent responsible for the integrity of the system seems to have fallen prey to emotion and as a result over charged and was not able to deliver in a disinterested setting.

It will be interesting once the jurors decide to talk to discover what the context of their deliberations was (meaning how did they stand at the onset of deliberations and how did the vote evolve.)

Ed Cone

By some accounts, the decision to go for first-degree murder convictions doomed the prosecution of the killers in the 1979 GSO Klan/Nazi killings.


Twitter has been full of outraged and hateful comments, mostly from women, in my random sampling. They are convinced Anthony killed her daughter, and they arent interested in evidence, or the impact of the wrong charge, or reasonable doubt.

Anthony certanly appears to be a liar, and something less than a saint. But we don't convict people of first degree murder unless we can show how the victim died, and that the accused did the killing. The prosecution doesn't seem to have managed to do either.

Brandon Burgess

Jeff, after reading your posts, I would revise my statement to: Maybe the jurors would have been more likely to convict if the death penalty were not a consideration.

Ed, that is interesting.

Ditto, Corbly.

John D. Young

In the state's capital murder trial against the Klan in 1980 Judge Long provided the jury with multiple conviction options including several levels of manslaughter. Ed, however, you are right that the case did center on the primary charge of 1st Degree Capital Murder and that emphasis probably skewed the results.

The prosecutors argued: "Your guilty of first-degree murder if you go to commit any type of felony and it gets out of hand. In this case, it was murder by people who came down willing to riot. The fact that these people were guilty of a riot and death ensued would make them guilty under the felony murder rule."

One can also imagine how hard it is to get such a conviction when the CWP refused to participate in the state murder trial and actively assist Mike Schlosser, Greeson and Coman gain a conviction.

The defense attorneys did make it clear in the court room (as did the interior details of the TRC Report and watching all of the video of that day) that the Klan/Nazis who did the killing did initially engage in the stick (sign pickets) fight in the middle of the intersection without having guns in their possession.

According to Klan shooter Roland Wayne Wood (and the defense team) it was CWP member, Jim Waller, who first grabbed a shotgun from a truck in the intersection and Wood's yelled: "They've got guns! My god they have guns!" The Klan then retreated to the locked trunk of their Ford Fairlane to retrieve their weapons. (All this ongoing insanity from both sides still without the intervention of the GPD.)

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