Saturday, September 29, 2007

Judges' Panel

Hengslter: who is making editing decisions with news as commodity? Grace, O'Reilly

how can courts deal with fact that justice is becoming entertainment and a commodity--ie, with protective orders? If people who know about case, who will talk? People who speculate.

Millette: (judge) in high-profile cases, judges need to ensure that good defense attorneys if defendants can't afford them

MD sniper cases--both sides were conscious of need to keep case out of trial

change of venue is a tool judges need to use to minimize effects of media

3 things judges worry about with high-profile cases:

1) preserve sense of normalcy in courtroom
2) select an untainted jury
3) keep jury impartial

Ruckriegle: Bryant case--lawyers for the accuser speaking to the media; how to deal with such a blitz?

out of 300 jurors, 174 passed voirdire

Walton: judge in Scooter Libby case

from inception, knew that biggest challenge would be empaneling fair jury for Libby given DC's overwhelmingly Dem nature

DC population: "wholesome degree of skepticism" about prosecutor and the government

Sellers: court public information officer is new position--increasingly prominent in court system over past 25 yrs; liaison between court and media

cameras, technology, seating, jurors, verdict--5 key concern

cameras in courtroom feeds the media interest; technology--keep cameras out? but what about text-messaging, etc.?

dangers of jurors who blog about experience or who read blogs and take influence from them

Levi: what can the judiciary do to restrain Nifong-like statements?
Millette: very difficult to answer--people in VA don't act like that

need to look to bar association for assistance; but judiciary doesn't really have tools to deal with this at this stage

Ruckriegle--trial court doesn't have ultimate legal ability to control leaks


Debrah said...

It's amusing how a few of these judges trip over themselves as they tell everyone that they only "occasionally" read bloggers.


As if apologizing.

Anonymous said...

"both sides were conscious of need to keep case out of trial"

out of the media, is what I think was meant here?

Anonymous said...

There was a need to keep the MD sniper cases from going to trial? Could someone elaborate?

Gary Packwood said...

Debrah 4:13 said...

...It's amusing how a few of these judges trip over themselves as they tell everyone that they only "occasionally" read bloggers.
...As if apologizing.
At one time there were many fools who laughed at the Nana Ghat inscriptions (ancient Indian cave writing) which date from the early part of the 3rd century BC.

Perhaps judges today are politically correct and don't wish to be judgmental about the writings of others.

Their moment will come soon enough.

Debrah said...

The Maryland sniper case didn't suffer from the usual DC-area bull-****, simply because many of the two snipers' random targets were blacks as well as whites.

If these two black murderers had only targeted white victims, then we would be looking at a whole different set of "issues".

Black "leaders" would find a way to mitigate their horrific crimes....and the whole trial would have been a circus.

Everyone knows the drill.

Those two were "diverse" criminals. LOL!

Anonymous said...

Much too late:
Duke President Issues Apology in Lacrosse Case
(From WRAL)

Posted: Today at 1:10 p.m.
Updated: 2 minutes ago

Durham — Duke President Richard Brodhead apologized Saturday for much of the university's actions during the lacrosse case.

Brodhead made his first public remarks on the case since the charges against the players were dropped. He spoke at a law school conference, "The Court of Public Opinion," focusing on the ethical obligations of the media, legal system and colleges during high-profile criminal cases.

"Having become one of America's principal forms of shared public life, these cases highlight crucial problems of our culture - problems of achieving justice in a media-saturated society, problems of fundamental fairness to individuals, and problems in the way the American public is informed and misinformed about the world we live in," he said.

The Duke case, he said, revealed a larger societal problem: "how to create and maintain the optimal balance between the independence of the legal system and protection of individuals from false prosecutions."

Brodhead announced that Duke administrators will review its procedures on how to react "when students are tied to serious criminal charges." The university will also host a national conference for educators to discuss best practices for such instances.

Brodhead said the entire case - from the accusations in March 2006 to the ongoing aftermath - was tainted by "instant, uncritical certainty that fed on itself." Media reports and statements by legal officials "confirmed and reconfirmed public certainty that an outrage had occurred."

Three members of the Duke lacrosse team were charged after an exotic dancer claimed she was raped at a team party in March 2006. State Attorney General Roy Cooper dismissed all charges against the men after it was found out that District Attorney General Mike Knifing had withheld exculpating DNA evidence.

Before charges were dropped, Brodhead suspended the lacrosse team for the season, and longtime lacrosse coach Mike Presser resigned.

Eighty-eight Duke professors and staff also endorsed a full-page advertisement in the student newspaper, which some say they feel were convicting the lacrosse players before anyone was charged.

The college president said Saturday he staked out the university's three positions on the lacrosse case: that there was "no place in our community" for that type of alleged crime, that the accused students were "entitled" to "the presumption of innocence" and that the case should be "entrusted to the criminal justice system for its resolution."

Brodhead took responsibility for Duke's actions and statements, but distanced himself and the institution from the behavior of individual faculty members.

"First and foremost, I regret our failure to reach out to the lacrosse players and their families in this time of extraordinary peril ... causing the families to feel abandoned when they most needed support," he said. "I take responsibility for it, and I apologize."

Brodhead said "ill-advised" and divisive statements by some faculty were not "expressions of the university as a whole."

The Duke lacrosse case revealed the "serious limits" of the criminal justice system, he said.

"Our justice system - the best in the world - is only as good as the men and women who administer it," he said. In this case, "a rogue prosecutor on the loose" undermined the system as he "presented false allegations as true, suppressed contrary evidence, and subverted the process he was sworn to uphold."

Brodhead said "the deepest lesson" he learned during the case: "The scariest thing, to me, is that actual human lives were at the mercy of so much instant moral certainty, before the facts had been established."

He cited "the danger of prejudgment" and urged people to remember the case "as a call to caution in a world where certainty and judgment come too far quickly."

Reporter: Beau Minnick

Anonymous said...

these panelists seem out of touch with reality

davod said...

"DC population: "wholesome degree of skepticism" about prosecutor and the government" Sorry but the DC population is overwhemingly democratic and Black.

Any prosecution with the slightest tint of politics is most likely to swing to a decision favouring Democrats.

Steve Wehrly said...

I'd pay a monthly fee to continue to have the benefit of your thoughts. I hope you won't retreat to the relative safety of academia: you must know it's not enough to think, write, and speak if nobody listens. I'll get off the phone of you'll give me and your other listeners your assurances that you'll continue.