Friday, July 8, 2011

American Injustice

This past week those of us who eat their meals in a room with a TV had to stomach what was perhaps the greatest mistrial of the century in the Anthony case.  Among the most sickening components of this debacle were the general cadenced--and inappropriate attention--given it by said media.

Grace Plumped up on this Story for the [all?] Ages
The self-made media maven (actually, late night media diva) Nancy Grace fattened her career (and herself, obviously choosing post-pregnancy as an acceptable time to gain over 30 lbs.) by spending every single night over the last two years of her dragging, four-hour CNN news 'show' reveling carnival-barker style in any unexploited facet of the case, like a shameless pig wallowing in the best mud he'd ever found.  Fatter than a tick, fanning the fervor nightly, her coverage was so oppressively foul, crude, and tasteless that P.T. Barnum would have turned his face away (or found out what a 'remote control' is).

When Nancy Grace resorted to bringing in (i.e. 'hiring') paid character-actors like Leonard Padilla (who was convicted of tax evasion in Sacramento California, and still ran for political office there--from prison) to try the case on their own merits (remember Padilla actually used his own moneys and influence--while likely still owing hundreds of thousands in unpaid taxes himself--to pay Casey Anthony's bond in 2008 within a month of his 'injection' into a situation he knew nothing about, at all).

Melinda Duckett / Nancy Grace
The devil had one big laugh, I'm sure, in giving Nancy Grace that idea to throw off negative attention to herself after causing the honor-suicide of another young (and sorrowful) Asian woman named Melinda Duckett she had hammered on her show over the woman's loss of her own child.  Grace subjugated Duckett--who turned out to have some strong emotional ties to her own child, as well as the emotion necessary to carry out a remorse-driven suicide.  It's plain to see that Grace saw the Anthony case as an opportunity to redeem herself, indeed, rise as a champion, among her demographic of 'young American moms'.  It's easy to see she despises them, yet needs to culture them into watching her show--repetitively, as in, an addiction, more so than a real-life soap opera

The Embodiment of 'Courtroom' Glee: One of the Many
Mocking Images of Casey Anthony
It seems that Nancy Grace, in spite of all her self-heralded 'experience' in the legal field, and her conspicuously-pushed public image as media professional, practices an unsettling double-standard that goes something like this: "If she's not happy with her ratings, she'll pick on somebody, and even  sacrifice the hapless creature as mercilessly as a bully going around kicking neighborhood strays".  But if she 'likes' you--or, more properly, 'likes your situation' for its story value, 'you're a made-man-or-woman'.  Compare pictures of the impish, perky, and plucky Casey Anthony to the sad visage of Duckett, which would haunt anyone with a conscience (and so, sadly, not Grace).  What you see in Anthony is the exact same guile, the near-elvish quality of a liar and murderer who got caught merrily dancing away (and worse) as her daughter's very bones rotted in the neighborhood swamp--remorseless, now emboldened by her pending release (and I won't allow myself to magine what that currently means to her party-people, BTW).

Judge Belvin Perry Exchanging an Uncomfortable Glance
w/ Casey Anthony During the Trial--from the Orlando Sentinel
Of course, the most vital element to any trial is the judge, however he/she conducts himself, however important or well-known they are prior to their fame-making and illuminating trial.  This brings us to Judge Belvin Perry, whose self-absorbed, almost autistic nonchalance gave the impression that he seemed to miss the proverbial forest for the trees on this one.  His ironically pedantic, media-starved attentiveness to every trial proceeding made the whole procedure a case study in itself--of how not to allow a media-driven trial to proceed at all.  From start to finish, he broke momentum, withheld motions by the the prosecution and defense alike, but he seemed  stilted, inefficient, and actually, somewhat confused and irritated by the whole event, like he'd rather be doing crossword puzzles, or relaxing in his local spa or hot tub.  He wielded a catastrophic lack of control over the overall court proceedings.

Yes, that is a guy with a neck-brace helping a fat person
with a back-pack up off the floor.  Hope they were all
satisfied fully (since P.T. Barnum's gone).
Videos of the daily public stampede to attend the Anthony case gallery were sickening as well.  Insane people trampling each other in their crazily hapless early-morning rush to jam-pack the courtroom looked more like the crush to the year-end big-city bridal dress sale, or a 'Black Friday' half-off sale.  My heart sunk when I realized that the trial had 'no business' being open to public attendance.  The result was a surreal, sideshow characteristic that made any real tacit presentation of the facts of the case impossible, and so, an adequate judgement even more so.  Nancy Grace's over-coverage of this case had made it impossible to find any intelligent people on earth who could qualify to be in this jury, who could honestly say they had never seen anything on television that might hinder, impede, or even cloud their judgement in either direction.

Attorney Jose Baez w/Anthony
And this was just the public attendance to the trial.  Anthony's attorney used subterfuge and every trick in the book to throw the focus of the trial away from the victim, and used the media craftily every night to garner emotional support for his own victim, in his client, Casey Anthony.  Undue comparisons were made to the 'OJ case', what with her release on bond, then re-incarceration, and from there, more media dissonance (more 'media experts', in the form of every major TV judge on TV, along with more 'personalities' such as Geraldo, even to the end), made this a nightly TV show, and how viewers felt certainly became more important to the entire outcome of the trial, and all those involved, than even any kind of certain decision as to why the little girl was killed, much less who murdered her.

The 'Crybaby Judge', Larry Seidlin (now retired)
Even Larry Seidlin--the former Broward County, FL judge who insinuated himself into perpetuity by using his antics and personal drama (a.k.a. the 'Crybaby Judge') while deciding over the Anna Nicole Smith case in a vain attempt to obtain his own 'TV Judge' show (like Judge Judy--surprised, anyone?) was interviewed numbers of times on FoxNews during final days, even though he's now-retired and most likely still living off the money he himself scammed from a local elderly neighbor years ago.  As for his 'credentials'--perhaps in looking at the sheer coincidental number of appearances his county made on another show called 'Cops' would shed light on his political character:  "Coward of Broward" sounds more appropriate to me.  What another disgrace he is, if Broward could be misconstrued as his, or more objectively, any part of his responsibility, in his past life as their county seat judge.  Look at it this way--there are 3,143 total counties in the United States--while trouble in Broward pops up on such a significant number of "Cops" episodes to make it worth note for that alone (my figure--I'd say something like 10%-20%--what a disparity!).  Additional note: "Cops" liked Broward so much that an entire series spun-off it: "The Police Women of Broward County".

So many 'media darlings' turned up at the 'scene of the crime'--and by that, I mean the crime from the beginning to the trial itself--that various outdoor venues in Orlando appeared as if they were preparing for an Olympic decision to hold the '12 Summer Games there (sorry--London bought that honor this time around).  The last, sorry sarcastic thought I had was to imagine Michael Jackson, OJ, Anna Nicole, JonBenet Ramsey's father, and some other catastrophic American justice system failures showing up there to further the dark shadow cast on the whole event by the media's undisciplined, uncontrolled, inappropriate, and unchallenged presence in this trial.

What is becoming of our justice system, and so, our way of life?  Frivolous lawsuits had to be scrutinized by new laws over the past decade, while a NY City judge was himself busy suing his dry cleaners for $6.5 million dollars over the loss of his expensively-tailored suit.  We seem powerless to challenge it when another 'dandy' shows up in this trial who is more interested in his media image than the outcome, or if justice is indeed served.  A recent trend in 'inventive' and 'creative' judges who ignored the warnings regarding 'cruel and unusual punishment' (namely, by the ACLU) has sadly ended--the 'worst' [read 'best'] they'd done was to 'force' local shoplifters to walk the sidewalks outside the establishments they'd robbed, while wearing sandwich-board signs announcing their crimes publicly.  What happens to that type of sensible punishment to a known crime, once the media gets hold--and control--of it?

This miscarriage of justice was bound to happen.  The final nail in this case's coffin has been ignored by many media outlets once more.  The fact is, Casey Anthony was indeed denied the right we all share for a speedy trial.  No, we don't share much else with her, I hope, but among the other pathetic 'explanations' [excuses] seen around the nation for the miserable outcome of this trial, this overtly obvious one has been missed time and time again.  Even terrorists and terrorist sympathizers get speedier trials than was allotted here.  It seems once again, the price for our modern justice system--actually, it's replacement--has been the shuffling to afford the media ample time to announce to all what we'd all smell as stinking to high heaven from any locale--injustice, greed, and selfishness.  The news media--mainly, CNN, it's programming owners, programming directors, etc.--was to blame.  In feeding the fire to the point of reckless abandon, everyone failed to see that our sedentary lifestyles made viewing this travesty more important than being even remotely involved in its outcome.

So, how do we prevent this from ever happening again?  After all, it may well be the only lasting legacy given in honor of even the memory of this poor child, lost forever to the void of her mother's careless self-involved hedonistic lifestyle, and all who supported it.

Well, maybe we should start praying for things like mercy, and true grace (not the 'Nancy' kind), and what Christ said in the Beatitudes, when he said "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled".  We could all use more of that kind of thing, because surely--surely, we're all tired of what we've seen in this, and truly hungry for something better.

We all watched it, from beginning to end, unfold, without properly intervening in some way or another.  Here I am blogging about it.  What will that do for the child lost?  Nothing--she never knew what a 'blog' was, nor does it matter, now.  She deserved a better life, by way of a better mom, a real father, and a grandma and 'pa who weren't corrupted to the core by letting the media set their core family values, but instead gathering those from within.

I'm counting myself among the most guilty, here--I'm an idiot without any real understanding of the law as men understand it, much less what we make of it--and far from what God intended it.