In America’s ugly past, the quick answer to an infamous crime was for a lynch mob to find hated suspects responsible for an infamous transgression and hang them. Thoughts and acts of retribution somehow perceived by most humans as a way of making a horrible situation better. Along the way the lynch mobs hanged a lot of innocent people. Too many people are frustrated and can’t wait for the criminal justice system with its checks and balances to bring about a fair resolution.
We’ve outlawed the lynch mob but it’s come back in another insidious form. Mass news coverage of the disappearances, murders or mysterious deaths of, young, pretty, White women has given the lynceh mob new life.
You may ask, who are the leaders of these modern day lynch mobs? They are the commentators of radio, TV and the Internet. Nancy Grace, Bill O'Reilly and an assortment of people are the new lynch mob leaders. These influential folks take a fraction of the investigative information that may be in itself inaccurate and use it to pollute the minds of their audience just as any other mob organizer would.
The truth is that the misinformation influences the actual judges and juries involved in the factfinding process.
From expierence I can say for a fact that people sitting on today's juries use the Google search engine to research the defendants and witnesses that appear before them. Yes that's in total violation of the rules to avoid news reports and broadcasts.
This works best if the victim is female, seems sympatric and attractive. Names that come to mind are Laci Peterson, Natalie Holloway, and Lana Clarkson. Irrespective of our perceptions two of these women’s manner and cause of deaths were never determined. Natalie Holloway is a missing person who we presume is dead. Laci Peterson was found dead but nobody ever established just how she died but a jury guessed she was murdered and that her lying and cheating husband must have killed her. Of course they don’t know how he killed her.
Lana Clarkson either died at her own hands or Phil Spector's. Was it suicide,an accident or murder? If it was an accident, who held the gun and pulled the trigger? Peole want to believe what they want to believe. The truth plays little part in that process.
In the Peterson case the court watchers were as much of a lynch mob as any in history. The courthouse mob actually cheered and celebrated when the jury convicted Scott Peterson!
This lynch mob mentality has had a major influence over changing or legal system to make it easier for prosecutors to win convictions. First, through the bogus issue of, so-called victim’s rights. Our founding fathers knew that victims don’t need special rights and did not provide for them. Second through the elimination of Statutes of Limitations that prevented criminal prosecutions for crimes not reported for more than seven years.
Changes to the Statute of Limitations has brought on the epidemic of Catholic priests to be prosecuted for sexual abuse claims made by alleged victims more than 30 years after the acts were to have occurred. Of course in each and every priest case the accuser has a companion civil that usually nets over $1 million dollars. Could money somehow motivate people to make phony sex abuse claims?
We’ve changed the rules of evidence to allow testimony of people about incidents remote in time to a current accusation such as in the case of suspected killer, Phil Spector’s old bedmates.
Along the way there is another strange phenomenon and that is the canonization of parents of murder victims. John Walsh, Max Klass, and Beth Holloway Twittty along with a host of others have capitalized on their newfound victim fame in a big way.
Today there is a heavy thumb resting on the scales of justice favoring the conviction of scapegoats.
It is a myth that means, motive and opportunity suffice to determine guilt. SOME actual evidence is required. To this day no one can point to ANY valid evidence that Scott Peterson had anything to do with the abduction and death of his wife - even the jurors cannot explain on what basis they voted for guilt. Given the preposterous hypothesis the prosecution offered, a hypothesis that was absent any science or common sense, Scott's case is just another trial by hysteria. I note also that Scott had neither means, motive nor opportunity.
The Voice of Sanity
You make many good points. It is good to hear a voice from someone with your professional background decrying the flaws in the criminal justice system.
I never thought I would ever comment on the Peterson case, which was tragic, but never deserved the attention that it got. However I have to point out to the first commentator that Scott Peterson in fact had means, motive, and opportunity.
-Means: the physical capacity to overpower a pregnant woman, a truck capable of transporting a dead body, a boat capable of dumping a dead body in a bay, cement weights capable of weighing down a dead body in the water
-Motive: fear of losing carefree existence to the responsibilities of parenthood, personal debt, mistress
-Opportunity: lived with victim, trusted by victim, proven to be in vicinity of where body was found at time victim went missing
Say what you want about the case against Scott Peterson being largely circumstantial, but it is not possible to say that he had neither means, motive, nor opportunity.
Motive, means and opportunity…
Most men would always have the means and opportunity to kill their significant other. As for motive with standard life insurance policies and a host of other financial benefits greed is always a viable motive.
What I’m saying is that nearly every man could be said to have the motive means and opportunity to murder their wives. Thankfully killing wives does not enter most men’s minds.
Don’t let prosecution buzz words make murderers out of innocent people.
Is Scott Peterson really innocent? We will probably never know the truth but the jury lost sight of reasonable doubt and convicted him without the corpus delecti.
I fully expect that case to be reversed.
I wouldn't bet on Peterson being a free man anytime soon...
He's guilty, just like Spector more than likely is.
Hopefully, the jury will do the right thing and get the murdering Spector off the street, so some other poor woman won't die.
BTW, do you think OJ was innocent? How about Robert Blake?
Simpson, Blake Peterson and Spector’s cases all have one thing in common. These were weak cases or made weak by really crappy police work exposed in the Simpson case. Remember that the only person convicted as a result of the Simpson case was LAPD detective Mark Furhman for perjury at the Simpson trial.
Our system requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt. "More than likly" guilty is a much lower standard. That means along with the suspects of unsolved crimes some murderers will go free. That’s a price we pay in America for freedom and the right to a fair trial.
Mr. Bronze, do you really want our government to be able to convict and even execute anyone they want? Be careful, you may just get what you wish for.
Let me clarify the point I was trying to make in my post (#2 on this thread). I was not implying that means, motive, and opportunity automatically add up to a guilty verdict, only that Mr. Peterson did have all three, unlike what the first person to comment said. If this person really wants to be a "voice of sanity" they are going to have to take all the evidence into account. Pretending Mr. Peterson didn't have the MM&O just isn't very sane.
Like I said motive, means and opportunity are prosecution buzzwords as is the term “closure”.
Every husband or boyfriend can be said to have motive, means and opportunity. That’s not real evidence of guilt but it is a suggestive and effective slogan prosecutor’s use to influence juries.
Smart defense lawyers derail those buzzwords during closing argument but unfortunately too many defense lawyers let that suggestive garbage slip by without challenge. Worse yet is when ineffective defense lawyers try to disprove the truth to the buzzwords. That causes the burden of proof to shift to the defendant to prove his innocence.
Defense lawyers need to learn to treat prosecutor's theroies as just another theroy. Prosecution theroies are never evidence.
Anonymous said... "However I have to point out to the first commentator that Scott Peterson in fact had means, motive, and opportunity".
Like all too many, you are assuming Peterson is guilty and using that to prove he is guilty. This is circular causation, a logical fallacy.
Means - since no method of death was proven, 200 million people had equal 'means'.
Motive - none was shown. All that 'double life' nonsense was spun by a desperate prosecutor. Any man could be so accused. A real motive, for example, was the baby, which the autopsy showed was cut out of her in a typical amateur C-section.
Opportunity - When Laci was abducted Scott was 90 miles away, something the MPD tried desperately and unsuccessfully to prove was not true.
Assume the prosecution case was true:
Why wouldn't he tow the boat to the house where no one could see and move her once?
Why would he make 4 dinky little weights one at a time? Why not stick a wire or rod through the bag and pour water in and make one 82 lb weight? How did the body stay down with 32 lb when 350 lb is needed?
Why would he screw around for 2 hours at the warehouse with the body in the truck or boat and then why stop at a corner store and leave the body outside in the boat?
The body should have been a skeleton in 56 days. How was it not in 111 days?
There are too many questions like this (I have 162 on my site). The prosecution case doesn't merely fail the giggle test, it fails the rolling on the floor in hysterics test.
I AM STARTING TO BELIEVE EITHER A VERY SERIOUS RIOT IS IMMINENT OR THE ASSASINATION OF A PO WILL OCCUR IN 011/010.
PLEASE BE CAREFUL OUT THERE!!!!
Luther Green, a North Lawndale resident all of his 60 years, sat on a broken slab of concrete Thursday afternoon, behind a group of men playing dominoes in an alley. He said it seems nowadays the police view every person on the block as a criminal, and the people on the block see every officer as a crook.
He knows neither extreme is true. But he knows there's tension on these residential streets, and he feels it grow each day as people spill onto the porches and sidewalks, escaping the August heat that makes apartments unbearable.
Green worries about his neighborhood.
People and police are on edge, and he's savvy enough to know that around here, both sides have guns.
"I'm afraid they're going to push these boys so hard they're going to start going after the police," Green said, shaking his head in dismay. "They better do something about this. And they better do something about this quick."
The lynch mob mentality is alive and well.
It is usual for the first member of the Lynch Mob to appear and strike when you are down as Spector was on Feb 3 2003 with a dead girl in his house. It is usually someone you might even trust.
Then once Spector's Brazilian Chauffeur DeSousa made the phone call to the Police - the police quickly joined DeSouza's version of events.
After that as Spector's Lawyer Bruce Cutler said
"They [the police] had Murder on their minds"
But who started that rumor - It was the first Lynch Mob Member - Spector's Brazilian Chauffeur DeSousa.
Then the Prosecution and the press joined that Lynch Mob and elevated DeSousa a Brazilian Chauffeur who is working in the US with no work permit to someone who should be believed when possibly DeSousa's underlying motive was to gain his residency nailing Spector, and to not get nailed himself for murder?
And then Spector's old girl friends who are still alive - they joined the Lynch Mob when if they had been so concerned for their lives - they should have reported Spector at the time he allegedly threatened them. These old girlfriends are only cowards or fame seekers now. And their testimony does not prove that Spector murdered Lana.
And so the California court system itself is embracing the Lynchmob mentality in allowing all these women in - but not curiously not the Madam.
Also the Court by not allowing Bruce Cutler to do his thing and Brucify any of the prosecution's witnesses also helped to obscured any truth about these witnesses.
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