Court Watching, gaining popularity and the networks have discovered the riveting world of the courtroom, the sociopath, the good guys and the bad guys, the compelling and uncompelling witnesses— the unparalelled drama that is to be found at the point where a citizen, free yesterday, may be put to death by the government tomorrow.
I am as avid a trial watcher as you can find. Sadly, I have to watch programs like Nancy Grace to feed my insatiable appetite for the details. But I am disgusted by much of what I hear. At the point the public is clamoring for death, the media interest starts to feel obscene. Like the Roman coliseum, and Christians and lions. Personally, I just don’t feel that need, shared by so many others, to see Jodi Arias die by lethal injection. If life, so-called, is good enough for Brett Seacat, it’s good enough for Jodi Arias.
There is a mob out there calling for blood, in that case, and in others. This mob writes death threats to witnesses for the side they are against. They applaud the humiliation and ruin of respected professional at the hands of angry prosecutors. They cry out for death and vengeance, and seem to be content with nothing less. They threaten the lives of jurors merely because they didn’t vote for guilt, or, in some cases– execution.
This mob is dangerous to more than its intended targets. This mob is out to destroy our system of justice. The independence of jurors is crucial to the whole process. The freedom of witnesses to speak their truth is equallycrucial. Our system would be a hollow farce without these things. The right of an individual to a fair jury means the right to 12 unintimidated jurors.
Our courts are open for all to see, and that is good. People have opinions about issues that concern them, and that is good too. Slander, threats, and cries for vengeance against people who have performed their jobs in good faith— these are not good. Now that the public has come in to the courtroom, they need to show some respect. The vigilante mob has no place there.
Guest post from Attorney Deborah Blanchard. She can be reached at 424-777-5516 to help with your legal issues, even if you aren’t a celebrity!
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