Monday, July 11, 2011

High Profile Cases and the Cocktail Party

I doubt I have to mention which "high profile" case was all the talk at the parties this past weekend (and on principle I refuse to even type her name and give her or her attorney more publicity).  It is when these wonderful cases are decided that our attendance at law school makes us the immediate expert on all things whenever we meet anyone new at a social occasion.

This past weekend, the constant query was how in the world did the jury find the woman not guilty.  Everyone I spoke to seemed to think there's a special ring of hell waiting for her after what the media told them she had done to her daughter.  The juror who was all over the news poignantly said that they didn't vote for her "innocence" but rather, they couldn't find her guilty behind a reasonable doubt.  I spent my time attempting to defend the legal system and the processes we all go through.

The interesting divergence came when I spoke to attorneys, who really weren't shocked about the verdicts, but rather, were amazed that an attorney with no experience could bungle his way through a trial where his client was facing the death penalty and emerged unscathed (so far).  Despite all of the statements from the judge about how upset he was from the antics of the attorneys involved, it doesn't appear that there will be any sanctions leveled.  Even more appalling to my fellow lawyers were the reports of "champagne fueled parties" and how excited her attorney was that his career was on the rise, that good things were going to happen and his hiring of an agent to represent him.

I had to admit to many that I really didn't follow the trial closely - in fact, the last real coverage I watched was years ago when my wife watched the Today Show each morning and they seemed to have a daily feature on the case while the beautiful little girl was missing.  It was a tragic case, regardless of who was at fault, what crazy stories were presented at trial and all of the media hype around it.  In the end, a young life was ended under suspicious circumstances and our system may never be able to attach a criminal conviction to that travesty.

So I may be naive, but I hope that this past weekend is the last time I'll have to spend my time at a party discussing this case and we can all find more entertaining pleasantries to occupy our time.  It is my sincere hope that the woman, her attorney and the entire case just disappear from our collective conscious and let them fade back into the obscurity from whence they came so that I can actually look forward to social interactions again.

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