The rantings of a Public Defender constantly fighting against society's pervasive Police Industrial Complex. Enjoy the unique perspective of one whose life's work is to fight the system through the system.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Nancy Grace drives mother of kidnapped infant to kill herself

I've often thought that Nancy Grace is just an evil witch, the worst of the worst that prosecutors have to offer, coupled with that intensive desire of the media to sentionalize any issue that will make them more money and get them more viewers - people and constitutional rights be damned.

Well, evidently she has finally driven an innocent woman to kill herself. Grace pounced on Melinda Duckett, who's son was evidently kidnapped out of her house while she was watching TV, when she appeared on her show. Shortly after being pounded by Grace, she shot herself.

Of course, this comes on the heals of Nancy Grace continually pushing Elizabeth Smart, the Utah girl who was kidnapped for about a year, causing Elizabeth Smart to literally demand that Grace stop asking her deliberately provocative questions (follow this link here for a transcript and video of that incident). Obviously, Grace cares more about her agenda and ratings than she does about human beings - one of the worse traits possible in a prosecutor (or ex-prosecutor).

Now, I don't know if the woman really had anything to do with her child's disappearance, she and the father were originally suspects. But this woman got no due process on Grace's show. She was verbally set upon, without any real ability to defend herself against the acerbic host, and was completely defenseless. Who knows, maybe the woman actually killed her child, and I don't have a lot of sympathy for the mother who killed herself. But, maybe she didn't. In that case, this is an even greater tragedy, one we should lay the feet of Nancy Grace, a truly terrible person.

I only wish they had some great defense lawyer on the air who would put her in her place.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

LA Times Runs Series on Norwalk Public Defender

The Los Angeles Times is running a 5 part series that is apparently focused entirely on a PD in the Norwalk Branch of the LA County Public Defender's Office. You can read the article here, and from there you can find the other articles in the series. Today's is part 2.

So far, the article has been very well written and fair to PDs, putting us in a better light than we are normally put. The articles have so far emphasized things that I've said for a long time: we frequently believe deeply in the cause of justice, equal access to that justice for people even if they're not rich, and fighting for individuals as well as you can, without judging them.

This does not, of course, mean that we are in favor of crime, or that we approve of many of the things that our clients do, but that we understand this basic principle: If you ever do something wrong, something that may very well deserve of punishment, and you call a lawyer, you want someone who will handle your case as well as he can without telling you that you are bad person, or deserve whatever you get. For all of us (relatively) rich folk out there, we take this for granted, we expect that when we shell out large bucks to a private lawyer that the lawyer will do everything possible within the bounds of the law for you. As public defenders, we do that for our clients, even though they haven't personally written us a large check to get us to do it.

Great series so far, let's hope it stays this good.

UPDATE

The rest of the series was just as good as the first couple of stories. Well done, well written. Finally, public defenders aren't shown as being total morons and sellouts. It's about time!