Behar’s Idiocy

Joy Behar is drawing some praise for this dumb question asked of Casey Anthony’s lawyer:


In case you can’t stand Behar — I certainly can’t — she asks if the lawyer would let Casey Anthony watch her kids. The lawyer fumbles around with the question.

A lot of the internet is saying, “Oooh! Burrrn!”; burns now being the height of intellect. But it’s a dramatically stupid question. The point of defending Casey Anthony is not that she’s Mother of the Year. The point is that everyone deserves a defense. No matter who they are and no matter what they are alleged to have done, everyone gets a lawyer who is obligated to do their damnedest to represent their interests. People’s right to a defense does not end when they are crucified by television commentators.

Anthony’s lawyers kind of creep me out but it was not they who bungled the case so badly. It was not they who failed to prove when, how or by whom Caylee met her death. If you want to spew some vitriol, save it for those who didn’t do their job.

I used to have a deep hatred of lawyers who defended criminals but I’ve changed my mind to the point where I respect (most) of them. It’s actually very rare that criminals are let off on technicalities. We are more likely to put an innocent person than let a guilty person out. 95% of criminal cases in a guilty plea of some kind. In the criminal justice system, the deck is stacked and, thanks to recent SCOTUS decisions, becoming more stacked toward the government. Anyone who defies the power of the state has some cred in my book.

This doesn’t really apply to Anthony’s lawyers who were well paid, are enjoying the limelight and are trying to pretend that Casey is just some misunderstood decent lady. But being an asshole to an asshole does not make you a hero. And Joy Behar is still an asshole.

Comments are closed.

  1. richtaylor365

    It’s actually very rare that criminals are let off on technicalities. We are more likely to put an innocent person than let a guilty person out.

    I have to respectfully disagree with both of those points. Defendants are released all the time on technicalities, look at the Roger Clemons trial recently for yet another example. But more likely convictions get overturned on appeal (which the public rarely hears about) and D.A.s with limited budgets decide not to retry the case.

    Regarding innocent people going to jail, I don’t think it happens as much as the left claims. The cases that we do hear about are usually those where the guys was convicted years ago in the racially charged south. The whole jury procedure has been radically revamped in the last 20 or so years. Court cases limiting the admissibility of evidence, structuring the chains of evidence, and the advent of jury instructions has tilted the process more towards the defense. Factor in that anyone who can afford a good lawyer, that lawyer is usually head and shoulders in ability over that of the prosecutor who got stuck with that case.

    And I still contend that many people that get stuck on jury duty are not very bright. Look at juror #3 in the Anthony case and the interviews she has given, how she admitted that many on the jury bought in to the drowning scenario and punished the state because they did not prove it didn’t happen, like that was part of their burden, totally discounting how the defense had not one shred of evidence that she did drown and did not revisit it on closing. And how many jurors contend that they felt sick acquitting her, why would they feel sick if in their heart of hearts they did not think her guilty?

    And I still remember that OJ juror who later admitted that he just did not understand any of the DNA stuff, and other jurors felt the same way. If your brain is not firing on all cylinders, the most compelling piece of evidence in the entire trial, Goldman’s DNA in Simpson’s truck, is going to be lost on you, what is the point?

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  2. Seattle Outcast

    I know a few lawyers and a judge (amazing who shows up to take martial arts), and one of them worked as a PD and an assistant DA; 95% of the time they get a conviction or a plea bargain. Getting things overturned later isn’t really that common, even in cases where it’s a no-brainer. Most crimes are simple to solve and the guilty really aren’t that hard to find. Most crack quickly under questioning – interrogation is a science that has been well studied for decades in its modern form.

    And I still contend that many people that get stuck on jury duty are not very bright

    .

    Most are average, which, I grant you, isn’t very bright. I’ve been on jury duty several times, and actually sat through an assault trial as an alternate juror. People take it seriously, and generally people can tell where the bullshit starts and the facts end.

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  3. Hal_10000 *

    Rich, I have to disagree with you completely. Read Balko on this or some of the guys over at Cato. Defense attorneys are expensive and public defenders are usually overworked and inexperienced. They are far far outgunned by prosecutors. When I was in Texas, it was not unusual to hear about attorney in death penalty cases who didn’t know the law, who had never tried a death penalty case, who fell asleep during trial, who had extremely limited forensic resources. Look up the Cameron Todd Willingham case where his attorney — who had limited criminal experience – basically abandoned him and he was eventually executed for a crime he probably didn’t commiit.

    SCOTUS cases in recent years have tilted WAY WAY in favor of the prosecution. Just this year, they decided that if the police knock on the wrong door and heart what might be evidence being disposed of, they can break in. They’ve put heavy limitations on the exclusionary rule. They decided that having a bunch of cash on you was reason enough for the police to assume it was drug money and seize it. What you’re saying may have been slightly true twenty years ago. But no way does it apply today.

    The Clemens trial has nothing to do with technicalities; it has to do with a prosecutor who was apparently asleep the day they taught law at law school. The judge told him a video tape could not be admitted into evidence because it was hearsay. He then put in evidence anyway, giving the judge no option but to declare a mistrial. There is no way in any court system we have ever had that putting out evidence that the judge has ruled inadmissable is permitted.

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  4. Hal_10000 *

    From Balko’s article, he estimates that 3-5% of people in prison are innocent. Considering that:

    95% of cases end in pleas
    95% of appeals fail.

    I think my point stands.

    You should read about the Deskovic case, where ultra-liberal Sonia Sotomayor kept an innocent ma in prison for several years because the federal government had given his attorney the wrong deadline for filing a habeas petition. This sort of shit goes on all the time.

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  5. Manwhore

    Regarding innocent people going to jail, I don’t think it happens as much as the left claims. The cases that we do hear about are usually those where the guys was convicted years ago in the racially charged south. The whole jury procedure has been radically revamped in the last 20 or so years. Court cases limiting the admissibility of evidence, structuring the chains of evidence, and the advent of jury instructions has tilted the process more towards the defense. Factor in that anyone who can afford a good lawyer, that lawyer is usually head and shoulders in ability over that of the prosecutor who got stuck with that case.

    You are really showing your age, sex, and location. What about mesherle? Shoot a black man in the back, handcuffed and compliant, and you side with the cop (don't be a liar). Even two years in jail for what you called a "mistake" was too much. The price of human life to you seems to lie in whether a government employee did it or a private citizen did.

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  6. hist_ed

    I’d like to point out that some of the people exonerated probably committed the crimes. Appeals let guilty people go. This is as it should be, but really ought to be kept in mind.

    Look at the circus surrounding the Central Park jogger case. The assholes were tried and convicted. During the trial the prosecution repeatedly brought up that there were others that they hadn’t caught. Years later one guy says “Yeah, it was me” and that somehow proved in the minds of the media that the others were all innocent.

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  7. richtaylor365

    Read Balko on this or some of the guys over at Cato.

    I will check them out.

    Defense attorneys are expensive and public defenders are usually overworked and inexperienced.

    Sure, that is why I said:

    . Factor in that anyone who can afford a good lawyer,

    But PD’s are no worse then DA’s, both have monstrous case loads and don’t get paid what they are worth, the difference is that DA’s have that whole “conviction rate” thing hanging over their head. My comments in this matter are all anecdotal, from being involved in between 250 to 300 individual trials (and dating a Beverly Hills DA for two years), but there are always exceptions, of course.

    SCOTUS cases in recent years have tilted WAY WAY in favor of the prosecution. Just this year, they decided that if the police knock on the wrong door and heart what might be evidence being disposed of, they can break in. They’ve put heavy limitations on the exclusionary rule. They decided that having a bunch of cash on you was reason enough for the police to assume it was drug money and seize it. What you’re saying may have been slightly true twenty years ago. But no way does it apply today.

    I guess it is all a matter of perspective, I see limitations placed on evidence handling and custody that was non existent 20 years ago. I am a big believer in the Exclusionary Rule but the eroding around the edges that you see , I do not see as weakening it at all, the basic exceptions are still based on “good faith” which to me is fair since (and we talked about this before) police like everyone else sometimes makes mistakes, good faith mistakes. Now if subterfuge or negligence is involved, absolutely, the defendant gets the benefit of the doubt.

    And regarding Clemons, of course that would be considered a technicality, just like a clear violation of the Exclusionary Rule, or an illegal search, the persecution admitted evidence to the jury that the judge had prior deemed inadmissible.

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  8. Hal_10000 *

    Actually, those guys *were* probably innocent. She couldn’t remember the attack and only one set of DNA was found on her — matching the guy who eventually confessed ad confessed to acting alone. He was not part of the so-called “wilding” gang these guys were supposedly part of. The DA even admitted he thought they were innocent.

    They guys did confess but a surprising number of cases overturned by DNA evidence involve false confessions. This tends to happen when you take young people and interrogate them for 12 hours and lie to them about the evidence you have and what they’re going to be charged with if they don’t admit. There was an infamous case of a cop a few years ago who, after a women he got to confess was exonerate, went back and realized he’d been unconsciously leading her along, feeding her details that only the perpetrator would know.

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  9. Miguelito

    And I still contend that many people that get stuck on jury duty are not very bright

    Take any sample of the general population and you’ll find some real gems mixed in. Depending on where you live, it might be harder to get off jury duty these days. In CA now (or at least San Diego) it’s a lot harder and has been for about a decade. You have to be able to show real hardship (or essentially purjure yourself by lying in order to look biased, well, unless you really are biased I guess) to get out. Especially if you work for a well known local employer that they know pays for 2 weeks of duty, so hardship as breadwinner is out the door.

    Plus, I think it is our duty. Unless they come up with a professional system for jurors, which would have it’s own flaws, we have to deal with the system we’ve got.

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  10. Miguelito

    Most are average, which, I grant you, isn’t very bright. I’ve been on jury duty several times, and actually sat through an assault trial as an alternate juror. People take it seriously, and generally people can tell where the bullshit starts and the facts end.

    Much better way of saying what I tried to above.

    I was on a murder trial about 10 years ago now (wow time flies) and we all talked and felt we had put a lot of thought into our decisions. We felt that we were as fair as we could be and that we would want a similar jury for ourselves were we ever on trial. I actually found the whole experience quite interesting. Though the one part I found annoying was how little time was spent actually on the trial and how many beaks and such were taken. Overall it was spread over 2-1/2 weeks and yet it only took around 18 hours of actual court time if I had to guess. There were a lot of days off for court business and stuff that really added in days there.

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