Archive for justice

Nov
21

Replacing the Cloak

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The Sesame Street Muppets have become such a part of our social consciousness that I don’t think any of us really stop to think that the Muppets aren’t living, breathing creatures—we must remember that they’re puppets, controlled and voiced by living, breathing humans.

Humans, as in imperfect beings.

The face of Elmo, one of the more popular Muppets, was ripped off in a shocking and vile manner recently, revealing that its puppeteer, Kevin Clash, has been allegedly involved, in the past, with some hanky panky with at least one underage youth.

Two accusers came out against Clash, who is openly gay. The first recanted, saying that the relationship was consensual and legal (age-wise). But then a second accuser surfaced, and this one says that he and Clash became involved when the former was just 15 years old.

The second accuser has slapped Clash with a $5 million lawsuit, claiming he (the accuser) had only recently become aware of “adverse psychological and emotional effects.”

Uh-huh.


Kevin Clash and Elmo

Regardless of the credibility of the accusations, Clash has submitted his resignation. Elmo is in need of a new alter ego.

Sesame Workshop issued this statement regarding Clash’s resignation.

“Sesame Workshop’s mission is to harness the educational power of media to help all children the world over reach their highest potential. Kevin Clash has helped us achieve that mission for 28 years, and none of us, especially Kevin, want anything to divert our attention from our focus on serving as a leading educational organization. Unfortunately, the controversy surrounding Kevin’s personal life has become a distraction that none of us want, and he has concluded that he can no longer be effective in his job and has resigned from ‘Sesame Street.’ This is a sad day for ‘Sesame Street.’”

To Sesame Street’s credit, they were ready to welcome Clash back into the family once the first charge was recanted. Clash’s sexual orientation, thankfully, wasn’t enough to pull the plug on him as being Elmo’s puppeteer. But when the second charge came down, along with the accompanying lawsuit, SS felt like it had no choice but to call for Clash’s resignation.

It’s hard to argue with SS and Clash’s decision. The SS brand has been a part of American households and families for about 40 years. Why should they risk any additional bad press and scuttlebutt by bringing Clash back while there is all this legal stuff going on?

Besides, the mystique and aura of Sesame Street’s Muppets are based almost solely on the anonymity of the puppeteers. Yes, folks eventually found out that guys like Frank Oz and Jim Henson operated and voiced many of the original Muppets, but for the most part we aren’t visualizing humans behind the scenes when Kermit the Frog or Miss Piggy are doing their thing. 

They’re not puppets, they’re Muppets, for crying out loud! They’re practically human.

The seedy story that is about to unfold about Kevin Clash (under-aged boys, meeting online, etc) is one that Sesame Street just as soon let play out somewhere else—anywhere else, other than behind Elmo’s back.

It looks to be the end of a 28-year ride for Clash as Elmo’s puppeteer, but it’s an ending that needs to happen.

The sooner the anonymity of Elmo’s puppeteer is returned, the better.

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Nov
16

Frankly, Scarlett…

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So did you hear about the Cleveland woman who had to stand on a busy street corner and hold up a sign that says Only an idiot would drive on the sidewalk to avoid a school bus”?

To recap: 32-year-old Shena Hardin was caught by surveillance camera, driving her car on a sidewalk to avoid a school bus that was loading and unloading children. Her sentence, as handed down by a Municipal Court Judge, was to hold the sign for one hour each on Tuesday and Wednesday morning, in 34-degree weather and in full view of rush hour drivers. 

Hardin also had her license suspended for 30 days and she was ordered to pay $250 in court costs.

Apparently, Hardin was the victim of a good old-fashioned sting, put on by the bus driver, because the incident in which she was caught by the camera was not the first time she had driven recklessly in order to avoid waiting for the kids to get on and off the school bus.

Shena Hardin serves her sentence


Whether you agree with Hardin’s “Scarlet Letter” type sentence or not, it would be hard to disagree that other offenses might merit similar sentencing from the court of public opinion, if it were left up to them.

To wit:

Non-use of turn signal. This is the ultimate in arrogance. The offender is telling us, “You don’t need to know what I’m about to do, until I reveal it.” Suggested sentence: Not allowed to order own food at restaurant for next two meals out. Offender has to eat whatever the server brings, not revealed until the plate hits the table.

Rolling through/failing to stop at stop sign in residential neighborhood (where there are kids and pets about). The disrespect for those red, octagonal-shaped signs is getting ridiculous. I walk our dog daily and I see vehicles cruising through stop signs routinely. Suggested sentence: Offender must stand in the middle of a high school hallway during lunch rush, wearing a brand new, all-white outfit.

Tailgating in a residential area. Nothing grinds my gears more than being followed closely by some clod in a 25 mph residential area. I don’t like being tailgated, period, but something about cruising down a side street, usually going to or from home, with a very aggressive, very impatient dufus riding my rear is just so wrong. Suggested sentence: Offender must spend next session of opening and responding to e-mails with someone (a stranger) looming directly over his/her shoulder the entire time.

Taking two spaces in a parking lot. This one needs no trumping. Suggested sentence: Offender must watch helplessly as person ahead of them in line orders the last two pieces of cheesecake, and only eats one—throwing the second one in the trash.

Cutting across two lanes of a freeway in order to exit, last minute. This one is not only annoying but freaking dangerous. Most people know, way ahead of time, which exit they’re taking. Why you decide at the last possible moment that you suddenly need to bid farewell to the freeway is beyond me. Suggested sentence: Since this is usually a male offender, sentence is for offender to be cut in front of, at the last moment, by a counterpart who wants to use the only available urinal in a public restroom. And I do mean at the last moment.

Those sound like apt punishments, eh?

Categories : crime, Enotes, justice, laws, society
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Nov
13

E-affairs

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Sex, lies and…e-mail?

Videotapes are so passe. And who has a VCR player anymore, anyway?

E-mail (and its evil spawn, texting) is the smoking gun of the 21st century, when it comes to catching those engaging in extramarital affairs. And it seems no matter how powerful and how high up the food chain you are, you’re not impervious to its tentacles.

Witness what’s happening at the CIA and the Pentagon these days.

First, General David Petraeus (rhymes with Betray Us) was busted, and subsequently resigned his post as Director of the CIA, for engaging in hanky panky with a mistress, much of it via e-mail.

Now the military’s top man in Afghanistan, General John Allen, might be in the same kind of mess. E-mails, once again, are being scrutinized.

It’s a sort of love triangle, with Petraeus’s mistress allegedly sending threatening e-mails to the woman who Allen has been allegedly fooling around with.

As The Pentagon Turns.

Gen. David Petraeus



This, of course, is unbecoming no matter what, but when it involves men of the stature of Generals Petraeus and Allen, well then it moves into another category of unbecoming.

Women might be right. Maybe men do think with their penises—in general (sorry, pun intended).

Recall how text messages and e-mail helped bring down Detroit’s young and promising mayor.

There really isn’t any shock value, anymore, to the philandering powerful man story, even when it comes to Petraeus and Allen. I mean, did your jaw drop when Petraeus resigned, and you found out why he resigned?

Surprised? Sure. Shocked? Maybe not so much.

At this point, only such an affair involving the President of the United States would be shocking enough for us to be, well, shocked.

One by one they fall, betrayed by their own anatomy below the belt.

Politicians. Corporate leaders. Entertainers. And now, CIA directors and generals.

The question isn’t really “Who’s next? but rather, “When?”

When will be the next time we read of a powerful, entrenched man toppled by his pee-pee?

There are 48 days left in the year. Plenty of time to squeeze another scandal in, maybe before Christmas.

Categories : justice, laws, military, society
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Apr
04

How Far in 44?

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We love anniversaries in this country, good, bad or those of infamy.

The dates dance around our minds: December 7; November 22; September 11; July 4.

Today is another one of those dates.

It was 44 years ago today when James Earl Ray took aim and cut down Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as he stood on a motel balcony in Memphis, TN.

There’s film footage of U.S. Senator and presidential candidate Robert Kennedy, addressing a crowd and breaking the news to them of Dr. King’s assassination. There are audible gasps and cries of anguish heard.

Kennedy himself would be murdered about two months later.

I suppose the anniversary of Dr. King’s murder is as good as time as any to ponder: have things gotten any better, really, in this country when it comes to race relations?

Is it mere irony or an indictment on us as a society that April 4 arrives as the nation is still loitering around the water cooler, talking about the February 26 killing of Trayvon Martin?

The Martin case would appear to be a prime example of how little we’ve come re: how blacks are perceived by non-blacks.


April 4, 1968; Memphis, TN

You don’t want to think that we’ve done little to no evolving since April 4, 1968, but I submit that it would be a tough case for you to make that we have—evolved, that is.

More like spinning our wheels, it seems at times.

Yes, we have a black president. Yes, blacks have ascended to other positions of authority where they hadn’t in 1968. That’s all well and good.

But are those exceptions rather than the rule?

It’s 2012, some 44 years after Dr. King said on the night before his death that “I may not get there with you”, and being a young black male wearing a hoodie is no less dangerous than being of color in 1968 and before.

I’m not suggesting that Dr. King died in vain. But nor can I confidently say that his death paved the way for improved race relations.

Can you?

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Jul
07

For Caylee

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Unfortunately, our criminal justice system doesn’t allow for verdicts of “probably” or “who else?” or “are you kidding me?”

If so, little Caylee Anthony would have justice today. Her killer and any accomplice(s) would be destined to a life behind bars—until execution, as they do in Florida.

Instead, the jury in the most gripping, emotionally invested trial since that of O.J. Simpson rendered a decision that was a rejection of the prosecution’s version of what happened.

This is because the prosecution, in the jury’s eyes, failed to portray their version in that “beyond a reasonable doubt” way, which is a great threshold to have in place until it becomes inconvenient.

Perhaps we will never know what happened to Caylee, the precious little toddler who was discarded in a swamp like remnants of a picnic. But that won’t protect her mother, the acquitted Casey, who now proceeds to live one of the most intriguing lives in recent memory.

What will happen to Casey? She’s under real threat of violence. Hers is now a world where everyone—EVERYONE—will look at her cross-eyed. She may as well sew scarlet letters on all her blouses—”BK” for baby killer.

She may be acquitted, in a verdict that’s as easy for the nation to swallow as a gallon of lye, but she’s not exonerated. The grisly, tragic death of her daughter will follow her, forever.

Oh, Casey may make some dough off this enterprise. There might be a book, a movie, God knows what else. She’s not guilty by law, so it’s difficult to legally deny her any profits.

Casey Anthony’s haul might be disgusting in its largesse, when all is said and done—and written. But she will forever be poor in character and in conscience. Unless she really is a sociopath, as some suspect.


Caylee Anthony: August 2005-June 2008


But even if she’s guiltless in her soul, she’s not about to live the life of an innocent person. She’s 25 years old but her life might be over, for all intents and purposes. Who will hire her? Who will marry her? Who will have anything to do with her? Besides publishers and producers, that is.

It’s little consolation, I know, for those of us aching to give Caylee her justice. But it’s better than nothing. You’re excused, in my book, if you choose to wish ill on Casey and those who may have helped her cover up Caylee’s manner of death.

That’s not very Christian, I know, but we aren’t perfect people, either. We are prone to letting emotions get the best of us, especially when it comes to animals and kids and the elderly—the most defenseless among us.

You’re going to hear it a lot in the next few days—Casey is going to be released from prison on July 13—that maybe her “not guilty” verdict was the worst thing that could happen to her, considering what her life on the outside is going to resemble.

Deep down we really don’t believe that, but it is something to hold onto—that Casey Anthony will be a leper among us. Someone who will live a tortuous, lonely life.

It’s not nice to wish a pox on another.

And little Caylee Anthony is dead.

So who do we go see about that?

Categories : crime, Enotes, justice
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May
12

Mama’s (and Sis’s and Wife’s) Boy

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For those who held out a sliver of hope that disgraced Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick would learn from his mistakes and come out of everything a better man, I’m afraid today is a sad day.

Kilpatrick continues to beat the drum of victim, deflecting every attempt to get him to own up to his actions. The latest are his bleatings, through his family mouthpieces, that the text message scandal is making him depressed, angry and fearful of the future.

Those mean old Skytel folks, in the World According to Kwame, are the real villains. Had they not released the highly incriminating and maybe even more embarrassing text messages between Kilpatrick and his aide/mistress Christine Beatty, then everything would be hunky-dory.

Now comes the revelation that Kilpatrick will never be a man, after all. For he has, surrounding him, a fortress of apologists and enablers—all women, by the way—who are feeding into his crocodile tear mentality.

Brian Dickerson, Free Press columnist, wrote in today’s edition that a series of interviews between psychiatrist Norman Miller and the women closest to Kwame—mother Carolyn, sister Aiyanna and wife Carlita—have come to light, which blatantly show why the ex-mayor and current convict just ain’t never gonna get it.

Kilpatrick, with mother Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick at right, celebrates his re-election in 2005


And there go the last vestiges of hope that Kwame Kilpatrick will somehow ever be reformed.

How can he, when he is insulated by people whose only purpose, it seems, is to tell him what he wants to hear, and feed tripe to the rest of us?

Here’s a sampling of what Kwame’s ladies had to say, in case you haven’t already clicked on Dickerson’s link:

Mother Carolyn explaining how corrupt judges and jealous journalists railroaded the light of her life: “My son is a political prisoner … he is just so confused about how all this happened.”

Here’s sister Aiyanna: “It is gut-wrenching [for him] to relive the unfairness … I think his anger is toward the company that released the texts and started this windfall of unjust activity toward him.”

And here’s wife Carlita, lamenting “the emptiness that exists from being away from your children and family so long, especially because we see it is so unfair and we can’t get justice.”

“Do you see the release of the text messages as the primary moving cause?” psychiatrist Miller asked Carlita.

“Yes,” she answered. “I fully believe the release of them really started all of the ball rolling.”

Are you nauseous yet?

I count myself among the fools.

I thought Kilpatrick, because he’s still relatively young, might look at his imprisonment as having hit bottom, and would therefore be a better man five, ten years down the road. Politics would be out of the picture, but perhaps he could re-enter civilian life in the private sector and make something of himself, after all.

But after reading how Kwame’s ladies are covering for him and all but pressing him to their bosom, you can forget about any rehab.

Oh, how it could have been so different.

Kwame Kilpatrick, when he was elected mayor in 2001, could have been the best and brightest thing to hit Detroit since the Model T. He was young, vibrant, and big in both stature and importance. He had an attractive family and Detroit could have, by now, be about 10 years into a revival.

Now look at him, and look at the charges he leaves behind.

I’m not sure which is more revolting—Kwame’s behavior or that of the women who are too eager to give him emotional sanctuary at the expense of his loss of manhood.

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May
05

Photo Opportunity

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The matter of desiring the release of photographs showing a very dead Osama bin Laden has absolutely nothing to do with a thirst for morbidness or a sick desire to see such graphic images.

At least, not through these eyes.

President Obama steadfastly made the decision not to release the graphic photos to satisfy those seeking proof that bin Laden has, indeed, been eliminated. He told CBS’ “60 Minutes” in an interview that will air on Sunday that the decision was fairly easy for him to make.

“Spiking the football” has been the term used to describe what releasing the photos would be, in allegory.

The fear is that releasing such images would put Americans in danger, globally. There are other reasons, too—including that we “don’t do that kind of thing.”

The words in quotes are not the president’s, but rather an overall feeling that many pundits have demonstrated over the past few days.

What hasn’t really been discussed too loudly is what the families of the 9/11 victims have to say about all this.

I don’t think it’s such a slam dunk for them, that these photos not be released.


The real one ought to be seen, too


It’s easy for those not directly touched by 9/11—in terms of losing loved ones—to take the high road and declare the photos to be off limits.

Where are the advocates for the families? They ought to be crying for the photos.

You ever hear of closure?

Why hasn’t anyone considered how much the viewing of a dead bin Laden might help the grieving process?

It’s like in the cases of capital punishment. when the victims of the condemned are invited to witness the execution.

Would all victims’ families want to view the photos? Of course not. But would some? You bet your sweet bippy—and more than just some.

I just don’t know how much the release of the photos imperils us more as a nation, whether here or overseas. I’m pretty sure that train left the station when it was confirmed that bin Laden had been killed.

You think the terrorists are thinking, “Well, as long as they don’t show the pictures of our dead leader, then we’re good. But as soon as we see images, then it’s on!!”

Please.

I respect Obama’s decision, because it was made with little emotion and was very presidential.

I’m just a little taken aback that no one is advocating for the families of the 9/11 victims on this hot button issue. If someone is, then I’m missing it or it’s not very loud.

Viewing gruesome photos of a dead Osama bin Laden isn’t what I crave, personally. But I think those directly affected by his evilness ought to have the option of looking at the images, if they feel it would bring closure and drive home the nail of justice.

This isn’t about spiking any imaginary football. It’s about compassion for the families of bin Laden’s murder victims.

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Sep
09

(Speed) Trapped in Livonia

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Don’t the Livonia police have better things to do than enforce the law?

Yeah, I wrote that. But only because that’s what people seem to be saying.

Certain lead-foots, that is.

Livonia was recently tagged as the city with the worst “speed traps” in the State of Michigan.

It’s not exactly clear how this designation was arrived at, but with its announcement last week, there was some scuttlebutt, as you can imagine.

The lead-foots contend that this surely means that motorists are being ticketed with glee by overzealous Livonia police officers, who should be doing things like “going after the REAL criminals.”

Livonia’s police chief, of course, shrugs it off.

“That (designation) doesn’t bother me a bit,” said chief Robert Stevenson. “We don’t have speed traps. We just enforce the law.”

The designation was announced by the National Motorists Association. According to a story in the Free Press, the organization said they identified cities by using data from their National Speed Trap Exchange, where people share information about speed traps.

More from the Free Press story:

Stevenson thinks the term “speed trap” implies the department is doing something tricky and then writing tickets, but that’s not the case, he said.

“If they don’t obey the law, then we’re going to write them a ticket, and we don’t make any apologies about that,” Stevenson told the Free Press.

Beware!

Catching speeders, though, does take a little bit of trickery—or at the very least, some guile.

Think about it. People tend not to speed in plain view of a police cruiser. Most speeders are caught because they’re observed by an officer who has taken steps to at least somewhat conceal himself. Certainly, that’s what happens on freeways or other thoroughfares where motorists are known to kick it up a notch.

So it may not be “tricky,” in Stevenson’s mind, to place a cruiser in a less-than-auspicious location, but it’s disingenuous to say that such placement is merely coincidental.

Still, the bottom line is unchanged: don’t speed and you have nothing to worry about.

Easier said than done, I know. Funny how sometimes that speedometer inches its way into the danger zone, especially on sunny days when there’s a good song on the radio.

Stevenson also cites some hard numbers to suggest that, if anything, Livonia cops are less zealous than ever.

Overall tickets written by the department are down, he told the Free Press. In 2009, Livonia police wrote about 30,000 tickets. That’s down from 2007, where police said they wrote 34,607. Stevenson didn’t have the breakdown of speeding tickets.

Ahhh…how convenient.

Speeding tickets are often taken as an affront by motorists who feel their behavior is somehow less important in terms of law enforcement. As if a police cruiser looking for speeders is somehow “out of play” to any emergency call that comes through.

Do police coffers get lined with money garnered from moving violation tickets? No doubt. Maybe that’s where someone working as an advocate for motorists should focus his or her attention. Take away any perceived incentive(s) to write tickets, then see if what police officials like Chief Stevenson say is genuine.

Motorists should be glad. The announcement of Livonia’s speed trap infamy should put those behind the wheel on notice.

To paraphrase Bob Seger, “You better watch out for the POH-lice, when you cruise into Livonia.”

Categories : Enotes, justice, society
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Aug
20

Clemens Must Take on Feds With No Bullpen Help

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Roger Clemens is going have to work out of this jam all by himself.

He can’t be pulled for a reliever. And he can’t just rear back and let loose with a 95 mile-per-hour fastball and try to blow the Feds away.

It’s going to take some finesse and nibbling around the corners. He needs to induce a harmless ground ball, that his lawyers can turn into an inning-ending double play.

Clemens is under Federal indictment. It’s the one thing you don’t want to be under, other than Refrigerator Perry.

The Feds say Clemens lied with his pants on fire back in 2008 when he testified before Congress, saying that he no way, no how, took performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) as a big league pitcher.

They have six counts against Clemens, the Feds do. They say that Clemens, no less than 15 times, made knowingly false statements while under oath on Capitol Hill.

A Federal indictment ought to make the one under indictment soil his or her briefs. It’s a big deal, because lengthy prison time could be in the offing. And indictments aren’t brought lightly; usually the Feds feel they have a pretty good case.

It’s one thing to have a feeling that someone is lying to Congress. It’s quite another for that feeling to become an actual indictment. The Federal government usually only indicts when it thinks it can win, and win convincingly.

Clemens is still sticking to his story. He maintains that it’s not he who is lying, but rather his former trainer, Brian McNamee, who told Congress at the same time that Clemens was testifying that McNamee injected Clemens more than a dozen times with steroids and human growth hormone (HGH) between 1998 and 2001.

McNamee supposedly has syringes, vials, and other physical evidence—including even some of Clemens’s DNA—to support his claims.

Clemens and McNamee have since sued each other for defamation, with Clemens’s claims being essentially dismissed by federal courts. McNamee has a suit pending in federal court in New York.

Former Rep. Tom Davis of Virginia, the top Republican on the House panel at the time of Clemens’ testimony, called it “a self-inflicted wound.”

“Clemens was not under subpoena. He came voluntarily,” Davis said. “And I sat there in the office with [committee chairman] Henry Waxman and said, ‘Whatever you do, don’t lie.’ ”

Apparently, Clemens didn’t take that advice to heart. Now he has the bases juiced (so to speak) and no one warming up in the bullpen.

I believe that Clemens lied. The indictment speaks volumes, and why would McNamee lie, knowing the repercussions if he was proven to be making up tall tales?

All that, plus the physical evidence that McNamee says he has—which he kept for some 10 years, for just such an occasion as this one.

For what it’s worth, Clemens’s old teammates are standing by him, including Yankees catcher Jorge Posada and steroid user extraordinaire Jose Canseco.

Current Yankee Lance Berkman, a teammates of Clemens’s in Houston, said, “Whatever you want to say about the guy, he belongs in the Hall of Fame. In my opinion, legacy-wise, I guess that’s up to—I mean, 200 years from now, who cares?

“But in the short term, I guess, he may have some things to address,” Berkman conceded.

That’s one of the biggest understatements of the year.

Clemens is back on the mound, staring in at a federal indictment that stands menacingly at the plate. And the Feds don’t strike out that much when it comes to this kind of thing.

I have a feeling that Clemens is going to be taken deep.

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May
14

House’s Arrest

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So this is what you say when you’re released from death row after 22 years, for a crime that you maintain you didn’t commit.

“Took them long enough.”

Those were the words of Paul House, who was convicted in 1986 of the rape and murder of Carolyn Muncey in Tennessee and then sentenced to die.

So let’s release him and immediately nominate him for Understatement of the Year.

State prosecutors on Tuesday asked a judge to drop all charges against House. Special Judge Jon Blackwood accepted the request.

House’s cause was championed by a group called The Innocence Project, which is affiliated with the Cardozo School of Law in New York.

It took the U.S. Supreme Court to get involved, though.

House was scheduled to be re-tried next month, nearly three years after the high court ruled, 5-3, that he was entitled to a new hearing.

“Although the issue is closed, we conclude that this is the rare case where–had the jury heard all the conflicting testimony–it is more likely than not that no reasonable juror viewing the record as a whole would lack reasonable doubt,” wrote Justice Anthony Kennedy for the 5-3 majority.

House was also the master of the understatement back in 2005, in an interview with CNN. He told the network that he maintains his innocence. He was asked why then, he was still on death row.

“I guess that’s the million dollar question,” House said.

The details are this: Muncey disappeared after leaving her home in rural Luttrell, TN on July 13, 1985. One day later, her body was found, badly beaten. Forensic evidence indicated that she’d been raped.

From CNN:

House, who was on parole at the time as a sex offender, was questioned by
police. He denied any involvement in the crime. He was a friend of Muncey’s
husband, but claimed he was in his own house several miles away the evening of
the murder. But prosecutors found a hole in his alibi, discovering that he had
left his home the night of the murder and returned about an hour later with
unexplained cuts and bruises.

If you think this is another editorial railing against the death penalty, you’re right. With a disclaimer.

I’ve never, thank the Lord, had anyone close to me torn from me violently. Never known the anger and thirst for vengeance that such a hideous act would spawn.

So as someone who hasn’t known that tragedy, I fall on the side of no death penalty.

If some monster, though, committed an act that befell Carolyn Muncey, against a loved one of mine, my view might change.

I like to think that’s a rather mature, even-handed way of looking at this hot button issue.

Some might call that wishy-washy.

Tough.

Also at issue is the undoing of closure for the Muncey family. House’s release means that her real killer is possibly still at large. Not a great feeling for them. One man’s freedom is another family’s reopened wound.


Paul House

It’s funny, though. Whenever these things happen–and they pop up just often enough that it ought to make reasonable people squeamish about capital punishment–the prosecutors don’t seem to want to let it go…totally.

Despite Justice Kennedy’s assertion, in his 2006 ruling, that DNA evidence might point to “a different suspect,” District Attorney Paul Phillips wrote in his petition this week that he still believes House could have been convicted again in a new trial, “but the new evidence (including the forensic examinations) raises a reasonable doubt that he acted alone and the possibility that others were involved in the crime.”

And House, for his part, admitted that lying to police about where he was that fateful night didn’t do him any favors.

But Phillips’s begrudging words aside, House, who suffers from multiple sclerosis and uses a wheelchair, is cleared. Free. Sprung.

But, now what?

Yes, it “took ‘em long enough,” as House said, but no matter how much you clear a man, there’s no entity that can give him his 22 years back.

Paul Newman, in the wonderful film Absence of Malice, has the bittersweet satisfaction of framing those who framed him for a murder. In a classic scene at the end of the movie, he opines about a friend of his who took her own life as a result of reckless news reporting.

“She’s dead,” Newman says in a justice department conference room with all the key parties present. “Who do I see about that?”

Paul House might ask that question.

“My 22 years are gone,” he might say.

“Who do I see about that?”

After Newman asked his question, Wilford Brimley’s justice department character responds sincerely.

“Ain’t no one to see,” Brimley says.

“I wish there were.”

No kidding.

**************************************

(For lots more info about Paul House’s case, click here for the CNN story and several related links)

Categories : crime, Enotes, justice
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