Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Media Watch: Can Casey Anthony Get a Fair Trial - Part 2: Let's Compare Jennifer Hudson's Case

There's already a post here on why we should all be concerned about whether or not Casey Anthony can get a fair trial - and yes, each and every one of us should be watching this Florida media circus to see how it is impacting our rights - but let's just check in on how things are so screwy there, compared to another big media case.

American Idol and Academy-Award Winner Jennifer Hudson's Tragedy

They've just announced that Jennifer Hudson's brother-in-law has been charged with three counts of first degree murder -- and one of those murders, of course, involves the death of Jennifer Hudson's seven-year-old nephew, Julian King.

Case Against William Balfour For Killing a Child (and two others)

That's it. No nightly media recaps since the October 24th shootings. No release of video interviews of friends or family. No "document dumps."

We've seen the police scour the surrounding area, heard that they found a gun, and there's been a couple of interviews with neighbors, and that infamous call-in interview with the defendant's mother on Nancy Grace.

And, remember, this child's death had the additional media play of having a direct family connection to American Idol finalist, and Academy-Award winning star of Dreamgirls, Jennifer Hudson to give it legs.

Case Against Casey Anthony For Killing a Child

Meanwhile, in the Casey Anthony case - where there is absolutely no celebrity connection, we've got dozens of video interviews to review online. There's even audio transcripts of the questioning of the defendant if you want to hear them. And, "document dumps" have become routine -- so much so, that it feels like someone's behind schedule if there isn't a new release of the state's investigative files after about a month or so.

The amount of documents - which will be used by the State of Florida as they try Casey Anthony for the murder of her 2 year old daughter Caylee Anthony - is huge. It's in the thousands now: 700 pages were released within the past two weeks. (There were also large dumps in August and September.)

Motion for a Gag Order is Made ... by the State

Here's a clue that there may be a concern about the ability to set an unbiased jury in this case. Usually, the defense files a motion to silence things. In the Casey Anthony case, which is set for trial in early January, it's the State that wants to stop the hoopla. (Judge didn't agree with their arguments, and denied the request.)

Media Impact On the Jury Pool

Comparing the two investigations into a child's disappearance, both ending in murder charges being filed, it is readily apparent that the Casey Anthony jury pool has been given an unbelievable amount of information -- along with all sorts of spin, opinion, and just plain junk -- from the media pundits.

Can Casey Anthony get a fair trial? That answer is becoming clearer every day.

Trying this case on the television screen (which Nancy Grace essentially did on her Thanksgiving "specials" last week) insults the judicial system and harms the defendant.

It's Our Rights That Are Being Disrespected and Trampled Upon Here

Casey Anthony remains innocent until proven guilty -- something that doesn't sell airtime and is a core right being trampled on here.

A right belonging to you and me.



Can Casey Anthony Get a Fair Trial - And Why We Should Care

Monday, December 01, 2008

Cop Watch: Austin Police Using DNA to Track Down Burglars in Property Crimes - But What About a Backlog?

It had to be. Just had to be.

Where else in Texas would they start to use DNA testing to track down burglars and other evildoers involved in property crimes, but tech-happy Austin - our fair state's capital city and home of the University of Texas (as well as Michael Dell and all his compadres)?

In Austin, they're using DNA in property crime investigations now ....

Yep, they're doing it. They're taking blood and saliva samples from crime scenes that involve absolutely no murders or rapes or any bodily injury, really, and they are using that stuff to grab DNA to compare with existing databases.

And it's working. So far, they've found 10 suspects out of the 50 crime scenes they've tested. Boo-yah!

Of course, they do mention a slight backlog over at the Crime Lab. Slight.

Yet in the Same Bat City, Same Bat Day, Same Bat Channel ... there's a DNA Backlog?

Seems there's a different lab that law enforcement is using for the burglars than the one over at the Department of Public Safety there in Austin. Two nationally known crime labs in the same town cuz the City of Austin decided awhile back to build its own swanky crime lab.

And, on the very same news day that one lab is touting its use of DNA in property cases, they're reporting over at DPS that they've got a big 'ole HUGE backlog of cases over there. Big. Big. Big.

In fact, DPS doesn't expect to be caught up with all its DNA testing until 2011. That'll be after their nice new lab gets finished and they all keep working really, really hard on getting their backlog all caught up.

You gotta wonder: Williamson County DA John Bradley tells the KEXE reporter that his office expects a six month to one year delay in a case when they ask for DNA testing from the DPS offices in Austin -- while defendants sit in jail with taxpayers paying $25 - $50 per day for their upkeep (Bradley's estimate). And these are the big felony cases: murders, rapes, you get the idea.

Meanwhile, since the City of Austin built its own lab, over at the City's Field Support Services Department, they've got time to test for DNA so they can track down some kid who broke into a car, or to bust a burglar who got away with a stereo and other household goods.

You just gotta wonder here ....




Austin American Statesman