Saturday, July 22, 2006

Two Wrecks Explained

1. The Case

Defense attorney Jerry Allred said he was disappointed -- but not surprised -- for Bird, who will have to register as a sex offender.

"There was no legal defense," he said Friday after the verdict was read. * * *

"It was all a hope that the jury would exercise their inherent power to pardon Janelle," Allred said.
John Mortimer, Clinging to the Wreckage (1982):
The facts of the matter are dealt to the barrister, like a hand at cards, or a bundle of inherited or acquired characteristics. At first glance he can tell if it is a rotten case or a winner and, although in the course of the argument he may persuade himself that a different result is possible, most cases turn out exactly as you had thought they would in the first half hour after undoing the tape and opening the brief. Clearly cases and hands of bridge can be lost, just as lives can be thrown away, by carelessness, over-confidence, letting in unnecessary evidence, failing to lead out trumps or not noticing when the queen went. And the consequences of defeat can be mitigated. Skill and persuasion, in the vast majority of cases, can go no further: we are stuck with the cards we are dealt and have to act out, as well as we can, the lives which we have been allotted.
2. The Reporter

[PNJ, Saturday, July 22]
The former East Hill Christian School teacher admitted early on that she was guilty but testified Thursday that she loved the teen so much that she gave him her virginity. [emphasis added]
[PNJ, Friday, July 21]
Janelle Bird, 25, said she loved him so much that, despite a Pensacola Christian College education that preached against premarital sex, she gave him her virginity. [emphasis added]
Geneva Overholser, "What You Don't Know Will Hurt You: The Press and Public's Know-Nothing Pact"
Let's start with some of the reasons that the press holds its tongue and some of the things that you don't know because of this. We'll begin with squeamishness, prudishness, timidity and an overdeveloped fear of offending someone. The press is robbing you of a full understanding of what goes on around you because it is afraid to use certain words, afraid to tell it like it is in sex crimes, afraid to offend grieving loved ones.

It is precisely this sort of sensitivity that keeps us in the dark as a society, prevents our changing and precludes our addressing our problems adequately. * * * That sensitive editor is depriving you of an accurate picture of the world, and inhibiting our ability as a society to address our problems, and you shouldn't let him or her get away with it.

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