Blather From The Cable Jurors – The Day

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[b]Blather From The Cable Jurors[/b] By TIM RUTTEN Published on 6/18/2005 If you hang around a courthouse long enough, one of the things you learn is that people willing to predict a jury’s verdict are the sort who take stock tips from their barbers. These days, however, the news organizations most preoccupied with sensational trials are the cable television news outlets, and they are creatures of appetite rather than principle or even brute experience. … Thus, the broadcast farce in the 90 speculative minutes preceding Michael Jackson’s acquittal in Santa Maria Monday. On Court TV, which routinely uses everything but card stunts to cheer on the prosecution in whatever case it’s covering, those one-time prosecutors turned Valkyrie anchors, Nancy Grace and Kimberly Guilfoyle, unhesitatingly predicted conviction. Over on CNN — that’s big CNN, the one that’s still mostly respectable — defense attorney Robert Shapiro flatly stated, “He’s going to be convicted.” Meanwhile, the analysts on MSNBC hedged their bets a bit by parsing the various combinations of conviction and acquittal Jackson might receive. No equivocation at Fox, though, where former prosecutor Wendy Murphy confidently predicted “there is no question we will see convictions here.” So what happened when Jackson was acquitted on all counts? Red faces? Second thoughts? A little soul-searching, perhaps? Maybe one expression of regret for the rush to judgment? Naaawww. The reaction, instead, was rage liberally laced with contempt and the odd puzzled expression. Its targets were the jurors. “Not guilty by reason of celebrity,” shrieked Court TV’s Guilfoyle. “Pretty amazing stuff,” sighed her colleague Catherine Crier. “We need IQ tests for jurors,” snarled Fox’s Murphy, who also promptly dubbed Jackson, “the Teflon molester.” … During a discussion of one juror’s remarks, Grace’s guest, psychoanalyst Bethany Marshall, interjected, “This is a woman who has no life. She is like a stalker.” Surely it’s only a matter of time until one of these managed-care outfits hires away the remarkable group of psychiatrists and psychologists cable news has recruited. What better way to hold down medical costs than to employ therapists with the ability to diagnose people they’ve never met — from 3,000 miles away. … What’s really at issue here is the fact that the way the cable news operations have elected to conduct their business threatens the integrity of the jury system itself. Nobody who does not sit through every day of every witness’ testimony in a trial really has an opinion about it worth hearing. Even then, only those who consider that testimony with the ears of a juror mindful of their oath and attentive to the trial judge’s instructions can speak with real authority. Everything else is blather — entertaining blather, perhaps, but dangerous, too. [url=]Read full article[/url] Source: (free subscription required)

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