Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Trial Goes To The Jury

The local media don't do justice to what is happening in that courtroom.  In thirty seconds or a few paragraphs they can't really get into the meat of the matter. That's if they were in least interested in actually telling their readers/viewers what this trial is all about.

Judge Jones seems inclined to take the police at their word and to shut down any attempt to, as he puts it, "put the police on trial".  Given this situation the defense appears to be trying to say something like:  Even IF Ms. Mangum did set the fire the charge of arson is the wrong charge.  The defense in no way admits to anything but given that it seems to be off limits to challenge the police's version of events they are trying to show that even then the lighting of the fire doesn't rise to the level of arson.  In her closing argument Mani Dexter reminded the jury that there had been charges of Attempted Murder, Communicating Threats, and Identity Theft all of which had been dismissed.  Those were "over charges" she said and arson was an "over charge" as well and should have been dropped.  

Personally, I hate to see the police get off without being directly challenged on their lies.  There were many instances where the different police officers contradicted each other and even their own testimony so I have to assume the jury will see that they are lying.   The defense has chosen this strategy and I hope it works.

Two things stick out for me in this trial.  One is the mysterious appearance of that lighter in the pictures that the Fire Inspector couldn't seem to find when he looked for a source of the fire.  The other is the fact that Crystal was interrogated when she was clearly in pain and unmedicated for that pain from a lumbar puncture.  I call that torture!  She even asked at one point "It sounds like you want me to say I lit the fire" and she did just that while wincing in pain soon after.

Steven Matherly 

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