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Thursday, May 5, 2011

I Love to Say I Told You So (Casey Anthony case)

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The post below is about the Casey Anthony case (young mother charged with murder of 2 year old) and how the judge in the case is trying to arm wrestle the media into submission.

As I predicted, the judge's actions have backfired. Some media are challenging him in court. Others, like hometown newspaper Orlando Sentinel, are picking up the gauntlet and flinging it back in his face, with a rapier edge slicing through the air as it flies. The Sentinel pointedly states that it will not sign the Austin Powers Super-decoder Secrecy Oath and therefore has no reason to join the appeal. They do, confidently and gleefully, mention they will pursue getting the information from other sources.

Let's see....there will be secretaries, janitors, clerks and, oh dear, lawyers involved in the information he's trying to keep hidden (he's trying to save himself a whole 12 hours????)....you think the Sentinel (and any number of other news outlets) will be able to suss out a weak link in the system?

Poor Judge Perry is turning this information into a prized plum that it doesn't merit being on its own. Jury selection is the most boring part of a trial, hands down. But he sprayed it with the glitter known as Authority Trampling on a Free Press and then taunted the tigers with it.

Tsk, tsk, tsk.

He should have just sealed the entire thing to all parties, without trying to entice in producers and editors with Such a Special Offer! like a used car salesman. If sealing the location was not an option available to him, he should just have sucked it up and dealt with the glorious free country he lives in. Would someone like InSession have done man-on-the-street interviews in that county? Possibly. But there are any number of remedies to discarding tainted and otherwise unacceptable potential jurors from the pool. That's what the questionnaires and voir dire are for.

Pssssst, let me lean in to whisper, your honor: lots of newspapers etc. would have found that story not worthy of resources. Plenty of them would have let the story die down for the few weeks it will take for jury selection and wait for opening arguments to rev up coverage again.

Alas, that blissful quiet time may be lost forever now, after the Double-Dawg Dare the media received from the bench.

The people who manipulate the media best are those who understand it. Judge Perry clearly doesn't understand reporters. Too bad he doesn't understand his First Amendment a little better, either.

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