Friday, January 20, 2012

The Week's Wrap-Up

I have met and spoke with some tremendous people across this country even in the few months this blog's been in business.  It wasn't until I spoke with Laura Amico from Homicide Watch that I really contemplated the media's role in my cases.  (You can check out the interviews with Laura here and here).

As you know, my caseload consists mainly of armed violent juveniles and gang prosecution.  Every case is unique and tells its own story.  How many of my cases are reported in the news?  One in one hundred.  How many are followed as intensely as Homicide Watch follows cases?  Zero.  I appreciate the minor media attention.  The more attention, the more scrutiny.

After speaking with Laura, I began observing the cases that are reported by the media.  It is usually a case with some sensational nugget - an elderly woman is assaulted, a man embezzles $100,000 from his church employer, or a drunk lawyer runs down a pedestrian.

I walked into the courtroom last week and passed the beat reporter for the courthouse.  We have a cordial relationship and I asked him what cases he was checking out.  (Secretly hoping it wasn't mine).  He was reporting on a DWI fatality hearing and waiting for a jury to return on a rape trial.

As I went in court and watched two defendants arraigned for murders, another arraigned for an armed robbery of a cab driver where he pulled the trigger at the driver's head but it miraculously didn't fire, and the felony gun and drug offender being sentenced, I thought about their stories.  I thought about the victim's stories.  How the cab driver could ever work again knowing what happened.  How the family of the defendant copes when their loved one is called a murderer in public.  How the victim advocate who hasn't slept since the day before because she was out all night tending to new victims at the hospital manages.  What about the prosecutor that has to call a victim of a brutal rape and tell her she must testify again because an appellate court reversed a conviction on a technical issue that had nothing to do with the trial?

There are stories to be told in every case.  Homicide Watch is telling them.  I am not seeking more attention in my cases, but I appreciate the job they are doing.  They are providing information to the public that is accessible in a way it never was before and at the same time holding those in law enforcement accountable.

What type of information would you like to know about a case as it moves toward trial?  Do you have any frustrations in the way homicides are reported in your city?  What type of cases garner your interest?

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