Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Glen Beck's Importance To The Duke Rape Case

So this is the criminal defense blog, and today because one of the biggest embarrassments in the criminal justice system ended, I guess I'm supposed to say something about it.

But I want to talk about Glen Beck, because besides the important statements of the North Carolina Attorney General, the officials at Duke University, and the former defendants, Glen Beck asked some important questions this morning on his radio show.

He passionately and repeatedly asked why the civil rights leaders of America are not more vocal about what happened to these students.

I laughed, and no Glen, I wasn't laughing at you, I was laughing at the notion that people really care enough about what happened today to do anything.

With the advent of DNA, innocent people are exonerated more and more, yet where is the outrage? There is some, but it is insignificant.

Today, we are all about Law and Order, both on and off TV.

I recently came back from a trip with my kids to Colonial Williamsburg. You know what the longest line was for? The restaurants? The re-enactments of battles and other historical meetings? The demonstration of how they made chocolate? No, the longest line was for the trial in the courthouse.

As a criminal lawyer, everywhere I go I am asked about whether I watch "Law and Order." Why is there so much excitement over Fred Thompson running for President? Is it that he's a strong leader, smart on policy issues? No, he's on "Law and Order."

We are all about Law and Order. Glen Beck, you know that it is the media pundits like Nancy Grace and others that have "taught" us that the Constitutional Presumption of Innocence is for the courtroom only. Not for the general public when watching TV, or out socializing. Many a time I have heard media pundits say "I don't have to presume him innocent."

We savor the downfall of people in this country. We are told that "guilty" means guilty and "not guilty" does not mean innocent.

We in America have no interest in the innocent, only the guilty. When someone is arrested, it is front page news, most of the time when exonerated, except in the Duke or other high profile cases, it is on the back page, if it is published at all.

You watch Glen, there will be people that will profess the guilt of these poor destroyed boys regardless of what happened today. Some in the media, who are the only "teachers" of law that some people have, will create an atmosphere that will allow a great deal of people to say "well, I still think they're guilty."

There is little respect for the criminal justice system in our country anymore. TV has taught us to believe that everyone's guilty and they are guilty in an hour.

I think I heard you Glen crying out for those who should scream at the top of their lungs about this case as an example of the horrors of injustice.

I'm listening, but I don't hear much.

Will Sanjaya win American Idol?

Brian Tannebaum is a criminal defense attorney in Miami, Florida practicing in state and federal court. To learn more about Brian and his firm, Tannebaum Weiss, please visit