This morning I began to write a post on the Casey Anthony trial. I started writing about my disgust over the media coverage. I stopped because I figured too many people would not be able to separate my thoughts about this case from what's currently going on in the Rakofsky circus.
People would ask how I could write about my opinions on the coverage of the Casey Anthony trial, my thoughts that the pounding on the defense is just disgusting, when I have been part of the commentary on the Rakofsky matter. I realized quickly that the difference is that I am a defendant in the Rakofsky case, and my commentary in his underlying case is post-trial. I'm not commenting from afar on an ongoing trial.
But I stopped. I went to work. Then, coincidentally, I got a call from the media, asking for an interview on the Casey Anthony trial. I called back too late. They found someone else. I had no doubt. Lawyers have been chomping at the bit to comment on this case. Lawyers have turned commentary into careers. I didn't want to give the interview. Was it because both defense counsel Jose Baez and Cheney Mason are friends of mine? Partially. I believe in friendship and loyalty, and I'm not going to exchange my mug on national TV for a friendship. There are those that don't believe in friendship over their own ego.
But the main reason I didn't want to give the interview? The case is ongoing. I believe in fair trials, and I believe in the sanctity of the system. I know the jury is sequestered, but leaks happen. In a society where just being a lawyer makes one a "legal expert," I choose to take a pass.
In the legal profession it has always been taboo to attack one of your own, especially in your backyard. Many an out of town lawyer has been retained to go after a local lawyer because "no one in town will take the case." In Orlando, they all hate Jose Baez - the lawyers, and the media.
Some of the "reporting" by the local Orlando media is disgraceful. No one cares about fair trials anymore, it's all about the opinions, the "bombshells," and the guessing about what a jury will believe. Few of the commentators have ever tried a death penalty case, but no one asks, nor cares.
Of course I have opinions about the case, about what I see going on in court. But this is not theatre, this is not a punching bag for the local defense bar to hit throughout the day. Have some damn dignity, let the trial go on - tell the media that you will not be a part of the frenzy. You walk the halls of the criminal justice system and using a life or death moment for your own fame is indefensible.
You want to educate the public - do that. Do not use the time or microphone and camera to play contrarian to your brother of the bar just to gain favor with the vultures of the media that have already decided that the defendant is guilty.
This is the interview I will give. Any takers?
Non-anonymous comments welcome.Brian Tannebaum is a criminal defense lawyer in Miami, Florida practicing in state and federal court, and the author of The Truth About Hiring A Criminal Defense Lawyer. Post to Twitter
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