Her lawyers tried to withdraw – this week.
Under the circumstances I can’t imagine this was a sound professional move, regardless of how difficult she has been or is being. I’ve been wrong second guessing them before, though, so for now I’m just posting the fact of it. I’ll leave the commentary to others, of which there seems to be an abundant supply.
Apparently there are reports of witnesses being harassed and threatened, and at present there’s a wild and evidently blood thirsty throng outside the courthouse reveling in the idea of killing her. I’d say it was like a culture gone pagan but, you know, some pagans were civilized.
Legally, are we dealing with a denial of due process here? Read Moore v. Dempsey and tell us what you think.
Update: I don’t want to pick on her lawyers, and who knows maybe nothing would have made any difference here because what is going on is not rational. But still, my approach to this would have been so different. I think you have two PD’s here who follow the conventional defense wisdom. The conventional defense wisdom means you lose, because that is what defendants are supposed to do. Often the only question is how badly do you lose.
Having the death penalty hovering out there is a lot of pressure. And in high pressure situations people often revert to their training, which is keep control of your client, keep your distance from your client, don’t get too “personally involved” in the case, whatever that means. In any event, the death sentence is nerve wracking, but it seems to me you have to ignore it. You can get bogged down deciding between this or that tactical move or this or that strategy, or figuring out who benefits from this or who benefits from that.
A long time ago I decided that this kind of approach is too confusing, too speculative as to what would result from it, and beyond that didn’t feel right.
So I more or less begin with: What is the truth here? What is the right thing to do, based on that?
Much simpler generally, though not always.
In any case, once you figure that out all the strategy and tactics fall into place, and you don’t worry – or at least worry as little as you can – about who benefits and who loses, because nobody really knows how it’s all going to pan out beforehand anyway.
You don’t always, or maybe even often, of course, arrive at the exact truth. But you get as close an approximation as you can. Many times you wind up agreeing with the prosecution, and then generally a deal can be struck. That’s just the reality. The system is good on that level.
But sometimes you disagree completely with the prosecution. I think the advantage of the approach I take to these things in that case is that I have a scenario I’m comfortable with, that I believe in, and that I can then go to work very systematically to advance to the maximum extent the system will let me.
I’m guessing that the defense lawyers here subscribe to the standard defense lawyer philosophy that nothing is really true, that even if it is it would be unknowable, that the only things that exist in the system is “evidence” that is in and of itself meaningless unless and until arguments are made about it. And then the most persuasive arguer wins.
This winds up putting arguments over evidence, and instead of letting the evidence tell you where to go, you wind up trying to force an interpretation onto the evidence. Ironically, this is frequently where the police go wrong.
And the judges? Most of them are slaves to power. (Well, maybe not this lady.) When a case is before them where there is a significant power differential – and every criminal case is such a case – most judges are impervious to evidence. It doesn’t matter in the slightest to them.
It would be nice to get back to a system, if we ever had one, where evidence led the considerations in a case and controversy. People are finding out how far we have fallen from that better reality, even as we know that it might never have been as real as it looms now in the imaginations of some of us.
Appreciate all the commenters here.