Archives for category: justice

Hi, Casey.

It’s me again.

Your voice of reason.

You thought I had forgotten, right?

Wrong.

It’s on this date six years ago in an Orlando courtroom, in front of people you didn’t know from Adam’s housecat told the world that you didn’t kill your daughter Caylee.

When you got out of the Orange County Jail, with Jose Baez behind you, it was the end of a trial that divided a community and almost earned you a trip to Florida’s death row.

There were some things that we discussed that you needed to take care of. Think of it as your Herculean Labors, so to speak.

First, get rid of the tat. “La Vida Loca” doesn’t quite work for you. Let’s get to a dermotologist and have that taken care of. It makes you a target, whether you know it or not.

Second, get right with George and Cindy and Lee. Remember them, your parents and your brother, the same people that almost threw you under the bus? Get that taken care of, please. They’re not getting any younger, you know. Beside, if Lee has kids, it would be nice to know they have an aunt.

Third, get the tubes tied. You’re not exactly “mother of the year” material. You having another child? BAD idea, given what you’ve gone through.

Fourth, that book that we hope you’re going to write and or that interview you’re going to eventually give one day? Please do it. The world needs to hear your side of the story and you deserve to tell it. Just be truthful, be honest and be forthcoming. You can profit from it as well, since you’ve been found not guilty.

Fifth, the issues you’ve been having with Jose Baez? Enough. Please. Stop biting the hand that kept you out of death row. It’s bad for business.

We’re not asking you to turn water into wine, Casey. We’re not even going to ask you to walk on water. Those two tasks have already been done by someone else.

Six years, Casey. America watched a trial that was better than most soap operas. It was a case that showcased our American justice system. Was it perfect? No. There was some chippiness between the state and Baez. There were some concern that the trial would even have a jury that would be fair and impartial and had to go to Pinellas County (Clearwater) to select that jury. As stated earlier, those people didn’t know you from Adam’s housecat. They did a job that no one in your community was willing to do fairly.

Casey, if you do even one of these things (assuming you haven’t already), it’s a win for you. You’ve been called cold, callous, aloof, a liar and the word that rhymes with witch. You’re not perfect and then again, none of us are. Caylee’s dead and that’s not going to change. Just tell us what happened. There’s not going to be a retrial of any kind because you’re protected by the Constitution.

So celebrate your freedom, love. Just remember that if you’ve started on some of these tasks, great; if not, get moving. The clock is ticking. Your parents aren’t getting any younger and for that matter, neither are you.

To paraphrase Hanibal Lecter, “tick, tock, Casey.”

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It’s been five years, Casey. Five years since you appeared in front of America in that Orange County Courtroom, charged with the murder of your daughter Caylee. Five years since your attorney Jose Baez went all the way to Clearwater to select a jury that would decide your fate. Five years ago, you were the star in the “trial of the century,” a trial that got underway in May and finished on July 5th, the day after America celebrated its independence.

Five years ago, that jury that was taken from their homes in Pinellas County decided your fate and told the world that you didn’t do it.

Here it is, five years later and some still think of you as the most hated woman in American history since Mary Mallon (Typhoid Mary) or Tokyo Rose. Five years ago, some called you cold.

Callous.

Aloof.

Some would even go so far as to call you a bitch.

That’s their right and opinion. Just say.

In my last two columns to you, I made some suggestions that I hope you are working on or will work on.

First, the “Dolce Vita” tat. Get rid of it. It makes you look like a target and I’m sure that there’s someone that’s out there that wants to do you harm. That tat? Sticks out like a zit on a teenager’s face before prom.

Second, take care of the mental and physical health issues and that includes getting the tubes tied. You’re not exactly mother material and you make Joan Crawford look like Mother of the Year.

Third, make peace with the parents and your brother Lee. While the ‘rents almost threw you under the bus, it was Lee that got your bacon out of the fire. He’s married now and recently became a father, which means that you need to be a good aunt to your niece or nephew. As for George and Cindy, they’re not getting any younger (and neither are you), so it’s good if you made peace with them while they’re above ground, not while they’re being lowered in a grave in a casket.

Fourth, it’s time to tell your story. Let me say it LOUDLY. TELL YOUR STORY and be honest and forthcoming about everything. If you choose to go the talk show route, that’s fine but be honest. A good talk show host, such as Dr. Phil, can see through a lie in a heartbeat. Same goes if you decide to write a book. We want to know what happened to Caylee, good or bad. Put the cards on the table, push the chips in the middle of the table and go all in. I’d also apologize to the people at Universal Studios. They’re not exactly happy with their name being dragged through the mud.

You didn’t exactly go scott free. There was the issue of the cops being lied to. Not the smartest move, chica. I mean, what the hell were you thinking? For that, you lost four years of your life and $4,000. Think about it. If you had been forthcoming with the fuzz, this might have never seen the light of day.

So now you’re sort of working as a photographer and that’s good, launching your own photography business called Case Photography but having a few projects here and there. You’re still living in the Sunshine State and getting some financial support from your dream team. Your dating life? Stinking like road kill, some would say and you’ve only been on a few dates since the not guilty verdict. While you’re not exactly rolling in dough, you’re doing okay.

You could do better.

Casey, you’re not getting any younger. You don’t have any friends your age that can relate to you and some have bailed on your because of the dark cloud that hangs over you like Eeyore. The relationship with the parents and your brother Lee is rocky at best but it can be repaired. You have to take the first step and if that means all four of you getting in a car and driving somewhere to talk things out (not yell, cuss or call names) and get everything out in the open.

Five years ago, a jury of your peers listened to testimony and saw evidence in the trial that could have sent you to Florida’s Death Row. That jury told the state of Florida that they didn’t prove their case BEYOND a reasonable doubt and said you were NOT GUILTY. Be open. Be fair. The most important thing? BE HONEST. You’ve already answered to a court on Earth. It would stink to be you in front of St. Peter.

The clock is ticking, Casey. The next move is yours.

Don’t blow it.

Christmas came.

Christmas went.

The gifts were opened, the toys played with over and over again until either the batteries died or they were broken.

For 20 families in Newtown, Connecticut, there were 20 less children playing with toys. 20 less children filled with joy and glee over the gift they had been writing Santa to and bugging their parents about. 20 less little angels trying to get peeks at Santa to see if he’s real and the reindeer fly.

December 14 of 2012 for some of us was just another school day. It marked the one week period to Christmas break. It was a normal day for some until a madman came in and destroyed the peace and quiet of Sandy Hook Elementary School.

On that day, 20-year-old shooter Adam Lanza terrorized the town 49 miles south of Hartford, with a Bushmaster AR-15 rifle — killing 20 schoolchildren, six school staffers, his mother and himself. The town’s quiet downtown Main Street has been stripped of any ribbons, memorials and mementos of that horrible day.

Adam Lanza was no Santa Claus that day. Adam Lanza was more like the Grinch and Scrooge rolled into one. But unlike Lanza, even the Grinch and Scrooge had a heart and soul and knew that their actions were wrong and chose to make the change. They chose to listen to their better angels. Adam Lanza? He did not.

Few memories are left of that day. The house where Lanza started his murder spree when he shot and killed his mother is gone. Torn down, never to rise again. However, there is hope and like the mythical bird the Phoenix, on the site of the Sandy Hook Elementary school, a new elementary is rising where the old one was knocked down. After becoming a crime scene, the old Sandy Hook Elementary was razed in 2013 and last week construction workers were building a new school on the same Dickinson Drive property. The new building is rising near where the old one stood but not in its exact footprint — the plan is to leave the tragic site as green space. The flagpole from the old school will be the only relic of the place where the attack happened.

“No one is going to forget what happened,” said George Marnelakis, who owns the Blue Colony Diner in town. He told the Hartford Courant, “We don’t need reminders. I don’t think anyone wants to talk about it. The families want to heal.” One of Newtown’s few markers for those lost three years ago is an angel statue standing near St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church, where many of the funerals were held.

Retired Newtown Police Officer Mike Brokaw, 60, recently took a minute to reflect in front of the small monument, known as the “Angel of Hope.” Someone had placed white flowers in the angel’s outstretched hands. “I remember when the call came in. I ran over there,” he said. “It was a hard thing to even fathom. It was an unbelievable scenario.”

While 20 children died, let’s not forget the six adults at the school that tried to save the children that were in their care. They took the term “in loco parentis” to the highest of heights, standing up to Lanza and dying in their efforts to save those that were injured and keep the death toll down.

In a few days or so, schools will reopen for the second half of the school year. A few days after that will be MLK Day, then Valentine’s Day, then Spring, Easter and the last day of school. For some, when that last day of school comes, children will leave and enjoy their Summers off. That will not be the case for the 20 that died that Friday morning in Newton. They were innocent victims that probably didn’t know Adam Lanza from any other adult that walked through that school.

20 fewer children and six fewer adults celebrated Christmas on this Earth December 25th in Newtown, Connecticut. Adam Lanza’s actions that day if nothing else should tell us that it is time that we have a discussion about gun control, even if it means that one side would have to be taken to the table kicking and screaming. This was no hoax, it wasn’t staged and there wasn’t a director yelling “cut” a the end. It was real. Let me say it again, it was REAL and people that didn’t need to die or deserve to die did so. It’s time that the NRA join the rest of us in the real world and take some form of responsibility, not washing their hands like Pilate.

This is not about taking guns away from those that purchase them legally, it’s about keeping them out of the hands of those that don’t need or deserve them.

Adam Lanza was irresponsible that morning. He knew right from wrong and chose wrong. Adam Lanza could have faced justice and probably would have been treated fairly. He probably would have been punished but he would have been treated fairly. Instead, Adam Lanza chose to take himself out by shooting and eventually killing himself.

Newton continues to move on. What happened cannot be undone. You can’t un-ring a bell, as the saying goes. Jesus said “Blessed are those who mourn, they will find comfort.” For the 20 children and six adults that died that December morning, they celebrated Christmas in Heaven with the angels.

Like the scene in Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” there were empty chairs. Those 20 children will never grow up and have the experience of seeing their own children get up on Christmas morning. Adam Lanza may have taken the physical and he may have taken the emotional but he failed at taking the spirit of Christmas. Adam Lanza’s name hopefully will never be uttered again in that town, unless a swear word follows it. He deserves our scorn and anger.

God bless us, everyone.

It’s the strangest twist of fate in the history of twists of fate. Two murder trials 123 years apart in the same town and the same courthouse.

The Aaron Hernandez murder trial got underway today with opening arguments just three days before Super Bowl 49, where Hernandez’ former team is in Glendale, Arizona taking on the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks.

Fall River, Massachusetts is about 36 miles away from Foxboro, where Hernandez and Tom Brady connected on passes. It’s also the home of another famous murder suspect that was the Casey Anthony of her day.

Lizzie Borden.

Yep.

THAT Lizzie Borden.

The same Lizzie Borden that alledgedly killed her father and step-mother with an axe in that now-famous (or infamous) poem. According to ledgend, Borden hacked her step-mother (who she didn’t get along with) 40 times. Later, when her father came home, she whacked him 41 times.

Because of that crime that took place in 1892, the trial was moved to nearby New Bedford and attracted global media attention, which helped turn it into one of the most well known who-done-its in history.

The house where the deed was done is said to have been haunted and has been turned into a bed and breakfast that welcomes guests and gives tours.

The Bristol County Superior Court, where the Hernandez trial is taking place, sits across the street from Lizzie Borden’s house. Hernandez has been charged with the murder of former semi-professional player Odin Lloyd as well as weapons possession.

Like Anthony, Borden, was acquitted. A lack of a murder weapon, no eyewitness testimony, an absence of what would qualify as “forensic evidence” of the day and potentially damning clues that were excluded by the judge are cited for her beating the rap. Public sentiment wasn’t kind to Borden, like it was to Anthony but officially she walked.

Lee-ann Wilber, proprietor of the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast Museum, told the Boston Globe and the Associated Press that “I always take the middle ground when asked. I don’t know if she did it but I think she was involved. I think
she knew who did it.”

Could we see history repeat itself? the Borden home has a front-row view of the latest celebrity trial and across the street from the house that was the scene of a murder so strange not even J.B. Fletcher could solve it, Aaron Hernandez is trying to give his side of the story.

Based on pretrial court documents, his defense team, led by Charles Rankin and James Sultan, may employ many Lizzie-like arguments.

Like the Borden trial, they could not find the ax that did the deed and prosecutors have yet to produce the .45 caliber Glock pistol that they allege was used to murder Lloyd behind an industrial park in North Attleboro near Hernandez’s McMansion in June of 2013.

If the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is to get a conviction, it will have to do so on mostly circumstantial evidence, albeit what appears to be overwhelming circumstantial evidence.

Wilber said that while this is going to be an interesting trial, she’s not making any predictions. While some are on the side of Hernandez, others are saying “Fry him.”

Hernandez, who was cut by the Patriots after his arrest, will have a jury of his peers to decide his fate and those are the only opinions that matter. 12 of 18 jurors were seated Monday before the area was blasted by winter storm Juno that delayed opening statements a couple days. The jury of 13 women and five men, pulled from an initial pool of
1,000, were asked about everything from their NFL rooting interests to their views on tattoos. All 18 will hear testimony, with 12 eventually cited to make the decision.

Superior Court Judge E. Susan Garsh said the case is expected to run between six and 10 weeks. Hernandez is also facing weapons charges and the prosecution is expected to call Patriots owner Robert Kraft and coach Bill Belichick, both of whom are in Glendale, Arizona preparing for the Super Bowl, so they will not testify this week and even that’s not a certainty of them making an appearance as the benefit they pose to the commonwealth is uncertain – they obviously held a
positive opinion of Hernandez due to the fact they gave him a huge contract before being charged in this case.

It’s different world between what Lizzie Borden lived in and what Aaron Hernandez is in now. There was no CNN or Nancy Grace in 1892 and the only way America found out about what happened in Fall River was the telegraph.

Aaron Hernandez at least has satellite trucks posting up in snow banks and Internet connections whipping testimony out instantaneously.

A twist of fate 123 years in the making in a place where a woman who basically snapped and alledgedly killed her father and step-mother is now the site of a former NFL star that even if he is found not guilty saw his football career come to an end.

The jury system worked 123 years ago. It’s not perfect but at least Hernandez will get a fair trial. Superior Court Judge E. Susan Garsh said the case is expected to run between six and 10 weeks.

There’s one more thing… if you’re thinking about attending the trial, you might want to leave the NFL and sports stuff at home. The same presiding judge judge has issued an order saying that no one wearing New England Patriots or National Football League apparel will be allowed in the courtroom. “No person wearing clothing or a button or other object attached to clothing or carrying an object that displays any Patriots or other NFL team logo, football-related insignia or words and/or photograph that relate in any way to
this case will be permitted entry to the Fall River Justice Center during any phase of the trial,” the December 12 order from Judge E. Susan Garsh reads. 20 seats will be allocated to members of the public, along with another 20 for members of the news media. There will also be seating set aside for the Hernandez’s family or friends and Odin Lloyd’s family or friends.

Lizzie Borden. Aaron Hernandez. They are separated by 126 years in time. Borden was found not guilty and was the target of scorn. Could history repeat itself?

There’s no way of knowing.