This is an article on TBO.com. 4000+ pages of discovery in this case was released to the press. They claim to be reviewing it. That means that a bunch of untrained non-lawyers, who have no interest in protecting any amendment to the Constitution other than the right to a free press, are going to cull the dark recesses of the documents to find nuggets to blast all over the internet in order to increase hits and consequently sell more ad space.
Am I mad? Yes. I am mad. They have no right to “review” these documents in order to sell copy (or clicks). They have no right to choose what facts are true and which are not. They have no right to pre-try this case in the court of public opinion. They have no right to stomp on any defendant’s right to a fair trial.
Do I believe in freedom of the press? Yes, I do. I have been quoted by the Tampa Tribune as such:
In the case of Jaymee Wallace, the former Wharton High School coach accused of having sex with a female player, defense attorney Joe Bodiford wants a chance to argue to the judge against releasing specific discovery materials if he believes they’re inflammatory, irrelevant or an invasion of privacy. Bodiford says he’s in favor of a free press, but has to balance that with his client’s right to a fair trial. As her advocate, it’s reasonable that he’d ask. Sue Carlton, Tampa Tribune, December 5, 2005.
I still believe that there is a GREAT deal at risk, and in high profile cases, a balance that has to be struck between the press and the defendant’s rights. As Judge Roy Bean, the old West judge of 19th century fame (a.k.a. “The Law West of the Pecos”) said, “give ‘em a fair trial, then hang ‘em.” While I bristle and the rush to the gallows, I have to commend the “Hangin’ Judge”’s take on the right to a trial. Make it fair. Releasing the evidence and plastering it all over the place before a trial – so potential jurors can see it – ain’t fair.
Now it is up to you, gentle readers, to ignore whatever biased, slanted, ridiculous spin that the local media puts on their “review” of the case file. Take it with a grain of salt. Better yet, DONT READ IT. Resist the temptation to fall into the line of lemmings created by the press. That way if you are selected as a juror in the case, you can listen fairly and unbiasedly to the evidence presented in a court of law.
Finally, I dare any member of the local media to challenge me on this. I dare you. Call me, e-mail me, stop me in the courthouse. When you do, bring your facts with you. Bring your arguments with you. And be sure to be able to explain why the “freedom of the press” is more important than the Sixth Amendment right to a FAIR public trial. I’m waiting. . . .
Here’s their “article”: Dee Dee Moore: I didn’t kill lottery winner Shakespeare