In this age of high profile trials and the ability to try and convict someone via social media, it’s hard to place a fair value on a good defense attorney.
My opinion that Jose Baez is a great lawyer was strengthened tonight in watching his hour-long appearance on Dr. Drew on HLN.
From the beginning of the Casey Anthony case, Drew Pinsky has been among the quickest to diagnose and convict Anthony although she has never been his patient. Throughout the trial he referred to her as a sociopath and compulsive liar, standing in judgement of her to an extent that for me undermines any credibility any of us assign to the profession of psychiatry.
Baez was on tonight to talk about his new book , Presumed Guilty. It hasn’t been released yet but he states that he obtained a release from attorney-client privilege from Casey Anthony to give his account of her defense and acquittal.
Despite the belittling stance of those calling in to the show, calling everything from Baez’s opening statements at trial “unethical” to questioning whether she was appropriately charged, Baez was as cool as a cucumber, again and again reiterating that a defense attorney’s job is “only” to raise reasonable doubt and not to prove the innocence of his client per se. He smoothly deflected and neutralized Dr. Drew and it’s about time.
Pinsky is cut of the addiction-treatment cloth, meaning that he has bought, hook line and sinker, the paradigm of the addict as diseased, powerless to help himself or herself and needing to be managed by “treatment” and “spiritual recovery.” He absolutely has a closed mind to the possibility that anything is other than he sees it in his hermetic, tunnel-visioned world. In opining as one of HLN’s media whores, he has inflicted harsh judgements upon Casey Anthony that would make a weaker woman cave in.
But back to Baez. The show took me back five years to my own arrest in 2007 for something I did not do and for which I was charged with kidnapping and assault under Colorado’s ramped up Domestic Violence laws.
The term Domestic Violence has taken hold in municipal and county systems across the country. In Colorado it is an umbrella moniker applied to any suspect incident between two intimate or formerly intimate partners and it stays on your record for all time whether or not you take a plea to a lesser charge. You can be charged with domestic violence for raising your voice or knocking over a chair.
One evening in 07 my companion and I had an argument about a kitten trapped under the house. He didn’t want to crawl under the house to get it and I needed for him to. Our argument escalated, we both became angry; he went for his keys and cell phone and I tried to stop him from leaving our home by blocking the door. He shoved me out of his way and as he left, I tossed an empty plastic water jug at him, which bounced off his back in the dark. It wasn’t a heavy jug, and I wasn’t proud of myself for throwing it.
Half an hour later two deputies paid me a visit. They badgered and interrogated me and one of them saw our two picnic coolers on the deck– these hadn’t been moved in years and were full of rain water, weighing about thirty pounds each. One deputy picked one up and said, “This is it. There’s water under it and it isn’t from me.” My partner, in anger, had contended I had thrown a picnic cooler at him, later realizing that this would have been impossible.
They wouldn’t listen to me and said they had probable cause for an arrest.I was handcuffed, taken to jail, booked and arraigned; I bonded out the next day on personal signature. I had been overcharged to force my hand in agreeing to a plea bargain and it worked.
My public defender did a good job and I was fine with fulfilling my disposition. I had been granted representation and due process and like everyone ever in this situation, just wanted to get it over with.
Not so fast. One of the many negatives about the committee appointed by the Colorado legislature to oversee DV treatment is that in recent years, they’ve been given the discretion, via the trifecta of the probation officer, the DA, and the treatment counselor, to modify the disposition after the fact.
In other words, despite the fact that my right to due process is iron-clad and inviolable, and that I took a deal in which I exchanged a guilty plea for a misdemeanor conviction and a 36 session course of treatment, what I agreed to could be–and was– arbitrarily changed.
This trend, in which the DA and Probation Department play therapist and essentially re-adjudicate your case, has defense attorneys in Colorado riled up, and with good reason. I am only one person among those whose sentences have been tampered with after the fact with attempts to ambush us into tougher, longer treatment for the waste basket diagnosis du jour.
I was very lucky in that I was able to have the rest of my case handled by an extremely talented public defender, committed to me and very angry about what had been attempted with me, who chastized the DA and probation officer in Court for depriving me of my due process rights. The Judge agreed. I ended up having a short course of therapy with someone I found on Craig’s list for thirty-five dollars a session and “the System” left me alone to get it done. It’s too bad for me, and for the State of Colorado and their professed concern for “recidivism” that they didn’t let me complete my original sentence– the thirty-six session class.
A back-story too involved, complicated and still-painful to relate is what I went through as a disabled woman attempting to find someone to work with me after the DA started playing games. I was forced to self-advocate for mobility accommodations; whenever I invoked the ADA and tried to explain it the provider would get pissed off and find some way to deny me access to treatment. It was a nightmare and I’m thrilled that it’s over with.
As I said, there’s no price tag on a good defense attorney. In my coverage on this blog of the Casey Anthony trial I was extremely angered by the machinations of the talking heads and the outright hatred toward Anthony displayed by the public. I did identify with her and how everything she did was scrutinized and interpreted in the most negative possible way by the the white trash in this country with nothing better to do than sit around bad-mouthing people. I have blogged that I believe her to be innocent of the murder of her daughter. I have never said, nor have those others who believe in her and in the defense team, that she doesn’t have issues up the wazoo, that her child could not have died as a result of her negligence, or that she wasn’t a liar, and neither has her lawyer.
According to Jose Baez, there were many things, including hours of depositions from examining psychologists and testimony excluded from being entered into evidence that the public does not know and will not know until his book launches. While he says that he needs, for himself, as a catharsis, to tell his story of being her attorney, I have no doubt that in the process he wants to put some of the rumors and pit-bull style attacks on Casey Anthony the person to rest. It was immensely interesting to me that he said that the Orlando deputies missed an opportunity to discern there being some things up with Anthony when she took them to Universal studios and then seemed to realize that she didn’t work there anymore.
One thing Drew Pinsky did, night after night, was to lament the fact that Casey Anthony never displayed any grief and that in the tapes hacked and published online that she made, i.e. her personal video diary, she never expressed regret for having killed her child.
This is rampant bullshit out of the mouth of a licensed psychiatrist who in saying such things, is giving his profession an even worse name than it already has. If Anthony is trying to live with an accident, why should she apologize? I’d say that her literal and figurative crucifixion by the American public and that she still has to live in fear for life, are punishment enough. I’d bet my hide on her having grieved, wept, and otherwise mourned her baby.
Meanwhile, anybody else out there ever had a bad argument? Let she who has never thrown anything–anything at all, in a moment of anger– cast the first stone.