Lights! Camera! Action! — Cue the Judge

“We the People” have lost all sense of decency when it comes to high-profile trials. Michael Jackson, Kobe Bryant, Scott Peterson, Martha Stewart – like them or not, our legal system guarantees them a fair trial, presumption of innocence and an impartial jury. Because of our insatiable appetite for courtroom drama, none will receive the trial they, the victims and their families deserve. These trials have become reality shows. Grab the popcorn, Honey, for someone is about to be sentenced to death!

Sure, I watched the OJ trial with a certain morbid fascination. But, enough is enough. We’ve gotten to the point where the Amber Freys of the world hire Gloria Alred to sit on TV shows for months to boost impending book and movie deals. High-profile trials haven’t just become media events, they’ve become big money makers. While FNC makes my “A” list when it comes to the MSM, they have pandered to this trend more than other networks. Call me paranoid, but is it any coincidence that a Murdock company published both Frey’s and Peterson’s half-sister’s books?

It looks like FNC’s heading down the same road with the Jackson trial. Saturday night, both Rita Cosby and Geraldo Rivera spent a good bit of their shows focused on Jackson’s trial. Geraldo tried to convince the viewers that MJ was not only innocent, but a victim of wrongful — nay, vengeful — prosecution. In this country, that decision is left to 12 (hopefully) impartial jurors who have listened to all the evidence – not the pre-trial hype.

The phenomenon has produced some frightening consequences. Talking heads on TV speculate over the guilt of the defendant before the trial is even over. Crowds generate a lynch mob atmosphere like that outside the Peterson trial. Potential jurors yearn for the opportunity to sit on a jury which promises national media coverage. And, what victim and/or their family wants a microphone thrust in their face every time they walk out of their home or the courtroom? They are going through the absolute worst time of their lives. Shouldn’t we afford them a little dignity in their pain?

Is it too optimistic to hope we can rein in our baser instincts in the pursuit of justice? Don’t blame the media or publishers; they only “sell” what we “buy.” The fault is ours. We have collectively lost respect for our legal system. It’s time to take the trial out of our living rooms and put it back in the courtroom – where it belongs.



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2 Responses to “Lights! Camera! Action! — Cue the Judge”

  1. Adam says:

    It probably began with the Peoples Court, and the gazillion other spinoffs that have come after it. The first court room I’d ever been in for a real case was a few months back when the Arkansas Democrats sued Nader and Camejo. It was pretty interesting and different than anything they want you to see on TV. The OJ trial was probably just the straw that broke the camels back. It’s hard to believe it was so long ago now.

  2. Thanks for the info that a Murdock company published the Peterson case books. That’s really interesting. I really can’t hold anything against Amber Frye because if I ever get my 15 minutes of fame I plan to make the most of it. (And this post will come back to haunt me:)