October 2008

No Body, No Trial? No Way!

by Diane Dimond on October 25, 2008

My mailbox is filling up with e-mails asking how prosecutors can try to convict someone of murder if no body has been found. Is it fair to proceed to trial without one? Without a body isn’t there always reasonable doubt about whether the person is really dead? What about the corpus delicti principle?

No body, no trial, right? Wrong.

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Dying To Be Entertaining

by Diane Dimond on October 18, 2008

Why Are We So Captivated?

Why Are We So Captivated?

When did murder become so entertaining?

Throughout history death has been the center of classic literature. Think Cain and Abel, Romeo and Juliet, Julius Caesar and Cleopatra. But there’s something very different about reading the great books and what passes for entertainment these days.

Take television for example where murder is served up as a nightly ritual. Law & Order, C.S.I., Cold Case, N.C.I.S.. Some have become so popular they’ve spawned their own spin-off shows.

But none takes murder to the level that Showtime’s Sunday night showpiece ‘Dexter’ does. The cable network has just announced the program broke a ratings record with total viewers jumping 21% over last year.

When Showtime first began airing ‘Dexter’ and then when it’s parent company CBS aired episodes on the network during the writers strike, some church groups spoke out about its storyline.

Now it’s my turn. [click to continue…]

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Helicopter Lawyers

by Diane Dimond on October 11, 2008

Tipping The Scales of Justice?

Tipping The Scales of Justice?

Ahem. I’d like to get the attention of the American Bar Association, please. While I’m at it, the attention of each of the State chapters of the ABA too.

Are you there? Good. Listen, at the risk of getting some of my lawyer friends mad at me I want to register a complaint about some of your members.

They are the lawyers who go on television to pontificate about court cases they have no connection to and have never sat in on.

As a veteran courthouse reporter I know how the game is played. The TV host needs someone to interview about a high-profile legal case and who better than a lawyer, right? No problem so far. We can all certainly benefit from a good and thoughtful lawyer’s legal perspective.

My complaint is about those attorneys who appear on television not to enlighten but to perform and to promote themselves. [click to continue…]

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OJ Guilty!

by Diane Dimond on October 4, 2008

I wondered if I would ever see this day. I’m glad I lived to see it. 13 years after his double murder acquittal and after 13 hours of juror deliberation – GUILTY, GUILTY, GUILTY, GUILTY, GUILTY, GUILTY, GUILTY, GUILTY, GUILTY, GUILTY, GUILTY, GUILTY.

As I recently wrote (see column below: OJ Simpson’s Baggage – Sept 20, 08) I’ve been reporting on the exploits of Orethal James Simpson since that day in June 1994 when I stood in the blood of his ex-wife Nicole and her friend Ron Goldman.

With his trusty, longtime defense attorney Yale Galanter at his side Simpson had maintained to a Las Vegas jury that it was okay for him to burst into a hotel room with a group of goons with guns and take back his memorabilia. And I’m sure deep in his heart he believes that. It was not an act – Simpson truly believes the world is out to get him and that he can operate under a different set of rules. He likely never thought that when he burst in and barked out the command that “No body leaves this room,” that that constitutes kidnapping. Kidnapping was one of the dozen charges Simpson was found guilty of committing.

Part of me says, “Finally! Justice has caught up with him.” What I really mean by that is that he’s finally going to be where he should have been 13 years ago after he murdered Nicole and Ron. But make no mistake about it. OJ Simpson is not going to prison for that. He’s going to prison because his escapade in that Vegas hotel room was caught on both audio and video tape and this time there was just no talking his celebrity way out of it.

I guess it doesn’t matter why he’s in prison. After his December 5th sentencing we may learn he’s in for what amouts to a life sentence. But if I’m the family of Nicole or Ron Goldman I’m not sure I’m feeling satisfied or particularly victorious.

There will be an appeal and as I predicted it will likely be based, in part, on the make-up of the all-white jury.

So be it. For now it feels good to say, “Mr. Simpson, meet Lady Justice…..”
~ DD

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Presidential Pardon Time

by Diane Dimond on October 4, 2008

This is the time in every outgoing President’s term where they pour over requests seeking Presidential pardons. I’m sure it’s no different for President George W. Bush as he gets set to vacate the White House.Those convicted of federal offenses – everything from white collar crimes to bank robbery – will have filed petitions by now, spelling out exactly why the nation’s Chief Executive should wipe clean their slate and restore to them the full rights of U.S. citizenship.

It is often a controversial and criticized exercise.

Take my on line poll at the end of the column ….

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