I printed a column warning that media policy of this George Floyd trial of Derek Chauvin was dangerously faulty and slanted. The concern was that the people wasn’t being informed of strong defense arguments that would be used in the trial. The threat is that any acquittal or hung jury would then come as an even greater surprise — leading to more rioting and violence. The policy of the final day of this trial only magnified those worries as legal specialists and journalists appeared more put on advocating than reporting about the underlying issues.
These concerns were evident within minutes of this defense beginning its closing argument. Defense lawyer Eric Nelson did a remarkably good job in protecting his client. However, CNN’s senior legal advisor, Laura Coates declared”Defense begins the closing by demonstrating reasonable doubt, not with why #DerekChauvin is naive. Consider that.”
Many of us did”consider that,” particularly those of us that are criminal defense lawyers.
My guess is that over 90% of defense arguments begin with defining reasonable doubt because it’s the framing standard for prosecution choice. It is the digital mantra of this defense. We begin by reminding the prosecution of its own burden, particularly if a prosecutor has given a much more fluid comprehension of that standard. The last thing you need to do as a criminal defense lawyer is to imply that the jury must concentrate on whether or not a defendant is innocent. The burden is on the prosecutor to show that he is guilty. The defense does not need to prove a thing for acquittal. As highlighted by Judge Peter Cahill (along with most of American judges), the prosecution must concentrate of the burden of evidence shouldered by the prosecution. The defendant is presumed innocent… at least outside CNN.
Just like Coates, Alcindor went on assault the moment the defense rose to create its closing argument. This argument will be in direct contradiction to the prosecution’s case which says consider the eyes, Chauvin’s knee murdered Floyd.”
The statement is so bizarre that it is breathtaking. Alcindor appears aggrieved that the defense had the temerity to directly contradict the prosecution over the question of guilt.
The coverage has been striking from the glowing reports of the prosecution’s closing arguments rather than this criticism of this defense. More to the point, the policy shows very little concern over the rights of criminal defendants or appreciation for the position of defense counsel.
We saw the exact same trend during the Trump Administration when authorized specialists adopted ridiculously comprehensive interpretations of criminal provisions in a blind obsession to locate any way to charge Donald Trump or his family. Some of us from the defense team cautioned how dangerous such interpretations are — and the way they ignored both the component and controlling case law. Legal specialists dismissed abuses revealed in prior investigations between defendants such as Michael Flynn along with Carter Page. They dismissed the consequences of crossing definitions of crimes like obstruction or even the Logan Act. They defended judicial prejudice when it worked against Trump officials.
The most crucial aspect for this tendency is that legal analysis was once largely immune from these prejudice that is open. I have worked as a television analyst for thirty years on various networks. I have viewed as authorized analysts in both print and television have been a part of this echo journalism version — offering reassuring evaluation for viewers who want continual reaffirmation of their political preferences. We have now lost any semblance of or neutrality. That is in accordance with the tendency in journalism in large in which there are growing requirements for advocacy in mathematics. Including professors rejecting the concept of objectivity in mathematics in favour of available advocacy. Much Columbia Journalism Dean along with New Yorker author Steve Coll denounced the way the First Amendment right to freedom of speech has been”weaponized” to protect disinformation. The effect yet has been the steady decrease in trust for the media.
The price of this bias can be ignored.
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