Archive for January, 2009

George Anthony and the Women in His Life

January 23, 2009

I wanted to reflect a little on the recent developments in the Caylee Anthony case. Although I will reserve my opinions on the actions of the entire family I feel I have to comment on the father, George Anthony. January 22 George Anthony allegedly attempted suicide in a hotel room and was committed to a facility for observation.

George Anthony is a retired police officer from Ohio. Given this fact and the fact that he has endured much emotional upheaval since the discovery of his Granddaughters disappearance I am not surprised at these events. The reason I mention his occupation is one has to account for his experience in these types of cases.

In light of the recent release of 300+ documents in the investigation of his Granddaughters death Mr. Anthony must have had some terrible revelations regarding how this tragedy occurred. This coupled with his testimony in the Grand Jury hearing into his daughters arrest has got to be an almost unbearable feeling of hopelessness.

One has to give credit to Mr. Anthony’s moral values in that he testified to things that did not shed a good light on his daughter, but non-the-less were his version of what he believed to be the truth of the circumstance. He has stood dutifully by his daughter, even through her narcissism, temper tantrums and obvious lies. It is hard to conceive how he has not collapsed before now.

It has been obvious, through evidence released, media coverage of George, Cindy, Lee and Casey that if any one has been at all honest it has been George. I am sure he has held back some things that could have been helpful but this probably only added to his mental downfall.

In viewing Cindy Anthony’s many interviews with the press it is obvious that she is the dominant person in this family. I am not trying to degrade anyone for their personality traits I am just making an observation based on her public treatment of her family. One has to wonder if this trait of female dominance has been passed to Casey. This dominance in no way says anything about George Anthony’s capabilities. It just says that Cindy Anthony was in control.

To the point of this blog, this entire bizarre story is the direct result of the actions of one person, Casey Anthony. If she killed her child it started there. If by some weird chance Caylee was kidnapped, it started when Casey did not report it and lied to the only people who could have helped her; her father and the police.

A lesson from all of this is that nothing is impossible. Although it may seem beyond comprehension, mothers can hate their children and can hurt them. Mothers can also cover up and lie for their children when they are in trouble, as Cindy Anthony proved when she was asked to supply police with Caylee’s toothbrush. If she lied about that who knows how deep the lies go.

In my opinion George is another one of Cindy and Casey’s victims. As far as Lee goes, he is hiding; hiding from what is anybodies guess. Maybe he does not want to be another of the female members of the family’s victim’s. Maybe he did his own lying. If the criminal justice system is successful we may find out the answer to most of the questions. But, the only one who knows what “TRULY” happened is Caylee, and she can no longer tell us.

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Justice; A Mini Skirt and Christmas

January 20, 2009
Brenda Schaefer
Justice; A Mini Skirt and Christmas
In watching an episode of American Justice I have found myself unable to wrap my mind around the ‘cracks’ that develop in the process of seeking justice. Is it faulty law or jury failure?

Brenda Sue Schaefer on September 24, 1988, was found dead in the home of her boyfriend Mel Ignatow. Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, in 1991, a Kenton County jury acquitted Mel Ignatow.

Pictures showing Brenda being tortured and killed by Ignatow surfaced six months later. Undeveloped film was found in a heating duct of a home Ignatow had owned. It showed Ignatow sexually abusing Schaefer on the night of her murder. Ignatow eventually admitted, after a plea deal involving perjury charges and knowing he was secure due to Double Jeopardy, that he had killed her with chloroform on Sept. 24, 1988. After torturing and sexually abusing her in the home of his former girlfriend, Mary Ann Shore-Inlow, with her grave dug in advance, Ignatow forced Schaefer to strip naked, tied her to the top of a glass coffee table and sexually tortured her, while Shore-Inlow took pictures. He then took a bottle of chloroform and killed Schaefer, whom he was once engaged to marry. After the film was found, Ignatow was convicted of perjury for lying to a federal grand jury about his involvement in Schaefer’s death.

Tape Recording of Brenda’s Murder that was presented to the jury as evidence:
Ignatow: Good evening ladies and gentleman and we are coming to you live. This is your host Mel Ignatow and with me is the puta, the Jezebel who tried to leave me. She has been captured and taken prisoner by me now. (Yelling) THE PRISONER WILL IDENTIFY HERSELF.
Brenda: My name is Brenda Sue Schaefer; I have been captured and taken prisoner by Mel Ignatow.
Ignatow: Describe your situation Brenda
Brenda: You have treated me like a dog and humiliated me by stripping me naked. You have bound me hand and foot. Oh no! I am trapped like a beast in a snare!
Ignatow: (Laughing) Well Brenda my bound beauty welcome to your nightmare!
Brenda: (Sobbing) Oh no! Oh Dear God please no! Mel I am so sorry. Don’t touch me! Oh God please don’t hurt me!

Jury members stated that they found fault with the way the prosecution witness, and Ignatows accomplis Mary Ann Shore-Inlow, was dressed, in a mini skirt, and the way she sat in court. Some admitted they were hurried to get the trial over for the Christmas holiday. After Ignatow admitted guilt in a plea bargain some jurors held with their decision saying the evidence was not strong enough. Without attacking people personally this seems ludicrous with what was presented at trial. Apparently the judge agrees with this opinion. He has been said to have sent an apology to the Schafer family for the jury’s findings. I have searched for a while and can not find the judges name who wrote to the family. Strange, you would think he would be heralded for his empathetic act.

This is just one case sited in reference to the cons of Double Jeopardy. It would seem that all measures of precaution are afforded defendants found guilty of murder and sentenced to death. They are legally allowed to repeatedly appeal their conviction to avoid the sentence. So, where is the safety net for the victims and family members who find no justice as in the case of Brenda Schafer? You may call this apples and oranges but it shows a pattern of society’s willingness to ensure the rights of the accused and not afford the same consideration for the dead and their family.

While I agree we have to uphold the decisions of elected juries as this is the way of the system. But when the jury fails to weigh and consider the evidence in a manner that delivers just desert we have to look at the ability of the jury that is elected to sit in judgment.

The way a person dresses is not always a representation of their trustworthiness. The old adage of ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ comes to mind. If one is deciding the fate of an accused murderer and evidence has been offered that is above and beyond a reason to believe guilt, clothes worn by a witness are not even a consideration.

Ignatow’s blatant disregard and disrespect for the justice system alone is proof that the jury failed. The other proof came later when Ignatow could not be tried again when more evidence came to light and Double Jeopardy applies. His public smirks and laughter, I am sure, haunt the Schaefer family.

In contrast to the laws of the United States, Canadian law allows the prosecution to appeal from an acquittal. If the acquittal is thrown out, the new trial is not considered to be double jeopardy because the first trial and its judgment would have been annulled. Makes sense to me.

The final irony, or one might say ‘just desert’, of this case is that Ignatow’s son, Michael, said on September 1, 2008 his father apparently fell into a glass table and bled to death in his apartment on Terrier Road.

I suppose for me to say Ignatow got his Just Desert in the end is not very professional sounding. But if the justice system, in this case the jury, failed Brenda, maybe God took up where humans left off. Maybe this is a message or testimony to the imperfections of man when it comes to forming judgments on one another. Whatever the case Brenda and her family have suffered the most. In their suffering lies the fact that certain aspects of the criminal justice system need to be revisited.

Shield and Sword (updated)

January 8, 2009

http://www.wftv.com/video/18424311/

Awesome example or Shield and Sword reference in the court room.

I just watched an update and this hearing and was disappointed. Not for typical reasons such as a hasty public decision of Casey’s guilt but because Baez makes me ill and angry. He acts with such arrogance in the courtroom it is a disgrace. His smirks and presumption that he can act against procedure makes a mockery of lawyers everywhere. Baez is the type of lawyer that jokes are made about.

Attorney Keith Mitnik is a watchable lawyer though. He seems to know his business and acts with respect and professionalism in the courtroom. His knowledge of procedure and the application of previously set sanctions is a pleasure to watch.

In watching the court video I can not help but think that Baez is desperate to keep Casey from uttering a single word and not being present in court. I know it is good lawyer tactics to silence your client but his desperation is visible and draws attention.

He refuses to drop the counter suit Casey has filed and states Casey will plead the fifth. This is where the standard of Shield and Sword come in. Or, as Mitnik says, “The defense can not have their cake and eat it too”. Either they drop the counter suit and plead the fifth or purse it and give an in-person deposition. Baez wants the deposition in written form to view the questions in advance. Of course he does so, like Mitnk says, Casey can be coached for 30 days on what to say. Obviously this proves that Baez knows his client is a practiced liar and can fool everyone if she is given 30 days to practice. Just like the 30 days she used to practice her story about Caylee’s abduction?

I try to be unbiased in my opinion and let the justice system do what is is designed to do but Baez and Casey are horses of a different color and make this task difficult. How can Baez publicly state that his client is innocent and did nothing wrong to Caylee and hide her behind the Fifth amendment shield. He blathers on about how the truth will come out at trial and Casey will be proven innocent. One wonders if he (Baez) thinks about who was looking out for Caylee’s rights.

I recall Casey’s Mother Cindy stating to the media that when we all heard what really happened to Caylee we would all award her mother of the year. Maybe in some warped horror flick. Nothing Casey does represents a mother. But Cindy Anthony is another story all together.

Anyhow, I loved being able to view this proceeding, thank God for the World Wide Web! I would recommend it to any student studying law.

Munchausens as a Defense

January 6, 2009

Munchausen’s; Sick, Insane, Guilty, or Just a Good Liar?

In short, Munchausen is a mental disorder people develop to gain the attention given to those who are sick or dying. The afflicted are more than happy to undergo painful tests to gain sympathy and attention. This in a sense is a story, or lie if you will, developed to aide in the whole charade.

Could it be that this is an underlying cause for recent mother child murders? The public tries desperately to comprehend the idea that a mother, heart and soul of every family, can take the life of her own child. Elaborate lies are developed by these mothers to cover their murderous acts. They are believed to be habitual liars but this too can be thought of as a Munchausen symptom.

Munchausen has been used as a defense and been successful (Adamson, 2000). The question is; has this success opened the door for other mothers, with more murderous and selfish reasons in mind, to use Munchausen as an excuse? Not guilty by reason of insanity or guilty but insane are some common alternatives to murder in the first. The sentences hold some drastic differences.

The insanity plea usually draws a sentence that requires confinement to a mental facility for various amounts of time and supervisional release. The problems and controversy develop when defense lawyers successfully use this defense strategy to secure a more desirable incarceration for undesirable criminals. So who is the abuser, the lawyer or the accused?

Murder in the first carries a sentence of 25 years to life. In some states the death penalty is used. The opinion on this sentence varies according to ones stance on the death penalty. The mentally ill can not be executed (Findlaw, 2009)). Munchausen is considered a mental disorder. However, “Munchausen by Proxy” is considered a form of maltreatment rather than a mental disorder. The children are the victim and the mother is the perpetrator.

Like most unusual or incomprehensible situations too little is known about Munchausen’s. If illness can be feigned to the point of submitting to torturous pain, than the ability to lie goes hand in hand. Lying is part of a criminal’s ‘modus operandi’. Are Munchausen patients mentally ill or criminals with the ability to fool even the most experienced doctors? And, are good defense lawyers the ace in the hole that these patients rely on to accomplish their acts?

For the general public Munchausen’s is a possible answer. An answer to the unthinkable acts of murder mothers commit on their own children. But in that answer lays another truckload of questions including, ‘who can answer the questions’?

Adamson L (2000). ‘Munchausen’ mother cleared of murdering baby daughter. In The Sunday Herald Retrieved January 3, 2009 from: http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4156/is_20000123/ai_n9624482

Findlaw (2009). Ford v. Wainwright, 477 U.S. 399 (1986). In Findlaw for Legal Professionals Retrieved January 3, 2009 from: http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?court=us&vol=477&invol=399

Something’s Fishy in Maine

January 6, 2009
Something’s Fishy in Maine

Every year at this time one can see little shacks scattered across the frozen lakes of Maine. Avid ice-fishing enthusiasts have begun their seasonal hobby of catching fish through the ice. While some are very competitive and vie for bragging rights of ‘The Big Fish’, others are only there for the ‘party’ atmosphere that develops around a gathering of usually three or more. What ever the reason for their presence, these ice-fishing participants are forgetting a crucial consideration, safety.

Combine the weight of people, shacks, gear, and various transportation (ATV’s) making thicknesses of ice a priority. The Maine Warden Service issues ice thickness warnings and various safety tips, sometimes to no avail. One day after a thin ice alert this year, shacks arrived on local lakes with gear, vehicles, and children in tow.

Ones own safety is their choice but to endanger ones children is another matter. There are also the rescue personnel that will be called out to save people who have gone through the thin ice. They put themselves at risk to save citizens that have made the bad choice to ignore alerts. All of this and more for bragging rights.

Just one week ago Col. Joel Wilkinson, chief warden of the Maine Warden Service announced there are no safe lakes in Maine (Remington, Remington, 2008). This warning went unheeded. Officials in Maine state in 2000 that the numbers of deaths, due to going through the ice, are climbing so fast they are losing count (Lyons, 2000). The year 2009 looks to be the same.

The arguments for and against ice fishing are many and branch off into various directions. If one is risking their life alone it could be said that it is their right to do so. But there is no scenario that involves this sport that risks only the fisherman.

All photos from Yahoo Images

Lyons K. (2000). Winter Safety & Survival Part 2. In Millinocket Regional Hospital Press Release. Retrieved January 4, 2009 from: http://www.mrhme.org/getpage.php?name=november302000

Remington T., Remington S. (2008). Maine Warden Service Says ‘Stay Off the Ice’ In Maine Outdoors Today Retrieved January 4, 2009 from: http://maineoutdoorstoday.com/blog/?m=200811

Hamas and Ice-Cream

January 5, 2009

The ignorance of some individuals angers me to the point of frustration. Things or situations that are so obvious they almost seem to laugh in ones face grate on my nerves like fingernails on a chalkboard.

99% of the time, in warlike situations, terrorist groups will infiltrate the general public and hide among innocent citizens. When battle starts and the bombs rain down on these groups the innocents are killed by the thousands.

This was the intent of the terrorists from the beginning. The use of propaganda to further their efforts and gain sympathy is always part of terrorists ‘big’ plan. The age old method of using the death of innocent citizens to try to prove that the opposition is cruel and uncaring is predictable to say the least.

Recent interviews with Hamas sympathizers are like scripts from past terrorist efforts. The numbers of dead and wounded are separated by their position in society; citizen or Hamas member. Of course the number of citizens killed will be higher, that is the propaganda plan.

Excuses like the theory that the Hamas has no where else to go but among the citizens are pathetic to say the least. If the Hamas and their cause where truly worthy they would protect the citizens from impending battle and possible death by setting up their base of operations far from the city.

In 2006 if Hamas had renounced violence this blog would not exist. But attacking innocent civilians has always been the way of the Hamas. It is inevitable that they would in turn use the death of innocents as a strategic weapon of war.

My anger lies with the sympathizers that eat the propaganda like a welcome bowl of ice-cream in the summer. Never questioning what the ice-cream is hiding (sugar, fat, and other artery cloggers), just enjoying the instant gratification.

Put down the ice-cream folks and look up the history. It is as plain as the nose on your face, listed under ‘propaganda tactics that win sympathy’, or ‘ instant gratification, it is the easiest way’.