It's about time, too. I feel as if two years of my life has been wasted by the constant news coverage of the Peterson Trial. Yes, it was a heinous crime. Certainly, it was the stuff of a made-for-TV drama but Scott-and-Laci nearly 24 hours a day maes your head spin.
I'll tell you this much about showcase trials in California; they continue to get weirder and weirder by the day. The prosecution takes six months to lay out their case. The defense calls 39 charater witnesses to beg for Scott's life in the penalty phase. Lawyers offer outlandish theories about who else might have wanted Laci dead, throwing out every conceivable conspiracy tale, regardless of how ridiculous. Laci is killed by a Satanic cult. Laci has a tragic industrial combine accident, Laci spontaneously combusted. Mark Geragos, Scott's lawyer, should be ashamed to show his face in public.
I haven't seen anything this ridiculous since OJ, and with the Robert Blake trial coming up soon, it will probably get loonier. Why is that in California, it seems, we can't have a staright-forward murder trial? The juries, once they actually get to have their say, seem to come back incredibly quickly with their verdicts (I believe 4 hours for OJ, 6 for Scott), but the lawyers engage in constant drama, there are twists and turns that would bedazzle the most verteran Hollywood screenwriter --- bloody gloves, mistresses taping phone calls, dogs as potential witnesses, concrete experts, blood spatter experts, leather-shrinkage experts. It's enough to make your head spin. I mean, who in their right mind studies the properties of shrinking leather? Jurors drop out under mysterious circumstances. Who's writing a book in the juror's box? Who's holding things up playing Henry Fonda in Twelve Angry Men? What the heck is the judge doing? Greta Van Susteren has 1 hour of face time to fill every night, let's split legal hairs for six months.
If you ask me, and I know you didn't but this is my blog (so there!), it's another example of the deification of the American lawyer that is to blame. Somehow, we in this country have elevated to lofty heights, men and women whose only talents in clude semantics, active imaginations, and ultimately, manipulation of a set of rules that might as well be written in Sanskrit for all the clarity and conciseness that the lawyers themselves put into them. We expect them to be superhuman folks, the defenders of justice, the guardians of this sacred scroll called The Law. In the end, they become actors in a melodrama that your typical American considers entertainment.
Two people are dead. One was a pregnant woman and the other was an unborn child who never took his first breath. You can't get more defenseless victims anyplace else except perhaps Afghanistan. You have a defendant who appears to be so psychopathic that he barely shows emotion when day after day, for six months, he's portrayed as an in human monster who deliberately plotted their deaths and constructed a conspiracy so flimsy that even a democrat could see through it. And then the lawyers waste everyone's time in front of the cameras, acting their parts on the public stage.
This case was simple: pregnant woman disappears, her husband has a mistress, mistress is told the wife is dead before she goes missing, the husband buys a boat, the husband sets up a concrete anchor factory in his garage, the boat is full of concrete residue, the bodies are found exactly where the husband claims to be fishing, the husband makes an attempt to alter his appearance and tries to flee in a car obtained under dubious circumstances with a load of cash and his golf clubs (gotta take the sticks, dude!). The husband has motive, he has the means, he has the opportunity, and ultimately, he's sloppy and gets caught. This was a one week trial, if you ask me.
But that would make boring television. Gotta have that courtroom drama, since Fear Factor is already old hat.
If this trial teaches us anything it is that evil constinues to exist. The killing of your wife and child, for whatever reason, is evil. The attempts by your legal counsel to do everything possible, including lying, cheating, obscuring the obvious, demonizing the victims, is evil. The legal system, as it stands today, is broken. It's no longer a symbol of American civilization when it becomes a tiny stage play in front of cameras being watched by millions across the globe.
Scott Peterson, in a perfect world, would have already been fried five months ago. It was obvious that long ago just who was responsible for the deaths of Laci and Connor. But, we must be entertained, the lawyers must preen and strut for the cameras, the talking heads must have something to cackle about, and in the end, something that is a pillar of American life, our justice system, becomes little more than the Roman Arena.
To Laci and Connor, I say requiesat in pacem. To Scott Peterson, I hope that Hell has a special spot reserved for you where your torment will be eternal. Perhaps, ultimately, Scott could become Bill Clinton's roommate in the Netherworld. To everyone else who watched this thing with the same sort of intensity that a scientist would apply to finding a cure to cancer, who congregated at the courthouse holding daily vigils, to the idiots who went there only to get their face on television (the famous Lookie Lou's), you all disgust me.
Let's put a little sanity back into the process of dispensing justice, shall we?