Guilty until proven innocent

Illinois Governor Blagojevich, judged by approximately 200 million Americans old enough to serve as jurors, is a crooked politician, indeed a criminal, a snarly, mop-haired, smart-ass who tried to sell Obama’s vacated seat in the Senate, and as the consequence of which he should be expelled from office and provided immediate residence in a federal penitentiary where, hopefully, he will get a haircut. He also has a dirty mouth. Whether he is guilty of any crime I do not know. Nor does anyone else including Mr. Fitzgerald, the prosecutor, who, the last I heard, was not the jury.

Simply stated, Mr. Fitzgerald has absconded with the governor’s presumption of innocence. The prosecutor has abused the immense power of his office to transform otherwise innocent members of the public — all of us – into persons who, as a result of Mr. Fitzgerald’s releases to the media, have already decided the governor’s case before we have been provided the first word of sworn testimony in a court of law. The prosecutor has converted us from the innocent to prejudiced persons. As a result of the prosecutor’s media blitz we have already come to the conclusion that the governor is guilty, and we demand that he be appropriately dealt with and immediately. A drunk who runs the stop sign at First and Main is provided a better set of rights.

This is an experienced prosecutor who knows better. All trial lawyers down to the kid trying his or her first case know that cases are to be tried in a courtroom, not in front of a TV camera. Mr. Fitzgerald knows that his trial of the governor before the cameras calls into play the Canons of Ethics that govern not only prosecutors but defense attorneys alike. We are prohibited from engaging in pretrial public statements that are likely to affect the outcome of the trial.

Mr. Fitzgerald’s conduct has substantially guaranteed that the governor will never obtain an unbiased jury in Illinois or anywhere else. That the prosecutor, who is governed by standard rules of ethics, would take such risks suggests that he sees himself above the law as he attempts to prosecute a governor in the media who allegedly also sees himself as above the law. Were I, as a defense attorney, parading before the cameras attacking the prosecution and factually defending my client I would be immediately gagged, and threatened not only with contempt of court, but with complaints to the bar where my license to practice would be in jeopardy. That such arrogant power is vested in any prosecutor is frightening in itself and destroys an even playing field to which both sides are entitled in their search for justice.

Our collective public mind has been molded by the movies and television to accept the notion that the common good permits, indeed, encourages cops and prosecutors to violate the law in order to protect us. We see the police battering down doors of suspects to illegally obtain evidence. We witness the cops bugging phones and forcing confessions. We want the police to win, because they are the heroes of the drama and such crimes are serious and threaten our security. But this sort of lawless bludgeoning of the law does terminal damage to our system of justice. By destroying the rights of any accused none of us are ever safe from the law that once stood to protect us.

Mr. Fitzgerald has selected and then dumped out pages of unsworn, untested, evidence before governor has even been charged. We already know that what the prosecutor provides is only part of the story, only the juiciest excerpts that will cause the governor the most harm. The grand jury has not yet met. Every potential member of the grand jury and later every trial juror who will sit in judgment of the governor has already been stained with prejudice against him. The presumption of innocence has been reduced to a cruel joke. Why have a trial? Mr. Fitzgerald has already convicted the governor in the media. One wonders if the government’s case is so legally flimsy that the prosecutor must revert to these tactics in order to assure a conviction.

Let us now make our own judgments. For this purpose, and for this purpose only, let’s accept the allegations of Mr. Fitzgerald as true. Let’s then ask: Which is the worst conduct — for a governor to seek the sale of a vacant senate seat or for a prosecutor to wrongfully deprive any American citizen of a fair trial and to destroy his constitutional right to the presumption of innocence? The act of the governor results in his illegal enrichment and constitutes a serious undermining of our representative system. The act of the prosecutor results in the wrongful destruction of an American citizen’s rights and casts a threatening shadow over the entire judicial system charged with the duty to secure our constitutional protections.

Mr. Fitzgerald’s conduct transcends this case. What we witness without a whimper from the media, the courts, or the bar is a prosecutor charged with the highest professional duty to see that every accused, no matter how guilty, obtains a fair trial, and who, instead, in this historical instant, has voluntarily taken steps to see that such a right becomes little more than a sad, distant echo of a justice system that once set the standard for the world.

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51 responses to “Guilty until proven innocent

  1. Every U S Senate seat is up for sale, to the biggest PAC money raiser, but in the case of ILL, did Gov Blago get one dime for any sale. The black guy(Burris) was appointed, as it is now confirmed, & Gov Blago had the right to do so.(he is the offical U S Senator from ILL–Burris ex Ill AG—who is in the U S Senate. Offically)
    Patty Fitz is miffed that the Governor would not drop a cool
    $100 million into the coffers of the Cub’s owner, as he is a big baseball fan(and owner of the City rag the Trib–that is Zell, the Zillionare, is a big hitter in power circles)
    Some may recall when he indicted Scooter Libby, he was always blabbering about bean balls.
    Mr Spence rasies important issues: who is tossing bean balls now—is it Patty FITZ, who is looking to hang around as the DOJ guy, top dog in town, for the next Admin, to make himself so he is not expendable.
    A seat is a “bleeping valuable thing”.
    God almighty, if ever one in Chicago was tapped can you imagine the volume of bleeping transcripts for CNN, they would not need to pay any script writers, cutting out all production costs.
    Massive PAC $$$ was dropped in the guy’s political coffers, who got the Wyoming Senate seat, it was nothing but an OIL company buy out, like renting a plot of land out by the old anticlines, where the tar pits seep
    and ooz petro-carbons.
    Patty Fitz really was ragging about the most corrupt places, and his FBI guy was out at the Mikey-Phones, gloating that Chicago is in one hell of a competition for the most corrupt place in the USA.
    All some bean ball games of the DOJ, manipulating the Press, like Blago is just a raw meat slab to be nailed, and hung on the slaugther factory meat hooks, and yet—NO Indictment… Blago has not even been indicted, offically, before the Press convictions. Not sure, Blago is going to cop a plea, and
    admit he sold the Seat–for nothing is admitted in stone, and all the tapes were never put out, only the cherry picked parts to jack-up Fox, CNN, etc.

  2. Here here.

  3. Gerry this is just a simple example of life following art. In “Alice in Wonderland,” the Queen of Hearts dispensed justice with an even hand. For all accused, she insisted on “sentence first, verdict afterward.” The queen was gung ho on the ends of justice and saw the means as a tiring inconvenience.

    Turning to the wimper avoiding media. The Chicago Tribune has been rolling the drum to impeach Blago for a year or more. But when ex-govenor George Ryan was being investigated for the same pay to play crimes, not a word was heard from “the world’s greatest newspaper.” But Ryan was a Republican who was making the Illinois government cash flow to a lot of Tribune advertisers.

  4. Excellent article. It is a complete injustice to deprive Governor Blagojevich, or any other citizen, of one of the most precious rights we possess – the absolute presumption of innocence. As Dr. King wrote from the Birmingham jail in April, 1963, “[i]njustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

    Is he guilty? Maybe. Maybe not. What is so wonderful about our system is that only a jury gets to make that call; however, when anyone intentionally poisons the pool of potential jurors, the system becomes flawed. Those potential jurors and the “story” they have now been inundated with become inextricably related.

    It is incredible that almost no one is outraged at the conduct of Mr. Fitzgerald. What’s worse is that not only is no one outraged, most of the public is ready to place Mr. Fitzgerald on a pedestal for his excellent work of investigating, charging, indicting, and convicting.

  5. But isn’t that now the way all too many cases are ‘tried’? Alleged lawyer/commentators like Nancy Grace have already tried and convicted Casey Anthony for the homicide of her daughter Caley in Florida and any court case merely has to select a sentence — although at this point the actual evidence suggests that at best this is a case of unlawful disposal of human remains (a misdemeanor in Florida as far as I know) and even that has yet to be proven.

    I don’t know why most lawyers dealing with a case such as this don’t open by asking the judge for a summary judgment of Not Guilty due to excess public prejudice created by the police or prosecution – sure they’ll lose it but you never know.

    But given the lamentable inability of most citizens to follow a logical argument and to analyze facts and come to a conclusion I wonder how the jury system can be relied on; since it depends on 12 people, selected because they qualified to drive a motor vehicle, doing just that and doing it sometimes after listening to months of ‘evidence’ intended to prejudice rather than enlighten them.

    Is it any wonder that DNA has shone a bright light on the failures rather than on the successes of the ‘system’?

  6. AH, Yes. “Guilty until proven innocent” …. the NEW American way. And watching the Constitution being trampled on by officers of the court is disgusting. These officers are aided by the news media that report the news in such a fashion that it leads us to assume that everyone is guilty (“no spin” zones do NOT exist). A case should NOT be determined by 30 second sound bites of a media-whore prosecutor or any other attention seeking, media-whores, for that matter.

    Blagojevich is a “turd-fergason” but I will not make an assessment of guilt or innocence until all the facts are on the table. Yet, prior to his trial, and a rendering of his guilt or innocence by a jury of his peers (or the bench) , we are hearing impeachment.

    Did I miss the funeral of due process?

  7. On December 30, 2008 Governor Blagojevich appointed Roland Burris to fill the vacant senate seat of Barack Obama pursuant to the 17th Amendment of the United State Constitution. The Illinois Secretary of State declined to “certify” the appointment, apparently as a political move to distance himself from the “corrupt” Governor Blagojevich. However on January 9, 2009 the Illinois Supreme Court held that governor’s appointment of Roland Burris was valid under the 17th amendment, even without the Secretary of State’s certification.

    And so – will Mr. Burris be sworn in as a United States Senator? Or will the 17th Amendment and the authority of the Illinois Supreme Court die along with the presumption of innocence?

  8. How much is innocence worth in
    Chicago ..?
    Not much apparently, if the impeachment
    vote was over 40 to 1 in the ILL House.
    There will not even be an indictment for several
    more months.
    However, since the flurry of News
    items, the DOJ officials announceed
    more came forward to offer up
    dirt.
    Why don’t you file a complaint with
    the DOJ Office of Professional Responsibility
    Gerry, and see how far it gets..?

  9. Hear, hear, Mr. Spence! I willingly threw out my TV 20 years ago, but still this Blagojevich business was everywhere. I admit that I too was swayed toward guilt by his trial-by-media, and yet a little voice inside (my conscience) still waited…and waited…and waited…for someone to say, “hey, what happened to innocent until proven guilty?” You, kind sir, were the first. Thanks for the memories.

    Erik Mart
    Registered Level 3 Sex Offender

  10. Jules- You cut it to the core, Bravo- and it is apparent that many people today believe that standing up for the constitution is electorial suicide. Possibly most folks don’t stand up for the constitution because it would draw attention to their own activity. Who knows. I just wish the SOS would have had the balls to do it.

  11. Luanne: There was no funeral. Just ashes scattered to the winds.

    By what authority does the United States Senate refuse to seat Mr. Burris, oh yeah, the authority of their own self righteousness. Blago’s offense there was not to ask Harry Reid for his blessing, I’ll grant you.

  12. When the waters have been so muddied by the media, how do you conduct voir dire? Really the presumption of innocence is dying in most criminal trials so the question could be broader. How do you spot veniremen willing to give criminal defendants a chance especially in high profile cases?

  13. Something very exciting and wonderful is beginning to stir. Can you feel it? Ears prick, heads turn, eyes turn to the horizon of what wonderful things this our new year, our new President, our new us may be. Hearts bud, bloom, slowly, carefully, wanting, daring, needing to believe that from the rubble of our despair a tiny ember, a tiny seed of the hope beaten out of us remains and gasps and bellows itself believing that what we see so vividly in our dreams, can be.

  14. is it a crime for the ILL Governor not
    to cause $ 100 million to be dumped
    in the lap of Sam Zell, the owner of
    the Cubs Baseball team..?
    And, that is the dumping of public money
    in Zell’s lap, who also owns the
    bleeping Chicago tribune..
    fitzgerald can arrest me too but it
    is bleeping absurd for public monies to be use
    to make that bleeping Zell more bleeping
    rich at the taxpayers expense
    is that what that bleeping Fitzegearld
    Stands for ?
    he can kiss my bleeping arse.
    Why is the DOJ even holding press conferences
    to put pressure to extort $ 100 million
    over to the Cubs owner?
    This Fitzgearld creep is the one who
    sounds corrupt, and is making a farce of
    the ” public good”..
    if I owned a neswpaper, I could drive
    this point home even more.

  15. Pingback: Ruling Imagination: Law and Creativity » Blog Archive » Guilty until proven innocent

  16. A year ago, I was called to jury duty. Odd was that they sent a questionare of 80+ questions for info I didn’t wish to disclose. One question was,”Do you believe that a prisoner must prove their innocense?”
    Alarms, there.

  17. Recently here in Michigan, the State Bar brought disciplinary proceedings against an elected prosecutor. He decided not to run again last year. The Bar alleged he had made improperly prejudicial pre-trial comments. The panel hearing the matter decided the Bar had waited too long to bring the complaint, by waiting for the criminal case to be over, and thus decided there was nothing to impose discipline for.

  18. The tapes that the U S Attorney obtained do not relate to the reality of anything that seemingly happened. First, Burris got the Senate seat, it was not a yard-sale. (now a matter approved by the U S Senate as he took his appointed seat). Second, the Tribune did not fire the annoying & obnoxious reporters, nor did it get any fat $ 100 million loan from the state. While there is a lot of bleeping caught on tape, the expressions seem not to link up with any demonstrative actions of the embattled ILL Governor(but that remains to be seen, later). While the FBI, and the Chicago U S Attorney had a breaking news press conference to get some major spot light, what did they do after that: Asked a federal judge for a 4 month delay in issuing any indictments. (underscore no indictments have been issued–yet, early 2009) !
    The ILL Governor is not officially guilty as found by a jury of anything,(as of Jan 2009) people can call him names, assume he is Ivan the terrible,
    curse his bleeping, but if this was such a slam dunk, why did the DOJ postpone issuing any indictments ? Sure, the Rod Blogo(pre dawn) arrest got a lot of T. V coverage, and public opinion was manipulated to hold the ILL Governor in low repute & esteem(but so is Bush, the ex Asst D.A(prosecutor, & buddy of Gerry Vince Bulg..). wrote a book on Bush’s indictment from L A., ) , and Ken Starr produced an impeachment,(blue DNA laden dress and all) and look what happened to the Clintons.
    The U S Attorney can’t prove that the ILL Governor in fact sold a senate seat, where he personally got money to enrich himself, from those who wanted Person A to be a U S Senator.
    And, person A is not a U S Senator. Period.
    So, the crimes now in question are more
    obtuse, and muddled, if ever put in an offical indictment in the official courts.
    Some can think they found the Governor “guilty”, as if some Ann Coulter book, but they have no authority to do so, and April is a ways off..
    A lot of trial attorneys wanted John Edwards to be President offered up money to secure his position to be President, and it all just never came to be, and where is Edwards–now ? Cooling his heels, a Joe Six pack with a 35,000 square foot house in the Country. Enron put vast money into play, and bought and sold politicans in Texas. As one famous California politican(Jess Unruh) once observed: Money is the mother milk of politics.
    Where the justice system interfaces with that is now thrown into limbo, pending any offical indictments, which were put in abeyance, after the T. V splash (PRIME TIME) in Chicago.
    But, Patrick Fitzgerald is a tough prosecutor, and
    he took on Cheney’s main guy(Libby), put another Governor in jail, and so he is used to a lot of criticism, and all the Bush political operatives were throwing barbs at him, so he is not commenting on Gerry’s blog, apparently.
    However, April is when push comes to shove, when any can read an official indictment–if that is filed, officially. Then, Gerry can do another blog on what is offically filed—as an offical indictment, hopefully.

  19. I’m pretty sure that, after a trial, there’s a good chance that Blagojevich will be found innocent of the charges of official corruption. It’s my opinion, after reading the entire affidavit, that Mr. Blagojevich ( and his wife?) was being a smart ass when he was talking on the phone to whomever. He knew he was being tapped, and he was acting as outrageous as he could to piss off the prosecutors. (Who is probably not a political supporter in Democratic Chicago). He wasn’t going to get a bribe–but he acted as if he would! He obviously didn’t know much about prosecutors and their tremendous power to file charges on the flimsiest of evidence.
    BUT, is this guy the dumbest politician you’ve ever seen, or what? What in the world was he thinking? He just does not deserve to be in office. He has violated the trust his supporters placed in him, and justified the all doubts his opponents had about him. He is criminal dumb! How can he lead the State of Illinois after this? He should be impeached–so he can focus on the criminal trial he is facing. People hold office with the thinnest of threads–he cut his in two!
    Let justice be done–after he’s out of office.

  20. All that matters in the end is the “Truth.” The truth is what it is and (while it can be perverted and man-ipulated, from this moment to that) it can never, ever change. In the end, the truth will prevail. Getting to the truth and bringing it to the fore “now” is the advocates ultimate challenge. The truth is now, always has been and will forever be the truth. Clearly, truth was around long before and will be around long after due process and other truth enhancement tools (like the presumption of innocence, the burden of proof, et. al). Truth and Honesty while not having the intellectual, historical, political and constitutional trappings of due process and the bill of rights, is truthfully, honestly and clearly the underpinnings and foundations of both of those and all other great ideals that strive for truth and honesty. Simple truth and honesty are much, much more fundamental and simple than constitutional notions of due process and other “high falutoon” intellectual ideals. “We hold thest truths to be self-evident…” ok, I agree; then why the f…k do you even have to say it, wright it, or otherwise condify it? You see, it is as Gerry and some English guy preach: start with the very simple notion of being honest with yourself–no bs allowed. Then, as Gerry preaches, be honest with others: get naked with the truth. Empathize with your enemy, crawl into your enemy’s hide and feel her/his pain, as much, even more than you feel your own pain: then, and only then, can you begin, just barely begin to bring the truth to the fore.

    Gerry Spence, thank you for validating my life, and helpling me to be an better advocate for the truth.

  21. “Bagovich vs. Fitzgerald. Truth vs. Lies. Right vs. Wrong. Justice vs. Injustice. Who’s next? Step right up!” All that matters in the end is the “Truth.” The truth is what it is and (while it can be perverted and man-ipulated, from this moment to that) it can never, ever change. In the end, the truth will prevail. Getting to the truth and bringing it to the fore “now” is the advocates ultimate challenge. The truth is now, always has been and will forever be the truth. Clearly, truth was around long before and will be around long after due process and other truth enhancement tools (like the presumption of innocence, the burden of proof, et. al). Truth and Honesty while not having the intellectual, historical, political and constitutional trappings of due process and the bill of rights, is truthfully, honestly and clearly the underpinnings and foundations of both of those and all other great ideals that strive for truth and honesty. Simple truth and honesty are much, much more fundamental and simple than constitutional notions of due process and other “high falutoon” intellectual ideals. “We hold thest truths to be self-evident…” ok, I agree; then why the f…k do you even have to say it, wright it, or otherwise condify it? You see, it is as Gerry and some English guy preach: start with the very simple notion of being honest with yourself–no bs allowed. Then, as Gerry preaches, be honest with others: get naked with the truth. Empathize with your enemy, crawl into your enemy’s hide and feel her/his pain, as much, even more than you feel your own pain: then, and only then, can you begin, just barely begin to bring the truth to the fore.

    Gerry Spence, thank you for validating my life, and helpling me to be a better advocate for the truth.

  22. I am disturbed by the media’s attempt to stir up even more controversy by Blago’s swearing in of the “very senators that will determine his fate in the upcoming impeachment process” especially since he has not been convicted…..

  23. In March 2008, the U S Attorney for Chicago addressed a lecture series at Southern ILL U, with the following release, which is most insightful to the issues raises by Gerry:
    “U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald to speak-
    Federal prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald will offer his insight into public service and public corruption in a lecture at SIUC.”( He has a long record of convictions of public employees, and politicians. Breach of public trust has a nexis to corruption.)

    Patrick Fitzgerald
    Fitzgerald, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, will present the Morton-Kenney Public Affairs Lecture at 7 p.m., Thursday, March 27, at Shryock Auditorium…..
    …………….
    In two decades as a federal prosecutor, Fitzgerald has won cases against high-profile figures and government officials in cases ranging from public corruption to corporate fraud to terrorism and other violent crimes.

    Appointed as the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois in 2001, Fitzgerald’s office — which includes 145 assistant U.S. attorneys — has overseen successful prosecutions of former Illinois Gov. George Ryan on fraud and racketeering charges, and convictions of more than 75 other defendants, including more than 30 public employees and officials, in the “Operation Safe Road” investigation. Fitzgerald has also overseen a probe into the City of Chicago’s Hired Truck Program — an investigation resulting in criminal charges against approximately 40 defendants — including approximately 20 current or former city employees.

    Fitzgerald also served as special prosecutor in the case against former White House aide I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby — convicted for obstruction, perjury and lying to the FBI in connection with a probe into the leaked identity of former CIA official Valerie Plame.

    Mike Lawrence, institute director, said, “We are indeed fortunate that Patrick Fitzgerald has agreed to share his insights on criminal activities that violate the public trust and threaten public safety. He is a prosecutor’s prosecutor — perhaps the best in the nation.”

    Prior to being named U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, Fitzgerald served 13 years in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, including chief of the Organized Crime-Terrorism Unit, where he participated in prosecutions in cases such as the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. He also participated in the six-month trial against Gambino crime family members on charges including narcotics trafficking, murder, racketeering and jury tampering.

    A native of Brooklyn, N.Y., Fitzgerald joined the U.S. Attorney’s office in Manhattan in 1988 after three years as a private attorney with a New York law firm. He earned his law degree from the Harvard School of Law in 1985, and a bachelor’s degree in economics and mathematics from Amherst College in 1982. ”

    There are a clash of several things:
    The presumption of innocence in a criminal proceeding, of concern to Mr Spence, prior to any conviction, & yet, the public trust as to public officials is of concern in America, and so all over the land.
    If any look at money running through federal account activites, value seems to be in the eye of the beholder. The infamous words of the Governor(to the effect):
    “This(Senate Seat) is a bleeping valuable thing, I(the Governor) am not going to give it away for nothing”
    Valuable to who ?
    Could that apply to every tranaction in government, on contracts, grants, awards of this or that ? and valuable to who in the list of who is who….
    No wonder the USA is now the king of debt, the Empire of debt(with bloody trillions) placed on the backs of every citizen, and their childern.
    That is the devaluation of America, in the equation of devaluation, as politican’s angles on value are someone else’s debt loads.
    How is it in the public trust for a Governor to hand out $ 100 million of public funds to a baseball team ? Whose owner happens to own the major paper in Chicago ? Who plays dirt ball in political angles.
    That public trust issue seems to be something that some care not to get into.
    How many lower level federal employees are subjected to corruption because some see value to be given to some special interests ? Political favors,
    putting the interests of specail fat kats over the public good, the list goes on.
    Mr Spence raised the issue, which is worst in the
    Chicago bleeping value mess.
    Lets quantify, right down to the $ 100 million linked to the Trib, since we are into public trust as to all who hold positiosn of power–like Mr U S Attorney, Chicago.

  24. Jesus, Gerry, Fitzgerald almost got ME on this one. Thanks for a dose of the Constitution.

    RC

  25. Happy New Year Paw Paw,

    It has been a while since I posted on your site. I have been sick and well getting my business up and running has taken up a lot of my time.

    Hope you are doing well and I hope to see you in August, even though I have a trip to Vietnam to go listen to the birds…

    remy

  26. i would thank you Gerry for what you heve learned me with the book “How to argue and win every time ….Afetr ten years i m a commercialof a bank here in Italy..Thank you

  27. GERRY DOES NOT CARE!

    Coming soon, additional DVD’s on trial skills:
    Opening Statement
    Direct Examination
    Cross Examination
    Closing Argument

    Why hasn’t Gerry helped the world by releasing these DVD’s? I have been waiting 15 years! It is because he wants us to all lose our trials.

  28. All

    It’s becoming increasing clear that most of our government is corrupt and the Illinois Governor Blagojevich case is another Don Seligman affair with the government’s SOP in trying the case in the media to plant the “Guilty” mem [http://pespmc1.vub.ac.be/MEMES.html]in any potential jury within the venue of the U.S.

    The U.S. justice system is anything but and is owned lock stock and barrel by the power elite known as the “just_us” bunch.

    Recent news on legal corruption:

    http://www.counterpunch.org/roberts01262009.html

    In depth study:

    Mr. Spence hope all is well with you; take care and be kind to yourself.

    Love “Light” and Energy

    _Don

  29. While I have my doubts about Gov. Blagojevich, I agree with Mr. Spence that personal opinions of anyone accused of wrongdoing should not be considered as “evidence” in the public media. I’m aware that this is not a criminal trial, but I have to question the argument that the constitutional protections of the presumption of innocence and due process of law don’t apply in impeachment trials.

    The old mentality of the Salem, MA Witch Trials in the 1690′s, before our Constitution and Bill of Rights were written, seems to be at work in too many of these cases, this one included. This mindset was a large factor in the Duke Lacrosse Players case as well. Which leads to the obvious (for me) question; how would Mr. Fitzgerald or anyone else react if for any reason they were tried and pretty much convicted before there WAS a trial?

  30. Coming soon, additional DVD’s on trial skills:
    Opening Statement
    Direct Examination
    Cross Examination
    Closing Argument

    Why hasn’t Gerry helped the world by releasing these DVD’s? I have been waiting 15 years! It is because he wants us to all lose our trials.
    James
    ************************

    James, I have to disagree with you, Mr. Spence DOES care. FYI, all of the above is covered in Mr. Spence’s book WIN YOUR CASE, if you really need the information in a hurry, and the copyright year is 2005. I found the chapter on good cross-examination to be very effective. I highly recommend this book, and the best thing is, one doesn’t even have to be an attorney to buy it. :-)

  31. GERRY, I’VE BEEN READING YOUR BOOKS AND I HAVE WATCHED YOU IN THE MEDIA AND LISTENED TO YOU SPEAK IN AUDIO BOOKS. I’M READING “GIVE ME LIBERTY” RIGHT NOW AND ALMOST FINISHED. HAVE YOU CONSIDERED THE POSSIBILITY THAT THERE ARE TWO GODS? ONE, THE GOD OF THIS WORLD THAT ENSLAVES MAN WHETHER A MAN IS WILLING OR NOT OR EVEN KNOWS THAT HE IS ENSLAVED? AND THERE BEING “THAT” OTHER GO ….THE GOD WHO CREATED THE FIRST “GOD” IE., “THE GOD OF THIS WORLD???” THAT, MY FRIEND, IS WHERE ALL YOUR PLAYFULLY CHOSEN WORDS ABOUT FREEDOM AND SLAVERY FALL SHORT TO THE REASONING MIND. HOWEVER, WITH THE MOST HIGH GOD’S HELP, I AM ABLE TO SIFT THROUGH YOUR “PLAYFUL MEANDERINGS” AND GAIN SOME USEFUL INSIGHTS DUE TO YOUR EXPERIENCE AS AN ATTORNEY A FELLOW CITIZEN OF THIS COUNTRY AND ULTIMATELY AS A MORTAL MAN LIKE ME. SO THANK YOU.

    VERY TRULY YOURS,

    CHASE MASTERS.

  32. Excellent post, Gerry. “Guilty until proven innocent” has become an American way of life in the last few decades.

    The threat to our liberty is real. But if we ultimately loose our freedom as we know it, then we have no one to blame but ourselves, the American people.

    In legal terms, I’m certain you in the business of law would call this “Negligence”, for our failure to act and protect our liberties and those liberties of others.

    Our being complacent during periods in which ought to bring alarming concerns to all of us will be our downfall. If we are content when others are being violated of their rights, then we will have no voice when our own rights are violated.

    Nor will we have a voice when our liberty is enslaved.

    Complacency has fallen great nations in history before us and I am sure it will fall great nations again.

    You sound the warning alarms frequently and rightfully so . Let’s hope they are being heard. Our liberties are at risk, one citizen at a time, one liberty at a time.

    Cliff

  33. Susan:
    Blago is history, He was ,in fact, impeached in ILL.(CNN, FOX, CBS, ABC, NPR, NBC, ABC, and ETC)
    And, there has been no criminal indictment in FED Court of Blago yet by the FEDS(as of March 6, 2009). But, don’t fret too much Susan, Blago got a 6 figure book deal.
    That is sure a lot more than he got in any alleged SALE OF ILL SEATS.(what is the real skinny on that by the way ??, & prey tell, ye Ab Lincoln rolling over in his grave, aghast.)
    The last ILL GOV was axing the death penality in ILL,(removing the needle phase) and he is sitting in jail.
    I don’t get it Susan, one moment it is your demands for drugs, your claims of suffering beyond belief, between great outcrys of dogma de jure), then next DVD presto demands, which if you don’t get, then you lay the blame on Gerry for some lost trials.
    Only 2 % of civil cases go to trials is the latest data, most now is just paper shufffling, and the great motion crusades by the meter runner$(INS COMPANIES).
    It is enough to make any red blooded hound dogs howl up a storm.

  34. Susan , the response from you to James, on the enscription DVD notes: “How to WIN Every time”, and that one does not have to be an attorney to buy it.
    Did you read the section on “arguing at the work place”, or “arguing with kids” ? Ok, it was James who was miffed on the DVD’s not showing up.
    My dogs argue with me, about going out for a walk, they actually are doing some yap dog, and they win—every time.(well about 85 % of the time, anyway)

  35. Good point, Mr Truax, DOJ, should be renamed,
    the Dept of Injustice, it is largely a puppet of large D C corporate law firms, corporate Lobby & P R beltway firms. That is not going to change under Covington & Burlington’s revolving door man, Eric Holder.

  36. University of Kansas Professor, James A Brundage, has written a book on “The Medieval Origns of the Legal Profession”, and he has other papers attacking lawyers.
    Here is one quote he dredged up; ” It seems to me that he who corrupts a judge by oratory does more evil than he who corrupts a judge by money, for no one can corrupt a prudent man by money, but one can by speech”. He has that quote footnoted from a book by John T Noonan, who found some quote from Ammianus Marcellinus, in “Rerum gestartum”, which Noonan noted in his book on “Bribes”, p 45. This was in Brundage’s paper “Vultures, Whores, and Hypocrites, Images of lawyers…..” Dr Brundage is a scholar on the crusades, and history Dr Brundage has never practiced law, or went to law school, or represented some poor person, faced with legal troubles.
    John Noonan is an ex professor, and has a PH’d in phislophy.(and a J D)
    He is a federal appeal court judge, appointed to the federal appeal court by Ronald Reagan.
    He is the leading advocate to outlaw all abortions. His book, “Bribes” is one among many, and he frequent attacks the U S Supreme Court, while sitting on an appeal court—in books no less. With the recent bribes of two judges, who put young kids in jail(with no solid basis), while taking $2.6 million(real bribe money), & running favors for a private jail company,
    it puts a nail in the arguments of people like
    Brundage and Noonan.
    Lawyers appeal for people’s rights by speech, this notion that those who speak for people are part of the corruption is a medival evil left over, mere ancient bile, attesting to the absolute power of kings.
    Truth is a function of courts, if shuts off lawyers speaking for people(the PEOPLE), and their rights, then we descend into the dark ages of tryanny.
    Money(notions of and power, position, and duty, and trust) and the ex Governor of ILL will be part of one of the most sensational trials of the last 30 years. Coming soon: after a formal indictment, the Ides of April(2009)
    So much of the oratory on
    legal matters these days are by: 1) professors with an agenda(like Brundage), 2) people who never went to law school, 3) people with a T. V outlet who blabber into a camera, often who are not lawyers, or deep in the process of legal proceedings 4) airheads like Ann Coulter, who has never had a significant jury trial—ever(none reported lexis).
    5) and people like the head of the Chamber of Commerce who jokes about killing lawyers, misquoting Shakespere.
    I take no position in the matter
    Spence v Fitzegearld.
    I merely observe one part of the war on this was launched from a blog: I-net(carpeting the cyber space, before any indictment was filed)

  37. Gerry,

    I consider you my friend. I am in the trenches daily and one question I always ask in jury selection is “Other than the famous trials, when is the last time you saw, on the front page of your newspaper, the words “Accused Found Not Guilty”. The problem is that “law and order” expects the police to be correct, expects the prosecutor to be wearing the white hat of truth. The public hears so little about the victories of those falsely accused and how a courageous jury made the consitution mean something and were brave enough to look the government in the eye and say “NO”. It takes courage, as a juror, to make the constitution mean what it is supposed to mean and there is no news outlet, anywhere that I can find, that is willing to print these victories of the accused because to them, the media, it is not news. Only the sensational wins of the ever right, ever truthful governement, deserve the front page. It makes me sick and it makes trying case hard as hell.

  38. Cezsar wrote:

    I don’t get it Susan, one moment it is your demands for drugs, your claims of suffering beyond belief, between great outcrys of dogma de jure), then next DVD presto demands, which if you don’t get, then you lay the blame on Gerry for some lost trials.

    Cezsar, I have never “blamed” Gerry for any lost trials, or anything else, for that matter.

    I also do not have any “demands for drugs,” as I am not suffering from any terminal illness. I simply posed a hypothetical question on the matter, which was several weeks ago. I decided quite a while ago to drop it, as it was causing too much negative argument.

  39. This post should be in the New York Post editorial section. I have long thought the system was touting the “presumption of innocence” as a mere PR piece – “Oh, you’re innocent until we prove you’re guilty” – yeah right. Blago has been judged by the public and the court – far prior to actually being brought forth on any charges.

    You hit the nail on the head, I have to link to this post to prove a point to someone else about my similar post.

  40. “Our collective public mind has been molded by the movies and television to accept the notion that the common good permits, indeed, encourages cops and prosecutors to violate the law in order to protect us. We see the police battering down doors of suspects to illegally obtain evidence. We witness the cops bugging phones and forcing confessions. We want the police to win, because they are the heroes of the drama and such crimes are serious and threaten our security. But this sort of lawless bludgeoning of the law does terminal damage to our system of justice. By destroying the rights of any accused none of us are ever safe from the law that once stood to protect us”– this is so true. My cousin has been in prison for 15 years based on an invalid illegal indictment. I have searched no help for anyone’s who’s constitutional rights have been violated.
    After Tommy Chong got out of prison, he was asked “how was prison?” he smiled and said “you’ll find out” I believe he meant everyone will eventually go if “they ” want u in prison “they” can make it happen.

  41. Since Nancy Grace in prime time has been so successful for years now with “We’ll give him a fair trial THEN we’ll hang him,” …..appears the entire country is copying her MO now.

  42. On this subject: Regardless of her own immature actions, would you make a short comment on what would be the process in THIS country if the “suspect” in the Aruba N.H. case continually kept admitting to the media atleast some crimes?

    Extremely sad and frustrating situation, however, hopefully will save others in the future from the same fate.

  43. Can’t we combine “Guilty until proven innocent” with “We the OLD (new) slaves” and have the total recipe for the condition of the world today?

    We were all born into our parent/s slavery to MAN made fairytales….(religions) and most of them taught we were BORN GUILTY; original sin.

    As a result, the world is so over-populated today we have a probably unrecoverable mess. Whenever you have an overabundance of any species there is less and less respect for it.

  44. Ooh…..forgot for a second and flunked that test big time!

    Call it “information overload”. Thanks for the slightly important reminder.

  45. Mr. Spence, was the need for the separation of Church and State because of the following facts?

    Religion (church) preaches born GUILTY while state preaches “Innocent Until Proven Guilty”.

    The two could not co-exist. Just wondered. Thank you.

  46. Gerry? I remember you at the Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Association way back in the 70s. You had just won a huge civil verdict in a case involving a man who caught incurable VD. What was the size of the award and what was the citation for that case? Thanks Gerry!

    • The case was for a woman who caught a venereal disease from a man professing to love her and who took her on a cross country sex trip. The jury awarded something like a million. That was many years ago. The Wyoming Supreme Court didn’t think women had many rights. If she went with the fellow she was entitled to what she got. That isn’t what they wrote, but that is what was behind a very silly opinion based on the proposition that I couldn’t prove which state she caught the disease in and therefore the statute of limitation or some other technical defense might be available to the defendant. Something like that as I recall. The bar, as usual, controlled by men, was silent.

      Gerry

  47. Question

    Why is there a statute of limitations for ANY crime?

    And why do I keep hearing these issues about jurisdiction?
    I mean if suspect A is committing criminal acts from his/her home but across state lines or through the Internet, why is it that theres so much squabbling within police departments and federal agencies to deal with them?
    If officer Jones is chasing suspect A down the road and the state line comes, why can’t officer Jones allowed to keep going ?

    The criminals are supposed to have no rights
    but it seems that the legal system needs an overhaul because a lot of victims are having a hard time getting justice
    And even though it may have something to do with money
    It seems more complicated than that

    Especially i a nation that has the most millionairres and billionaires of all the world

    Alan

    http://protectionformen.com

  48. Gerry,
    I am a police officer in a large city. Believe it or not, I always wanted to be a defense attorney. I read a number of your books while I was in the Army (How To Argue And Win Everytime was my first and still my favorite) I am proud to say that your books have had a lasting impact on the way I perform my job as cop. I make every effort to treat each situation I find myself in independent of others; it’s not my place to judge “all crackheads the same”. I understand that I have been entrusted with awesome power and responsibility and truly believe that I show mercy and compassion as warranted. I can assure you that I do not “lock ‘em all up”; I try to give the benefit of the doubt. Most importantly, I do not knowingly, intentionally or maliciously violate anyone’s civil rights. I wish I can say I never have, but these rare occasions were through my oversight, lack of knowledge, (afterall, I am not a lawyer), and were relatively minor.
    I have an upcoming suppression hearing for a firearms case this Friday. I have no doubt in my mind that I made this arrest legitimately. There was true probable cause established and to this end, the defendant was reaching for his gun, presumably to shoot me. I am a rather new officer and I still get nervous when testifying, a) because I want to tell the truth, and b) I know THIS particular defense attorney will make every effort to discredit, embarrass and otherwise make me appear to be a substandard police officer, which I know I am not. (Let’s face it, not all police officers are professional and neither are all defense attorneys).
    I picked up “How To Argue And Win Everytime” the past couple of weeks. I was reminded to prepare, prepare, prepare. I have read and reread my arrest report. I have practiced in front of a mirror my articulation of the facts. THE TRUE FACTS, nothing more, nothing less. In reading, however, I was reminded of the true pursuit of justice, compassion, understanding and mercy. I wanted you to know that in the spirit of justice, your words serve to make better police officers as well as better attorney’s. Now if we can get judges on the same page. Maybe someday I’ll pursue that law degree, but until then, I’ll promise I’ll do my best to live up to your words from the other side of the courtroom.

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