Friday, March 25, 2005

#156 - Cooley Doesn't Get It

Steve Cooley might well be a terrific lawyer. I have no idea, personally, and don't much care since I no longer live in Los Angeles County. I remember his campaign for LA County District Attorney being somewhat aggressive as he attempted - successfully - to cast former LACDA Ira Reiner in a "soft on criminals" light. Beyond that, I have no idea as to his qualifications for the job.

This has nothing to do with those qualifications.

What Cooley has done is worthy of the most contemptible politician. This is classic "biting the hand that feeds you" material. After the highly publicized trial of actor Robert Blake ended in acquittal on all but one count (deadlocked 11 to 1 for acquittal on that count), Cooley made a public statement that the jurors in that case were "incredibly stupid."

My hero.

Now, for the record, District Attorneys generally don't go to trial unless they feel they have a case. Certainly, Cooley and his staff must have felt like they could not only make the case, but sell it to the jury as well. As trials go, it was remarkable for it's lack of behind-the-scenes drama. In fact, there wasn't a single case of juror misconduct and the judge made note of that fact in thanking both the jury and the alternates. By all accounts they were attentive, and their deliberations left no doubt that they were considering everything entered into evidence.

So, Mr. Cooley, tell us how this doesn't sound like sour grapes?

The foreman made an excellent point in one interview. He said that comments like Mr. Cooley's only serve to cool prospective jurors' interest in future trials, and it's going to get harder and harder to seat an objective jury. That's not a good thing when you consider the number of people today who go out of their way to avoid jury duty. All they need to know now is that any disagreement with the District Attorney's office will forever brand them as "incredibly stupid."

That, Mr. Cooley, is no way to define our constitutional system of justice. The system worked in this case, and it worked well. I don't necessarily believe Mr. Blake was any more innocent than you apparently do, but I also know that your office did not do the job they were paid to do. They did not prove beyond reasonable doubt that Blake pulled that trigger. Period.

Care to denigrate someone's intelligence, Mr. Cooley? Talk to the mirror.

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