Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Court Watching...

Don't ask me why I'm fascinated by things that most people find disturbing.  I spent the day sitting in the courtroom at the murder trial of Daniel Erlich - accused of murdering his stepson Robert.  I spent a day volunteering to search for Robert when they had people out looking for him when he disappeared.  I knew it was fruitless and that he was probably dead, but I also knew that if it were my child I'd want as many people out looking as possible.  It's a horrible case and just so you know, I couldn't have sat and listened to them describe what he did to Robert before he died.  However, I do find it fascinating to listen to the other evidence, watch the jurors and the accused - and wonder what they're thinking as people testify.

Our justice system leaves something to be desired.  I think prisoners should be brought to court in their lovely jailhouse outfits.  I was happy to note however, that Daniel seems to only have one shirt.  He wears the same one every day - unlike Casey Anthony who has a new outfit (neatly buttoned to her neck) everyday.  This, after seeing her dressed in nothing but an American flag at a party while her daughter was "missing."  I wish they'd make her wear that one day to her trial - wonder what the jury would think of that.

One reason I decided to go is because I've always wished I had been 15 years older, and 15 years wiser when we sat through Claude's trial.  I would have paid more attention to who was sitting where.  At the time, I don't think I realized Claude's brothers were there.  I would have paid more attention to that type of thing.  I would have been more involved - I know I would.  We had never been through anything like that and I look back on it with regret that I couldn't have done more.

So I find it fascinating to watch our justice system work in similar trials.  I noticed that none of the family members were present.  The sign on the door said that witnesses were excluded from the courtroom - is that the reason they weren't there or why would none of the family members show up?

I found it interesting at how quiet his attorneys were, compared to Mike Donnelly and Bill Mauk.  Interesting.  Although Shannon, who went with me (we used to work together at ISP and now serve together on the Board for the Memorial) thought they spent too much time objecting.  They were very subdued compared to the other trial I sat through.

We'll definitely go several more times - even though we got in trouble for whispering to eachother at one point.  The Bailiff sitting near the back door "politely" asked us to refrain so that we didn't take the attention of the jurors - who spent much of the day rubbing their eyes and yawning. 

It was interesting and I definitely want to sit in on closing arguments.  I think I could be a professional court watcher...


Dee said...

Jurors: We know from sad experience that "jury of our peers" is an oxi-moron if there ever was one. I would be insulted if compared in intelligence with most people on a jury. One, possibly two, are fairly smart and objective. The other ten or eleven are idiots and have a strong opinion before anything starts, so forget about paying attention to facts.

The trial we sat through: I just this minute learned that his brothers were there. The entire trial was a bizarre circus. Even though we were in shock over the "evidence" from the defense attorneys , etc. (you know my references) the prosecuting attorneys were full of confidence, stating that the jury couldn't believe any of those lies. AND there was nothing we could do, say or change. I've never felt so angry nor helpless in all my life. It still makes me shake with anger when I allow myself to become completely mentally involved with the memories.

So I have stated a bit of the utter frustration and again will let it go. It will not "be" my life. He cannot take it again.

Jodi said...

I know mom. It was probably the most difficult thing we've ever done - but it sure opened our eyes to how life really is.

Casey said...

Did CD have a public defender, or were his attorneys paid for by himself or his sick fans? I wonder if that could be part of the difference. I think being a public defender would be really hard, especially in a case like this. What if you wanted your client to fry? I think there's a lot more incentive to work harder when you're actually getting paid for by the client.

I was thinking how it is sort of an odd coincidence that the Casey Anthony trial is going on while Daniel Ehrlick's is too. Both are such revolting crimes (tell me how a little girl who drowns in a pool is found with duct tape over her mouth and nose?). Yet it seems like the Anthony trial has had so much more attention.

Jodi said...

Yes, his "fans" paid for two decent attorneys.

I think people have found the Casey Anthony trial so fascinating because of the years of lies she told before they finally discovered the body. She has now thrown her father and brother under the bus saying they both sexually abused her and that her father found Cailey in the pool dead and walked into the house holding her, "speaking" to her saying, "Now look what you've done. You're mom is going to be so mad that you drowned."

Like he was some kind of lunatic talking to a baby that he knew was dead. Can you imagine letting your attorney come up with a story like that against someone who loves you - even if it is to save your own skin?

She's a piece of work - and that's exactly why her case is so fascinating.

kate said...

Oh jeezus, the whole Casey Anthony thing makes me crazy. Her whole defense defies logic: if the child drowned, why didn't they call 911?? They've even said that the meter reader guy who discovered the child moved her body and that HE had some sort of weird ulterior motive. Yeah, let's literally blame every single person except for the one that ALL THE F-ING EVIDENCE POINTS TO. How can those lawyers say this shit with a straight face?? They should lose their damn liscenses, if you ask me. I will never, ever understand how an attorney can defend someone like that. How could you live with yourself??

I love your idea of making her wear her "best bod" outfit to court every day!!

Shannon said...

I had different observations than Jodi. I couldn't figure out why the bailiff was so interested in Jodi and I. Besides being told not to whisper, even though others were, I was told to turn my cell phone off, not even on vibrate, even though others had theirs on. At one point the bailiff came and asked me if Jodi and I were witnesses.

Something else I found interesting, after lunch we had to go through security again to re-enter the courthouse. The security person asked if I had a Swiss army knife in my purse and I told him "no". He then showed it to me on the scanner and asked if I had a nail file. He then asked what I was there for and I told him the Ehrlick trial. He then told me to take my one-inch knife and nail file to my car. Funny, I got through security in the morning with no problems! I guess he was afraid I would "stab" Ehrlick!

Looking forward to going back again.

kate said...

Well Shannon, I don't know about you, but Jodi definitely looks like a trouble maker. ;)

That really is weird that they seemed to single you two out...