Capturing the Latest Legal News, Legal Drama and Legal Shenanigans
Last week’s legal news centered on Jodi Arias, George Zimmerman, Kermit Gosnell and Amanda Knox. After months of agonizing testimony over the murder of Jodi Arias’ former boyfriend, the jury finally got the case for deliberations. CNN”s Headline News carried daily coverage of the trial testimony. Despite the viewers’ demand for a real life murder drama, the case is not one that should demand coverage of any prominent significance, in my opinion. And often cases that should demand media coverage fail to receive it. The case of the Gosnell trial is in the latter category.
Kermit Gosnell, a Philadelphia abortion doctor is now charged with five murders, including that of one woman and four babies who were born live after he allegedly performed abortions beyond the period of weeks for a legal abortion. Three counts of murder were dropped by the judge during the trial for insufficient evidence. Gosnell is said to have ran an abortion house of horrors on women of color of lower socio-economic means. According to the Grand Jury Report on Kermit Gosnell, this case is about a doctor who killed babies and endangered women, regularly and illegally delivered live, viable, babies in the third trimester of pregnancy – and then murdered these newborns by severing their spinal cords with scissors, in addition to allegedly overdosed and infected patients in a filthy place of business, ironically named the Women’s Medical Society. Gosnell was the only doctor and no nurses practiced with him for the decades that he practiced in West Philadelphia. He was a last resort for many women of little means and he performed outside the law—thus he is alleged to have committed murder. Abortion is legal but Gosnell performed outside the legal limits of the law. What he performed was not legal. He is charged with intentional killings of viable babies.
Gosnell offered no defense in his trial. And a jury will decide his fate. The Philadelphia jury has been deliberating since last week. The Grand Jury report of his alleged transgressions are quite graphic. And even as a former prosecutor having read murder Grand Jury testimony, the Gosnell Grand Jury report contains the most graphic of all Grand Jury murder testimony and photos. Both Kermit Gosnell and Jodi Arias are awaiting a jury verdict and are facing the death penalty, if convicted.
The Trayvon Martin case goes to trial on June 10. And George Zimmerman was back in the news with his lawyer’s assertion that the Zimmerman defense does not plan on using the Stand Your Ground defense. They intend to rely on a traditional self -defense approach in the trial. But there’s a devil in the details of attorney Mark O’Mara’s election to proceed with self -defense instead of Stand Your Ground. The prosecution had pressed Zimmerman’s attorney for a decision of Stand Your Ground. Although, O’Mara delivered his election to the judge, he stated that the law does not require him to make an election prior to trial and asserting that the Stand Your Ground defense would be available after the trial started in his opinion. While I tend to agree that the defense should have made the pre-trial election before the trial, I don’t think they had an indefinite time period to assert a Stand Your Ground defense. Nonetheless, if Zimmerman is convicted following his June trial, O’Mara has set up a ground on appeal on the timeliness of making and going forward with a Stand Your Ground defense.
And Amanda Knox was back in the news last week with her interview with Diane Sawyer. Knox is being tried again for the murder in Italy of her roommate. The Italian’s court to retry her comes after a conviction, an appeal and an acquittal. Obviously, the Italian courts do not have the equivalent of double jeopardy as the U.S. constitution forbids being tried twice for the same offense—after an acquittal. But Knox did not persuade anyone of her innocence by her weak interview with Diane Sawyer. She obviously is on air to promote her new book on her ordeal. However, she would be better remaining silent on the case. Her demeanor was lackluster and unemotional.
Stay tuned for the week’s update on the latest legal trials and legal news.