1. Casey Anthony– Who could forget the not guilty verdict of Casey Anthony in the death of her 2 year old daughter Casey Anthony? In a Washington Times article, I discuss why the not guilty verdict was anticipated by me. Casey Anthony Verdict: Unpalatable But Correct explores the reasons why the verdict was an appropriate legal one despite contrary popular public opinion. The prosecution learned a valuable lesson–overcharging and lack of evidence results in not guilty verdicts.
2. Conrad Murray– The manslaughter trial of Conrad Murray for the death of Michael Jackson was a contrast to the Casey Anthony trial. The prosecution did not overcharge and methodically set out to prove that Conrad Murray’s actions of giving Jackson doses of Propofol- a powerful anesthetic, resulted in his death. Murray was appropriately charged with manslaughter in that he did not intentionally seek to kill Jackson but his egregious and life threatening actions caused Jackson’s death. He was sentenced to 4 years.
3. Jerry Sandusky– The indictment of Jerry Sandusky for the child sex abuse cases surrounding Penn State caused a hush over everyone at Penn State and State College, PA and the “We are Penn State” community except for Jerry Sandusky. Sandusky gave a TV interview with Bob Costas which made him appear guilty as charged. But, fact is stranger than fiction. A trial still awaits Sandusky. And in the small town of State College, PA, a guilty verdict is not necessarily imminent, despite appearances.
4. Jack Johnson and Leslie Johnson– Former Prince Georges County, Maryland County Executive Jack Johnson was convicted of taking anywhere from $100,000 to $1 million in bribes while serving 8 years as County Executive. He was heard on audio tape telling his wife, Leslie to hid $80,000 in her panties and walk out of the house, when the Feds arrived at their home. Johnson received a sentence of 7 years. He and his wife plead guilty.
5. Rod Blagojevich– Former Illinois Governor Blagojevich, after 2 trials and 2 juries, was sentenced to 14 years in jail for his attempts at selling President Obama’s former Illinois Senate seat to the highest bidder. His prison term starts in 2012.
6. Dominique Strauss- Kahn– Although the case of former head of the IMC World Bank was dismissed by the New York prosecutor and never brought to trial, strong forensic evidence existed to pursue the case in a court of law. The case of the hotel maid shows the differences in how the judicial system handles sexual assaults and rape cases, particularly those involving women of color. It is a classic case of how race, class, gender and politics affects the judicial system. See my former blog post in the Women’s Media Center for a full discussion.
1. Herman Cain– No, Herman Cain, former GOP Presidential candidate was not convicted of any crimes. Yet, his sexual harassment case settlement of over 10 years ago was brought to light and forced him to end his Presidential bid. He deserves mention for how a boss should not act towards women employees in the workplace in exerting power. Bosses beware.
2. Gary Giordano– Giordano was not indicted in the case of missing Robyn Gardner while vacationing in Aruba. By all accounts, his purchase of a $1 million life insurance policy prior to their departure, still leaves a suspicion of guilt which may never result in any criminal action. A link to my WUSA TV appearance explains why he’s free.
Debbie Hines is a lawyer, former prosecutor and legal commentator appearing in national and local media including CNN, the Michael Eric Dyson Show, XM Sirius radio, NBC , ABC and CBS -Washington, DC affiliates, NPR, the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, USA Today, Black Enterprise among others. She founded LegalSpeaks, a progressive blog on women and race in law and politics. She also writes for the Huffington Post.