Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The student who graduated alone

Sheesh. The Sun's front page story about the Annapolis high School student who graduated alone--his classmates graduated without him--raised more questions in Buz's poor mind than the article answered. (from a security perspective of course):
Let's see if I got this right: a "threat" was received which caused school officials to not allow him to graduate with the rest of his class. Was this a reliable, actionable threat or anonymous, akin to a called-in bomb threat?
  • Were the officials being overly cautious?
  • Who's in charge here, "anyways"? The thugs or the government-like don't they have police downey there or something? (Of course, here in bmore, thugs can shoot at each other in a wild gunfight, two little kids get shot while swimming; we ain't got no police here, either anyways).
  • He practiced all season and played games with his football team? Buz guesses no threats were received there?! Probably went out after the games? Under heavy police guard?
  • Oh, and went to the senior prom, too! Buz guesses no threats, there! Wonder if he went to a pre-prom or after-prom party? In an armored truck under heavy police guard?
  • And mom said he made amends to the folks he had been fighting with. ok
  • And he even asked the judge for mercy on the kid that shot him. ok
So, we wonder what's all of that about. Is there more to this story? Buz is very glad that the nasty people threatening the young father of a 3-month-old don't threaten him for real important stuff like playing football and going to the prom. They only threaten his high school graduation.  Buz is at least glad he finished high school, and hopes he doesn't get threated at his new trade school or new job.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Random, alternative, Iconoclastic thoughts on the Zach Sowers case

Buz read with interest the articles about the Zach Sowers case and comments from the States Attorney's office spokesperson.

Some thoughts:
  • If I ever become a big shot with a fancy, schmancy office and lots of money and stuff, I don't think I'll hire Marty Burns to be my PR person.
  • I'm sure the comments made by Burns caused tremendous distress to Anna Sowers, and even your consultant found them distressing. Even if she really believed those things, she should have kept her mouth shut. What was the point? The reporter was asking her about Anna's proposed Zach's law. (We never did find out the official State's Attorney position on that, incidentally). Maybe Ms. Burns need to go back on her medication.
  • Your consultant wonders if Burns was verbalizing some thoughts going through the State's Attorney's office before and/or after the trial, or if she was reflecting the thoughts of her boss, her own thoughts or what.
  • It sounds more to this experienced cop like the possible arguments the defense attorneys might have thrown out in negotiations for the plea.
  • Sleeping like a baby? How would she know? Betcha , 3-1, Ms. Burns never went to the hospital and never actually saw Zach.
  • Comments like hers tend to make people want to leave the city, and wonder why they still live here. This is what the State's Attorney's spokesperson feels/thinks about murder victims and their spouses?!
  • At the risk of offending my dear readers, I must say that with the limited evidence the state had, both reading reports at the time and now, they got the best deal one could have hoped to get against the defendants. If Anna really wanted her blood to boil, she would have been granted that at a trial for these bums. The defense attorneys would have had a field day: making fools of the evidence and pointing fingers at each other's clients, and making the police, and lab technicians look foolish (whether they were or not); and perhaps helping their client invent some story about how he actually didn't do it and pointing the finger at someone else; one or more of the "flipped" co-defendants of Trayvon could have reneged on their deal or "forgot" crucial details previously agreed to, or said the police tricked or coerced them. The risks of going to trial were enormous--with a possibility one or more would have been acquitted and/or convicted of very minor charges. See the recent article when an attorney told the Sun "nobody flipped". Huh? I thought the other 3 plead guilty and had agreed to testify at trial against the main player-Trayvon Ramos.
  • We have some solace in knowing that very likely Ramos will serve about 30 of his 40 years sentence. In my work with "ex-offenders", it has been consistently the case that violent criminals serve about 75% of their sentences, before getting out on parole. So, he'll be 47 or so when he gets out, and unlikely to be able to get any kind of decent job or housing on  his own. In addition, there will be more younger thugs out there ready to do him like he did Zach, since he'll no longer be so young and "tough", but probably as cowardly as ever. And it is quite likely he'll go back to prison within 3 years of his release (on average 53% do). He is also under a suspended sentence.
  • And the other thugs will serve about 6 out of their 8 year sentences. And they will all be on parole with suspended sentences. Buz feels a little sorry for the one kid who is in solitary 23 hours a day, when it became common knowledge that he was the one who first broke under police questioning. There's a good chance he'll be beaten or stabbed before he gets released, and may well be murdered after his release. (Of course, all of these guys are prime candidates for getting murdered in Baltimore). Buz feels less sorry, of course,  because we know some or all of them were involved in a series of robberies both in the city and county east side. There were probably more than even the cops think, and probably some which weren't reported.
  • Don't know much about Jessamy; only saw her at community meetings a couple of times many years ago. However, I don't agree, and think it's unethical for anyone to post her home address--much as you disagree with anything about her. [Actually, I don't like the idea of the state putting everything, including your home address on the web anyway. There's plenty of nuts out there; we don't need to make it any easier for them to express their nuttiness].
  • Regardless of Jessamy herself, your consultant has found the vast overwhelming majority of prosecutors in her office to be dedicated public servants in a thankless job for a community that has a huge thankless component. Often the prosecutor has little to work with, as in the Sowers case. {Testimony of co-defendants is shaky ground on which to try a case, particularly in the city}. From what I read, both at the plea and recently, the state had a strong common-sense case and a strong circumstantial case, but with the wrong jury.................??? Who knows what might have happened? Would the defense have found someone to say they saw him "sleeping like a baby" or that his injuries were not consistent with stomping. Remember, it only takes one juror to be swayed by dumb arguments.
  • When prosecutors are going for a plea, they almost always discuss it with the victim and/or the victim's family, outlining reasons why, and the risks involved in going to trial. Usually, the family agrees. My understanding is that Anna did not agree. Unfortunately, crime is considered legally to be against the state. In this case, the prosecutors decided to ignore her wishes for a trial and proceeded with a plea bargain, "in the interest of public safety". Part of the bargain would be not to prosecute should Zach die; that's why they were able to get such "long" sentences. So an autopsy was irrelevant at this point; we don't know why Burns is even bringing that up--except, perhaps, to "prove" somehow that the defense attorneys might or might not have been right about the stomping not having occurred? Sheesh. Even if he was just tripped and sustained those injuries, by say, hitting his head on a car bumper, so what. The injuries were caused by the robber-thugs. (Buz doesn't really believe the others just, like, stood around and didn't do anything.)
  • In any event, Burns needs to get fired, and get the Douche-bag of the Year award for stupid press comments.