I joined Bacchus in his snuffling and snorting this morning; couldn't tell if it was my cold or his explorations that caused the most noise but we got the walk in. I kept thinking about an issue that has eaten at me since yesterday morning. From Huckleberries this morning -
"In a Coeur d'Alene biz office, two femme co-workers debated the merits of a fair trial for Groene family murder suspect Joseph Edward Duncan III, while a Berry Picker listened in. Worker Bee No. 1 (while reading a newspaper article about a possible change of venue for Duncan): "Boohoo, they are saying Joseph Duncan's not going to get a fair trial here." Worker Bee No. 2 (huffing): "Well, he won't!" Responded WB1: "Well, who cares?" Shot back WB2: "Well, if anything ever happens to me, I sure hope you're not on my jury!" WB1 (as she walked away): "Well, then let's just hope you never murder or molest anyone!" Mebbe the attorneys for the convicted child molester do need to look elsewhere for jurors."
The Joseph Duncan trial is due to begin April 4. The defense is concerned about being able to find an impartial jury in this area. Yet to be resolved, changes of venue have been requested; even importing jurors from other areas has been considered. This is the defense doing it's job. We have laws that grant a person, no matter how heinous his crime, the right to a fair trial with an impartial jury. I find myself wondering if the front page story in Sunday's CDA Press detailing the feelings of a neighbor of the victims is responsible journalism - especially as the trial looms closer.
Stories such as this bring it all back in technicolor to those of us who lived through it and creates an element of curiosity and emotionalism for newcomers to the area. Potential jurors all. I question if running such a story does anything more than further taint the jury pool? In reading the excerpt from Huckleberries it is obvious that emotions still run high. No one can drive past the cinder block house off I-90 or even Denny's without remembering what occurred.
More than anything in the world I want the prosecution to be thorough and without flaw. I do not want this man ever to have the freedom to walk a street, what's more see a child. The more the impartiality of the jury is put in question, the more difficult the prosecution will be. He could be acquitted, strong grounds for appeal might be found. He could spend years, years denied his victims, appealing - and living.
I sincerely hope all media, local and national - both print and broadcast - will refrain from emotionalism and sensationalism as the time frame tightens. Let the process work. Report what is pertinent, not what drives anger and fear and hate.
If I am to believe in anything this day and age it has to be that this man and his crime are so despicable a just outcome needs no help from a sensationalistic press.