Lying Murderers

What do you call someone who tells a lie in order to get someone else killed? I'd call him a murderer, and so would the law. At the very least, he'd be an accessory to murder. The government calls him an expert witness.

Dr. Dietz testified in 2002 that an episode of "Law & Order" depicting a mother who drowned her children in a bathtub and was found not guilty by reason of insanity had been broadcast shortly before the Yates children were murdered.

There was no such show.

I am absolutely horrified by this. I'm stunned that charges are not being pressed against this man. Let's review. HE LIED on the stand, in order to support a first-degree murder conviction.

It's also typical that the show he's talking about is Law & Order. I have long hated that show, despite it's seductive watch-ability, and I'll tell you why. It is a terribly pro-prosecution show. It portrays a world that does not exist. Over and over again, counsel for defendants convince judges to exclude evidence. Over and over again guilty people almost go free, or do go free, by playing the system. Well, guess what? OJ Simpson notwithstanding, that doesn't happen. Judges almost never rule in favor of defendants, even when there have been egregious cases of prosecutorial and police misconduct. It's maddening, as an ex-public defender, to see this kind of nonsense on TV. It just feeds into the misperception that the system is playable. It ignores the fact that when mistakes are made, there are almost invariably at the expense of the criminal defendant.

We've got two million people incarcerated in this country, a percentage higher than any other Western nation. That's a shameful statistic.


Blogger lisoosh said...

Interesting to hear it from a lawyers perspective. I always found it frustrating on the show when the cops did an illegal search as it meant that the evidence would be thrown out. I didn't know that it was the opposite in real life, and you're right, it does change the publics' perspective.

January 8, 2005 at 7:39 PM  
Blogger MB said...

While a long-time West Wing fan, I dart for the remote as soon as the credits roll, as I cannot stand L&O. Actually, that's not true, since I've never watched it. I can't stomach the premise behind the show, which, from trailers, seems to bolster the perception in America that crime is just rampant, rampant, and we need more mandatory sentences, guns, and prisons to deal with such.

On a happier note, you were nominated (and by neither Allison nor I) for a Sandy (A Lefty Blogging Oscar) as Best New Blog. Well deserved, in my estimation.

January 9, 2005 at 3:18 PM  
Blogger panthergirl said...

Couldn't agree more. I would also like to see Andrea's husband prosecuted for continuing to impregnate a clearly mentally ill woman.

My question to you is this: why would the defense NOT have checked out Dr. Dietz's testimony at the time?

January 9, 2005 at 5:00 PM  
Blogger Ayelet Waldman said...

Marian -- apparently he just sort of said it on the stand. Perhaps it was the last day of cross-examination? I don't know. My first reaction was that it was clearly ineffective assistance of counsel, but then I think of myself in those shoes. It seems CRAZY for the guy to lie so blatantly.

A SANDY!!! I'm beyond psyched!

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