By James Zambroski
February 3rd, 2006 - Day 20
Random Thoughts From A Somewhat Fertile Mind -- Week 4
ONE LAST MENTION ABOUT LAWYERS:
Attorneys are people that I love to hate and hate to love, if that makes sense. I've decided the thing that I enjoy most about them is that they are so darned intelligent, in an entirely emotional way.
There's a side of me that treasures the fact that attorneys are the guardians of the greatest guarantee of personal liberty on earth; the American judicial system. The other side knows for certain that the ruination of this country is rooted in the American Bar Association. I believe parts of all of that, but it sounds too sappy for this column; besides, those beliefs are a distraction from my main point.
Dumb lawyers are like unethical journalists; you find them once in awhile, but it's rare. Before you start sending me evil lawyer stories, yeah, lawyers can be arrogant, lack common sense; be lousy performers; lawyers can be filthy rich and so on, but I've rarely found one to be a moron. And, for some reason, that's a pleasure.
Probably the thing that took me to the next level in this love/hate relationship was a concept my very good friend (and one of the best lawyers I've ever met, Don Major) taught me.
Don does a lot of defense work. One day over a couple of cigarettes (he was smoking unfiltered Camels, I recall), I asked him how a lawyer could stand representing someone who was obviously guilty (before I write another word, that question doesn't apply here. Liell/Uliana believe with every high, medium and low velocity cell in their body that David Camm is innocent).
Don told me it isn't a matter of guilt or innocence; lawyers never ask. The deal is whether a client can 'be successfully defended or not.'
Ahhhhh-haaaaah!! Conflict resolved.
These lawyers working in Warrick County are some funny human beings, which, on the surface seems weird, considering the gravity of the situation. Inside the courtroom, they're jovial to a fault with each other. Pleasant, almost affectionate; they hug each other, laugh, chit chat and small talk each other up all day long.
Then put 'em in front of a camera and watch as they savage each other like the best WWF Ultimate Smackdown. Mr. Henderson this; Ms Liell that...and all of us love it; what we call the 'money' sound bite.
About every five years, I think to myself that I should go to law school. Nahh..don't want to disgrace my family, living and dead.
I LOVE BOONVILLE:
I got myself jammed up with the locals and it's kinda my fault, although truth is, I got sandbagged by the local paper.
A few weeks ago in this space, I made some silly references to boondocks, out in the boonies and so forth. Nothing special about the writing, actually, it was the lazy way out that morning, not exactly a cheap shot, but sorta.
But then, the local newspaper (Boonville Bombast?) put those remarks on the front page, and well, some natives here have taken offense. So much so that one or two of the other out of towners working with us here have said I need to watch my back. One local merchant says I should apologize.
To be completely accurate, it would have been nice if the paper had included these few words written further down that day's Reporter's Notebook:
Thanks, fellas, for seeking comment from me before you went to press. Never mind it's how real journalists do it; it's just kind of weird that I got cut blocked by my own people.
Now, I'm like a cop patrolling a hostile neighborhood: Where can you go to get a safe (clean) bite to eat?
QUESTION OF THE WEEK (THAT WILL NEVER GET ANSWERED):
Why don't any of your experts have advanced degrees? I've heard you and them say over and over that experience counts, but you'd agree with me, wouldn't you (a lawyer phrase), that perception is everything. If you believe Camm did this and what you have is tons of microscopic evidence, shouldn't the people doing the convincing have, like, Ph.d's from M.I.T. (or the University of Pittsburgh, maybe)? Wouldn't that kind of credential be the nails you need for this coffin?
Katherine 'Kitty' Liell (and David Camm, by default)
Why all this hesitation about whether the defendant will testify? If I'm innocent of one the most horrendous crimes on earth, damn straight I'm going to get up there and tell the world, under oath. Put it another way, are you willing to risk life without parole and just sit there, silent, before the jury makes its decision? Not only that, trumpeting from day one that Camm will tell his side of it would play well in the court of public opinion that does seem to matter to all you legal eagles.
THINGS I GOTTA REMEMBER TO BRING NEXT WEEK:
- Aspirin for Sam Lockhart, whose limping bad from an ankle fusion he had awhile back. When this is all over, they have to retire the Uncle of the Year Award for this guy, who has been there every step of the way for his nephew throughout the last five and a half years.
- Extra money to buy my Boonville souvenirs.
- My digital camera so I can take a personal photo of Rod Englert's lawyer, the guy who is with him like some kind of super duper man servant every second he's in the courtroom. Love that -- I'll testify, but you have to fly my lawyer out with me.
WHAT'S NEXT FOR INDIANA V. CAMM, II:
The prosecution will continue with their blood spatter/tissue analysts. The whole strategy has been to put them on the stand in a row, one after another.
Englert will be on the stand for what promises to be intensive cross examination on Monday. The state has an Indiana State Police blood stain guy still to come and Bill Chapin, a paid consultant, who will testify that he found four pieces of tissue imbedded in Camm's t-shirt.
After that, we still need to hear from the Kentucky medical examiner (her pictures will be horrible), the much anticipated informants who will recall alleged conversations about the crime with Camm and some other civilian witnesses. We believe the jury might go to Georgetown later next week. Consensus is that the state's case will take up two more weeks.
And then we'll finally get to hear the defense's 'case in chief.' Question is, will it be a juggernaut or a choo-choo train?