TV show provides glimpse into case

April 12, 2011
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Normally, when I read Indiana Court of Appeals opinions, I have no knowledge of the background of the case. Sometimes, the court gets a case that has received extensive news coverage, so I recognize a party’s name or I wrote a preview of the case’s oral arguments.

Today, I came across a new reason as to why a case was familiar: I watched the crime investigation unfold on television.

I was a big fan of the show “The Shift” that aired on the Investigation Discovery channel. I’ve always enjoyed “reality” detective/cop shows yet can’t get into shows like CSI or Law and Order. When I learned that the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department’s homicide division was going to be featured in a TV show because of its solving rate of murders, I tuned in every week it was on.

That’s how I learned about Lamar Crawford’s case before it appeared on the Court of Appeals’ website today.

Crawford appealed his murder conviction, which included a challenge to the production company of the show to turn over footage and interviews relating to the investigation. He lost the challenge.

While watching “The Shift,” I did wonder how it would affect the trials of the accused. I vaguely remember a news article in which someone arrested and shown on the show challenged the footage because he wouldn’t get a fair trial. It’s a valid concern. I’m not sure how many people watched the show, as it was on a channel that you would have to have a pretty extensive cable/satellite package to get. I haven’t seen it on the schedule in months, although information about the show is still up on the ID channel’s website.  

As an attorney or judge, what do you think about reality shows that identify people accused of crimes? Are they a good way to inform the general public about the work police do or another thing that can cause problems in obtaining a fair trial?



 

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  1. I grew up on a farm and live in the county and it's interesting that the big industrial farmers like Jeff Shoaf don't live next to their industrial operations...

  2. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  3. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  4. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  5. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

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