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. You can put your photos anywhere you like... When someone steals it they know it doesn't belong to them. And, a man getting a divorce is automatically not a nice guy...? That's ridiculous. Since when is need of money a conflict of interest? That would mean that no one should have a job unless they are already financially solvent without a job... A photographer is also under no obligation to use a watermark (again, people know when a photo doesn't belong to them) or provide contact information. Hey, he didn't make it easy for me to pay him so I'll just take it! Well heck, might as well walk out of the grocery store with a cart full of food because the lines are too long and you don't find that convenient. "Only in Indiana." Oh, now you're passing judgement on an entire state... What state do you live in? I need to characterize everyone in your state as ignorant and opinionated. And the final bit of ignorance; assuming a photo anyone would want is lucky and then how much does your camera have to cost to make it a good photo, in your obviously relevant opinion?

  2. Seventh Circuit Court Judge Diane Wood has stated in “The Rule of Law in Times of Stress” (2003), “that neither laws nor the procedures used to create or implement them should be secret; and . . . the laws must not be arbitrary.” According to the American Bar Association, Wood’s quote drives home this point: The rule of law also requires that people can expect predictable results from the legal system; this is what Judge Wood implies when she says that “the laws must not be arbitrary.” Predictable results mean that people who act in the same way can expect the law to treat them in the same way. If similar actions do not produce similar legal outcomes, people cannot use the law to guide their actions, and a “rule of law” does not exist.

  3. Linda, I sure hope you are not seeking a law license, for such eighteenth century sentiments could result in your denial in some jurisdictions minting attorneys for our tolerant and inclusive profession.

  4. Mazel Tov to the newlyweds. And to those bakers, photographers, printers, clerks, judges and others who will lose careers and social standing for not saluting the New World (Dis)Order, we can all direct our Two Minutes of Hate as Big Brother asks of us. Progress! Onward!

  5. My daughter was taken from my home at the end of June/2014. I said I would sign the safety plan but my husband would not. My husband said he would leave the house so my daughter could stay with me but the case worker said no her mind is made up she is taking my daughter. My daughter went to a friends and then the friend filed a restraining order which she was told by dcs if she did not then they would take my daughter away from her. The restraining order was not in effect until we were to go to court. Eventually it was dropped but for 2 months DCS refused to allow me to have any contact and was using the restraining order as the reason but it was not in effect. This was Dcs violating my rights. Please help me I don't have the money for an attorney. Can anyone take this case Pro Bono?

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