Tuesday, January 30, 2007

The Good Ol' Justice System

For the most part, I believe in the power of our justice system. However, with the recent guilty verdict of Cynthia Sommer, I hope I'm never on trial for a murder I didn't commit.

Did she get new boobs with her husband's life insurance money? Yes. Did she act like a slut almost immediately following his death? By many standards, sure. Were her actions inconsistent with those of a grieving widow? Probably so. Did she live above her means both before he died and after? Most definitely.

The problem is, there was absolutely no evidence linking her to the arsenic that experts say killed her husband. No.Evidence.End of story.

I've been watching the trial coverage for the last month or so, amazed that the prosecutor was even allowed by law to charge this woman with a crime. I was positive that the jury would find her not guilty. I was wrong.

Seriously, I've been trying to imagine the anguish of losing my husband, being charged for his murder, having every man I slept with following his death testify against me on national television, go without seeing my children or parents for almost two years - and then be found guilty by twelve people that know nothing more about me.

And I'm not totally convinced that Cynthia Sommer didn't kill her husband. However, I think she was convicted before the trial even started. But, hello? Where is the consideration of reasonable doubt? I mean, isn't that the whole point? In criminal cases, don't jurors have to be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that someone is guilty (for example, credit card payments for arsenic on eBay)?

I can tell you one thing: If I were on that jury, we would have been deadlocked. There is no way in hell that I would have let a guilty verdict fly. Feeling in your gut that someone committed a crime and proving it are two different ball games. I think that people just naturally want someone to blame.

And I think these jurors made a terrible mistake.


Vonn** said...

It does seem as though she was convicted on circumstantial evidence. On the one hand, she was partying very soon after his death and undergoing surgery for new boobs so soon is suspect. What mother would risk leaving her kids with NEITHER parent so soon after a tragedy? (surgery complications?)

However, investigators could find NOTHING linking her to the arsenic. Maybe the judge and jurors forgot this was a criminal trial and convicted on civil standards.

Odd, very odd.

Vonn** said...

Also, interesting blurb from her GMA interview this morning....

'I think they take things out of context," Sommer said. "In a second, I lost everything. I lost my husband, my best friend. My children lost a father, my house, my income, what am I going to do?" '

......The military does not put you out of housing or stop BAH immediately....and LOST INCOME would not be at the top of my list.


'"For five years, they've been investigating me and arsenic and haven't been able to find anything. They looked in my bank records," Sommer said. '

Only $19.95 said...

I see cases all the time that bother me: the Duke rape and the West Memphis 3.... It was such a horror for me to watch 'Paradise Lost' on HBO.... Talk about injustice. The three little boys that were murdered plus the three lives lost in ram-up-the-ass prison? What a tragedy. If you're not familiar with it, rent it or read here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/West_Memphis_3

moda said...

On November 30, 2007, this verdict was overturned and Cynthia was granted a new trial.

Based on the fact that there were SIXTEEN BREAKS IN THE CHAIN OF CUSTODY OF THE TISSUE SAMPLES - the new lawyer, Allen Bloom, plans to file a motion to suppress the lab results.

The motion will be heard May 14, to be followed immediately by the trial (if there is one).

Laura Gunn should throw in the towel right now. She doesn't have a case, and she's going to end up with egg all over her face.