When witnesses take the stand, they are administered an oath to swear or affirm that you will tell the truth, tell the whole truth, and tell nothing but the truth. Yes, I know, the oath is fraught with fallacious pitfalls, beginning with the quantum theoretical problems with "truth": given that the only truth we can know is subjective, almost every other version of the truth is inherently unreliable. In jury trials, there are potent motivating factors to ensure that some of the witnesses will be lying some of the time; some will be lying most of the time, and some will be lying all of the time. To put it country simple, every time we take the oath we lie.
It is the sine qua non of criminal defense that you take a (sometimes barely) plausible lie and turn it into truth. The clever rascals who got O.J. off scot free in his murder trial, "The State of California v. Orenthal James Simpson" took the lies of police corruption and racism, and used an ingenious ploy with demonstrative evidence: "If the gloves don't fit, you must acquit." The mostly-African-American jury cut him some slack. If the State had tried the case in, say, Beverly Hills, a conviction would have been certain. So, how can you or I put ourselves into the mind of the average juror in the O.J. case? (Unless, one of us is African-American. Races do not see truth in the same way.) But make no mistake about it: if you can make black as plausible as white, a jury will let your criminal defense client go.
There is an evidentiary problem in the law, formerly applicable in most jurisdictions to both civil and criminal suits but now almost exclusively limited to civil actions only. It regards what is known as "circumstantial evidence." Briefly stated, it is that where an equally plausible explanation of the known facts is possible, neither story may be accepted as true. The result can only be that there is no evidence whatsoever in proof of the proposition sought to be shown. Sadly, inexplicably, in my own neck of the woods, the plausible explanation has given way to a more prosecution-favoring "totality of the circumstances." Now you may be thinking, wait a minute, how can any mere human draw conclusions from "a totality of the circumstances."
"Caylee drowned in the family pool," Mr. Baez told his staff, opening the brainstorming session the day his law firm came up with a plausible explanation. Unfortunately, the State of Florida's plausible explanation makes a lot more sense. The judge wisely disallowed argument on any theory of defense having to do with the defendant's childhood sexual abuse at the hands of her father. By not taking the stand, Casey waived her right to prove the proposition by repeating the accusation to her father's face so to speak. Frankly, I think Mr. Baez has shot himself in the foot. His plausible proposition had the legal equivalent of no evidence in support of it.
But that oath bothers me. It is not enough that they add "or affirm." Was that added with humanists in mind? Were they wary of certain Christian sects who are not allowed to take oaths? The entire oath is meaningless because even devoutly Christian people are incapable of telling The Truth on the witness stand. They can only tell one version of the truth. I had an honest cop one time who smiled at me when he gave something up to the defense. Most cops lie on the stand -- to the extent that they tell the truth from their professional point of view. Their veracity is on the line. But they have a very strong motive to lie: their job and their ego. To paraphrase Mae West, and with apologies, "God-ness had nothin' to do with it."
I know if it were me and one of my kids was missing for even an hour I would be not only calling the police, I would be totally inconsolable. I get upset if my kid wonders into the next aisle where I can't see them at Walmart. I can't imagine not reporting a missing child for an entire month and then her mother called not her. What kind of parent does that? Not a very caring one.
I get tired of the excuse "I was abused. It's not my fault I did x.y,z." Of course, the defense's evidence that her father sexually abused her hasn't seemed very convincing to me, but I haven't read every article about the case.
ooo that's good. Funny thing is they don't consider fundamentalist religious bigotry to be dysfunctional. In fact a good old testament based childhood is considered 'good.' Just so long as there is a married couple in the house, and the children are fed well enough and aren't being beaten - the house is deemed ideal. This is what I hate, when I tell people I have two parents ect, they expect that my childhood must have been ideal. This is simply false, if my mother was a single parent, and I was an only child I don't think I would have silenced my self-expression. People expect parents to 'love' their children, the fact is this word 'love' can mean virtually anything - from tough love, to 'God's love' >>.
... END RANT...
Yesterday, I read the story of a family where the mother's boyfriend beat her up and while she was reporting this to the police, the boyfriend when to the baby daddy's house, picked up her kids and supposedly killed them. These children where missing 45 minutes when the mother reported them missing. You should have seen the comments on Yahoo comparing this woman to Casey Anthony! She has done all parents a disservice with her actions. Good grief! 45 minutes when the children are staying with someone else is not very long at all.
There should be some sort of addendum if the child is staying with someone else or that person should be charged. Otherwise, I think this is a good law. 31 days is a ridiculous amount of time for a 2 year old to be missing before people start searching for her. Frankly, the way I understand it, in a kidnapping case, the first 24 hours are critical. You don't want to give some psycho much time at all with a child.