The one thing we all have in common as Americans is our pursuit of justice. Ask a hundred people what their definition of justice is and you will get a hundred different answers. I took a moment to look it up in the dictionary, I found nine ways to define it. When our country was attacked, the cries for justice were deafening. As a nation we wanted justice for all the victims. That justice could only be found abroad by our military men and women. We went to war seeking justice. Right or wrong, depending on your politics, we lost over four thousand lives in our pursuit. Ten years later and half a world away, we got justice. Are the victims’ families better for it? I don’t know. We are supposed to be safer now and I pray it is true so their lives were not lost in vain. What our pursuit of justice did accomplish was show the world we will never stop looking for those who do us harm. Great message to the rest of the world, but was it justice? Those we lost pursuing justice for all of us was a very high price. I am beyond grateful, thankful and proud. I am still left wondering if the loved ones left behind feel they got justice. Justice is an act our constitution mandates to keep us civilized. It is the best system in the world. Those who do seek justice and feel they were denied it suffer in the most unimaginable ways.
Currently, in our pursuit of justice, we are watching Arizona vs Arias. The family of Travis Alexander is trying to get justice for their brother. The State is trying to bring the defendant to justice. History has shown that it doesn’t always happen. Who can forget the cheers as OJ walked out the front of the courthouse? If there were a conviction, would the Goldman or Brown family feel justice was served? I don’t know and I can’t speak for them. My view is that justice doesn’t exist if your loved one is still dead. Families of crime victims may take solace that a sentence of life without the possibility of parole or the death penalty for the convicted makes the world safer, but that’s it. Chant justice for Caylee all you want. If her mother were in jail, we could take solace in the fact that she can’t have more children, but that’s all we’d get. Travis’ siblings are waiting for their justice. Their pain seeps through the TV and I swear I can almost smell it. The look on their faces says to me they are screaming on the inside every second of every day. I know the look all too well. Despite what they hear about their brother they remain dignified and united. Travis’s two sisters and one brother have given no interviews. They chose to step back and allow our system to run its course. Travis was murdered in 2008 – they have been silent for five years. I admire their strength and the courage of their convictions. Their belief in our justice system is admirable. They are as aware as the rest of us, justice may be denied.
This trial has had an array of salacious evidence and witnesses unique to the trials that held us riveted before. We have heard and seen things that we didn’t want to. The autopsy photos are gruesome. Jury questions for the first time in a high profile case, riveting. The defendant gave interviews on TV from jail – unheard of. The real victim, Travis, was maligned in a vile manner. We have all heard it and repeated on TV ad nauseam. I will not repeat it here, for the sake of his loved ones. It’s a defense strategy that’s clearly being used to deflect accountability from the defendant. Dragging the victim through the mud is a job for the defense, it is their right.
I am an avid trial watcher. It reminds me of live theater and I learn so much – my two favorite things. The minute I heard the defense lawyers were going to argue self defense I was hooked. It guarantees the defendant will take the stand. I was salivating in anticipation of the cross examination before I even knew who Juan Martinez was. As soon as the media outside of Arizona and InSession caught up, this trial exploded on a national level. We almost never see a defendant take the stand in a death penalty case. Television programmers knew this was an opportunity that may never come around again. It has become fodder for every legal pundit on our screen. I sit and watch every moment, learning about our justice system. Collectively, we all have the same questions. Why it is taking so long seems to be the most common inquiry. We learned as a nation about jury nullification in California vs Simpson. Now we are all learning the old adage that time is a defendants best friend. Memories fade, people die or move. Evidence can be lost or compromised, all a defendants dream. The state’s witnesses made sure they were prepared and evidence preserved despite the passage of years. It is an almost insurmountable act for the state and they are doing an amazing job. The upswing is, time the defense thought would be an advantage allowed technology to improve. Text messages, recordings of phone calls and emails thought gone forever could now be retrieved in 2010, two years after Travis’ murder. This would have been a very different trial without that evidence. We got to hear from Travis in his own writings and exposed the defendant with her own words.
We have witnessed mind numbing testimony from the defendant. Her ability to recall the most irrelevant details left us speechless given her defense. The defendant on direct examination behaved with no contrition. She smirked at the victim’s family and seemed to take pleasure in recounting her sex life with Travis, proud that such a wonderful man picked her. Then came Juan and the fog rolled in. It was ah-mazing! For some, the way Juan Martinez conducted his cross examination and demeanor was off putting or misplaced. I believe that what we are witnessing from him is righteous indignation. In this forum, I feel he is completely justified. His unrelenting pursuit of his definition of justice is motivated by the pain he has watched for five years and the level of brutality of the crime. He is the only advocate for for the victim, along with their loved ones and he is mad as hell. I get that and applaud his rancor.
Closing arguments start this week. Then the jury will finally get their turn. I believe that premeditation has been proven, but no one will let me vote. I would like the jury to come back with a guilty verdict for first degree murder in 29 minutes. One minute of deliberation for each knife wound, the slashing of his throat and the bullet to his head. A clear message from the jury that the defendant’s lies nor the vilification of Travis by the defense didn’t work and they’re not worthy of another moment of thought. To me, that would be justice.
The next trial I will be watching is Florida vs Zimmerman. The chants for justice for Trayvon Martin will be as loud as the chants to free Zimmerman. As a nation we will be divided. At the end of this trial are we going to be left wondering if justice has been served? Probably, it’s Florida.
I want to thank Empress for inviting me to the farm. Her belief in me is a precious gift. For those of you who may read this, I thank you also and I look forward to your thoughts.
If you’ve seen any of her comments either here at The Farm or at Lynn’s Place, then you already know how smart, funny and passionate Lisa Renee is. Because of those traits, I asked her if she’d be willing or had any desire to write her own posts, and she graciously accepted my invitation. I’m honored that she’s going to be a regular contributor, and I hope that those of you who read this blog will come to know her the way I have. Empress