The Pursuit of Justice

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.

Lisa Renee

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

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37 Responses to The Pursuit of Justice

  1. not THAT Jill says:

    This is the most wonderful news -LISA RENEE Blogging?? I love it!! I’m so excited to read whatever you write Lisa!!! You are a fabulous writer of comments and I’m sure you will be even more fabulous as a blogger!! Love you!!!!

    • It is great, isn’t it!! Mel the Hound and Lisa Renee – I’m a very lucky (and grateful) lady. 😀

      • not THAT Jill says:

        We, the reader, are the lucky ones-Lisa Jeff and Empress!! The trifecta!!!!

    • lisarenee64 says:

      Hi Jill, thanks for your excitement, it’s a pretty cool feeling & I hope I don’t disappoint. Just being put in the same company as MTH & Empress blows my mind. Empress is an amazing mentor with the patience of a saint. I got lucky & jumped in. Let’s see how long it takes for me to lose my new car smell lol 🙂 love back at cha, Lisa

      • designernailsdiana says:

        I agree. Great blog and so good to see you blogging about something I’ve been drawn into.
        A correction because I’m obsessed with this trial. Travis’s sister and maybe a brother too gave an interview on one if those programs. I’m thinking Dateline or 20/20.

        • lisarenee64 says:

          Diana, thanks 🙂 I prefer being corrected so I appreciate that. I don’t know how I missed that interview, would have loved to hear from them. I should have been clearer. I think it has taken some very powerful intervention keeping them quiet since the trial began. To know they have the talk show circuit at their fingertips to defend their brother and decline must be so hard to do. I am glad they did. Lisa

  2. ladebra says:

    I have only watched this trial intermittently. I can only take it in small doses. This is a very well thought out commentary. And eloquently put. I look forward to your POV 🙂

    • lisarenee64 says:

      Thank you ladebra, I have been called alot of things but never eloquent. Very cool, Lisa

  3. baronessbeachcomber says:

    Great post, Lisa Renee!

  4. melthehound says:

    I’ve been waiting for a couple weeks to read your first post Lisa. W.E.L.L. Done! Justice. Potentially hot topic you have chosen for your first post (don’t worry, I won’t ruin any discussions 😉 ). I’ll go ahead and say that I still believe in eye for an eye justice. Whether it changes anything for the actual victim or not is a side point, when the victim is dead. I haven’t seen a second of this trial but thinking back to Empress’s post about the media circus aspect of it all and the discussions on the blogs about the trial, I can’t imagine being any part of it. What really stunned me the most (due to lack of knowledge) was that the jurors were allowed to ask questions. I did not know this case was 5 years old. I’ve picked up some details here and there and only from what I’ve heard, there is admission of guilt on one method of the murder (the one that (very) loosely fits the self defense plea) but she doesn’t remember the second method (bullshit).

    • lisarenee64 says:

      Thanks so much for the job well done, you know how I feel about your writing so your words mean a lot. It is 5 years old also in part because Kirk Nermi tried to quit four times or was fired four times, depending on who is reporting. I know exactly where you stand on this issue and I do get it. I have had to rethink many of my own POV’s because of yours. You gave me much food for thought on SYG, I thought my position was set in stone until I meandered into the farm & read what you both had to say. I think it may have been one of my first comments here. When Empress blogged about the juror questions, I again had to rethink my position. While I love the concept, it does change their role. The topic of justice has found it’s way into my life so I went with it, glad you thought it rated. I guess like beauty, justice is in the eye of the beholder. I would say give the hound a cookie but he is going to bust from his daddy playing super hero. Lisa

      • Kaereste says:

        Hi Lisa,
        I’m so proud of your first blog! I don’t post on the other site but I do occasionally read there and I remember reading your interesting comments.
        I don’t watch the JA trail but I have seen a few HLN recaps. I follow it because JA only proves the point of how mundane evil is.
        We really haven’t a clue about “who” most people are underneath their well composed exteriors.
        Keep on blogging, and keep safe!

        • lisarenee64 says:

          Hi Kaereste, Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. I do recall your name 🙂 it is so unique I have always wondered if I was pronouncing it properly! I’m going to try to keep blogging, the support is very sweet. You stay well and safe too, Lisa

      • melthehound says:

        😀 I don’t seek to change anyone’s mind but I’m happy you have at least thought about the things I say. I think we both showed up at the farm around the same time.. When I first heard about them, I thought the juror questioning was interesting. I don’t know if the witness, in this case, the defendant, is obligated to answer them but it can sure throw a monkey wrench into some lawyer’s planned line of questioning (both defense and prosecutor).

        I’ve cut back on The Hound’s cookies so he can have one 😉

        • lisarenee64 says:

          It is not that my mind has changed, more like I hadn’t thought about something from a different POV and if I can’t punch a hole in it, because what you might be saying strikes me as having merit, I have to re-evaluate my own views. I love that about your writings. If I am going to take a position on something, I want to consider all sides and sometimes you don’t see all sides until you read someone else’s. The 3 states that allow juror questions are AZ, CO, & IL. The questions are held to the same legal standard as questions from lawyers for both sides. Yes, the witnesses are obligated to answer them same as if they came from either party. That monkey wrench you mentioned is the hot button right now of the pros & cons of these questions because the concept is getting quite popular. Several other states have their version of jury questions with it being at the judge’s discretion. Like I said I love the idea of it, but Empress had a very valid point. Changing the role of a juror is huge. Glad the hound got a cookie from me, it was overdue, Lisa

  5. Daughter says:

    I would just like to saw how proud of my mother I am! I think this the start of something amazing! Her ability to communicate through her writing is a unique talent. I hope everyone sees the talent I always knew she had.

    • Hey there! It’s my FFA!!! You have every reason to be proud of your Mom. 😀

    • lisarenee64 says:

      Thanks my doll baby, you have really changed your mind about this. I appreciate the support. We are in new territory 🙂 I would also like to “saw” I am proud of you too! Proofread or I’m going to want my money back. Who let you in anyway? Madre

      • Daughter says:

        That’s why I use word…corrects it for me! And yes many reasons to be proud!

        • not THAT Jill says:

          Ohhhh how cute-your girl dropped by to congratulate you….and you tease her??? You are the best mother ever!!!!!

  6. Donna says:

    Welcome new blogger Lisa Renee!! I don’t always comment, but I do check in almost every day to see what is going on

    • lisarenee64 says:

      Thank you Donna, every one has made me feel very welcome. The farm is a very special place, I’m a lucky girl.

  7. trudie says:

    Hey there, Lisa Renee! What a lovely surprise to see you blogging about my obsession. I have never watched a trial on tv before, and had never heard of Jodi Arias until my sister and I took a road trip and she got me hooked listening to HLN on the radio. Now, I am hooked.

    I share your desire for the jury to come to a verdict within minutes as opposed to days. My hope is that they walk into the jury room for the first time, elect a foreman, take a vote and immediately find her guilty of first degree murder.

    I also agree with your sentiment on the way that Juan is handling the prosecution. He alone speaks for Travis. My heart goes out to the Alexander family. I could not imagine sitting there, day after day for months on end. But I know that I would be there to represent my loved one in the same circumstances.

    My heart also goes out to Jodi’s family. I know that the defense has tried to place some of the blame for the way Jodi turned out on them, but I do not believe that the parents are always to blame for the sins of their children. Sometimes you just give birth to a bad seed. How mortifying for her grandmother to have to sit there and listen to testimony?

    As for today’s testimony, if I were the jury, I would be ticked off. Talk about a waste of time. I do not believe that this one witness is going to change their opinions on pervious testimony. With the end in sight, I imagine the jury is anxious to move on.

    Great blog! I look forward to reading more of them!

    • melthehound says:

      I know that the defense has tried to place some of the blame for the way Jodi turned out on them, but I do not believe that the parents are always to blame for the sins of their children.

      Unless she was chained to a post in the basement, beat on a regular basis, and fed a diet of big brother slop, I would have a hard time believing it either.

      • lisarenee64 says:

        MTH, I so agree. That sycophant was disciplined not abused. Even if she were, it should not go in the mitigation column. What you are describing is MI vs Springer. That was abuse and that child died. The details of that trial will haunt me forever.

        • melthehound says:

          I wasn’t even thinking of a specific case. Just what I believe in general.

    • lisarenee64 says:

      Hi Trudie, nice to see you 🙂 thanks for reading. Let them have this surrebuttal. A waste of time, I agree, but less to deal with on appeal, if there is a conviction. We still have to say “if” until the reading of the verdict. In DP cases the defense gets a wide berth. I do not think her family was shocked they were going to be portrayed as abusers. Her mother & aunt were smirking & laughing like it was just another day in the park during the autopsy photos & the phone call. Adverse childhood experiences my ass. All day for that opinion. Hang in there it’s almost over. Appreciate your comments, Lisa

  8. Hey Lisa, What a terrific post – you took on a difficult topic and handled it thoughtfully (doesn’t surprise me 🙂 ). I’m not that shocked at how long it took for this to come to trial – 5 years is about average for a DP case, even under normal circumstances. Arizona’s criminal procedure is very different from what I’m used to, though. The jurors’ questions, the rebuttal and surrebuttal witnesses – all pretty foreign stuff to me. Those are a couple of reasons why this trial has taken so long, although OJ’s was what, about a year long?
    I’m not fond of the “blame the dead guy” or “blame my dysfunctional childhood” excuse, and I mean excuse – not defense. I hated when Casey Anthony, and her ridiculous attorney, Jose Baez, did it, and I think it’s a sign of poor lawyering. IMO, that’s just throwing shit at the wall and seeing what sticks. The only purpose it serves for Arias would be whether to give her life or death, as mitigating circumstances.
    You compared trials to theater and that’s a fairly accurate analogy. Both sides put on a show and the major players – lawyers, the defendant and the witnesses are actors, to a certain extent – it’s just that some are better actors than others.
    I’ve set aside some time this week to watch the closing arguments because it’s always interesting to see how both sides try to sell their versions of what happened to the jury. I don’t think it will happen in this case because, quite frankly, I think she’s guilty as sin, but some cases have been won or lost based on closing arguments.
    As for your blogging debut, well, I guess you already know how I feel about it and you. I do want to thank both you and your daughter for providing a first at The Farm – a real mother-daughter moment. 😉
    I look forward to reading your reaction to the verdict and the sentencing phase of this case, as well as what you write about the upcoming trial in Florida (that should be a doozy), and just about anything else you offer us in the meantime.

    • lisarenee64 says:

      Morning Empress, ITA agree that blame the victim is poor lawyering. Great way to put it. I too remember Jose Baez, deplorable. My real disappointment was Chaney Mason. It may be hard to believe but I have a deep appreciation for a good defense attorney. The system that I love only works if the state is held to their burden. The defense atty’s in this case had nothing to work with. Those TV interviews were her undoing. The defense inherited those interviews, so all they had left was what you described and they revictimized Travis and his family. I agree the entire trial from the defense had more of a penalty phase agenda, to spare her life. The 18 days the defendant was on the stand was to humanize her. More like Stockholm syndrome to me lol. Every defense expert has had their reputations compromised & that is putting it nicely. The expert Geffner from last night, no words. I have no use for people whose opinions are for sale. I heard on TV from some real lawyers that the cross of Geffner was not necessary. Now, I am a lay person but Martinez is obligated to create and preserve the record. Am I wrong about that? What we may consider too much and too late, is a luxury the state doesn’t have. It may be frustrating and time consuming, but I think it is his duty. I am thrilled you are going to watch closing arguments. I agree cases can be won or lost based on the closing, but you are not going to believe the crap you are going to hear. Someone please check Nurmi for a pulse, unless he fidgets in his chair he looks like he has narcolepsy. I am truly dreading the next trial and I never feel like that. I am afraid it is going to bring out the worst in everyone. Race relations in Florida, no beer summit in the world could help this. Without you, that mother-daughter moment might never had happened, so I thank you, again. Before we get too warm and fuzzy, I was told “I hope those people don’t think I want to talk to them”. She slays me but her commenting meant the world to me. I fell in love with the farm at first read. Thank you for believing in me, cheering me on and best of all inviting me to stay. Lisa

  9. majnon says:

    Wow, Lisa, great, thoughtful piece. The kind that makes you think. Thank you.

    • lisarenee64 says:

      Majnon, Thank you so much. If I made you think, that is the hugest compliment. I appreciate you letting me know, Lisa

  10. TexasTart says:

    Empress, thank you for seeing talent in Lisa Renee and asking her to blog! I have a great appreciation for her humor and descriptive style and now I get to see another side!

    Enjoyed the blog! I used be an avid trial watcher long ago, so I understand her passion for following cases…and the mechanics of the legal system – that I do and do not agree with all that goes on. I have been a juror several times and was not overly confident that our system(s) of justice functions properly. Anyhow, I look forward to hearing more from Lisa on any topic! Giggles to the mother-daughter exchange! 😛

    • Hey TexasTart! What nice words. Don’t tell her I said this, but Lisa’s special in a lot of ways. Having her here at The Farm, as a contributor, means as much to me as a blogger as it does to folks like yourself, who read and comment and know just how talented and good she is.
      As I said upthread, having Mel the Hound and Lisa Renee write the things they do, the way they do, is a win-win situation for all of us. 🙂

      • TexasTart says:

        She is a bit too humble for our bragging…but it is true. Win-win for all. 🙂

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