Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Then What Happened?

A lot of long-running news stories cut off coverage at some point prior to the story's actual completion. That could happen for any number of reasons: the story doesn't wrap up for years after the initial blitz of coverage, the media got bored and moved on, the story got supplanted by a bigger story and the media never got around to wrapping up the first one, or maybe the ending didn't fit the presented narrative in the slightest and, life being the Hollywood movie it is, all stories have to have nice, clean, definitive endings that make sense. It was only one week into this blog's life when we covered one such story that people didn't follow to its conclusion, the Dred Scott case. It makes for a nice, clean ending to say that Dred Scott was told by the Supreme Court that he was a piece of property. It doesn't make for a nice, clean ending to say that at the time the ruling was handed down, he was the property of a woman who was married to an abolitionist Congressman from Massachusetts who didn't find out about his wife owning Dred until it was too late to save him or his political career, and that he promptly set out to have Dred freed a few months later.

Douglas A. McDonnell, writing for Cracked, has compiled six other such stories of considerably more recent vintage. For example, that Toyota Prius recall stemming from stuck accelerators a year or two ago was checked out and revealed to be "pedal misapplication", also known as idiot drivers stepping on the gas instead of the brake.

For a story that is currently going on now, here's an update on the Jerry Sandusky trial at Penn State, one day old. To recap Day 1, Sandusky is awful, his attorney, Joe Amendola, continues to be the worst lawyer since Lionel Hutz, and the key witness of the day, known as Victim #4 (currently 28 years old), hammered him like a tent peg. A running blog of the trial is here, and let's just say that when the phrase "sometimes he would 'sneakily' put his penis in my mouth while we were showering and wrestling" is typed, something somewhere has gone terribly wrong.

How bad at his job is Amendola? Let us examine the jury selected for the case, and zero in on juror #3:

A middle-aged woman who has held Penn State football season tickets for 24 years. Her husband is a physician at the same medical group as John McQueary, whose son Mike McQueary is a key witness for the prosecution. She said she is a "casual" acquaintance of the elder McQueary. Sandusky's attorney, Joe Amendola, initially tried to strike her from the jury pool. However, Sandusky convinced his attorney otherwise, saying "I think she can be fair."
A casual acquaintance of the dad of a key prosecution witness, in a child-molestation case mind you, and Amendola allowed Sandusky to talk him into letting her onto the jury. You do not need to have ever had any law experience beyond watching Law and Order to know how bad an idea that is.

Day 2 is underway as of this writing. 'Victim #1', now 18 years old, is the big witness so far today, and it has not gone any better for Sandusky. During testimony, he broke down in tears. During Amendola's cross-examination, he broke down again.

I'm pretty sure the trial is going to be followed to its conclusion.

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