In America’s ugly past, the quick answer to an infamous crime was for a lynch mob to find hated suspects responsible for an infamous transgression and hang them. Thoughts and acts of retribution somehow perceived by most humans as a way of making a horrible situation better. Along the way the lynch mobs hanged a lot of innocent people. Too many people are frustrated and can’t wait for the criminal justice system with its checks and balances to bring about a fair resolution.
We’ve outlawed the lynch mob but it’s come back in another insidious form. Mass news coverage of the disappearances, murders or mysterious deaths of, young, pretty, White women has given the lynceh mob new life.
You may ask, who are the leaders of these modern day lynch mobs? They are the commentators of radio, TV and the Internet. Nancy Grace, Bill O'Reilly and an assortment of people are the new lynch mob leaders. These influential folks take a fraction of the investigative information that may be in itself inaccurate and use it to pollute the minds of their audience just as any other mob organizer would.
The truth is that the misinformation influences the actual judges and juries involved in the factfinding process.
From expierence I can say for a fact that people sitting on today's juries use the Google search engine to research the defendants and witnesses that appear before them. Yes that's in total violation of the rules to avoid news reports and broadcasts.
This works best if the victim is female, seems sympatric and attractive. Names that come to mind are Laci Peterson, Natalie Holloway, and Lana Clarkson. Irrespective of our perceptions two of these women’s manner and cause of deaths were never determined. Natalie Holloway is a missing person who we presume is dead. Laci Peterson was found dead but nobody ever established just how she died but a jury guessed she was murdered and that her lying and cheating husband must have killed her. Of course they don’t know how he killed her.
Lana Clarkson either died at her own hands or Phil Spector's. Was it suicide,an accident or murder? If it was an accident, who held the gun and pulled the trigger? Peole want to believe what they want to believe. The truth plays little part in that process.
In the Peterson case the court watchers were as much of a lynch mob as any in history. The courthouse mob actually cheered and celebrated when the jury convicted Scott Peterson!
This lynch mob mentality has had a major influence over changing or legal system to make it easier for prosecutors to win convictions. First, through the bogus issue of, so-called victim’s rights. Our founding fathers knew that victims don’t need special rights and did not provide for them. Second through the elimination of Statutes of Limitations that prevented criminal prosecutions for crimes not reported for more than seven years.
Changes to the Statute of Limitations has brought on the epidemic of Catholic priests to be prosecuted for sexual abuse claims made by alleged victims more than 30 years after the acts were to have occurred. Of course in each and every priest case the accuser has a companion civil that usually nets over $1 million dollars. Could money somehow motivate people to make phony sex abuse claims?
We’ve changed the rules of evidence to allow testimony of people about incidents remote in time to a current accusation such as in the case of suspected killer, Phil Spector’s old bedmates.
Along the way there is another strange phenomenon and that is the canonization of parents of murder victims. John Walsh, Max Klass, and Beth Holloway Twittty along with a host of others have capitalized on their newfound victim fame in a big way.
Today there is a heavy thumb resting on the scales of justice favoring the conviction of scapegoats.