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Blonde Justice on the Most Random of Victim Statements

Blondejustice This week on the Blonde Justice blog (which I now recall I started following because I liked its name and its tagline, borrowed from Jay-Z's "H to the Izzo"), the anonymous Blonde Justice writes about an odd victim statement she witnessed in criminal court.

The defendant had been arrested for vehicular homicide after hitting a young woman. He had already pleaded guilty and was before the court for sentencing. The law permits a "victim statement" in such hearings, Blonde Justice writes, but here the victim had died and her family did not come to court. Instead of submitting letters from the family or simply making her own speech about the loss the victim's family had suffered, however, the prosecutor instead stated that she "would like to read something the victim had written prior to her death," which went something like this:

I like milkshakes, chocolate milkshakes are my favorite.
I took piano lessons in fourth grade, but I never got very good.
I want to paint my bedroom red.
If I ever get a tattoo, it will be a butterfly on my ankle.
I'll do anything for a chocolate chip cookie.
I have been to Disney Land twice.

According to Blonde Justice, the prosecutor had found a "Random Things About Me" list from the victim's Facebook or MySpace page that ran a hundred or so items long, and was rattling them all off to a very confused judge. The 60-something judge patiently listened until the prosecutor got to statements that the victim "preferred men with shaved or waxed chests" and that her "favorite class at the gym is stripper aerobics," at which point he angrily stopped the prosecutor and said he'd heard enough.

Blonde Justice says the lesson learned here is that maybe 10 random items are enough, and you need to "know your audience." I'd also add a variant of the maxim, “don’t say anything online that you wouldn’t want plastered on a billboard with your face on it.” Lawyers: Not everything people write online is intended to be shared with the world in court.

Posted by Bruce Carton on March 30, 2010 at 04:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (3)

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