Saturday, July 9, 2011

Why treat the courts with such deference?

NJ - Jersey City: Justice Brennan CourthouseImage by wallyg via Flickr
Some New Jersey judges act as if they just want you to go away.

In only a few days, two criminal trials ended with verdicts that left observers shaking their heads in disbelief.

But The Record and other media reacted as usual, merely reporting the outcomes, without making any special effort to examine the process or quote legal experts who believe the courts would benefit from more public scrutiny.

Shirt crime

Stories on Page 1 and A-8 today report Passaic city residents are outraged a police officer was found not guilty in the beating of a schizophrenic man whose only crime was not wearing a shirt.

The A-1 story, by Staff Writer Richard Cowen, never explains why police had to "move" Ronnie Holloway off the corner of Main Avenue and Summer Street in May 2009.

Most of Wednesday's front page was devoted to the acquittal of Casey Anthony in the murder of her 2-year-old daughter -- an O.J. Simpson-like verdict that has many questioning the viability of the jury system. 

Judge who?

But the charges against Passaic Police Officer Joseph Rios III were decided by a judge, not a jury, and readers learn nothing about him in the two stories today.

Did The Record ever report why a jury wasn't impaneled? 

What kind of legal practice did Superior Court Judge Donald J. Volkert Jr. have before he was appointed to the bench? Was he a criminal defense attorney? A prosecutor? Did he ever represent a police officer?

Too civil for many

The media scrutinizes the civil courts even less than the criminal courts. 

High legal fees often block plaintiffs' access to the courts, and judges have no incentive to change that, because once they were lawyers charging $200, $300, $400 or more for an hour of their precious time. 

Of course, you rarely read anything about high legal or contingency fees in The Record, where the reporters covering the courthouses seem to be doing public relations for the bar.

Have you seen anything about how much Anthony owes her attorneys? 

Hey, Editor Francis Scandale, how can the Florida woman resist book offers and paid interviews with a legal bill of hundreds of thousands of dollars hanging over her head? 

Serving the rich

Does the lead A-1 story -- on Governor Christie sending more aid to wealthy school districts -- surprise anyone? 

He axed the millionaires tax and now he's taking care of their kids.

The Record and other media report over and over again the Republican claim that ending Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy will hurt the economy (A-4) -- but they never report on just how many jobs have been created.

It's a myth that tax cuts create jobs, but the media are more interested in sound bites than in sound reporting.

Good Englewood news

The front of Local has a little good news for Englewood's segregated elementary schools -- a district partnership with a primary school in Nanjing, China -- one of two stories about the city on L-1 today.

Hackensack reporter Monsy Alvarado was too busy covering one of her other towns, Maywood, so there's nothing for city residents today. Teaneck news also is missing in inaction.

Keep up the good work, head Assignment Editor Deirdre Sykes.

This is satire?

What do you make of the column at the bottom of today's editorial page (A-11)  from Michael Fremer, an audio-visual writer and blogger, who suggests "privatizing the poor"?

This doesn't even make sense, and is in bad taste, given all of Christie's cuts to programs for poor and working-class families. 

Editorial Page Editor Alfred P. Doblin must be desperate to run this moronic column on his page.

Dissing Sephardic Jews

The review of "Curb Your Enthusiasm" on the Better Living front today highlights the season opener, which perpetuates Larry David's abysmal ignorance of where Jews come from.

A Daily News writer reports one character on the HBO show jokes that if a Jewish couple wanted to have an affair, a Palestinian chicken restaurant would be the place to go, "because there would be no chance they would see any of their Jewish friends there."

Of course, there would be no chance only if the couple had no Sephardic Jewish friends, whose ancestors came from the Middle East and who frequent Arabic restaurants.

The morons who run the media seem to know only one piece of Jewish history  -- the Holocaust of European Jews.

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  1. You didn't get the joke. It's that it's a Palestinian restaurant, not that it's a Middle Eastern restaurant. Beyond that, all jews trace their ancestry to the Middle East and many Sephardim trace generations of their ancestry to European countries, particularly Spain. Do not shoot that high because you do not have an editor and because you don't have the chops for scholarly references.

  2. You're right. I don't get the joke.

    I've had falafel in a Palestinian place in South Paterson.

    Palestine is in the Middle East, and the Palestinians have been scattered to Jordan, Egypt and other countries.

    Sephardic Jews originated in Spain. And from there they were scattered.


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