Considered Thoughts

More Thoughts on Serial the Podcast

Ok, so I’m so obsessed with Serial that I actually listened to a podcast that is about a podcast – The Slate’s Serial Spoilers, which dissects each weekly episode of Serial.  After listening to that podcast, as well as perusing the massive subreddit over at reddit.com, here are a few things that struck me.

1.  People want Adnan to be innocent.  This amazes me.  People want there to have been a huge, undoable miscarriage of justice.  I say undoable because as I mentioned in my last post, there is nothing that’s going to get Adnan a new trial short of new evidence, a smoking gun, something that hasn’t already been litigated before, and even that might not be enough, if say the court were to find that that new evidence was cumulative, or wouldn’t have changed the outcome of the trial.  If, at the end of the show, listeners conclude “well, this case definitely has reasonable doubt”  it’s really just one big who cares?  The appellate courts have already passed on that issue.  And that begs the question – why do people want this guy to be innocent?  Because it makes a better story?

Does it?

An undoable miscarriage of justice that ends with an innocent man doing life for a crime he didn’t commit is a better story than a killer getting his due? A victim’s family’s sense of closure, justice unraveled, and the reliving of all of that pain is a good ending?

I can tell you, based on years of experience, the jury that convicted Adnan did not want Adnan to be innocent. Our system of justice tells those 12 people charged with his fate to presume him innocent, and I think jurors try very hard to do that – but they certainly aren’t looking to find someone innocent.  Citizens generally want to believe that the police got it right, and rather than presume someone is innocent, a defendant is more likely presumed guilty, and the burden of proof is shifted, at least emotionally.  And, I say at least emotionally, because I think in a homicide trial, jurors take their jobs very seriously, and I think they do hold the Commonwealth or the State or the Government to it’s burden, to prove the accused guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.  However, there is no measure of evidence, no scale you can use, to actually quantitatively assess how a jury reaches its verdict – there’s always a subjective component.  And that’s why appellate courts are not going to disturb jury verdicts.  But make no mistake, when those 12 jurors line up in the box, and look at the defendant for the first time, without knowing anything about the case, their first thought is “what did that guy do?”  And when jurors acquit, it’s my experience that they’re angry at the prosecutor for not bringing them a better case, rather than being so relieved that they spared an innocent man from going to jail.

And I suppose the irony is, the Serial audience has decided to give Adnan back is presumption of innocence – because that presumption was gone once those 12 people spoke.  Not only is he presumed guilty in the eyes of the law, he is guilty.  He no longer enjoys the presumption of innocence – but his character does on podcast radio.

And that’s why I guess that people want him to be innocent – because “him” is not a guy doing life.  “Him” is a likeable character on Serial, who makes reality show-like phone calls to the reporter covering his story.  Innocence makes for a better radio story – a better story for a ficitonal character who can be satisifed simply by a listening public believing in his innocence.   Applause, roll the credits.  Because to the real Adnan, that’s a hollow prize for sure.  The real Adnan makes the audience irrelevant because in the eyes of the law, they are, irrelevant that is.  And, that doesn’t make for a good story – a good story necessarily needs an audience.

I could go on and on about this, because I really do find it fascinating.  But, I’ll come to the next thing that struck me.  2.  People seem genuinely surprised that Adnan could have been convicted on such “slim” evidence.  These people have clearly never been to a real trial, because this case actually has a lot of evidence, and there are people who are convicted on much less every day.  I’ll give you an example – a gunpoint robbery.  Most gunpoint robberies are prosecuted based on eye witness identification.  Often, proceeds aren’t found, guns are not recovered, and there’s no convenient videotape on the corner.  One witness gets on the stand, points to the guy in the defendant’s chair, and says he did it.  And that’s enough for many juries.  Presumption of innocence gone, we believe that one witness and that’s it.  But, everyone knows that eye witness identification is not great evidence, people misid all the time, and certainty does not equate with accuracy.  Another example, in a sexual assault case, in Pennsylvania at least, the jury is given an instruction that testimony of the victim standing alone is enough to convict, whether corroborated or not.  Jurors are actually instructed that they can convict on one witness alone – if you believe them, game over.   Jurors are also given an instruction, at least in Pennsylvania, called False In One, False In All, which means that if they believe the witness is lying about one thing, they can believe he’s lying about everything.  Or, they don’t have to – they can believe the witness lied about that one thing, or two things or three things, and still believe whatever part of his/her testimony they want to.  And that’s because inconsistencies in testimony are commonplace.  And so is lying.  But so is truth telling.  And the reality of a real crime scene, is that sometimes there just isn’t a lot of evidence.  And we, as a society, have told jurors to just sort it out.  And, in Adnan’s case, they actually did have a lot to talk about, a lot to sort out, and now, we’re just second guessing them.  But make no mistake, there are people doing time based on the testimony of one witness, and that’s it.

And that brings me to my third point and final point for this post at least, people seem to think that because Adnan was convicted on this slim evidence, which as I said above, isn’t really all that thin (come on, the guy wrote “I’ll kill” on the top of the note the victim wrote him about how badly he was taking the break up – in these parts, the prosecutor would certainly be arguing that was nothing less than a confession), he must have had a bad lawyer.  Maybe he did, maybe he didn’t.  It’s hard to say, especially in light of the fact that the first trial ended in a mistrial and Adnan decided to keep her around for the next trial.  The truth is, this lawyer seems to be pretty sketchy – she was disbarred, or gave up her license, I’m not sure.  But, another truth is this – good lawyers lose cases.   Every guy or girl who’s sitting in jail based on the testimony of one witness, didn’t necessarily have a bad lawyer.  And I assure you, a good lawyer could have lost this case, too.  And on the flip side, there’s a lot of bad lawyering going on out there – and I’ll just leave it at that.

And, the next time someone decides to ask me why I do what I do for a living – think about these things that have struck me about this show.  The truth for me is, I don’t want the radio story to turn out ok, I want the real story to work out before it gets to this.

So, what will tomorrow’s episode bring?  Honestly – I can’t wait!  Sarah’s little nugget was about bringing in experts – and I’m hoping she’ll have the medical examiner.  Not much time has been spent on the actual strangulation, and I’d like to know more from the autopsy report.  I hope she doesn’t bring in the cell phone tower expert – she isn’t wrong when she says that testimony is boring.  And, inaccurate.  Nowadays prosecutors generally have cell tower evidence, and GPS evidence.  What other experts could she have?  Lying experts? Behavioralists? Lawyers?  Tune in tomorrow!  I will.

And, in the meantime, while you’re waiting, check out Benched on USA.  The premise of Benched set me on fire – fired corporate attorney forced to take a job at the lowly public defender’s office.   My eyeballs were popping out of my head.  I watched it just so I could write a blog post and trash it.  But, you know what – it’s funny, and what’s more, it’s closer to accurate than How to Get Away with Murder and the Divide put together.  Of course, it’s exaggerated, but I’m going with it – and you should too!

Edit – I just listened to this truly moving interview with Bryan Stevenson, author of Just Mercy. This interview, in which he discusses the case of Walter MacMillan, among other things, perfectly, and more eloquently, says all of the things I was trying to say in the context of a real case. http://www.npr.org/2014/10/20/356964925/one-lawyers-fight-for-young-blacks-and-just-mercy

#100HappyDays

Yesterday, when my client called me the devil, and followed it up with grimey bitch, I got to thinking. This kind of stuff just comes with the job, and it really goes in one ear and out the other, so I wasn’t really thinking about me. I was thinking about this guy, and how unhappy he must be, and when I got home, and got my little box of happiness, I was just so grateful for all of the things I have, and the little things that make me happy.

And, I think I should remind myself of that more often, without having been prompted to do so by a mentally ill person hurling obscenities at me.

I’m a happy girl, and I have a good life.

And, for 100 days, I’m going to join my friend Knitty D, whos been doing the 100 Happy Days Project for the past two weeks, give or take a few days, and document one thing a day that makes me happy. It goes without saying that Joe, Lemon and Olive make me happy every day – and obviously, there will be days when their faces will be my photos, but I’m going to try to dig a little deeper than that – what thing, what gesture, what happening, what feeling gave me a smile today?

And, today, and every day really, it was just small thing –

20140410-115428.jpg

I really love having oatmeal in the morning.  I was never a cereal girl.  In fact, when we were little, I wouldn’t even sit in the same room with my brother when he was eating his cereal – all of that slurping, with the milk and the mushy cereal – uch.  I don’t like milk (unless it’s in my coffee), and I don’t like hard cereal, and putting them together makes me shmoosh my face up into “yuck.” Anyway, Joe eats oatmeal every morning – except on days that we have bagels and eggs, and those days are another source of happy for another day, and I was intrigued.  No milk, no crunch, and it’s warm.  This warmth appealed to me.  But the taste – not so much.  I like oatmeal cookies, I should like this, right?  And then a lightbulb went off, and I took half a Sweet and Low packet, and mixed it in with my oatmeal – and voila!  It was just a sweet little miracle.  It has made oatmeal an entirely new experience.

So, now, in the morning, I make my coffee, heat up my oatmeal, add my Sweet & Low, a touch of cinnamon and a handful of raisins, and I start my day with a hot meal, instead of cold yogurt, my former breakfast of choice.

Do I start every morning thinking, “gosh, I really love my oatmeal! This makes me happy.”  No, of course not – it’s all part of the routine.

But today I did.

I noticed.

Happy Day 1 of 100!

The Driveway As Canvas

Yep, our house is so crafty, that even the driveway serves it’s craft “driven” purpose – ha ha! – I just crack myself up.

 

A perfectly good rendition of the Liberty Bell – turn your head a bit – there you go – Liberty Bell.  Although, Brooke was drawing the Liberty Bell from Citizens Bank Park, not the actual Liberty Bell, and was surprised to learn there’s actually a real bell.

Our house is a very educational place.

But, it’s a good thing we don’t take up singing – the Ramos von Trapp would probably not be a good idea with the neighbors, who are trying to sell their house.  Craft is much quieter.

Anyway, yesterday was Ramos lunch, the biweekly gathering of Ramos’s.  This is the second time we’ve hosted lunch, and honestly, for me, who cooked for all of one person for 38 years of my life, this is a challenge.  SmartOnes and Ramen Noodles just won’t do.  And, that’s not to say I’m a bad cook – but I’ve never been a bulk cook – and there are 13 Ramos’s including us. Last time, Joe made lasagna, this time it was my turn.  So, on Saturday night, I fried up 35 chicken cutlets, and yesterday, I made them parmegan.  Salad out of a bag works, as does string beans steamed in the bag.

I guess it was a success.  Everyone ate.  Folks took home leftovers, that’s always a thumbs up endorsement.

And, our yard was enjoyed –

And, of course there was cake – because what’s a Ramos’ lunch without a birthday.

And with 13 Ramos’, we’ve pretty much got every month covered.

That’s it – off to make an index card!

 

 

Mother’s Day 2012

Someone’s wearing her pendant!

So, I thought my Paris pendants were brilliant – and they turned out well.  But, surprisingly, my mother liked the one of her mother (well, that’s not so surprising), but she really liked the one of the face I painted.  This one:

She was just so impressed.  Although she didn’t quite understand why her head was titled so cockamamy.

I guess I don’t either.

And Danielle liked her SheArt pendant –

And while she liked it, when she found a photo of a zebra on my ipad from our trip to the Cape May Zoo last summer, she put in a special request for a zebra pendant.

No problem.

Maybe it will even have beads!

I didn’t take any photos of the scarf, but it turned out ok, and nothing really looks too heinous with a Gita Maria pin , which is why I bought the darn kit in the first place.

So, a few more shots from Mother’s Day –

 

And mom’s present from Danielle and Jake:

My sister-in-law is quite the queen of Shutterfly.

Hope everyone had a lovely day – we did!

{112/365} – Muses (or just musings) and Reflections

Right now, my world revolves around my husband, my dog, and the Phils.

But, you’ve seen enough pictures of them, haven’t you?

Or not.

The theme today for Picture Fall was muses.  My husband’s main muse right now (besides me, the dog and the Phils)?  A Camaro.  And, for his birthday, I couldn’t buy him a Camaro, so I bought him the next closet thing, sort of:

First, for Macro Monday:

Hands 

Yep,  got him a ’69 Model Camaro – mean?  No, he’s having a great time!  Men love a good project!

Model Building 

Model Building 2 

Model Building 3 

And me, what inspires me?  What muse speaks to me?  My husband, my dog . . . camera, textures, random thoughts, and  hopefully, my Polaroid SX-70 that I bought off of Craig’s List today! 

 

 

I couldn’t decide which one I liked better.  I was leaning towards the top one (which is the one I ended up using for Picture Fall, just because it’s lighter), but my husband likes the bottom one.  Any thoughts?

And, what the heck, if I’m shooting myself, I might as well expose myself even more . . . and link up.  And, if anyone is interested, really interested in self-portraiture, I stumbled up on this class, You are Your Own Muse – this is not an endorsement, or a recommendation, I just found it, and thought I’d share, and if you’re interested, you should check it out.  Her site looks lovely, and her photography is really compelling.

In the meantime, go on over to the Old Nichols Farm to check out the other brave portraiteers!

 

Facing Myself

{112/365} – Muses (or just musings) and Reflections

Right now, my world revolves around my husband, my dog, and the Phils.

But, you’ve seen enough pictures of them, haven’t you?

Or not.

The theme today for Picture Fall was muses.  My husband’s main muse right now (besides me, the dog and the Phils)?  A Camaro.  And, for his birthday, I couldn’t buy him a Camaro, so I bought him the next closet thing, sort of:

First, for Macro Monday:

Hands 

Yep,  got him a ’69 Model Camaro – mean?  No, he’s having a great time!  Men love a good project!

Model Building 

Model Building 2 

Model Building 3 

And me, what inspires me?  What muse speaks to me?  My husband, my dog . . . camera, textures, random thoughts, and  hopefully, my Polaroid SX-70 that I bought off of Craig’s List today! 

 

 

I couldn’t decide which one I liked better.  I was leaning towards the top one (which is the one I ended up using for Picture Fall, just because it’s lighter), but my husband likes the bottom one.  Any thoughts?

And, what the heck, if I’m shooting myself, I might as well expose myself even more . . . and link up.  And, if anyone is interested, really interested in self-portraiture, I stumbled up on this class, You are Your Own Muse – this is not an endorsement, or a recommendation, I just found it, and thought I’d share, and if you’re interested, you should check it out.  Her site looks lovely, and her photography is really compelling.

In the meantime, go on over to the Old Nichols Farm to check out the other brave portraiteers!

 

Facing Myself

{111/365} – Happy Birthday Hubby!

 Doesn’t look a day over 39 does he?  Gosh, I wish I could have taken better photos on his birthday, but again I was plagued by the no flash situation.  Oh well.  Here are a few that I think I salvedged:

Joeis40

 

Joebryenna2 

AidenandJoey

Brookebryenna3  

Carterlyingdown 

brookereading3 

brookereading2 

brookebryennaplaying 

Hopefully, the Phils will do better tonight than I did with my camera today.  Camera shake all over the place, bad exposure, and some of them, had a kind of haze over them, almost like my lens had condensation on it, but didn’t.  Problems problems. 

A Flash is definitely on the Hanukkah list.

Along with the 60D . . .

And, here are a few texturized shots from the market yesterday:

Blueberry  

Canned Goods 

Pumpkins at the Market 

{111/365} – Happy Birthday Hubby!

 Doesn’t look a day over 39 does he?  Gosh, I wish I could have taken better photos on his birthday, but again I was plagued by the no flash situation.  Oh well.  Here are a few that I think I salvedged:

Joeis40

 

Joebryenna2 

AidenandJoey

Brookebryenna3  

Carterlyingdown 

brookereading3 

brookereading2 

brookebryennaplaying 

Hopefully, the Phils will do better tonight than I did with my camera today.  Camera shake all over the place, bad exposure, and some of them, had a kind of haze over them, almost like my lens had condensation on it, but didn’t.  Problems problems. 

A Flash is definitely on the Hanukkah list.

Along with the 60D . . .

And, here are a few texturized shots from the market yesterday:

Blueberry  

Canned Goods 

Pumpkins at the Market 

{90/365}

Summer’s over!  Once again, time for Ramos family dinner every other Sunday –

Bryeanna 

aimeebryenna 

Brooke 

Brookebryenna2 

Carterbrookebryenna 

Brookebryennacarter

BryennaCartertrip  

Joeyaiden 

And, since You Capture Thursday is Togetherness, this fits perfectly!

 

Photobucket

{80/365} – A Day for the Hubbie

Today was all about the husband – and that’s ok – he deserves it!

First, we visited his dream car – the Camaro – ooooo, ahhhhh –


Dreams were nearly crushed when he realized that he didn’t quite fit in the driver’s seat.

But have no fear – the salesman showed us the sunroofless model – and he has a tiny bit of head room – just enough to keep the Camaro dream alive!

 

 

 

And then, before we saw the Tillman Story (which I’m planning on reviewing on Lemontines tomorrow if you’re interested), we indulged in his favorite dessert – chocolate (and marshmellows – smores! and beer, of course)

 

And after the movie – at midnight, the purpose and pinnacle of our evening!

 

The midnight release of Halo Reach.  Yep, at the Game Stop at midnight.  Good wife, eh?

 

But you never knew there could be a line at the Game Stop at midnight.

Kind of like sleeping out for Springsteen tickets.

Or not.

 

 

Purchase complete!

 

And it might as well be Christmas at the Ramos house!

Ho ho ho!

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