Monday, July 2, 2007

Beyond the courtroom

A couple of thoughts as we head into today's preliminary hearing in the Jessie Marie Davis case.

If you're near the courthouse or see any of the rumbling outside, watch for someone with an actual film camera. I saw a man shooting film at the press conference last week following the initial arraignment. What that tells me is that some production company has already latched on to the idea of making this story a documentary. Years ago, we'd have to wait for a verdict in court before someone would buy into the rights of something. Today, companies will take the risk and capture important footage and then go to one of the families or investigators to broker a deal on a film. I'd also look for new characters in the courtroom. Those who look new to Canton and who wander around the courthouse carrying folders full of press clippings. They are probably crime authors who have relocated to Canton in hopes of penning a book that's ready to go the day after the verdict.

Watch for off-duty officers in the courtroom. My experience is that the brothers in arms typically keep a close eye on one of their own in court. There's no way to know whether the officers you see are close friends or barley acquaintances or even whether they support Bobby Cutts or think he's guilty. Still, Canton PD is a large enough department that I'd expect some of the force to be there during their off-duty hours.

If you're stopping in the area of the courthouse, watch for more racist fliers floating around the parking areas. In addition to the ones found last week, a group from the Southwest has begun mailing letters to people in the case. I received one from Texas that included a note saying "this is the what I sent to Jessie's mother." The details are shocking and let's all pray this nonsense is pushed aside sooner than later.

Watch for prosecutors to say nothing after the hearing and defense attorneys to make claims that the investigators are on a "witch hunt" and that "we haven't seen all the evidence yet." I'd expect Myisha Ferrell's attorney to ask for a bond reduction so that she might be able to get out of jail sooner than later.

I'd also look for less of a media crush as the national shows have moved out for the most part and will probably look to pick up video and interviews from their affiliates, at least for the short term. Should this case go to trial, the satellite trucks and sensational talk shows will be back in full force.

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