Walker Railey: Convicted by Everybody Except a Jury of His Peers

Categories: Get Off My Lawn

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Former Dallas Morning News star reporter Olive Talley has a piece in the paper today saying Walker Railey killed his wife and got away with it. Not in so many words. Forgive me if you're under 100 years old and this is all Greek to you.

Railey was a certain local archetype -- the very prominent, very beloved, very hypocritical Dallas preacher -- when his wife Peggy was nearly strangled in their home in April 1987. The attack left her severely brain damaged and in a vegetative state until her death Monday. Walker Railey, then pastor at First United Methodist Church, said he couldn't have been the attacker because he was with his mistress at the time, but everybody decided he did it.

But he was acquitted.

Last time I heard about Talley, she was working as an advertorialist for the fracking industry. She was a very good reporter back in the day.

Her piece in today's paper includes two lines that struck me.

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Yours for as low as a penny
Line 1: We all know the outcome of the trial and his acquittal, thanks to what many said was the good work of defense attorney Doug Mulder and the shoddy work of the Dallas County district attorney's office.

Line 2: My mother, a Methodist firm in her faith, has repeatedly offered her belief that "if the lower courts don't take care of this, the higher court will."

Only two conclusions can be intended here by Talley. Railey got away with it because of clever and unclever lawyering. And: If you ever get a drunk driving ticket, hope and pray the judge won't be Talley's mom.

Here is my reservation in all of this. In a many-years hiatus from news reporting, I wrote books about murder cases. When I could, I covered the trials -- every single hearing and appearance from start to finish -- without ever having to meet a daily deadline.

And I watched my former brethren of the press from the far end of the courthouse steps. I'm not claiming my true-crime books were legal texts or high literature. They paid the rent. But the experience taught me some very interesting stuff about reporters.

First of all, the mediatoids always have their own courtroom. It may be the cafeteria or the diner down the street or the courthouse step, but they always hold court somewhere.

It's informal. "Whaddya think?" "How 'bout that boyfriend?" "Did you think that blood-splatter expert had kinda nutsy eyeballs?" The important thing is that they always come up with a verdict.

He did it. Or he didn't do it. I don't think the reporters on a big case ever quite realize that's what they're doing, but they do it because they have to.

Why? Because in the news biz you never get fired for being wrong when everybody else is wrong. You get fired for being wrong alone -- the only one who said the contrary of what everybody else said. You can even get fired for being right alone. You get fired for making your own news medium the odd man out, the fool in the public's eye, so you never want to be the odd man out, unless you're just odd, in which case you work for Village Voice Media.

If you work for the daily paper or the TV station, you attend those informal proceedings at the diner or on the steps, and you go all the way with whatever the media verdict may be.

The other thing I learned was that, once reporters have rendered their own verdict, they can make an amazingly persuasive case, even against an innocent person, sometimes especially against an innocent person.

That case almost always will be based on matters extraneous to the crime. The accused was a slut. He was a hypocrite. She was a mean bitch to her grandchildren, and she had multiple fur coats. He was a preacher, but he spent his time out of the pulpit banging a mistress. And she was a blonde!

That works. Let me tell you something. If you're a bitch or a slimeball, do not ... I repeat, not! ... get yourself accused of murder, because you're going to have one hell of a hard time beating it, even if you were in Latin America the day it happened.

We now know how often and how terribly the courts get it wrong. In fact, the media have been raising all kinds of sober-sided questions about the honor and integrity of the criminal justice system in the wake of all the shocking exonerations of innocent persons condemned to death or long sentences by juries of their peers.

But, gee, I can't remember seeing a single story in which the media went back to see what their own role may have been in those convictions. Might be worth checking, just for grins.

Walker Railey had about as big a media pile-on going against him as you could get. They might as well have run his picture on the 10 p.m. news every night with a screaming voiceover: "WHY IS THIS MAN FREE? GODDAMN IT!"

Now we know why he is free. He is free because the jury didn't think the prosecution proved he did it. And here is the last thing, I promise, that I learned by sitting through those damned murder trials not thinking about my daily headline. I listened to all of it. Every word. But I did not hear a single word the same way the jury heard it. I may not have been thinking about headlines, but I was thinking about my book. They were thinking about something else.

Did he do it?

That's different. Only the jury thinks that way. The judge thinks about the law. The lawyers think about winning. The cops think about retirement. The witnesses think about getting on television.

Only the jury hears every word and weighs it against the vote they must make in that room at the end of the last day. Their opinion is worth some serious respect, and I mean no disrespect to Olive Talley's mom. Give her a break. Back then, she was reading her daughter's stuff.

[Editor's note: As an example of the media's view of the Railey trial, we wanted to post a copy of "How Walker Walked," by former Observer staffer Laura Miller, but sadly it was published in 1993, the pre-digital age. Let's just say she disagreed with the outcome. Will will attempt to scan and post. It's around here somewhere ...]


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A wild rumor continues to circulate online that the FCC is planning to ban religious broadcasting based on a petition by O'Hair; that rumor is not true.

reader
reader

Don't understand your comment on Talley's mom's comment.  Isn't she just referring to what a less religious person would call karma?  I would want that person to be my judge, because to me that indicates someone ready to let the system work, knowing that ultimate justice will prevail.

JimS
JimS

Coupla journalists here have suggested that reporters often know more than jurors because they know of excluded evidence. Doesn't seem to occur to them that those exclusions are based on a millenium of common law and jurisprudence devoted to getting good evidence in and keeping bad evidence out. Knowing a lot of junk prejudicial stuff is not knowing more.

Grumpy Demo
Grumpy Demo

Hope you find the article, would love to see how my memory shapes up;

I thought Laura wrote that one of the kids after the attack, in a casual conversation while staying with a neighbor, said they watched Daddy choke Mommy. That the child was too young and that the prosecution thought would not be able to withstand cross examination and the court room pressure of testifying against their Dad.

He sure didn't demonstrate an ounce of concern for his wife or kids after the attacks.

I thought that Railey's fake home phone message at a different time than the cell phone recorded was the silver bullet. Lying about being with another woman OK, but lying about the time of the call was creating a alibi.

Can't say your description of pack journalism is wrong thought, explains a lot of things, especially the DC Beltway Press corp that all report the same banal story.

The trial system isn't perfect, it can't be, but it the best thing next to anything else.

Ozonedude
Ozonedude

As a juror (3 times) and as a lawyer, I can say 12 jurors will always make better decisions than a civilian, let alone a journalist with papers to sell. You have to be in that room to understand the wisdom that is conjured.

pencil
pencil

When will we get to see your "OJ Is Innocent" story?

Halldecker
Halldecker

Just the facts:  the trial was moved to San Antonio.

It was on tv,  Judge Pat McDowell from Dallas went down to try the case.

The two Dallas DA's didn't speak to each other.

They botched questioning witnesses. 

They split the time for their final arguments,  they didn't know what the other would say.

Doug Mulder,  Norm Kinney. 

Story going 'round was Railey had 'counseled' beaucoup important,  influential people in Dallas.

Word got out,  if he went down he knew enough secrets to take them with him.

Railey's girlfriend had a PhD in psychology.  Changed her name to Lucy Pappillion, Butterly.  Classmate had the best line,   "She chose that 'cause she didn't know the French word for fruitcake."

Larry
Larry

But look at all the Dallas County convictions that have resulted in EXONERATIONS!!!!

Add it up.  Even if he DID do it, if the bloodthirsty swine at teh DA office couldn't get a conviction with the usual bloodthirsty cretins in the jury pool, he deserves to walk.

and don't pull any of that 'smarter than thou' jury duty crap on me.  I have served; and was Foreman once, on a child molestation case.go ahead, ask me how it turned out.

Cheers.

Doug in DFW
Doug in DFW

Respect the jury's opinion is a dubious stance at best. Just because you respect the game doesn't mean you have to respect all the players. When a blogger says they mean no disrespect to someone's opinion then inserts a theory as to how that person formed said opinion the blogger just disrespects his own argument.

Mister_Mean
Mister_Mean

Back then I thought it would have been a good idea for the authorities to tell the Rev. Railey that his wife had regained consciousness and she had said something like “No! Walker No!” or “where is Walker?”  to see how he would have reacted.

Jessica
Jessica

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Jeffrey Weiss
Jeffrey Weiss

Two different issues at play here. The jury needs to deliberate based only on the evidence presented to them and, in a criminal trial, decide whether the state meets its burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

OTOH, reporters, whether doing the news or punditry, generally know more than gets to the jury. And do not face the legal standard that is presented to a jury. It may well be that, if forced to decide whether Railey were *legally* guilty, using the charge presented to the jury, reporters who covered the trial would have agreed with the verdict.

Belief that a person was wrongly convicted *or* freed is not necessarily a lack of respect for the specific jury or the process.

I find Jim's POV here to be particularly interesting because of the kind of writing he has long done: He takes the facts as he knows them and tries to tell some concluding truth. I'm fairly sure he'd say he's not generally engaged in opinionating. But he surely does draw some long lines between dots on occasion to generate his picture.  That he critiques courthouse reporters for drawing their own conclusions based on what they know, whether or not they ever commit those conclusions to print is, hm, odd.

(And btw, before taking a swat at what Olive was writing back then, I'm wondering if Jim went back to re-read any of it. It's all in the DMN digital archives. He might have noted, had he done that basic fact-checking, that Olive did a *lot* of reporting and writing about this case but she did not cover the trial.)

Earl P. Holt III
Earl P. Holt III

Living proof of the necessity of qualifying jurors: In particular, the need to bar from jury service anyone who receives public assistance, anyone with a low I.Q., anyone who does not own real property, and anyone w/o at least a high school education.

It wasn't just the O.J. jury...

Perry Moore
Perry Moore

I might suppose that Mr. Railey could have been the unlucky victim of his own personal Twilight Zone episode, but then I must conclude that there is another monster who attempted to commit murder without motive and got away with it. I do appreciate Mr. Schutze's candor regarding the general veracity of his colleagues, however.

Don Abbott
Don Abbott

Wanna know how you can tell Walker choked his wife into a 240-month stay in the Twilight Zone?  Not once, not one SINGLE time did he say, or would say today, how fantastically thankful he was that the children were not harmed by the assailant.  After all, a five year old and a two year old wouldn't stand a chance against a weedeater chord.

Bmarvel
Bmarvel

It's hard for journalists to own up to having a journalist's mind-set. Do we sometimes come to conclusions contrary to those of the jury? Yes. We also are often privileged to hear and view evidence the jury does not get. That the defendant confessed, for example, but was not given his Miranda rights, so the confession was not allowed. Or certain very damning evidence was ruled out on narrow technicalities. I doubt if there's a journalist who's spent any time covering courts who cannot recall examples of this. So, yes, journalists often form opinions of guilt that are independent of the jury's findings.But it is odd that mostly those opinions are of guilt, not innocence.  Because for all their protestations of fairness, journalists are -- or until recently were --  prone to credit prosecutors over the defense. There are several reasons for this having to do with issues of class, with the psychological predisposition of many journalists, the well-known reporters' cynicism. It's terribly naive to assert that just because a jury failed to convict that the defendant therefore couldn't have done it. That the "prosecutor failed to prove his case" is often exactly true.On the other hand, as someone here has already pointed out, vanishingly few journalists are willing to second guess a guilty verdict (the defense failed to prove its case") and all too ready to credit one. In the end people will always form their own opinions of guilt or innocence independent of the court and the jury. Sometimes they do so on a sound basis, sometimes not. It doesn't matter. A jury verdict is a legal finding, not a moral or metaphysical conclusion. We are committed to the rule of law, which means the jury and the court, not journalists and not anybody's mother, still get the last word. 

Bmarvel
Bmarvel

Those exclusions are aimed at protecting various rights of the accused -- to not be compelled to testify against himself, for example, to not be subject to illegal search and seizure. Such evidence is "bad," not because it does not provide convincing, often potentially convicting, information but because obtaining it very likely violated one or more of the rights of the accused. Common law and jurisprudence wisely insists that presenting such evidence to a sitting jury would endanger all our rights. That is, the evidence is excluded not just to protect the accused, but to protect US .Most journalists I know are well aware of the distinction and use such excluded evidence with extreme caution, if at all.

Jeffrey Weiss
Jeffrey Weiss

I really do know the difference between shit and Shinola, Jim. I would not lower the bar for evidence that a jury hears. There's that whole "let 50 guilty go free before convicting one innocent" principle at play for that. But there can be other evidence and information that a reporter is privy to (and also the public)  that we can use to draw our own conclusions. In which case, it *is* knowing more.

Guest
Guest

He sure didn't demonstrate an ounce of concern for his wife or kids after the attacks.

That's the sort of thing, though, that isn't really evidence of anything but that tends to stick in people's minds when making a decision about somebody's guilt.

The dude was having an affair, so even if he didn't choke his wife out, he might not have been too upset that someone did. And it's not like there's a shortage of deadbeat dads who don't show concern for their young children. My Dad didn't put my mother into a persistent coma, but he also didn't show up for his court-appointed weekends, either, when he was busy building his new life with his second wife.

And, it's entirely possible that had he shown a great deal of emotion about his comatose wife, some people would have called it crocodile tears. Sometimes, our opinion of the behavior is shaped by what we believe to be true rather than by the behavior itself.

It's human nature to judge people based on their behavior and actions, but I would hope that a jury would consider what such behavior actually proved.

Bmarvel
Bmarvel

dude,Just to clarify, neither Jeff nor myself are questioning the wisdom of jurors. I have served on juries and feel certain that the system, with all its checks ands protections, is the best possible guarantor justice, even if it stumbles now and again.A journalist is not a juror, nor an officer of the court in any sense. The press has other obligations (the least of which is to sell papers), which is why the press receives special protection under the Constitution. Wisely, unlike those regimes in which the courts and the press are both creatures of the Sovereign's power.  

ashamed of the law in dallas
ashamed of the law in dallas

there is no wisdom in a court room, even the judges are corrupt, do thet all sit before a trial and play poker to see who will win the trial? Evidence or not??????????

cp
cp

Shutze said that if you're under a hundred years old then not to apply here...

JimS
JimS

Well, I'm not faulting anybody for having an opinion. I'm saying reporters in non-competitive markets hew to a shared party line to avoid the risk and the cityroom hassle of saying anything that might put the paper out on a limb. Reporters in competitive markets search for contradictions and scoops to make the guys across the street look stupid in front of readers. Reporters go one of two ways - cutthroat or chickenshit. Take your pick. You know mine.

Bmarvel
Bmarvel

Holt III,Every now and then somebody comes along with ideas on how to reform the jury system -- or even to abandon it altogether, as a few lawyers and legal scholars have proposed. The notion that gives birth to these enthusiasms is always the same: Jurors come to conclusions that I do not agree with. That's because jurors are not like me. They are poor, stupid, uneducated, on welfare, etc. Perhaps we should adopt a modified version of your proposal: Only high-IQ, "educated" property owners should be allowed to stand in judgment of high-IQ, "educated" property owners. The rest of us would have to make do with a jury of ordinary American citizens. Our peers, as it were.

    

cp
cp

Or how about anyone who watches the teevee. Or reads. 

RTGolden
RTGolden

Riddle me this then:  Jury qualifications are to be; HS graduate, Property ownership, average or above IQ, and receives no public assistance (which, when you get right down to it, would eliminate any real property owner who claimed mortgage interest as a tax deduction, it's still a handout).  Accused is; HS dropout, skilled trade laborer, rents an apartment.  Dropped out of school due to parental death, had to raise younger siblings.  Accused of assault and battery of SMU student outside of bar on Lower Greenville.  Using your 'qualified' jury pool, how do you select a jury of this young man's peers?Your statement is elitist at best, further analysis would probably lead someone to label it with other -ists.

Bmarvel
Bmarvel

Perry Moore,If you are depending upon Jim's  "candor regarding the general veracity of his colleagues" then you are out there on thin ice, some distance from shore.  Jim has manifest gifts and virtues as a reporter and as a writer. But accurately reporting on his colleagues or on local journalism is not one of them.   

Guest
Guest

It's not unheard of for there to be an unknown monster with an unknown motive getting away with a crime for a long, long time (Let me introduce you to one Mr. Mark Alan Norwood).

Not that I necessarily think that's what happened here.

scottindallas
scottindallas

I wonder how often he visited her in the care facility.  I hate hospitals and visiting those who are essentially gone, so I'm willing to be fair to him; but how many times did he visit her?  Where are the kids?

Guest
Guest

That's exactly how I know that Priscilla Davis shot herself and her kid. Not once. NOT ONE SINGLE TIME did she say that she was fantastically thankful that she wasn't crippled by the assassin's bullet like that TCU football player was.

Guest
Guest

Confessions are their own can of worms, though. If every confession was true, then there wouldn't have been room in that TCBY in Austin to rape and murders those girls because the place would've been shoulder to shoulder with people.

Guest
Guest

Perhaps the reason is as simple as this:  Prosecutors rarely prosecute innocent people for major crimes?  I don't mean in terms of absolute numbers, but in terms of percentages.  I've worked for the innocence project and reviewed thousands of cases.  I would be hard pressed to say that 1% of people convicted of major crimes are innocent (still an intollerably high number, but rare nonetheless).  Usually the prosecutor has the goods to convict, which also usually means the press will see significant evidence of guilt. 

JimS
JimS

But the restrictions on what you can get in aren't very tight. The law says you can't use a confession that you got out f the guy with a lead pipe. If he''s accused of murder, you can't tell the jury about the time he was tried and acquitted of credit card fraud. Maybe. You can't tell the jury about the neighbor who heard a four-year-old say "Daddy did it." I'm still stuck on the problem of somebody with a B.A. in history and six years on the city desk deciding he knows more about reliable probative evidence than the law knows.

Jilldavenport60
Jilldavenport60

You desperately need help. Your anger towards your dad is out of control. Please seek mental evaluation. Your family issues have nothing whatsoever to do with this story.

scottindallas
scottindallas

in deference to your father, he has a right to see his children on weekend visits, not an obligation.  Seems your dad should have been eager to exercise that right, but it is and remains the father's (non-custodial parent's) discretion.  In the awkward negotiations of divorce with kids, sometimes the father needs to play that card.  Over-playing it sure is sorry, but sometimes....

I am the product of divorce, never divorced. 3 kids, 10+ years, first and only wife.

Jeffrey Weiss
Jeffrey Weiss

I've worked in competitive and non-competitive situations. And on any story big enough to draw a herd, I found that there were conversations about various aspects of the story. Some aspects of those stories are not competitive -- happen in clear sight. And it's helpful to compare POVs in those cases. I can, OTOH, recall a discussion I had with a Washington Post reporter at the annual meeting of a religious denomination we were both covering. We disagreed about a nuance. Neither of us convinced the other. My subsequent story read differently than his did. I suggest that such discussions do not necessarily represent a loss of journalistic integrity. (And I will gently suggest that "cutthroat" and "chickenshit" are not mutually exclusive categories.)

scottindallas
scottindallas

We all know, thanks to your self-reporting that few journalist shovel chicken shit like You, Jim.

Bmarvel
Bmarvel

Guest has probably not spent as much time hanging around the prosecutor's office as the average journalist who covers courts. As a rule prosecutors will prosecute anyone they think they can get a conviction on. The question around the desks in any DA's office is not, did this person do the crime, but can we convict this person of the crime? A big distinction. What are the likely arguments by the defense? What is the likely psychology of the jury? Actual guilt or innocence enter in only obliquely.The reason: The office of prosecutor is a political one. Prosecutors must win elections, and to do so they must be able to show a record of successful prosecutions. When I covered federal courts decades ago, it was not at all unusual for prosecutors to withhold important information from the defense. It was taken for granted that the defense would do likewise. The object then, as now, is not justice, abstractly considered; it is winning cases. Every first-year law student learns this.Arguments about the percentage of innocents who are convicted are obscene and unworthy of comment.As usual, Jeff Weiss's comment, below, is wise and truthful. The argument being advanced by JimS, that "those exclusions are based on a millennium of common law and jurisprudence devoted to getting good evidence in and keeping bad evidence out" is both naive and beside the point. The purpose of a trial is narrow and legalistic, and the rules of evidence reflect that. In order to protect citizens from the too-zealous persecution of the Sovereign, the courts here in the United States have wisely limited the use of certain kinds of coerced or improperly obtained evidence. This has nothing to do with actual guilt or innocence, and anybody who has watched the law at work -- and has remained awake -- has probably witnessed miscarriages of "justice" caused by just such protections. Finally, the assertion that  "reporters in non-competitive markets hew to a shared party line to avoid the risk and the cityroom hassle of saying anything that might put the paper out on a limb" is an example, not of Jim the thoughtful, careful, eloquent writer but of Nutcase Jim, the mad avenger who never met a conspiracy he didn't embrace, especially one involving newspapers. I don't suppose it would do any good for a lifelong newspaper journalist to point out that Jim here is blowing hot air. But for the record, he is.    

       

Guest
Guest

It's difficult to know, though, isn't it?

Only something like 10% of cases have testable DNA evidence. And we've certainly seen some cases that, except for the pesky DNA, sure looked to be slam dunks (there was one Dallas case in which the victim not only identified her assailant but described his car down to almost all of the license plate and the brand of beer in his fridge. If not for the DNA pointing to someone else, you'd be hard pressed not to think he was surely guilty).

And when prosecutors get to withhold evidence and misrepresent scientific evidence (In the Michael Morton case, Ken Anderson withheld a witness statement saying someone else did it, withheld neighbor's statements that someone was casing the neighborhood in the days leading up to the crime, and withheld evidence that a check to the victim was cashed and a credit card of hers was used after her murder. The prosecutor also claimed that the digestion of food in the victim's stomach proved that she was murdered when her husband was home. It's a slam dunk case except for all the stuff that got hidden away in a file in the prosecutor's office, only to emerge over two decades later, after the real killer had gone ahead and murdered at least one other person), it makes it that much harder to tell which cases are ones in which the prosecutor "had the goods" and which ones he didn't.

ashamed of the law in dallas
ashamed of the law in dallas

I was told by one of your people that you don't even need to show evidence in a trial, that the DA can keep it to himself.....so much for your group, my friend tried to get your help, and you couldn't care less, or do you have to be african american for your group to care? Prosecuters convict innocent people all the time, gets there conviction rate up there, but the only ones they can win are the people who can't afford a lawyer, and public defenders are NOT lawyers in my book. I just hope I am never up against a wall like that

Bmarvel
Bmarvel

From absurd examples you can argue your way to any absurdity, as you just have. Let me tell you, as one who has covered both federal and state courts, the restrictions on what the jury may hear are extremely tight, and rightfully so, given the jury's duty to pass judgment on the "guilt" (in the legal sense)  of a fellow citizen and, in most jurisdictions, to assess punishment. Not so the journalist at the city desk -- or, more likely, at his laptop -- who is reporting on the actions of the jury, the defendant, the prosecutors, the investigators, how well or poorly they are doing their respective jobs. The rights of the press to do so are very necessary to a democracy. Imagine a society in which journalists are restricted to reporting only on what the court rules proper. We have various names for such societies --  dictatorship, despotism, autocracy,  totalitarianism.     

JimS
JimS

The real problem here ... and I have seen it real life and in great detail ... is that you can be a drunk shit cocaine-using crap parent who has affairs all over the place, you don't really give that big a shit if your spouse gets killed, in fact you're glad, because now you can do more cocaine and have more affairs ... but you didn't kill her. So how do you vote? Guilty or not?

Guest
Guest

But I'm just saying that there are parents who simply don't care to spend time with their own kids and that fact isn't evidence of anything but could shape someone's opinion of guilt or innocence.

(And my Dad would call and say he was coming and then get busy and not show up. He got better, but there was a time when he, like Walker Railey, didn't show a whole bunch of concern about his kids. And despite that, he hadn't tried to murder my mother).

Rooster
Rooster

Dude...you know...have you ever read the DMN?  Does it get more homogenous?

There's no way anyone in this town who has been her awhile can say the reporting is near as good as when the Times Herald was around and pushing them to excel.

JimS
JimS

Good point. Else, no McNuggets.

Bmarvel
Bmarvel

 scott,I was in the jury pool -- the first to be challenged by the prosecution, I've been told. Too bad.  I had no biases or predispositions going in and was intensely curious about what the case would amount to. I did follow the trial very closely in the newspaper. But the point of your comment eludes me.

scottindallas
scottindallas

At last the gastrointestinal theory of judicial reasoning rears it's venerable head.

scottindallas
scottindallas

did you sit in on the Holyland trial Bill?  I understand Brett Shipp, or whomever the BELO-TV reporter was said, "they could have convicted the Red Cross on the same criteria."  That may be evidence of the one horse town journalism, or may be a case of professional cowardice (to not share that opinion widely)  But, we all know about Ashley Banfield's experience in critical journalism. 

I think I can imagine Glenn Greenwald's take, the system, be it legal or journalistic, still tends to favor the connected, the White establishment and is prejudiced against the poor, the foreign, the minorities, the other.  Walker Railey has enough ties to pull those connections. 

Bmarvel
Bmarvel

Of course the purpose of the"justice system," by which I imagine you mean the structure of laws, courts, enforcement and prisons, is narrow and legalistic, not abstract and philosophical. It aims at a well-regulated, orderly society by defining.adjudicating and punishing offenses against that order. To protect the rights of citizens -- which IS an abstract and philosophical concept -- the system has evolved a set of narrow rules governing trial procedures, admissibility of evidence, and so forth. Those rules are constantly being refined and redefined. They are, of necessity, narrow and legalistic. If they were not, our rights would be hostage to the whims, speculations, moods and digestive systems of judges on any given day.Likewise the purpose of journalism is, as it has always been, to to examine and expose the grievances, biases, injustices, successes and failures of society;  to watchdog power; inform then public. "Truth," broadly defined. That journalism, like every other system devised by humans, does not always function that way should come as no surprise to any mature adult. But that's the purpose all committed and sincere journalists share.A few might argue that the purpose of journalism is to make a buck. I assume that you are above such a corrupt and cynical argument.    

JimS
JimS

So, Bill. The purpose of the justice sysem, which has evolved pretty far from trial by fire if you ask me, is "narrow and legalistic?" And the purpose of journalism is what? Truth? You know better. You are your own straw man.

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