SPOUSE MURDER TRIAL GETS VILE BEFORE IT STARTS
First, I want to make clear I imply no criticism of WGEM with what follows. Reporter did a good job.
Tonight at 6 WGEM reports "A source close to the defense" reports that the prosecution has made 8, not 7, not 9, but 8, separate plea deals and the Defendant has turned them all down.
Why is this vile? Because pre-trial negotiations are NEVER to be disclosed to the court, the press or anyone outside of the defense and prosecution teams. It is both amateurish and dangerous to make public any pre-trial discussions. Here, some wrong-headed partisan thought it made the defense look more resolute that the Defendant turned down a deal. So, what the Hell, leak it out to the Quincy media and hope it bleeds into Springfield, or maybe makes the Springfield paper.
On top of being prohibited conduct for lawyers, disclosure by a family member or follower runs the risk of causing a mistrial and/or blowing up in one's face ("If you're so innocent, why are you even engaging in plea negotiations?).
I take no position on the merits of this case, never have, but I will tell you that this is defense misconduct. If I were the Judge, we'd be in Chambers in the morning and defense counsel would have to tell me a story about how this happened.
Remember, the reporter sources this to the defense. On the defense side, the only people who should know about plea negotiations would be the two lawyers, maybe one clerical, the Defendant and, maybe, the Defendant's spouse. Very small suspect pool.
Five decades of practicing criminal law and I've never seen this in a Murder Trial, ever. Not even in Chicago where they seem to ignore the Supreme Court and Disciplinary Rules about pretrial publicity.
This is rotten stuff, Folks.