Nashville’s Channel Five (CBS) aired a news clip, featuring leaked videos starring multiple, Vanderbilt football players committing a crime in Gillette Hall. Two of players now answer as “Convicted felons.” Two more will answer as “Defendants.” Which is the crux of the matter.
CBS’s feature covered the following:
1. Judge Monte Watkins is concerned just two verdicts have been returned in case with multiple defendants; and the case isn’t over. Also, in the area of “Guilty dogs bark first” –
2. The police said they didn’t leak it.
3. The DA said they didn’t leak it; and
4. Defense attorneys all say they didn’t leak it.
So unless there’s a source no one knows about, someone is lying.
However, as attorney outrage is part of normal media posturing, that didn’t interest me too much.
What interested me was CBS’s coverage of the leak didn’t once mention the reaction of the only person I would be interested in weighing-in.
That would be the victim.
CBS didn’t mention her at all.
It might be the victim was contacted, but had long given up on media altogether seeing as on Friday, ABC accidentally blew her identity during the initial airing of Friday piece. (The error was brought to their attention by an outraged viewer and cleaned up by the time it hit the west coast.)
Still, by not mentioning the victim while reporting various individuals “outraged” by the leak, left me with a deja vu feeling. Mirroring the football players, once media got what it wanted, media was pretty much done with the victim for now.
Why sealed documents are a good idea
It should be noted Shawna Vandenburg was originally very happy the lawsuit was going to the The Tennessee Supreme Court. However, she might have changed her mind after seeing her son’s depraved behavior in full and laughing view, on 20/20.
For me the Vanderbilt case is an example of Judge Watkins trying to run as fair a courtroom as possible. Sealed records until all defendants have been tried isn’t just a good idea. It’s how it’s supposed to work.
Consider the murder of four McStay family members in San Diego and Judge Michael Smith who sealed records of the sheriff’s investigation. Likely to protect an uber-sloppy, thoroughly botched investigation. So judges don’t always act in the interest of “justice.” There’s a lot of CYA going on. The family wants the records released, and the DA is opposed.
When the local NBC affiliate aired the McStay feature, they used the statement made by the family member as the title, “I knew they screwed up.”