The Uphill Slide

There is always something.

Freedom of Speech


“I don’t think your blog hurt in the sentencing,” a friend said to me.

Why after that two-week delay for Jacob’s sentencing so the judge could read my blog and pass judgment did my writing come to naught? I thought it unlikely that any of those legal minds were reading my blog, and now it seemed a paradoxical effect that someone brought it to the ADA’s attention. That attention forced people to read what I had to say about the case and his ex-family. Jacob’s attorney called it the elephant in the room. It was unringing the bell, the thing that despite being overruled sticks in the mind anyway. Unfortunately, it was not put into the jury’s mind. Too late for that, and it wasn’t testimony.

In Jacob’s appeal, the opposing side (in this adversarial institution that makes truth sometimes irrelevant) conceded that a statement made by the ADA about Jacob should never have been uttered. It was a point of error in Jacob’s appeal that the opposing side said was irrelevant in how the jury would have decided while Jacob’s attorney argued the opposite of irrelevant. In fact, no one knows what points were relevant unless they asked those jury members. Even then, sometimes people don’t realize the unconscious things that contribute to decisions.

So if these two opposing lawyers in the appeal agreed that the statement should not have been made, then why did that ADA make it? Was it a mistake realized after the fact or a deliberate effort to put something in that might be overruled but still hang in the air? Or was conceding the point by that appeals lawyer just smoke to defuse the effect of the point? In the courtroom, your life pivots on all sorts of things; nothing is simple.

Despite Jacob’s lawyer’s immediate anger about my writing, it was never used. I think his anger was possibly more about the scheduling. Time is money. This hearing was the end of the road for him, and now that ending was delayed. It is a strange thing to have this business relationship that sometimes feels like a friendship but has no future. There will be no Christmas cards or catch-up calls. There is not even a Facebook friendship.

The judge ruled the blog had no relevance to sentencing. I was the typical mother refusing to accept her child’s guilt. Others like me had been in these courtrooms. Jacob did not contribute to my writing other than being the central character in the saga. I think, though, that freedom of speech was important to that ruling. You may not like what I had to say, but I had the right to say it.

And now so many are using that freedom of speech to express disapproval of this elected President. I read the comments of people saying it’s just poor sportsmanship not to admit defeat. I think this divisiveness, this expression of disapproval is the best thing to happen with this election. It is proof that Americans care about who represents them; people wanted change but differ on what change. I admit that Clinton did not represent enough change except in the politics of sex. We have never had a woman president. I hope I live to see one. I hope too that I can support her platform. But all those people saying things you don’t like have that right. I hope you and I never lose that right.

I worry about the President’s street fight with the media. There is bias in the media, always has been, and fake news. That’s has always been around too but disseminated more rapidly in social media. For lots of people, social media is the media. So I say disagree all you want, but never ask anyone to shut up or admit defeat if they don’t want to. You can only admit it in your own time. And for those things you believe in strongly, you may never admit defeat.

I was googling some rulings of the Supreme Court on freedom of speech. Of course, you can even disagree with their opinions, interpretation of the law. Their opinions can change with the nominations of the President and the winds of change. Heck, these learned expert minds disagree with each other.

I’m no lawyer or scholar. I studied the government and the Constitution like every school-age child. I took some things away with me and forgot a lot. I didn’t think about them again and took it all for granted. I’ve been one of, not Nixon’s ‘silent majority’, but a silent majority, none-the-less. Now I’m just a dissenter of lots of things, especially the judgment of the court on my son and this President.








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