Trying A Child For Her Own Murder: Legalistic Idiocy
It's too bad that our appointed-for-life supreme
"NEW YORK (AP) -- After police discovered the frail, battered body of 7-year-old Nixzmary Brown in her home in 2006, authorities say her stepfather was quick to admit he had bound her to a chair with duct tape and beat her on a daily basis.Read all of it.
Videotaped and written statements by Cesar Rodriguez -- combined with grim crime scene photos from the room where the victim was tortured, starved and forced to urinate in a litter box -- have brought jurors to tears at his high-profile murder trial in Brooklyn.
But the emotion in the jury box hasn't discouraged Rodriguez's attorney from forging ahead with a brazen strategy: effectively putting Nixzmary and her mother on trial.
The aggressive former prosecutor, Jeffrey Schwartz, has portrayed the mother as the real killer, calling her a "monster" and mocking her as "Mommy Dearest."
He has also labeled Nixzmary a violent and uncontrollable "little Houdini" -- a reference to her supposed knack at slipping out of the makeshift restraints devised by her parents to keep her from attacking her younger siblings.
Schwartz has said he wants to call the mother, Nixzaliz Santiago, as the first defense witness. The maneuver was expected to interrupt testimony next week while a judge hears arguments about whether to allow Santiago, who faces a separate trial later this year, to take the stand.
In her opening statement last month, prosecutor Ama Dwimoh asked jurors to reject any attempt to demonize the girl, describing her as a defenseless, innocent child who weighed only 36 pounds at her death.
"He wasn't no daddy," Dwimoh said of Rodriguez. "Daddies don't blame their child for their actions. Murderers do."
The defense's no-holds-barred tactics could backfire, said Peter Guadanigno, a defense attorney who once prosecuted child abuse cases in Brooklyn.
"They're trying to blame a 7-year-old's behavior," he said. "It's disgusting and a jury will be offended."
And one more thing: since it happened in New York, you can bet your bottom-dollar that, if convicted, neither Rodriquez or the child's "mother" will ever face the executioner.
Labels: Monsters And Villains