Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Law & Disorder

Having watched many episodes of Law & Order, I understand Detective Logan and Briscoe's frustration when District Attorney Jack McCoy tells them they don't have enough evidence to drag a suspect into court.

But there are cases in which life doesn't imitate art, such as wildly popular rapper R Kelly finding himself in court on 14 charges of producing child pornography - which could land him prison for 15 years.

If he's guilty of those vile charges, he's getting off lucky with a decade and a half behind bars.

But the case isn't exactly watertight. Law and Order's Jack McCoy would never approve.

The primary evidence is a grainy video-tape, supposedly filmed in the late nineties and showing R Kelly having sexual relationships with a 13 year old girl (who's now in her twenties.)

The problem? R Kelly's lawyers say it's not even him in the video - the subject's face is never clearly seen and there's a suspicious mole on his back that R Kelly says proves it's not him.

Even worse for the Chicago District Attorney's office, the alleged victim refuses to testify against R Kelly and likewise denies that it's her in the videotape.

This leaves the question - who are the stars? And if they're not Kelly and his 'victim,' what's this tape doing as the primary piece of evidence in a child pornography trial?

There's not even any evidence that the female 'star' of the tape is underage. Concensus amongst those who've seen the tapes is that she certainly doesn't look it.

I'm not a fan of famous people getting lenient treatment for their crimes - but I'm also not a fan of famous people getting dragged onto court with less-than convincing evidence. It highlights serious lapses of judgement within the American legal system.

The Chicago District Attorney have a spotlight on them at the moment. They need to respond by putting together an utterly convincing case based on firm evidence. So far, they've failed miserably.

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