39 Comments

  1. They wanted to hang a ‘bad guy’, but there was ‘reasonable doubt’ so he got acquitted. Now they’re gonna hang a few lawyers as revenge.

  2. I’m currently reading ‘The Stranger Inside’, by Lisa Unger. The premise of the book is that too many criminals (in these cases, murderers) are acquitted because – thanks to lawyers – ‘reasonable doubt’ is created and juries cannot convict. So – if you can’t hang the criminals, hang their lawyers, who are guilty of the crime of creating ‘reasonable doubt’ and thereby letting the guilty go free.

    Of course, the REAL premise of the book is that a year or so later, several of those acquitted are murdered – in the same way they murdered their victims. (Unusually, I know right at the beginning who is doing this, so it’ll be interesting to see where the story goes.)

  3. I laughed.

    Everyone “knew” the accused was guilty, but the lawyers confused the issue. So they hang, to prevent them doing it again.

  4. Seems to me they did this on an episode of The Richard Pryor Show, where they spoofed To Kill A Mockingbird. Robin Williams played Atticus Finch. The jury acquitted the accused but decided to hang Finch for getting the accused off.

  5. I’d say Lost in A**2 has it. ‘The Stranger Inside” is a novel. IRL wrongful convictions and excessive sentences are more of a problem than wrongful acquittals,.

  6. This seems more like a reference to Shakespeare’s King Henry the Sixth.

    “Kill all the lawyers”

    But since there was reasonable doubt, the are only killing a few. At least that’s how I took it (and thought it was kind of funny).

  7. To further the point Ooten Aboot makes, we have explicitly decided to err on the side of caution, this is a policy decision we made in full knowledge, often signified by the saying, “It is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer”. It is dishonest to try and underhandedly undermine this agreement by focusing only on the (hypothetical) 10 guilty persons and totally ignoring the 1 innocent. Too much TV and fiction loves to rile us up about the supposed guilty running rampant; the reality that we have been slowly uncovering over the last couple decades is that in fact there are a lot more than just 1 innocent suffering; since we have previously agreed that this is intolerable, we need to address this — we implicitly accept and acknowledge the guilty going free, so stop harping on that. If you don’t agree with the formulation, then honestly and openly discuss that, don’t fear-monger and confuse the issue.

    But hadn’t we here already in a previous thread convinced you Andréa to give up Lisa Unger as a bad seed? Don’t you ever learn? 😉

  8. I agree on that interpretation. Plus there is the worry that the authorial viewpoint is accepting and thus almost joining in on that vigilante attitude.

  9. “But hadn’t we here already in a previous thread convinced you Andréa to give up Lisa Unger as a bad seed?”

    No, it was the author who’d been involved as DA in the Central Park Five case [checks memory Rolodex] . . . Linda Fairstein. Lisa Unger is strictly an author.

  10. I read an entire mystery series that took place in 1960s London; I thought it fun to read about solving crimes without DNA, fingerprint data bases, cell phones, guns (for the police) or cars (for the police), etc.

    And that’s why we now have (IRL) The Innocence Project – https://www.innocenceproject.org/

  11. Wish I’d been born later so I could’ve had a career in solving crimes – forensic something-or-other has appealed to me, but at 70, it’s too late to start now.

  12. A cartoon plays an impression, not analysis. It’s not really that funny that the lawyers got a reasonable doubt to get the alleged perpetuaters off so the townfolk are going to hang them. But the juxtaposition of “wild west justice” and modern day ideals of “due process” and a gentile institute of a systems of courts is emotive. And the appeal to “kill all lawyers” evokes a sense of “ha! that shows ’em” reaction.

  13. Ooten Aboot, “more of a problem” because it’s more unjust, or because it happens in greater numbers? The latter, of course, can’t be reliably quantified.

  14. I’d rather be Hercule Poirot than Miss Marple. Oh, wait – he’s Belgian and I’m Dutch, so I guess I am close to him – without the mustache.

  15. Andréa: If you’re Dutch, shouldn’t you aspire to be Van der Valk? (Oh, wait, he died — never mind.)

    (Of course, so did Poirot, and while she hasn’t canonically died, I’d be surprised if Miss Marple is still alive at 150 or whatever she must be.)

  16. I’d read a few of the Piet Van der Valk books, but forgotten about them. Will add to Reading Bucket list.
    (As a aside, for anyone who likes to read book series in order, esp. if there is character development that is important in the series, I use https://www.bookseriesinorder.com/ as my guide.)

    Bryant and May were in their 70s when they began their detective work, I believe, but I’m not interested in being a detective, per se, but someone more like a forensic anthropologist. And that was before BONES became a TV show.

    If only I believed in reincarnation . . .

  17. If you had forgotten about Van der Valk, perhaps the 1970s (and later) British TV series of that name passed you by… https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Van_der_Valk . I remember it.

    “Starred Barry Foster in the title role as Dutch detective Commissaris “Piet” (real name Simon) van der Valk. Based on the characters and atmosphere (but not the plots) of the novels of Nicolas Freeling”. So even if you read the books, it seems they will not be spoilers for the TV series!

    Also” Remake A new series of three 90 minute episodes, with Marc Warren in the title role, is in production with a planned release date in late 2019.”

  18. “First, hang all the lawyers.” is a fairly well-known quote- attributed to Ben Franklin and/or Shakespeare.

  19. Juries need to know the difference between reasonable doubt and unreasonable doubt.
    Two other people besides the accused, both known to have grudges against the victim and both known to carry guns, also walked by the victim’s window and each could have been the one who fired the fatal shot: that’s reasonable doubt.
    As the victim and the accused were talking, Satan COULD have appeared, grabbed the accused’s gun, shot and killed the victim, handed back the gun and disappeared in a cloud of smoke: that’s unreasonable doubt.

  20. I don’t watch TV shows of books I like. I only rented and watched ‘Endeavour’ because it isn’t based on books; I hadn’t watched ‘Inspector Morse’. I see that the Van der Valk series is on YouTube; didn’t have a TV at the time, so that’s another reason I never saw it. Also busy w/first marriage, home, etc. ‘-)

  21. Now see – there’s a problem. If I see a character portrayed by someone on the screen, THAT is whom I will see forevermore. Which is why I also would never watch any of Martha Grimes’ Inspector Jury TV series (I think there are some being made in Germany). I have my own ‘vision’ of the characters and locations, and I want to keep them. (Her newest will be delivered to my doorstep tomorrow or Tuesday – something to make my entire week.)

  22. Andréa: Mea culpa. Amazing you even understood what I was on about re: Linda Fairstein vs Lisa Unger — well caught!

  23. Shakespeare’s “Kill all the lawyers” quote is spoken by a villain and is meant to indicate breaking down civilization and allowing mob rule. Will was a litigant and witness and was very familiar with courts and lawyers.

    Also, “gentile” courts? What do you have against Jewish courts?

  24. I have a photogenic – I mean, photographic – memory. I remember the discussion became rather heated and I was being [gently] excoriated for having read her books. (I stated then and will state now – I liked them not for the murders and solutions thereof, but for the information about the venues in which they took place, with many fascinating details about well- and little-known places in NYC. (I like learning about deserted areas; one of the books I just bought is about Hidden Underground in London; stations that were closed, never opened, using as shelter during WWII.

    BTW, Fairstein’s in trouble these days . . . well, ‘these days’ meaning June 2019 . . .

    . . . but I still think she’s a good author (albeit it one without a publisher at the moment).

  25. So many books, so little time (and even less now that so much is spent online, but where would I learn about recommended books? Catch-22).

  26. Irony of the day . . . ‘Fairstein’s character, portrayed by Felicity Huffman, serves as the miniseries’ “biggest villain,” as NPR critic Eric Deggans noted last week.’

  27. If we’re including books in the detective recommendations, my favorite European series is the Martin Beck series by the Swedish pair Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö. This was a series of 10 books published over about 10 years (1965 – 1975), and really shows a steady change in the way the police go about their business, how they relate to the populace, and how Swedish society overall was changing. The central characters go thru personal changes too, and often with a point — for instance, Beck’s main assistant decides he will no longer carry a gun, and has to face bureaucratic discipline.

    There is a wide range of thoroughly drawn characters, both within this squad and elsewhere in the police, and in the public and government.

    There have been various film adaptations, including the Hollywood “The Laughing Policeman”. Also there is a TV series, Swedish, available on Hulu — I have it in my watchlist but saw only one and have not pursued it.

  28. There is an interesting translation issue / solution that comes up in two of the Beck novels. There is a quite good policeman in a provincial posting, who interacts with this Stockholm-based squad a couple tiimes, once on his own turf and once in the capital. In the esition I have, there were different translators for these two books, and I at first didn’t catch that it was the same character both times, as his name was handled differently in the two instances.

    Why does a translator even have to deal at all with a name, I hear you asking. It’s because a little joke is made on his name. In one book he is called “Allwright” and there is some business about if he is in a waiting room and the receptionist calls out “Allwright?” he might respond that yes, everything is just fine! In the other book a similar joke is made, but on the name “Confort”.

    Since “Confort” isn’t quite the way we say it in English, I thought that this form was what it was in the original, and the translator decided not to try rendering the name for the sake oof the joke (but did put in the explanation). However, at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Beck the character list says Herrgott Nöjd (Herrgott Allwright in English translations)
    A down-to-earth police from the rural district of Anderslöv, who gets on well with just about anybody. Appears in the books Cop Killer and The Terrorists
    . A quick check with Translate shows Nöjd means satisfied, pleased, content; so this is our guy. I guess the people putting this wikipedia article together didn’t see the one where he is “Confort”.

  29. @ Mitch4 – I would bet that “confort” was just a translator’s brain-spazz for “content”, but if not that, then it was still a misspelling of “comfort”.

  30. Or an accidental French translation: https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/french-english/confort

    Perhaps the translator was trying to avoid a daft-sounding name in English like Comfort, which is used as a brand of fabric softener. But it is a genuine enough name, the famous one that sprang to my mind being Dr Alex Comfort (he had six medical degrees in all according to wikipedia), the author of 1970s drawing-illustrated tome The Joy of Sex.

  31. There’s an author whose short stories I remember from when I had subscriptions to Hitchcock’s/Ellery Queen, Peter Turnbull. He wrote great procedurals, with detailed well drawn characters all in the middle of life issues, and he managed to evoke it all in a short story. I tracked down a couple collections of his, and what I discovered is that his well drawn cast of characters are trapped in amber, they have been stuck in the exact same well drawn situations for decades — this one who is about to have a divorce, the other who is about to start on something else, I can’t remember what, they are all on exactly the same cusp of action from the 70s through the 90s. It was actually kind of disconcerting, reading the earlier version, the characters are clearly in another time, the description of clothes, technology is clearly the 70s, but the exact same character, at the exact same cusp of life decisions, as the story I read that was clearly in the 90s. I guess the magic goes away when you look behind the façade…

    He also wrote novels, but they were not as good as his short stories, I thought. Or maybe I should say “short story” singular, endlessly rewritten…

    He also had another setup with a police chief who works 9 to 5 (maybe not literally), but we get both the squad life, the hand off to the evening squad, the home life of this guy (wife recently died, he has a dog, might be contemplating suicide (?)), goes back to work the next day, we get the hand off again. Seems like he has a good life/work balance for a cop. But then they get a kidnapping case, and as they work it, building clues, getting closer, 5 o’clock roles around, and this guy goes home for the weekend, and walks his dog, and talks to his dead wife, and meanwhile the kidnappee remains in peril, some crucial bit of info didn’t make the hand-off, or was not recognized for the significance it had by the new team, or something, and this guy comes back unconcerned on Monday, and soon they find the kidnappee dead, oh well, what a shame…
    It was very disconcerting, you’d think the emergency case might warrant breaking the 9 to 5 work life balance, but no, and oh well, sorry if a time sensitive case doesn’t get solved right away. I’m all for life balance, and not having an over inflated sense of the importance of your work (The West Wing was notorious for this: in the friggin’ pilot the intro to all the characters was them getting an emergency page to rush to the White House because POTUS has fallen off a bike — quick, assistant speech writer, you must drop all your weekend plans and run into the White House! because POTUS! has fallen off a bicycle! So you can stand around and pace and talk and accomplish nothing, but by god you are important!), but this book seemed sort of extreme. And it didn’t even bother the guy that the kidnapee died! I mean, yes, it’s good that a cop not get overly attached, he’s never going be able to do his job with all the death and crime and bad things that happen, but I mean, come on! Good thing this guy is not a surgeon doing a complicated surgery: oh well, 5 o’clock, I’ve got to be getting home, here nurse take this clamp, I’ll brief the night shift surgeon on what I was doing, try and keep this critical bleed from getting worse before he can get here…

  32. Pfui! (As the great fictional detective Nero Wolfe liked to say.)

    I was mistaken about the name “Confort”. In my copy of “The Terrorists”, translated by Joan Tate, he shows up on page 228 and is identified as Herrgott Content.

    Just to check on my recall of the other version, in my copy of “Cop Killer”, translated by Thomas Teal, he shows up on page 31 and is identified as Herrgott Allwright. I didn’t read far enough just now to get to the jokes about his name. But I did notice (in “Cop Killer”, where these scenes are set at the provincial station where he is chief) that colleagues or subordinates do address him as Herrgott. That ought to be material for kidding around too.

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