KNOCK! KNOCK! KNOCK!
The Court of Public Opinion is now in session. Please be seated.
Our first order of business today is to decide whether to adjourn as suggested by noted criminal defense attorney Bruce Harvey who is defending Bryan Anthony Rhoden, charged with three counts of murder, three counts of aggravated assault and two counts of kidnapping.
I say we wait even though we are going to be lectured as though we have never been inside a courtroom and think Habeas Corpus is a town in Texas.
“No rush to judgment can be justified in any case, least of all such as serious case as this one,” Harvey tell us. “Let’s leave the case to the courts, not the court of public opinion, to preserve as much as possible an untainted, impartial jury pool.” In other words: Trust me. I am a lawyer. (Insert joke here.)
To refresh yourself on the gory details, Rhoden was arrested on July 8th and charged with the July 3rd shooting death of Kennesaw Pinetree Country Club golf pro . He is also charged with killing two others — 76-year-old Paul Pierson, from Kansas, and 46-year-old Henry Valdez, of California.
Shiller was shot and killed as he went to investigate a pickup truck that had just driven up on the 10th hole at Pinetree and which contained the bodies of both Pierson and Valdez.
Rhoden is a rapper, I am told, and business must be pretty good since he seems to have the means to hire a guy like Bruce Harvey, who is attracted to high-profile cases like a moth to a back porch light such as those involving Atlanta’s infamous Gold Club and former NFL star Ray Lewis.
The guy is a showman. In his defense of a stripper at the long-shuttered Gold Club, Harvey leaped onto a table, saying, "This is what she does, she's a stripper," and began gyrating. According to news reports, Harvey began to take off his jacket and kept up the mock strip tease routine until U.S. District Judge Willis Hunt closed down his act. Tough luck, Bruce. I’ll bet you would have looked great in your skivvies.
I assume in his defense of Rhoden, known to the music aficionados among us as B. Rod, Harvey will begin his defense with a spirited rap ditty:
“Look at my man. He ain’t no fool
He say y’all be way too cool.
But ain’t no way he coulda done what they say.
Cause Bruce Harvey, he gonna save the day!”
RACKASNACKA! BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!
This isn’t B Rod’s first rodeo. According to news reports, he has a prior rap sheet mainly for drug-related incidents and some involving guns.
How we got from that kind of stuff to three counts of murder, three counts of aggravated assault and two counts of kidnapping is a mystery. As of this writing, there has been a surprising and frustrating dearth of information coming from the Cobb County police department.
In fact, the guy wasn’t even arrested in Cobb. He was arrested by the Chamblee Police Department on unrelated charges, including DUI, driving a vehicle without insurance, false identification and more. Chamblee police say they did not know that Rhoden was a suspect in the triple murder and he bonded out of the DeKalb County Jail on Tuesday evening, July 6th.
During the arrest, they say a large amount of money was confiscated. With the help of the fugitive task force, investigators set up a sting using the confiscated money and when Rhoden contacted the Chamblee police to retrieve the money, he was taken into custody.
Now, we await what is sure to be a circus of a trial, if and when it ever takes place. And you can expect Bruce Harvey to put everybody he can on trial besides his client. Take this statement: “Under our system of law, any person accused of a crime is only to be held accountable for that alleged crime, not by character assassination or unproven allegations.” Then he added, “We have seen too many times recently the police assassinating the character of an innocent person who they killed.”
Let me add that I have seen too many times showboat lawyers assassinate the character of law enforcement officers whose badge they aren’t worthy to wear in order to get their client sprung, even if guilty.
Can I make a suggestion, Bruce? How about you knock off the condescending lectures like we are a bunch of morons and remember this stuff isn’t a game where you get to jump on a table and gyrate and that there are more victims here than the guy you seem anxious to make one. The legal system doesn’t belong to you. It belongs to us, as well, and we often don’t trust the outcomes.
And no matter how high-minded your pontifications, just remember that the Court of Public Opinion is going to be judging you, too. And in the end, that is the court that counts.