Lies, and the Crying Liars Who Tell Them

Veteran journalist Ashleigh Banfield is co-anchor of the trial coverage program Banfield and Ford: Courtside (weekdays from 1-3 p.m. ET) on IN SESSION.

Posted February 16, 2008 | 02:48 PM (EST), The Huffington Post

Hand me a tissue, please .. I’m about to be sick. Criminal defendants who lie through their tears in an effort to engender our sympathy deserve an extra consecutive sentence tagged onto their punishment.

Take for instance Bobby Cutts Jr. an Ohio police officer who was found guilty on Friday of aggravated murder, a death penalty eligible crime. The verdict was reached just 4 days after he led us down a tearful garden path on the witness stand. A blubbering Mr. Cutts tried to persuade the world that he was so spooked after “accidentally” killing his girlfriend Jessie Davis, 9 months pregnant at the time and the mother of his 2 year old son, that he wrapped up her body, and dumped her in a national park, all the while abandoning his toddler son at the murder scene. The hungry child was found wandering about in a soiled diaper, near an open bottle of bleach (used to destroy forensic evidence, no less), more than 24 hours later. For nine days, Jessie and her fetus were left to rot, while 2,000 volunteers searched for her, and while Bobby Cutts pleaded with the country for her safe return.

It brings to mind Susan Smith, another peach of a criminal defendant who back in 1994 tried to convince everyone that she’d been the victim of a car-jacking in which a black man had abducted her two precious baby boys. The story was simply riveting. For nine days we listened to her repeated pleas for the safe return of those boys. Then police discovered that Smith, herself, had strapped those children into their car-seats, and rolled the vehicle into a lake, drowning them to appease her boyfriend. She’s serving 30 to life in South Carolina.

Next up, Scott Peterson, the murderous husband who killed his wife Laci (also 9 months pregnant) back in 2002. For four months, Laci’s body, and that of their unborn son Conner, decomposed under the waters of San Francisco Bay. All the while, Scott tearfully navigated his way through countless interviews, pleading for us to help find his beloved wife. But a jury convicted him of the crime, and he, himself, is now rotting on Death Row.

The unbridled insolence, the contemptuous gall, and the shameless audacity of these uncommon criminals all serve to highlight why we employ aggravating and mitigating penalty phases in American jurisprudence. Some people’s crimes are beyond the pale. And just when you think they can’t get any worse, they do. These liars cry like babies, and beg for our love and our sympathy. More often than not we oblige. But when their duplicitous deceit is exposed, we at least get retribution… sentences that equate to a life-long “time-out” or a deadly “lights-out.”


My post (Google: Worldchangeguy) in response to Asheigh’s article,

In the Stallone movie, Rambo, from the moment you see the Burmese General overseeing the killing of villagers in the Golden Triangle formed by the boarders of Laos, Burma and Thailand, you’re saying to yourself; “This guy needs to die!” If this is ALL we think about then, of course, we’ll want to see this guy (or girl) die. This movie, like many others involving crime and punishment, satisfies our lust for vengeance. But, what do we learn from it all? How do we grow from this experience?

While part of me was outraged by the actions of the General and his men, another, wiser, part of me was asking, why? What was behind these actions? Who was paying or encouraging the General and his men to do these awful things? What ideas made it OK for these people to justify such outrageous behavior?

Every thought is a suggestion. Until we learn to look at the reasons why we do things, we’ll be the victims of our reality, not the creators of it. Nor will we be able to help ourselves or others become better versions of ourselves if we continue to focus on the results of our actions and not their source. We need to expand our vision, not limit it.

How we define ourselves and the world around us forms our intent, which, in turn, forms our reality. To believe in separation and scarcity is to create a world dominated by fear, competition and violence. To believe in oneness and sharing is to create a world where love, partnership and peace prevail.

Which self, which world do we want to create?

We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience. – Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

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