From Rolling Stone online:
WHAT HAPPENED YESTERDAY?
Phil Spector avoided a lengthy jail sentence … for now. By the final score of 10-2, guilty votes almost convicted Spector for the murder of Lana Clarkson, but thankfully for Phil, a unanimous decision could not be reached, so we’re back to square one. Three of the twelve jurors spoke to the media following the mistrial, including the jury foreman, who only made a brief statement to explain what went down during the twelve-day deliberations. All three men said they think Spector is guilty, and noted the two non-guilty votes stemmed from jurors who felt there wasn’t enough reasonable doubt to prove that Lana Clarkson didn’t commit suicide that night in Spector’s mansion. An in-depth psychological report on Clarkson would have helped sway the two renegade jury members, said their fellow juror.
The same juror lambasted Team Spector for putting on a “fake” defense that created scientific theories, paid for high-priced witnesses, and even employed the forensic scientist husband of one of its lawyers. He also criticized the defense for character-assassinating Lana Clarkson. In fact, the juror was pretty unable to mask his disappointment that two of his peers allowed Spector to slip away. As for the prosecution, strip away all female witnesses that claimed Spector pointed a gun at them and the missing evidence, and it’s still evident that Spector was the murderer, the juror remarked. Both jurors, however, said that if the charge was manslaughter, and not second degree murder, that Spector might be wearing an orange jumpsuit in San Quentin by now. Manslaughter is the key word as the prosecution seeks to rebound from this mistrial.
Word on the street is that Californians are reconsidering the benefits of “jury nullification” occasioned by the trial of “Rock ‘n Roll’s greatest music producer.” The concept of jury nullification has a long history dating back to England, but was reintroduced to Americans 13 years ago during the eerily-similar murder trial of former USC Trojan and honorary “white” Orenthal James Simpson. At that time, the American public voiced a near universal condemnation for this practice, once affirmed by Thomas Jefferson as a solitary bulwark against injustice.
Where will America go with respect to the Spector case and the actions of jurors? While Americans don’t appear to care about this case or its outcome, I imagine that those legal pundits who follow trends will be eager to see if this case inspires a new direction. It is curious that a murder trial for such a high profile personality, one whose music has touched so many lives, has not garnered the universal, ubiquitous attention of other recent events. While media coverage of Simpson may come to mind for some, it is arguable that only a music producer like P. Diddy or Kanye West could have generated the same type of publicity.
Perhaps it is because Spector is simply not relevant. His mark on the music world is dated and largely irrelevant as today’s youth and this society move toward the harmonizing beats of Africa’s drum and percussions. Spector is an artifact of a regressive and reviled sexual culture which is largely inaccessible to most Americans (online porn proclivities aside).
Perhaps there is precious little venom directed toward him because he is a sympathetic character – one who has been humanized through his work and other aspects of popular culture. He looks like a good stiff breeze could knock him over. Is this the same man accused of holding women against their will at this Alhambra mansion?
Americans pride themselves on fairness. They pride themselves on being able to muster righteous indignation when it is appropriate – and being able to see things for what they truly are. Surely there are as many Americans protesting Mr. Spector’s long affinity with brutality. Surely there are as many protesters there with dehumanizing signs as we would expect to find in other high profile trials. Surely there were national non-profit organizations steeped in the fight against domestic violence. Surely there were people who were capable of drawing connections between Spector’s use of “performance enhancing drugs” and Chris Benoit’s descent down a path to unmitigated violence against defenseless victims. Surely there are Americans who shed tears for the victim in this case.
But when I looked, all I could find were dogs (supporting the accused) and police looking longingly for donuts (working one of the most relaxed details they’ve ever had).
When VH1 does decide to host this town meeting, I’ll be there. I may damn well be alone, but I’ll be there. “Donuts anyone?”