Tuesday, September 22, 2009

D.J. Bell Trial Is On

Posted By on September 22, 2009, 2:30 AM

Opening arguments in the D.J. Bell case are to commence this morning. Monday marked the commencement of jury selection, and the trial is expected to proceed throughout the week as the wheels of justice grind with their exceeding slowness. ---

I only hope that actual justice can be served, and that clear heads will prevail above bigotry.

Bell is charged with child kidnapping on allegations made by neighbors on the night that the neighbors' friends, amid a barrage of homophobic epithets, brutally assaulted him and his partner. Presuming that eyewitnesses for the prosecution consist mainly of the assailants and/or their friends--who naturally must be pleased that no assault charges have yet been brought--both sides are, needless to say, desperate to prevail. But it is Bell who faces the decades-long prison sentence--a terrible miscarriage of justice if things were as he and his supporters have said. (Frankly, I'm inclined to believe Bell--not least because it's frightening how vulnerable any law-abiding gay man is to a random accusation involving a child. And, I have to say, if Bell and his partner had been a heterosexual couple, I doubt things would have happened the same way.)

Frankly, I'm ambivalent about courthouse protests. Justice, ideally, is blind to any politics.

But, unfortunately, that's not always true, and this is such an important case with such a risk of serious injustice, that the need to keep media attention focused is undeniable. Along with Monday's protest outside the Matheson Courthouse, 450 S. State, protests are scheduled throughout the week at 8 a.m., one hour before the trial starts. Red and black are the recommended attire for Bell supporters.

And may Themis, the goddess of justice, have mercy upon us all.

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