Monthly Archives: July 2010

Does anyone think Tom Robinson was really guilty?

Of course not. No reasonable person thinks that Tom Robinson was really guilty.

To Kill a Mockingbird was published 50 years ago today. Happy anniversary to the Pulitzer Prize winning novel written by Harper Lee. There will be much written about it today in celebration and rightly so.  It’s an American classic. It’s a story of racism, innocence and redemption.

Like all great stories, this one has its fair share of memorable quotations. There are far too many for me to list all of them here but I must mention a few. I think the most popular quote is the line about people: I think there’s just one kind of folks. Folks. The other quote is: Jean Louise, stand up your father‘s passing. Everyone remembers those lines, but this is the line that I like:

I simply want to tell you that there are some men in this world who were born to do our unpleasant jobs for us. Your father is one of them.

Unfortunately, most people don’t remember that one. It is a classic. It is as good today as it was then. It describes the essence of a criminal defense lawyer.  It’s what we do. It is equally unfortunate that criminal defense lawyers are as loathed by town folks today as Atticus Finch was then.

A jury convicted Tom Robinson on weak and unconvincing evidence. That verdict was based on ignorance, prejudice and racism. It was needed for the story to work.  And it did work.  Anyone who read the book or saw the movie walked away knowing there was injustice in the world and in the courtroom. There still is.

I would like to think that if this trial took place today that there would be a different result. Surely the prosecutor would not go forward with such flimsy evidence. Surely the judge would dismiss the charge. Surely the jury would find the defendant not guilty. I’m not so sure any of those things would happen though because that’s the way the system works. It’s just too easy to turn a blind eye to justice and vote to convict.

It’s commendable that a person would become outraged that an innocent Tom Anderson was convicted. It’s disturbing that today that same person would be willing to convict someone on the same evidence.

This novel is the reason some folks went to law school. They will celebrate its anniversary in their own way. My tribute to this great story will be twofold. I will continue to ask the question and tonight I will read the book again. I hope more people do the same.

Comments Off

Filed under Justice

Closing the Book on The ‘Blatt and the Chicken Curse

The University of South Carolina baseball team is the last team standing after the 2010 College World Series. What a proper way to say goodbye to the Diamond on the Hill. USC wins its first national championship at the last CWS played at Johnny Rosenblatt Stadium. Carolina’s run was simply amazing.

The Gamecocks started the CWS in a storm. They went on to lose their opener in a rain and lightening delayed game that lasted over eight hours. They later stormed through the loser’s bracket to the title series.  Although the Gamecocks were decided underdogs, they went on to clinch the title by sweeping UCLA in two games.

Even though USC won the opening game of the championship series 7-1, the talking heads of college baseball still favored the Bruins to win the CWS. Game two is called an elimination game. The loser, by definition, goes home. This was more than an elimination game for UCLA. It was an elimination game for the stadium itself. A Carolina victory not only sent the Bruins home, it marked the end of the CWS for The Blatt.

The End of an Era

The 2010 College World Series not only crowned a new national champion, it was the final hurrah for college baseball’s most famous stage. Most fans are saddened by the loss of Johnny Rosenblatt Stadium as the host of the CWS. I agree with the sentiment.  The ‘Blatt is a fabulous stadium with the most heralded history in college baseball.

According to some critics, however, the old stadium was too small and the layout was neither fan, nor player friendly.  I also agree with that assessment. The parking was an event in and of itself. The concourse and the seats were too small. Oh, and the fence around the entire facility. I understand that it was put up for this last series, but it sure did make the entire experience difficult. Hopefully, the new facility has addressed those concerns.

The End of a Curse

I must admit, that at times, it has been difficult being a Gamecock fan. The slogan “wait ‘til next year” has definitely grown old. I’m not going into the close calls and hard times that the Carolina football and basketball teams have had in the past. There certainly have been some disappointments in those areas. The baseball teams have also had their fair share.

In 1975, 1977 and 2002 South Carolina was the runner-up for the national championship in college baseball. I also remember standing at The Sarge at a super regional in 2000. That year the Gamecocks were a consensus number one in the nation and highly favored to win the College World Series.  They were eliminated in Columbia. That was a tough break.

Some, if not most, Carolina fans attribute the “Chicken Curse” as the reason for those tough breaks.   Say goodbye to it. I saw some players scooping up dirt from the field. That will make a good souvenir and maybe help with the memories of a great championship. I’d like to think that they were burying an old ghost. This year’s team buried the chicken curse in the Diamond on the Hill. That is a fitting tribute to the fans of Carolina and of Johnny Rosenblatt.

Comments Off

Filed under College World Series