The Law as Entertainment

closeup of a judge's hand as they prepare to tap a gavel on the bench

Update: Although this post reflects a moment in time, I feel it’s important to update my thoughts on the Depp/Heard case. I ought to have mentioned that I feel conflicted about my reaction to the testimony. I believe in believing women who allege abuse. Heard’s unlikability, desperation (as heard in recordings) to stay married to Depp, and many other factors have contributed to my perception. Her knowledge of what a Bruise Kit is, although she used the term incorrectly, is also a part of it. But I remain open to the possibility that I am wrong. The jury will ultimately decide.

Today, you have a choice! You can read the blog post below, or listen to it by clicking on this audio link. I would also love your feedback on whether you like the audio option. Thanks.

My first career ambition was to become a lawyer. Once I looked into the amount of schooling required, that idea dissipated like a spritz of cologne. But the law and the protection of it still fascinate me.

Law and Order-type TV series are so misleading. Court isn’t usually that exciting or to the point. If you want proof, watch five minutes of the Johnny Depp vs. Amber Heard defamation trial. Oh, I’ve seen the holier-than thou missives about what garbage it is. Of course it’s garbage! The Kardashians – whom I’ve never watched – have one of the most popular shows on the planet. When it comes to entertainment, we are a society of human racoons, digging for the nastiest piece of trash at the bottom of the can.

As I’ve completed initial edits of a long audiobook that doesn’t require my ears (that comes later in the proofing phase), I’ve been listening to snippets of the Depp/Heard case via YouTube. Raw video only. It is fascinating on several levels:

  1. That two privileged people could behave so horribly toward each other and themselves, and stay married, even for a short while.
  2. If you’re a broken person. money and fame can’t make your life better, except to give you a nicer place to pass out in.
  3. That – among other fascinating witnesses – Heard’s former assistant clearly didn’t want to be there and was unintentionally hilarious a she whined and gave answers dripping with impatience.
  4. Depp has infinite patience. Heard’s lawyers ask the same questions over and over, even after they’ve received an answer. (Objection!) Every time one of them reads a text exchange and asks, did I read that right, I want to yell at him. Johnny never does. He has been quietly, amusingly sarcastic a time or two but never overtly disrespectful.
  5. Depp has his own sound man who joins him on every movie. The actor wears an earpiece and the tech feeds him his lines during filming. Between takes, Depp listens to his favorite music.

The Public Chooses Johnny

Fans are clearly siding with Depp. (Who knows what the jury thinks at this point.) Heard is unlikable, overly rehearsed, and cries often without spilling a single tear. But Johnny is clearly no saint. Even if you think every word out of her mouth is a lie, the incidents he has admitted to are awful. Drug addiction can do that.

The outstanding question is whether Depp physically abused her. He seems to have fled the room every time she launched an argument, which was often. There are many layers, like in any relationship.

Did Heard’s 2018 op-ed in The Washington Post about being a survivor of domestic abuse ruin Depp’s career? This trial has a long way to go. Closing arguments are expected on May 27th. I don’t think he is guilty. But I also think, at this point, that their relationship was such a confusing, volatile mess, that it’s possible that he’s going to lose.

When the Law Goes Rogue

The other case that captivated me (and many Americans) didn’t play out in a courtroom, but on the roads of Alabama.

Vicky White, by all accounts a model corrections officer, broke out inmate Casey White (no relation) and they were on the run for eleven days before it all came to a tragic end.

In the weeks leading up to the breakout, Vicky (56) sold her house below market value, sold her car, bought men’s clothing, and filed for retirement. These things only raised red flags in hindsight. Casey (38) was awaiting a murder trial while serving a 75-year sentence for crime sprees in Alabama and Tennessee. Casey, covered in white supremacist tattoos, tried to kill a girlfriend and shot her dog, among other things. He’s also suspected of murdering another woman whose death was previously ruled a suicide. Vicky took him out of the Lauderdale County Jail in Florence. Alabama, on the ruse of a courthouse appointment. No-one realized they were missing for six long hours.

Vicky White was by-the-book, beloved by colleagues, had a spotless employment record for 25 years. Now we know that two years ago she began a sexual relationship with Casey. He told arresting officers that Vicky was his “wife” although they were never really married.

Vicky fatally shot herself as law enforcement closed in. They dragged Casey back to prison. They’ll duct tape him to a pole before taking a chance that he’ll sweet talk anyone else into busting him out.

Poor Planning

Casey’s former lawyer says there’s no way he orchestrated the breakout. He’s just not that bright. But she didn’t exactly do a great job. She got him out, sure. She had wigs and a car change waiting. But the scheme seems to have ended there. In all, they traveled less than 300 miles to Evansville, Indiana where they stayed for five days in a motel. Investigators speculate the end game was to go out in a hail of bullets like Bonnie and Clyde.

What makes a seemingly regular woman lose her mind for a horrible person like Casey White? That’s what’s fascinating to me. The women who “fall in love” with despicable men who are behind bars. They must think they’re the only ones who see the “real” him, beyond his heinous crimes. It’s unfortunate that Vicky White isn’t able to explain her actions. I suppose she couldn’t stomach the thought of living the life she tried to free her “husband” from.

15 thoughts on “The Law as Entertainment”

  1. If you’re asking do I prefer a recorded blog over a written one, I’m on the fence. The recorded blog is more involved in that in order to listen I have to turn other things off whereas I can just read the traditional Blog. As to law as entertainment, only in America, but then, they’re so full of themselves.

    1. This shows how little I know. I would have thought the audio blog would have been easier for you. Thanks for schooling me!

      1. I have my digital box hooked into my computer so I can listen to various TV shows, so to listen to other audio I have to turn it off. Hey, that’s me others will likely find it better.

  2. Hi Lisa! I’m a bit on the fence like Allan. It’s nice to hear your voice. It’s lovely.
    But sometimes I have issues with concentrating so it’s nice to have the written word to refer back to.

    1. Hi Leigh, that makes sense. I think I’ll offer the option and whoever wants it can choose it or skip it!

        1. Thanks, Leigh. Erin does video, right? I really, really, really (to infinity!) don’t want to to do video! šŸ™‚

          1. I forgot she does video as I always read her blog.
            I can understand not wanting to do video because I don’t like doing it either.
            My daughter often facetimes me and I’m never ready and I look like I’m 10 years older with triple chins.

  3. I like both. It was nice to hear your voice. Iā€™m sorry Iā€™m not keeping up with it all lately. Just keeping busy with life and making a conscious effort to not pick up my phone even more these days.

    Carolyn.

  4. Great column. I like how, in a subtle way, you linked two separate stories happening in the news right now. As always, you make me laugh and you make me think. I appreciate having the option of the voice track, but out of the gate I would say I prefer reading your posts. Your “voice” comes through so clearly in my mind when I’m reading.

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