Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Bathroom Monologue: Guilty, Not Guilty

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I don’t see how you can find Nidia guilty. The smallest crime the Prosecution allows will put her in prison for ten years. That is ten years of abuse by guards, cruelty and politics with inmates, an infectious drug culture, and deprivation from the outside world. Inmates are astronomically more likely to commit crimes once they leave jail. Prisons are devastating environments where innocence is shredded. You can’t fix them from the jury box, but you can decide who belongs there.

What is she supposed to learn in jail? That leaving an infant unattended can be fatal? You’ve seen her and heard from her psychiatrist. She needed to spend the first two weeks of this trial under restraints. She learned what was wrong before she turned herself in. There’s nothing to reform about her. There’s nothing about our prison system that is going to make her less likely to harm a child again. She can’t even look at one without going into hysterics.

The Prosecution will not cut a deal. I’m not legally allowed to speculate on the quotas for convictions that is causing him to refuse a plea bargain, but Nidia needs psychiatric care and compassion. Some of you may not want to feel for this woman, and want to punish her for the death she’s caused. She broke one of the most sacred trusts in life: that of a mother to her child. That she’s already suffering doesn’t allay your outrage, and I understand that. But if you convict this broken woman, you are creating a criminal. If you don’t, you’re giving her a chance to one day be able to look at a child without sobbing.

That’s the choice you’ve got today.


  1. Glad you decided to publish this one, John. Powerful story.

  2. That's the most realistic and honest argument I've ever heard against a guilty verdict.

  3. There's always a price to pay. Even if we've already learned the lesson, we still have to suffer the consequences.

  4. Makes me wonder exactly what happened. Interesting conclusion, but hard for me to agree or disagree without knowing more.

  5. Ouch. Powerful and true. Add that she would be at extreme risk of physical abuse because of the nature of her 'crime'. And it seems to me that she is already suffering the consequences.


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