Friday, March 03, 2006

jux·ta·pose -- to place side by side, especially for comparison or contrast.

From Neil Steinberg's column in your March 3, 2006, Chicago Sun-Times:
A non-cooperating witness undermines the prosecution's case. What is an hour's ordeal compared to decades in jail? If he's guilty -- and I have no idea whether he is or not -- the victim should do what is necessary to convict him. Too many [violent criminals] go free because the victims refuse to put the culprit away.
From your November 24, 2005, Chicago Sun-Times:
A Cook County judge dismissed domestic battery charges against Chicago Sun-Times columnist Neil Steinberg on Wednesday after prosecutors said it appears Steinberg is complying with a court-ordered alcohol treatment program.

Prosecutors also spoke to Steinberg's wife, Edie, who testified that she wanted the case and an order of protection dropped.

"You are no longer in fear for your safety, is that correct?" Cook County Assistant State's Attorney Kenneth Alpert asked Edie Steinberg in the Skokie courtroom.

"That is correct," she replied.

Neil Steinberg was arrested in September and charged with striking his wife during an argument. He also was charged with interfering in the reporting of a domestic battery.
One would hope that after his family's brush with the criminal justice system last fall, Neil would have developed some empathy for the victims of violent crimes and some understanding of their burdens.

But, alas, that does not appear to be the case.

3 comments:

MLH said...

It doesn't appear to me that the Steinbergs' situation is the least bit comparable.

Besides, I hate to say it, but the criminal justice system isn't, and shouldn't be about empathy for victims. It doesn't do a good job of punishment and deterrence under those circumstances.

Anonymous said...

But I can see a defense lawyer wanting to show the complaining witness the tape, in court, and saying, "You claim to have been unconscious during the entire ordeal, yet would you look at yourself in this scene and say you were unconscious?"

You'd think Neil would be familiar with the concept of the alcoholic blackout. If he hasn't personally experienced it, perhaps he could ask his friends at AA to explain it to him.

Liz said...

Unfortunately, the two cases ARE comparable. Many would argue that far too many domestic batterers go free because their victims don't do everything possible to put them away, just as Steinberg bemoaned in this alleged rape case.

But here's the thing: I would have thought Steinberg now understands the trauma experienced by victims in general and victims of intimate violence in particular: well-justified fear, the desire to just get on with their lives, to avoid the media spot light, to avoid further (undeserved) humiliation, to begin to heal, to keep their children safe and fed, etc., etc., etc.

But apparently, he STILL doesn't get it. Worse, he goes further to criticize an alleged rape victim for her failure to somehow live up to her "responsibilities."

That's callous, not to mention counter-productive and just plain nasty.

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