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Murder Most Foul  by Larner 91 Review(s)
BranwynReviewed Chapter: 13 on 11/24/2011
And some of the witnesses' stories unravel with amazing speed! And a witness was told to leave town during the trial and to refuse to communicate with the defense. If the evidence in the real-world case was half as effed-up as the evidence in this story then I hope that some people lost their jobs as a result.

Author Reply: One would hope that this would happen, but it didn't. The real "detective" who lifted the bodies out of the ditch did end up being demoted, but eventually was returned to his rank as detective. In the state of Arkansas one does not have to take any classes in law enforcement in order to become a police officer, and you don't have to have any training in investigation to be advanced to the status of detective. Ain't it a crock?

A few officers did end up getting fired or resigning in lieu of getting fired, but not due to their actions regarding this particular case--they were fired when a federal investigation revealed they were taking part in illegal search and seizure of vehicles they claimed were being used to transport illegal drugs north from border states or when internal examinations indicated they'd been stealing from evidence lockers or had been involved in embezzlement. The lead prosecutor used the "win" in this case to get elected as a judge, and the judge is now a state senator in Arkansas.

BranwynReviewed Chapter: 12 on 11/24/2011
So Medril's wife, daughter, and son are all liars, and don't seem to care that someone is going to hang based on their misrepresentations. I feel a little sorry for Medril.
All of the menfolk shuddered at the mere thought of it.
Lol...yes, men tend to be very sensitive about that particular topic!

Author Reply: Well, it's not like they are convinced that Danarion is innocent, after all, or that he's someone they particularly care about.

And I have seen more than one guy suddenly reach protectively toward his privates when discussing the mutilation seen on poor little Christopher Byers.

BranwynReviewed Chapter: 11 on 11/24/2011
When Nerwion's son take Wendthor to the inn, I was half-expecting Wendthor to drink himself into a hangover (after all, he's a teenager who is away from his parents), but instead he orders just one drink and keeps his ears open. He has the makings of a sensible lord. It is surprising how many different people had serious doubts about the guilt of the three boys. But it isn't easy to challenge the authorities or public opinion.

Author Reply: I agree--Wendthor is managing to pace himself well, and indeed will prove himself a most worthy heir to the rule of the district of which Anwar is the chief city.

There are many cases in this world that were unfairly conducted that have ended in apparently unjust decisions, and it is indeed difficult to get them rectified after the fact. Some that are even more high-profile than the WM3 case are still knowing contraversy, and undoubtedly will until the unfairly convicted defendants die in prison, unfortunately.

BranwynReviewed Chapter: 10 on 11/24/2011
Expert witnesses and a constable prevented from testifying, defendants not allowed to speak with their own counsel, parts of the proceedings excluded from the offical record--the trial sounds less and less fair. One person who has not been interviewed is the local healer who examined the bodies. I am assuming that at this point in time there would be no point in exhuming them?

Author Reply: Many of these conditions are commonly present in cases of questionable verdicts, you will learn. It's not only mob-connected defendants who have sought to intimidate and even eliminate potential witnesses against their cases or interests.

BranwynReviewed Chapter: 9 on 11/24/2011
Wendthor raises reasonable concerns about the means of detecting lies. Why use a test if it isn't reliable? I haven't read the details of the real-life case that is the inspiration for this story, but if the investigation was as inept and dishonest as this one then there were serious problems.

Author Reply: Oh, the investigation of the real case tended to begger the imagination and raise a good deal of indignation, believe me.

In the United States, it is illegal in most cases to indicate the results of lie detector tests to a sitting jury, as it is generally accepted that the results are not reliable a significant amount of the time. Many people tend to become rattled by the questioning and/or find the electrodes uncomfortable, or are just anxious by nature, and will have results that simply cannot be accurately interpreted. Many medications can affect the results. And no test is more reliable than the one who is interpreting the results. The WMPD's polygraph administrator was heavily criticized by the expert witness who testified for Jessie Miskelley, who felt that the man did a lousy job in administering the test as well as interpreting the results. He stated that Jessie only lied when he denied during the test that he'd ever used any illegal drugs, while the administrator told the detectives that Jessie was "lying his a** off." Many people have asked precisely the question you've raised here, and I can only indicate some of the justifications commonly given in the answers Wendthor has been given.

BranwynReviewed Chapter: 8 on 11/23/2011
I'm glad to see that the lord's son, who had seemed like something of a slacker, is interested in the case. Maybe because this case involves such serious consequences. His father may come to grateful to the deputation from Gondor. And the plot thickens as the disgruntled and underpaid public defender shows up!

Author Reply: The coming of this deputation has been like a stiff breeze shaking a limb and loosening old, dead leaves so this year's blossoms and leaves can begin to grow. I suspect many will be glad for the deputation's coming, while a few will have good reason to worry as to what it will mean for them. Many of the complaints made by this defender have been made by the real-life defenders as well, I'm sorry to say.

BranwynReviewed Chapter: 7 on 11/23/2011
That's a sensible idea for the deputation to read the transcripts together. Interesting that the old archivist did not hold a bad opinion of Danarion. You wonder who was allowed to testify at the trial? Another great chapter!

Author Reply: It was a shock to find out who was excluded from testifying at the real trial, and the threats that were made. One of the mothers was questioning one of the claims that the detectives were making, and was warned, "Don't mess up our case!" And both teachers from Jason's school and the administrator for the youth facility where Jason was incarcerated were told to leave town and not to accept any communications from the defense lawyers or their staff.

BranwynReviewed Chapter: 6 on 11/21/2011
Sounds like Benargil is worried about his job security. With good reason since Aragorn isn't simply affirming the existing vassalships. Regarding the "Book of Shadows," so few people in that town could read it that it's some excuse for him just tossing it in the trash.

Author Reply: Oh, yes, a good many of the lords of the land have reason to question whether or not they'll be allowed to continue as they were. And where literacy isn't necessarily universal, I doubt that too many would bother with a book found on the trash heap. Also, since it was written in Sindarin and much of the business of the realm is now done in Westron, there's another reason why few would bother it. But it would appear that the book didn't rest there long....

BranwynReviewed Chapter: 5 on 11/21/2011
Hmmm, if Benargil had doubts about the investigation, why didn't he raise them earlier? Or did he? That sounds like one of the worst dinner parties ever, but it was good that the Elf decided to join them. He may not want to be there, but he is taking his assignment seriously. Lol at Benargil's combover--mark of banality or mark of evil? :D

Author Reply: Good question as to why Benargil didn't question things earlier, but--hey! He took Enelmir's word that everything was on the up and up, after all.

And the combover is more vanity than anything else, I suspect. Heh!

BranwynReviewed Chapter: 4 on 11/21/2011
Interesting to see Anorgil's appraisal of Aragorn's judgment, since the young man is a legal clerk. I have to confess that I had no idea who this "Iorhael" was, lol!

Author Reply: Iorhael and Frodo both mean "Wise through experience," Tolkien tells us, so Iorhael is the Sindarin form of Frodo's name. I suspect that Frodo took it in stride, as I have him aware of the Sindarin translation of his name from early on, and using it with two of his younger cousins to keep their foster mother from realizing he is interacting with them in "The Ties of Family."

And Anorgil must be reassured as to Aragorn's competence as a judge now.

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