How anyone can think it is appropriate in any way shape or form for counties to place displays in front of their courthouses for crime victims is beyond me. The latest one comes from a reader by the name of Kirk who sent me a link to the display in Henderson County.
According to this article in the Tyler (Texas) Morning Telegraph, it's not laundry day on the square in Athens, it's a memorial to the victims of crime, primarily domestic or sexual assault.
I understand the need for cathartic therapy. I understand that someone who has been sexually assaulted must deal with unseen scars long after the assault is over.
But I also understand that everyone criminal defendant who walks into the Henderson County Courthouse is presumed innocent unless the state is able to prove each and every element of its case beyond all reasonable doubt. Every potential juror in Henderson County will walk right past this display every day that it's up. The display was approved by the County Judge and Commissioner's Court. (For those of y'all not familiar with the way we do things in Texas, those are the folks who rule supreme in the county.)
Criminal cases are tried in the name of the state. That's the government, folks. The government approved the placing of the display on the courthouse grounds. The government is bringing charges against people for allegedly breaking the law.
Each and every one of these displays across the state violates the rights of a defendant in a criminal case. Each and every one of these displays is put up with the purpose of influencing jurors. It is part of the ongoing assault on the Bill of Rights and our constitutional protections.
See these previous posts:
"Presumption of innocence? What presumption of innocence?" (Oct. 5, 2009)
"Not a good week to be on trial in Montgomery County" (Apr. 11, 2011)