In preparation for narrating the true crime story of “A Motion For Innocence And Justice For All?” I learned of the frightening experiences with the real Michigan Judge who heard this case. The real Judge was Deborah Tyner who’s courtroom antics had earned her the nickname “Judge Tylenol” around the courthouse. In the book, the author says the Judge fell asleep during the trial. Frankly, I thought the allegation of a Judge sleeping during the trial simply wasn’t credible but evidence began to pile up documenting many other unrelated cases where Judge Tyner was described with a similar narrative: A snappy, moody Judge who summarily assumed guilt by virtue of accusation. She was often late for trials. So great was her reputation for tardiness, that a television crew began documenting her daily activities and eventually confronted her on camera after she had been filmed shopping, relaxing at a spa and on other personal errands during the time she was supposed to be in court. The Judge later denied or made excuses for participating in the activities documented on video tape.
In the book, the author states the Judge was late to every appearance and delayed the trial. Then, upon her late arrival, insisted the trial be rushed so that it could be wrapped up in one day. He even suggests that many employees of the court believed she rushed the jury to a decision. These would be actionable charges if they could be substantiated. Alas, an accusation of perversion is all it takes for some while others have the freedom to pervert the legal system to their own advantage.
As Americans, we have the right to a fair and speedy trial – but a rushed one, one where the facts are unimportant and the path to a conviction is the only possible outcome is hardly what our forefathers had in mind. You may not agree with every facet of the author’s position on the judicial system in this story but there is no denying the man did not receive a fair trial.
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