Posted February 25 2002 - 01:13 PM
| "The death of Mr. Christofi was a tragic accident but it was an accident," Williams' attorney Joseph Hayden said. "We are very confident that after a full, fair and thorough exploration of all the facts it will be clear that Mr. Williams is innocent of recklessness and innocent of any criminal conduct." |
As with the Winona Ryder case, I find myself seething at the lawyers' statements. While many facts are still unknown, we do know the following:
* Somebody accidentally (or intentionally) shot Mr. Christofi. It was most likely Mr. Williams since he was the one arrested.
* Mr. Williams and his friends initially claimed the death was a suicide and may have delayed calling for medical attention. (Their story was changed only after the coroner said it couldn't be a suicide.)
Forget about Williams' troubled history with firearms. I would just like the attorney to explain what circumstances could exist under which Mr. Williams' actions would not be considered at least "reckless."
(Assuming all of these published reports are true, of course.) While he may argue that Williams is not criminally liable, saying that his client is innocent of even mere recklessness is offensive and an insult to the family of Mr. Christofi.
In the Winona thread, a couple people suggested that it is a lawyer's and client's civic duty to fight for their position regardless of guilt (and regardless of how ridiculous the claims of innocence are), and that forcing the prosecution to build and win their case makes the system stronger and protects everyone's rights. I see the logic, but in a case like this I wonder who is there to protect the rights of Mr. Christofi.
My philosophical question is this: if Williams knows he is guilty of reckless manslaughter (or worse) but yet knows he can go free because the witnesses and forensics can't or won't convict him, is his moral obligation to confess, or to fight every charge tooth and nail with the lofty goal of "protecting" our legal system?
It will be interesting to hear their side of the story.