The day it happened, blanket media coverage ensued because one parent went on the news and claimed (falsely per many other witnesses - including the other coaches) that my client picked the other boy up over his head, spun him around and slammed him to the ground - WWF style. The ever hungry local media went for it in a big way and the false story stuck. Ultimately, despite all evidence to the contrary, he was forced to plead to battery and was sentenced to 24 days jail. He felt he had no choice because the coverage was literally ruining his life - he was threatened at home, his children were harrassed at school and he lost 2 jobs. He was also banned from ALL coaching and even attending school events his own children were involved in! There is no doubt that had the media circus not ensued, none of this would have occured.
The real message here? If you are caught up in the passion of a media storm....the "witnesses" who make it onto the news are more important than the supposedly calmer, rationale court process. I did my best to blunt this affect but the public's limited attention span is going to believe the first thing they hear and inquire no farther....DA's and court's, ever mindful of news coverage of their actions, are undoubtedly influenced by this. It's a steep hill I hope no readers of this blog ever needs to climb!
News: TMJ4 - http://www.todaystmj4.com/news/local/18368289.html
John A. Birdsall, Birdsall Law Offices, S.C.
135 W. Wells St., Ste 214, Milwaukee, WI 53203
414.831.5465 - www.birdsall-law.com