Attorney claims his client’s not THAT guilty!
Melvin Morse, a Delaware pediatrician, stands accused of a number of felony counts involving the alleged “waterboarding” of his 11-year-old daughter. It appeared here (Talk Delaware) in its own thread over the past day or so.
I won’t rehash the details here. If you want them, click here. My point is highlighting some of the outlandishly stupid crap some defense attorneys say about their clients whenever someone shoves a microphone and/or rolling TV camera in their faces.
Joe Hurley is Dr. Morse’s defense attorney. At the outset, Mr. Hurley has to rank within Delaware’s top three defense attorneys. I’m not disputing this; his professional reputation is both hard-earned and well deserved.
However, if you were compiling a list of attorneys within the tri-state area of Delaware, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey who are capable of feigning just a MODICUM of humility, Joe Hurley wouldn’t come within five light-years of making that list.
UNDERSTAND that, at this point, the charges against Dr. Morse are just that: charges. Legally, he’s assumed innocent until proven guilty. The legal process needs to play itself out before anyone begins pontificating in either direction.
And, while I’m no more informed as to the details of probable cause relative to the state’s decision to arrest him and his wife, I know that the Delaware State Police and Delaware’s prosecutors aren’t legal neophytes, either; there is something more than some cop’s hunch involved here.
As well, I fully understand from both legal and psychological standpoints why Mr. Hurley is upset with the press’s use of the term “waterboarding” as part of the context under which the State lodged the charges against his client.
Using the term “waterboarding” in conjunction with charging a father with felonies implicative of allegedly abusing his 11-year-old daughter is, at minimum, prejudicial. It tends to INFURIATE the most reasonable among us.
But Mr. Hurley seems to have overlooked the fact that his OWN client used the term in explaining the nature of his punishment to his 11-year-old daughter, probably as some sick attempt to intensify the degree of fear in the child’s mind.
It is not beyond reason for people to assume that an intellectually curious 11-year-old child has heard enough about waterboarding to be fearful of the term.
Of course, “My client’s not THAT guilty” were not Mr. Hurley’s exact words. I made them up as a play on context. His exact words were:
“She was not strapped to some device with a cloth on her face, “I looked up what waterboarding is. Whatever happened, it’s gotten sensationalized big-time. If some parent puts some kid’s nose under a faucet, that’s not exactly cool, but it’s not waterboarding.”
There is more to what “waterboarding” IS than what one finds by “looking up” the term. And, while I would never expect competent defense attorneys to make public statements directly implicating their clients as so charged, I do expect them to use some common sense. But this would involve more than merely “looking up” the tools-of-the-trade regarding the “how-to” of waterboarding.
The nature and purpose of waterboarding is an infusion of fear—approaching TERROR—through the simulation of drowning. The confinement to a board and the placing of a wet cloth over the mouth to prevent breathing through the mouth are added affects.
Holding an 11-year-old girl’s face under a running faucet to let water enter her nostrils while pinching her lips shut is more than an “uncool” thing for a father to do to his daughter; it’s waterboarding sans the board, confinement, and mouth cloth!
If the State of Delaware ends up proving beyond a reasonable doubt that this “father” did this to his daughter—and more than once to boot—he should be punished appropriately.
I suggest confinement with a cellmate named Ramrod; who together with his circle of friends will help “dad” experience the true nature of what “waterboarding” is like when experienced as part of the frolicking sexual fun involved with a prison’s connotation of water sports.
Even if the pessimists are right, in the end, the optimists will have had a much more enjoyable trip through life.