Controversy on the Courthouse Lawn - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

6/16/05

Controversy on the Courthouse Lawn

It sits in the beaming sunlight...waiting for someone to sit and ponder these words.
“Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are. Ben Franklin”

It's a memorial dedicated to victims of crime, but Criminal Defense Attorney Alton Griffin says it was all wrong to put it on the courthouse lawn. “I don't know who it’s a memorial to. A memorial to ‘Sock it to em, I guess.”

Griffin says it's an attack on the justice system. “There are over 600 lawyers in town.” He says 90% of them want it gone. “The courthouse everything connected to it should be a place where there is no bias.”

They believe the inscription here could influence a juror’s decision in a criminal trial.
Court Coordinator David Slaton says judges have not told jurors to stay away from the memorial, except for one day. “During the Callie Long jury selection Ceremony planned for months.”

County commissioners allowed the memorial to be placed on the courthouse lawn, not knowing controversy would later brew. They have to power to take it down.

The Lubbock victims coalition, which is made up of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the Department of Public Safety, the Lubbock County District Attorneys Office and Victims Services, received $5,000 in federal grant money to build the memorial. It was supposed to have a wishing well fountain and pathways with the benches and the headstone. NewsChannel 11 wanted to ask more questions, but because of a subpoena, no one was allowed to talk.

That subpoena is for next week's motion for Callie Long's new trial.  She was found guilty for killing a man on his bike while she was driving drunk.

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