A Matter of Time

Want Greta's blog delivered directly to your e-mail box? Click here to sign up!

Dear Viewers,

For some behind the scenes … Thursday night in Washington, D.C. at the White House, is the president's annual holiday party for the media. Each year hundreds in the media get invited to the White House to see the beautiful decorations and, of course, the president and the first lady.

This is a tradition that has gone on for many years, through many presidential administrations. The media loves it, but I am not sure about the president. Each president and first lady has been extremely gracious over the years, but imagine inviting to your house (even if temporary quarters) those who constantly write about you and are always looking for "news." The president and first lady will stand in a receiving line for two plus hours to greet each media guest and get a picture with each guest. Every year each president and first lady has acted like this is fun for them ... but I think they must just be "good sports." This must be an exhausting exercise for them, but we appreciate them doing it.

Do you remember all the talk about media voodoo interpretations of the jury on our show? Laura Ingle has a great example of how the media practiced this and was wrong. I told her last night when I talked to her after the show that she has to come back for tonight's show and talk about it. So, stay tuned...

I have received many e-mails and comments from friends about the amount of time spent deliberating by the jurors in the Peterson (search) case (both for their guilt verdict and for sentencing recommendation.) Some think too much time was spent, some think not enough. I think the debate about length of deliberations wasted time. I have told my friends not to get "stuck" on how much time is spent for deliberations in any case — time really is not a factor in determining whether a verdict is a fair and just one.

There is no "right" amount of time for deliberations unless you think of it as sufficient time for the 12 to review evidence, discuss the case and reach a unanimous verdict. If an accused is caught on tape committing a crime and confesses, it would be silly for a jury to take a week to decide the case. Fifteen minutes might be the "right" amount of time. If the decision is so obvious, it might not be necessary to review all the evidence. It would be terrible for a jury to feel pressure to stay behind closed doors because we have imposed upon them some arbitrary idea about how much time it takes to decide a case. Imagine under my hypothetical of a confession, a defendant caught on tape committing the crime and 12 jurors all agreeing on guilt and then thinking, OK, now that we all agree, we need to stay here for another two days. Why stay? To talk themselves out of the obvious? Out of the unanimous? You can flip the hypothetical to a situation where there is obvious innocence.

Likewise, in a case where there are many questions about guilt and a huge amount of controverted evidence, you would expect a jury to take a longer period of time for a verdict — it takes time to review evidence, discuss it, vote and get complete (unanimous) agreement. There is no magical number of how long the jury should take. The jury should simply work until it is finished — no longer, no shorter. So don't get hung up on how long the jury takes.

I know, we in the media are the ones who report the time ... we do so not because we think there is some magical number, but rather that it is an interesting piece of information.

E-mail No. 1

We all love your show and love watching you ... and the entire family has a nickname for you ... even the grandchildren 9 and 12 refer to you by this name. We all affectionately call you "LAMB CHOP." You remind us of Shari Lewis's puppet, "Lamb Chop."
Dick, Charlotte, Lori, Jimmy, Andrew and Kayla
McHenry, IL

ANSWER: "Lamb Chop" sure beats something like "Dopey."

E-mail No. 2

Scott Peterson is deserving of his sentence for the murder of his wife, but how can he be sentenced for killing his unborn child when over 4000 unborn children are killed every day in this country by abortionists? The abortionists should receive the same sentence. Is this not the ultimate in hypocrisy?
Gerard Machonis

E-mail No. 3

Evening Greta:
Your interview with Scott's Golf coach this evening was quite stimulating and certainly thought provoking.
I would have to agree with him concerning Scott's deserving of the death penalty, but also in light of the fact that it stands as a deterrent for others, that might be considering a similar action taken against a spouse.
The degree of depravity to which mankind can sink, has been thoroughly documented throughout History. Even Solomon with the blessings of God upon his shoulders, toward the end of his life sank to extreme depths of human depravity. When mankind takes his eyes of God and elevates self, he is capable of things the human mind can hardly comprehend.
Proverbs 4:23 " Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life."
Warm wishes to you and your family during this Christmas Holiday.
Linda and Paul Anderson
Rockledge, FL

E-mail No. 4

While I firmly believe that Scott should pay with his life for what he has done, wouldn't it have been faster and cheaper to give him life and let the inmates take care of him?
Ocean City, MD

E-mail No. 5

Dear Greta, we have followed your program every night since the Scott Peterson case started. We truly wanted to believe he was innocent. Please let the Petersons know, there are some of us out here who hurt for them too. We commend the jury … they did their best. However, there seems to be a lot of emotions involved in the recommendation of death! Shouldn't death be the results of absolute SOLID evidence?


Watch "On the Record with Greta Van Susteren" weeknights at 10 p.m. ET