The next steps

Several people have asked site admin what is next.  Given that we are still seeing Amber Alert delays of 1-3 hours, something more needs to be done.  We warned that the MSHP’s electronic form would only impact the back side of the timeline for an alert and that the leading portion would remain broken.  This has been reinforced over and over across the country with massive delays, several of which have been in Missouri.  One of late was a little boy who faced a 3 hour delay.

We must decentralize this process!  Kansas City, St. Louis, and now Branson have localized capabilities.  Others should as well.  Marc Klaas has argued against a centralized Amber Alert since the 1990′s.  Why is it our law enforcement community often does the same thing for decades when they know it isn’t within the statistics?  Then they wait until a law or the courts tell them they have to act.  The answer is legal liability.  We need to get back to law enforcement that thinks outside the box.

Change of venue update!

The defense affirmed their request for a change of venue at the pretrial comference on 8/26/14. The prosecution stated they would nt object to bringing jurors in from another county, yet the defense objects.

Keep in mind that a change of venue request is common for a case such as this.  It is done to try to ensure that a fair trial is given to the accused.  

In some cases the evidence is so strong that a change of venue is moot.

Bringing jurors in from a neighboring county is the wise choice.  A full change of venue makes it difficult for the family to get to and from court, a very undue burden for them.  It would prevent members of the impacted community from attending as well.  You can bet the defense wants just that as it lessens the emotion in the court room, it disconnects jurors from the victims, and disenfranchises the victims.

Remember, the family are not the only victims in this case.  Secondary victims exist throught that immediate area as well as throughout Springfield as a result of the terror caused by the suspect.

Wood pleads not guilty!

As many expected, C.M.W. plead not guilty at his arraignment today, June 20, 2014.  This is the point where two things begin to take place.

http://www.ky3.com/news/local/accused-killer-of-hailey-owens-due-in-court-friday/21048998_26584518

The pressure begins for the prosecution to get him to talk to see if there are other victims in his past.  As it stands, it looks like that’s more of a real possibility than it was thought initially when one looks at merely the evidence presented in the preliminary hearing.

The Defense will also now begin a massive data collection on media articles, websites like this one, social media pages like Facebook and Twitter from  Greene County to try to illustrate that he would not be given a fair trial in Greene County.  This has already started, but it’s now going to be on a massive scale and possibly in multiple venues.  Don’t get upset with this one, it’s common in a capital crimes case.

 

Court reporter passes away

The court reporter who was working the transcription for the case has passed away.  Our condolences and prayers are out to the family with this loss.

 

She was a rare reporter in that she was well versed in shorthand.  And yet, this could become a fault of sorts.  The News-Leader reportrled that the status of her transcription of the case is unknown at the time the story ran.  Due to her use of shorthand it may be difficult to find someone who can interpret her notes.

 

What happens when technology fails?  We revert to non-tech solutions, those who cannot will simply give up and fail.  An example of this occurred years ago when I worked at a.McD’s.  They had become so reliant on clamshells that none could run a grill without it.  Except an old-school employee who learned the old sear and flip method.  I kept the store running all day and even trained others how to cope with a failed clamshell cooker.

The moral here is that we should notbdistancwle ourselves from non-tech ways, only to rely on tech that can easily fail.

On to trial!

The evidence was overwhelming and sickening today.  Readers, please refrain from asking the family and friends to discuss the case as they cannot discuss it.

Some of the evidence presented today revived questions that came up initially.  It was quite tough to sit through if you didn’t have your emotions in-check.

KY3 reported this one item, so it is in the open.  At least one of the handwritten “stories” that described actions actually had “Hailey” on it.  That could be an indicator or it could be nothing.  The Defense attorney knows this all too well.

preliminary Hearing, 1 p.m. today!

Today we finally get to the preliminary hearing stage of this case.  At this stage enough evidence to illustrate the support for charges to push it to the next stage will be presented.

This day will not be fun, but it is the seeing it through that is important.

I have a copy of Victor Marx’s book The Victor Marx Story to give to the family today.  I pray they find peace within it’s pages knowing they are not alone in this struggle.

Emotions will be extremely high today.  Your prayers to keep them strong will be needed today.

The family speaks out!

KY3 in Springfield met with the Hailey’s parents and they granted a very heartfelt interview on an emotionally charged subject.

http://www.ky3.com/news/local/parents-push-for-haileys-law-in-honor-of-murdered-daughter/21048998_25627934

Their trip to Jefferson City to testify and an interview such as this took an immense amount of courage.  A huge thank you to everyone that has supported the family, the website, the Facebook page, the legislators that were willing to get involved quickly to get things started, the MSHP, and the Department of Public Safety.   Each and every person involved played an important part.

So I leave you tonight with the whispers that started it all.
“This task is yours.  It cannot happen without your efforts.  Do this for me.”  Ensure your heart is listening when a message such as this comes your way because your ears may never hear it.

 

How does witness testimony work in making a law?

If you’ve yet to experience giving your testimony as a witness for a bill as it goes through the process of becoming a law, then keep on reading as we’ll give you a bit of insight as to how this one went.

A call was received by Rep. Burlison’s office stating that he had submitted a bill, has a bill number, and will be in need of MY witness testimony the next evening in Jefferson City at 5 p.m. in Room 4.

Once in Jefferson City, the waiting game begins.  If you aren’t there early that’s when things will transition quickly, if not early due to House activity ending early.  When you’re there early that’s when you might find yourself counting the minutes while you wait due to House floor debate going on longer than expected.

At 6:30 we were finally in Room 4 and learning the process on the fly, NOT how one would prefer to operate.  Here’s the process as I experienced it: A legislator’s bill will be called and the legislator makes a statement regarding the bill.  Then, one by one, the witnesses are allowed to come up in the following order:  Witnesses in Support, Witnesses Opposed, Informational Purposes Witness.

A witness should follow suit with the legislator by announcing their name and title/occupation, especially if it is relevant to bill being discussed.  It is courteous and customary to thank the Chairman and the Committee before you start.  The Witness then has an opportunity to speak about the bill and then wait for the Committee to ask questions of the Witness (sort of like deposing the witness).  Once questions end or no questions are asked, the witness is excused, but a Witness Form must be completed stating who you are, the bill number, the date, and a brief synopsis of what you said.

It’s nerve wracking the first time.  You’ll think about what you could have said different or what you could do better the next time.  They key is to take a breath and relax.  The Committee members are human just like you and when you hit a nerve they might not ask questions of you because you may hit the points that they hoped for or expected.

House Bill 2248 Amber Alert update

Legislative action is on the move!  Copy this link and send it to your legislator for support.

http://house.mo.gov/billtracking/bills141/biltxt/intro/HB2248I.htm

This bill will add 2 seats to the Amber Alert Oversight Committee: one in the outside digital advertising realm and one as a citizen at large (a member of the community).

This bill will also require that the Amber Alert Oversight Committee meet at least once per year to examine the procedure..  A report will be required per the legislature for any issues that need redressed.

Lastly, this bill will provide the requirement that the system become more automated to help expedite the paperwork side of the process From 30-45 minutes to potemtially 15 minutes, allowing the focus to turn towards getting the line officers valuable training and getting citizens engaged to give law enforcement better information for a faster response.