March 17, 2010: A Riff/Rant re “Government”

Joseph Krowski, Nesto’s attorney, is very, very good at what he does. And a huge part of what he does, i.e. defend people, is to be constantly  aware of one, simple, fundamental question: How does this [whatever it is] play to the jury?

So when, as happened consistently, he’d gently rest one suited arm on Nesto’s suited arm as they conferred—heck, the way he did consistently seek Nesto’s opinion during the trial, sent a very powerful message. (When I’d complimented him on this collegial/respectful body-language communication, he’d said, seemingly surprised I’d be mentioning it, “It’s genuine.” I have NO doubt that’s true.)

And when, in his opening remarks, he’d used the word “government” as shorthand for: The prosecutor/assistant DA/Bristol County/Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Joseph Krowski knew exactly what he was doing.

The Riff:

“Government”: Lots of fear attached to that word. Distrust, too. Powerlessness? Big time. And, I’m thinking, a sense that “government” is lying through its collective shiny-white teeth (paid for by OUR tax dollars?) about, well, no one’s quite sure because “government” ain’t sayin’.

So to associate all those negative feelings with the prosecution/the case against Nesto was masterful.

The Rant:

As noted in a previous blog, Nesto’s trial felt right-smack-dab Present, suspended in the middle of a fading Past and a fast-approaching Future, as represented by the decrepit courtroom and listening to a new courthouse being built just feet away.

A new courthouse, perhaps more energy-efficient, certainly with an electrical system that won’t overheat the court reporter’s computer (this happened on the third day) is one thing. One version of the Future.

But, when most people think about what’s coming down the Pike, their heart-rate spikes. I firmly believe that our collective sense that government  “is lying through its collective shiny-white teeth (paid for by OUR tax dollars?) about, well, no one’s quite sure because “government” ain’t sayin’ ” is about our dread of the future. (And why, in large part, Scott Brown was elected, in my humble [?]  opinion).

I firmly believe that all of us intuitively know that profound changes are happening. We intuitively know that those in power aren’t telling us the Whole Story (like about the FACT that the world’s running out of oil, for example.)

To the extent that the jury was sensing these profound changes and conflating the powers-that-be-who-ain’t-tellin’ with the-powers-that-be bringing a case against Nesto Monell: Hey! It worked!

Now, what?

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  1. Nothing’s simple, is it? For the past forty years or so, I’ve been drifting further and further into total distrust of the system — the system of oppressive racism, of advantageous manipulation of the injustice system, of politics for the benefit of the highest bidder. This trial, and its glorious results, turned me a little toward a more balanced view of things — there’s always another side to the story. Not only did we hear many versions of what happened five years ago, we also saw a defense attorney who cared about justice, a prosecutor who seemed to pull his punches because he found himself prosecuting an obviously innocent man, a jury with understanding and heart, and a system that sometimes works correctly, albeit about five years later than it should have.

    Thanks, Patricia, for giving us your insights. Keep it coming!

  2. I am just reading all your entries since March 8 today (March 20). The one time I served on a jury, I liked it. It did increase my respect for that PIECE of the criminal justice system.

    But who is Nesto’s mother? (mentioned in March 8 blog). Is she part of Louis D. Brown Peace Institute? (I think I heard this at some point.) I’m glad you and others at FMC were led to to this important work.

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