The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil,
but because of those who look on and do nothing.

~~~ Albert Einstein

Friday, February 06, 2009

It's all in the editting...

When I was much younger, I found myself in a position where I wanted something from someone who wasn't very eager to cave to my request. In a moment of 18 year old brilliance, I realised all I really had to do was get them to agree to my wishes, with actually knowing they were agreeing. Armed with a list of questions I knew were likely to get me lengthy answers, and a video camera- I took it upon myself to "produce" the desired answer. Using their answers, and my editing skills- it was only a matter of minutes before they were "obliging" my requests.

I suppose, looking back now- my actions were quite dishonest. But- sadly, I'm not the only one in the world who has used such antics in order to produce the results they most desire.

The news media, ever interested in rating, often uses the power of editing to accomplish this same sort of trickery. We've all seen it.. an interview cut at just the right moment, a question posed at just the right time- with a camera and a lack of proper supervision- almost any person could take an interview and chop it enough so that it seems someone is saying something they aren't.

When Andrew Burds case first came across my path, I did what I always do, I started looking for background in the case. While I always want to believe people when they approach me, I've been burned a time or two- someone contacts me on a case and I jump in head first only to later find that the facts weren't as clear as I'd been told. I've learned to check out a case as much as possible before claiming a side... and so I spent a few days closely looking at everything on Hannah Overton's conviction that I could find. That included watching and rewatching video's of the 20/20 interviews that are posted on YouTube. Below is part three of a three part series posted by a youtube member (remind me later that I wanted to talk about this particular member, and his role in all of this)

I share this video, because I want you to pay special attention to the jurors. The ones everyone touts as clear evidence that Hannah Overton was wrongly convicted- the ones that everyone claims didn't understand the charges and therefore couldn't have given a fair, legal verdict in this case.

I'll be the first to admit, based solely on the 20/20 CLIPS of their interviews, it seems almost as if there could, perhaps, maybe be something uneasy about this case. But- that's just based on the clips of interviews, which brings me back to that story- where I was able to manipulate a video in order to produce the results I wanted.... I mean, if I could do it- anyone could, right?

Still, without actually talking to a member of the jury, it's almost impossible to know what really happened, what parts of the interview the rest of the world wasn't allowed to see.

I hope that you all will forgive me, you see- I blog. I don't interview. Which means that the following interview is probably not my best work. But- it is completely unedited. And, hopefully, it will at least START to answer some questions about the jury. I'm hoping there will be more questions and answers- feel free to offer suggestions on what you'd like to have asked- but for now....

My interview with Dora Santos....

Just for starters here are a couple easy questions. It might be repetitive of what you've already told me, but it'll be easier to get a direct answer, and post that than attempt to subtract one from what you've already given me.

1)Some people are going to wonder why you're interested in talking about the case, what your motivation is. Could you explain it to us?

First of all i would like to say I was never paid by 20/20 for my interview nor ever reimbursed for my childcare .....I was the one who searched for lilo and voluntarily offered to interview because I feel her website speaks what the others do not .I believe that justice was served in the case of Andrew people do not know that hannah chose the capital murder charge in exchange for the other charges dropped. I look at pictures of andrew and think of a child who has no voice , no family. he had a legal team that he did not pay for who i saw first hand wiping there tears not wanting to cry as they spoke of andrew . Serving on this trial took almost a month of my life a month at the end i met someone who didnt have anyhting but a big heart who dreamed of having a forver family . I think of the many children who die in the system , I belive that if i can tell Andrews story and Influence 1 more person I have made a difference . I believe that God has been here all along for Andrew I have his picture in my phone to remind me that . Andrew was a good kid not what the nation has put him to be.. Andrew is no longer on this earth it seems nobody mourns him it makes me sad how over time people just forgot about him.

2. After serving on the jury for Hannah Overton's trial, you did an interview with ABC's 20/20. In clips of that interview that were shown, it seems that there were questions as to whether the jury really thought Hannah Overton was guilty. Do you believe, based on the evidence at trial, that she willfully refused him prompt medical attention that could have saved his life?

We were in the studio 2 hours as if we were being investigated for a crime.. the producer was very aggressive repeating the same questions over and over . Alot of the interviews were edited , Dr Cortez stated that It was a punishment gone wrong That part did not show The interview of Dr cortez was about 30 minutes .alone im not sure of the actual time he interviewed, I was asked if I believed that hannah woke up with the thought of killing Andrew I said that I did not beliecve it was a plan... I told them that the cajun spice was something used as punishment over time and that afternoon the punishment went a bit out of hand . Hannah in fear went to her neighbor to drop her other son so she can try to help him so she would not take him to the hospital and be questioned and accused of abuse , The day the show aired the producer was aware of what she did she never returned my phonecalls. she had all her messages answered by someone else she didnt even text nor call back . 2 hours of interview condensed to 2 minutes. I was later told the show already had chosen a side and they wanted a story to boost their ratings regardless of the cost, During the trial I saw how andrew was slandered I felt helpless. i cried as I looked as his pictures . When a producer for 20/20 came to me wanting to know more of andrews life and wanted to know my opinon. I interviewed because I wanted the nation to know how full of life andrew was ,,,,, he was the all american kid.. his favorite action hero was spiderman ,,, he loved mc donalds not the monster people made him out to be . I believe that if Andrew would have been given medical attention sooner he would still be here today... like i answered on 20/20 ( it was edited )" we will never know " . If andrew would have gotten medical attention immediately his chances would have been much better of surviving but of course " we will never know"

3)In an email to me, you stated you believe that Hannah Overton is where she belongs- based on the evidence you saw and heard at the trial, what makes you so sure that the verdict was correct?

We did not take this lightly I at the beggining on the trial was convinced she was inoccent . I saw the exxagerated comments made about andrew, We actually created a timeline based on phone records and witness testinony .We heard how everyone ate their ice cream cones at mcdonalds while he looked on thinking maybe someone would give him some of theirs . We saw andrews plywood bed , The barbequed sheet . many would not care too much about it but for a child who has nothing that sheet was 1 of the few things he had. Many of our children have so much that these things are taken for granted . when we all agreed on the verdict there was a moment of silence and tears came out of everyone I am not one who will cry . I went to restroom and cried a good 2 minutes because it was hard to send a mother of 5 children to prison but it was harder for Andrew when he agonized for hours fighting for his life . Andrew suffered for hours as doctors tried everyhing in there power to save him . I cannot stress enough the fact she chose that sentence in exchange for the other charges to be dropped why didnt the media write about this !!! Dr Rotta who gave his time about three days ( he was not paid ) gave complete explanations to all the questions we had as well as the defense . He went though every possible scenario. The other dr ( Paid i want 2 say 500 dollars an hour please correct me if im wrong ) that came to testify for the defense was not able to give a complete answer... " It could happen" was not the answer this doctor was not able to identify Andrews body parts. she only viewed the pictures once which was that same day well alot could happen . I dont believe there was anything else those marks could have been .. I have never looked back and regretted that I based on evidence made this decision . Maybe if andrew were alive and had the same access to money we would have Andrew Bumper stickers. t-shirts I would have donated money if it would bring andrew back.!!!!

4)Hannah Overton has appealed the conviction, basically claiming the instructions to the jury were not clear. Was there any confusion on court instructions to the jury? Did anyone on the jury appear to not understand the charges, as they were presented, against Hannah?

We read the instruction and discussed the charges we took turns reading it. Believe it or not we all became very close we were all open as far as asking the meaning of things we all took votes and discussed why we believed on that decision we shared everyting we read and saw in the pictures , we discussed witness testimony we all were involved in the discussion . everyones voice was heard we were like a team and respected everyones decision . the charge was on the middle of the table we all had acess to it and reffered to it . we all agreed on ommission ... however many of us also saw intent .. she intentionally withheld medical attention knowlingly that without it would have killed him

5) Is there anything about the case that the public may not have witnessed, that you would like to share to help explain your choice to convict Hannah?

we saw hundreds of pictures one of them a spice container on what looked like a bookshelf in a hallway I held one of andrew toys in my hand it looked like it had been fixed it was painted over like with touch up paint.. We had 2 contractors who stated the wood sample admitted into evidence was not the wood from the plywood bed because of the grooves not matching the picture, the wood was a different type than in the picture. they went along and had us look at all the pictures of the bed and compared to the sample ... it was not the wood.. the defense was practically squatting waiting to object to whatever was said about andrew . We saw all the pictures of andrew . the people who spoke the good things about andrew like his previous fostermom... he loved to eat pizza ... he did not like spicy food. when he was with the overtons he was not allowed to do everything the other kids did there was a testinony from her sister in law she said something like " andrew is trying to get to me "