‘Balloon boy’ family’s guilty plea reminds us why we love attorneys
You know that one about knowing a lawyer’s lying because his lips are moving? Yeah, check out Richard and Mayumi Heene’s attorney, David Lane, and his statement explaining how they arrived at their guilty plea:
“Unfortunately, the prosecutors insisted upon a package deal where Richard would have to fall on his sword and take a felony plea despite the fact that he made no incriminating statements to law enforcement and Mayumi’s statements could not be used against him,” Lane said Thursday.
Lane said Mayumi Heene’s statements likely couldn’t have been used against her husband because of marital privilege, which can keep a a person’s spouse from testifying against them.
“Upon reviewing the evidence, arguably, Mayumi could have possibly ended up being deported and Richard could have proceeded to trial and had a good chance at an acquittal,” Lane said. “This, however, would have put the family at grave risk of seeing a loving, caring, compassionate wife and mother ripped from the family and deported. That was not an acceptable risk, thus these pleas.”
Over at the Coloradoan, they include this quip, too: “It is supremely ironic that law enforcement has expressed such grave concern for the welfare of the children, but it was ultimately the threat of taking the children’s mother from the family and deporting her to Japan which fueled this deal.”
I mean, on the one hand, I want to say more than ‘David Lane is a dick,’ because he’s represented death row inmates and defended people whose Constitutional right to free speech has been undermined. On the other hand, Lane decides to use the case of two parents who used their children as tragic props to lecture us on the ambiguities of spousal privilege and immigration law. You know, the sad sort of shamelessness that our adversarial legal system encourages.
To Lane, I must ask: Am I wrong here in saying that the prosecutors did what they’re supposed to do? They got Heene’s lying sack in a vise because his wife made an incriminating statement, and her immigration status became convenient leverage to get him to fess up to the fact that he led law enforcement on what was formerly known as a ‘wild goose chase’ and is now known as an ‘wild balloon chase?’ And also got all of America afraid that his son had died a grisly, ghastly death? All so he could get his family a reality TV show so they could stop renting a house in a crappy Colorado exurb?
Sorry, Mr. Lane – I just don’t think “loving, caring, compassionate’ when I think of the Heene family. It sounds to me like the ‘grave risks’ to the hurricane- and fame-chasing family came long before they exposed themselves to the criminal justice system. I’m happy little Falcon and his two older brothers get their family kept together. Hopefully now that no one is going to jail, they can focus on being a happy family whose primary goal isn’t becoming the next version of Jon and Kate Plus 8. Call me in five years if you really want to talk about love, care, and compassion in the Heene family.