The Lyon Sleeps Tonight
This is an opinion piece based on my observations in and out of the courtroom.
I never planned on writing anything about my interaction with Andrea Lyon because it wasn't all that relevant. Yesterday, that changed when she stepped out from the Casey limelight and the shadow of Cheney Mason. To be honest, it came as a complete surprise to me and I'll be the first person to say I thought she would be there until the end; that she would do her very best to keep Caylee's mother from the clutches of death, if it comes to that. Whenever anyone asked me if she would stay or leave now that another death qualified attorney joined the team, that was my standard answer. To me, she was the best chance Casey had. Well, that's no longer the case, and when I think about it and try to put everything in perspective, I never would have guessed that Judge Strickland would be off the bench, either. Interestingly, Judge Strickland and Andrea Lyon have something in common. Both left after Cheney Mason joined the illustrious defense. He's the common thread and the one that, in my opinion, had something to do yesterday's Motion to Withdraw Counsel. Time will tell if her absence becomes noticeable or not, but so far, I see no improvement after one fair judge stepped down, only to be replaced by another. I make it a point to say he went from Strickland to stricter, and because of his lengthy and seasoned career, he should have known you don't change horses in mid-stream. With yesterday's turn, I'm afraid it was brought about by conflicting viewpoints, along with other factors such as money and scheduling issues. We must consider that Mason had already assumed many of her responsibilities involving the death penalty and this should have been an overt clue. It was a natural transition I never recognized, but I still feel she was and could still be extremely essential to the case.
Under Mason's tutelage came a complete shift in strategy as witnessed at the last hearing and press conference. No longer was Roy Kronk the defense's main target. No longer will it embrace the theory that TES searchers went into those woods earlier on, when the area was flooded. Remember, it was Mason who said there's a difference between missing and disappearing. I'm not suggesting that there were problems with those issues. What I will strongly hint at are bones of contention we may never know about, and when push came to nudge in a battle of intellectual supremacy, was it really worth the trouble from all the way up Chicago way?
Today, I sense a strong possibility that, with Andrea gone, the trial date could me moved ahead at least a week. After all, it is her daughter who is graduating college the week of May 2nd. Judge Perry wanted it to begin that week but he graciously accommodated her. Suddenly, as the judge continues to poke and prod both sides to speed things up, it takes on a new and earnest meaning and that could come to fruition, only don't bet the farm just yet. Trust me, I've been wrong before.
When Andrea Lyon's book, Angel of Death Row, was published, I wrote a post about it based on excerpts published on the Scribd Web site. Soon after, I attended a hearing and had a chance to talk to her. That was the day I "famously" handed my business card to Jose Baez. You know, the card that DOES NOT have my address on it. Walking to the parking garage, I had a friendly chat with Mort Smith, the defense team's private investigator who will, incidentally, remain with the team. As we continued to walk, I asked Andrea what she preferred to be called, ANN'-drea -- AHN'-drea, Ahn-DRAY'A or Ms. Lyon?
"ANN'-drea is just fine," she responded. Okay, Andrea it is.
I told her I had written a post about her new book. I also told her I found a typo in it. A couple of weeks earlier, I sent her an e-mail pointing it out and I wondered whether she received it or not. She acknowledged that she had and then thanked me. She said it would be corrected by the next printing. Along with several other bystanders awaiting the elevator, we all boarded together. Jose asked me if I was going to buy the book. I said, yes, if she would autograph it for me. Then, he turned to her and jokingly chuckled, "Good, at least one person will be buying it."
Needless to say, the garage elevator is a lot faster than the courthouse ones that go up 23 floors, and in a snap, we parted ways.
The next time I spoke to her was after a later hearing. We were standing outside the entrance/exit doors at one of the now familiar post-hearing press conferences. Standing by her side this time was Linda Kenney Baden, who will also stay on. As Jose was finishing answering questions, I moved closer to the women and asked, "Andrea?"
"Yes, David," she quickly responded. What I discussed with her was of no relevance here, but we stood within inches of each other and I was surprised at how approachable, charming, and downright friendly she was. She was very relaxed, open and candid, too. She even introduced me to Kenney Baden. What I could see in her eyes was an extremely caring individual. Of course, I witnessed it in the courtroom, but, for the brief moment we talked, I sensed - up close and personal - a lot of compassion despite her well known courtroom theatrics. I was impressed that, out of all that was going on in her life, she remembered my name. That was duly noted and appreciated.
I will say this. When she joined the defense team 13 months ago, I thought she was a dedicated woman, it was certainly a step in the right direction, and she was a most positive addition. Up until yesterday, she was the only person of the main three members - meaning her, Baez and Mason - I had the most respect for. I guess I will always have a soft spot for a deeply humanitarian woman, but it was more than that. I happen to hold the same opinion regarding the abolition of the death penalty and I know how committed she is to that cause. That's precisely why her decision to part company came as such a surprise, but I should know better by now. Look what happened to one key player, not to mention little old me, but speaking of judges, here's something you never knew. Neither did she. She felt that a certain judge didn't like her. In the end, and I can say this in all honesty as I bid her well in her present and future endeavors... Andrea? You were dead wrong about that. Take heart, and as you take leave, take that with you.
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