Will Tonya Craft be Innocent or Guilty? Or will the jury be hung -- a McMartin Preschool Trial 2.0?After the horrobile and heinous false allegations and prejudices against the Buckley family in the McMartin Preschool Trial, one would never think that it would ever occur in American again -- especially nearly a decade later. But that's what is happening in Ringgold, Georgia, a small town with a population of 2,422 in Catoosa County, a poplution of 62,825. The jury consisting of 7 men and five women will decide the fate of Tonya Craft who is being accused of twenty two counts of child abuse of three girls, including her own daughter.
I am not certain of the difference in demographics between one of the McMartin case and the Tonya Craft juries but even if some of these jurors only watched a few episodes of Law and Order, it would be difficult to understand how they could not come up with Not Gulity verdict or at the very least a hung jury. The defense attorneys which included lead attorney Desmosthenese Lorandos, PhD, JD. who also has a degree in psychology and experience in false allegation cases. The Defense attorneys put on a excellent case and hopefully their defense was not too complex for this jury to understand. These types of trials are very complicated and even well educated juries may have difficulty unraveling the key factors in the case.
Here are the key reasons this jury should arrive at a NOT GUILTY verdict.
- Testimony of the Children -- Just like in the McMartin Preschool case, these children should never have interviewed by the marginally qualified detective or therapists in this case. The parents should have also been warned not to interview the children and let the professionals do it. If a professional was not available in this small town or county, then one should have been brought in from another city in Georgia. These are complex cases and these professionals should at the very least used some of the resources available to them before trying to do it themselves. A woman molesting young girls is very uncommon and the these professionals should have know that and acted accordingly. The parents and professionals more than likely implanted false memories in these children and even the most unsophisticated juror should be able to arrive at this conclusion.
- Testimony of the Therapists -- In these trials, there are professionals that actually have direct knowledge of the case and those overzealous expert witnesses like Wendy Murphy that are willing to say anything for their cause or current or future professional reputation. Hopefully, the jurors are able to distinguish the difference between the two even if they are not regular viewers of Law and Order or did not follow the OJ Simpson trial.
- Beyond a Reasonable Doubt -- The verdict in a trial like this should never be about "Better Safe than Sorry" with a testimony of young 5 year old children and no direct medical evidence supporting the charge against Tonya Craft. This is about sending a mother and former school teacher to jail for rest of her life.
- Child Actor -- The mother and father of the child actor who apparently is one of the accusers is critical factor in the case. The trial has brought National attention to this child in this very small town and despite being a child victim, this child's profile still appears on IMDB.com. The fact that despite the child being a victim in the national media, her parents did not remove her profile from IMDB.com. This should have at least had it removed until the trial was over, especially since there were a number of blogs that liked to her picture. If that's what these parents are all about, it sounds like at least some of the jurors might know that which makes the testimony of the child actress questionable.
- Judge Brian House -- In a small community, it sounds like it's nearly impossible for a judge not to have potential conflicts but it's hard to believe that some juror doesn't know that Judge House at one time represented one of Tonya Craft's former spouses. That fact alone is a reason Judge House should have recused himself. One juror Paul Knight was dismissed, he allegedly told his wife, “He (Paul Knight) had said that they were a bunch of hicks down there and that the prosecutor, Chris Arnt, was a jerk, as was the judge, Brian House.”" If Knight thought that, it's really hard to believe other jurors don't.
- Child Abuse Trials -- The defense attorneys call it a conspiracy, but with these child abuse trials like the McMartin, Wenache and the Faye Yager Trials is all the professionals and expert witnesses that are part of the divorce industry.
With a Not Guilty verdict, Tonya Craft will seek joint custody of her children. With a Guilty verdict, she will appeal the verdict and be sentenced by Judge Brian House.
The Tonya Craft Trial Judge and Lawyers
Judge Brian House (Admitted to Bar 1990), once the divorce attorney for one of Tonya Craft's former spouses refused to recuse himself from the case. Regardless of an innocent, gulity, or no verdict, he will eventually face re-election. He may also face eventual investigation investigation for judicial misconduct.
Assistant District Attorney Chris Arnt (Admitted to Bar in 1992)
Assistant District Attorney Len Gregor, 45.
Demosthenes Lorandos, PhD, JD - Lead defense attorney.
Member of the California, Michigan, and New York state bars, as well as a member of the bar of the Supreme Court of the United States. Dr. Lorandos is also a PhD-level psychologist.Scott King- Defense Attorney
Lawyer for Slater & De Foor law firm based in Atlanta. Bachelors Degree from the University of Florida and his J.D. from the University of Georgia School of Law in 1994. A member of the Georgia state bar since 1995.
Cary S. King- Defense Attorney
Lawyer for Slater & De Foor law firm based in Atlanta. Bachelors Degree from Georgia State University in 1963 and is a 1994 graduate of the John Marshall Law School where he finished Summa Cum Laude. King has admissions in Georgia, U.S. District Court Northern District, U.S. Court of Appeals, U.S. District Court Western District of Michigan, U.S. Federal Court, and U.S. District Court Central District of California.
Clancy Covert- Defense Attorney
Lawyer for Luther-Anderson law firm based in Chattanooga. Bachelors Degree in Business Management/Marketing in 1994 from Carson-Newman College. He earned his J.D. from the Nashville School of Law in 1999. Covert was admitted to the Tennessee bar and the U.S. Middle District in 1999.