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June 23, 2008

Presumption of innocence

Posted: 02:57 PM ET

NEW YORK - It's good to be back and it's a good thing I am because somebody has to say it. Neil Entwistle is presumed innocent. But for the two weeks I've been away, it seems he's been all but presumed guilty.

When I got up this morning to do my homework, I checked on every show, every blog, every tabloid I've seen - Entwistle has been convicted long before the evidence was in. Certainly before the case went to the jury. And even before the jury was selected he was presumed guilty based on facts that were fed to us by prosecutors and police.

I'm not saying he's innocent. Frankly, I don't care all that much about Entwistle. What I care about is the right to a fair trial. And that's not just me talking. That's the sixth amendment. And the last word.

–Jami Floyd, In Session anchor

Filed under: Uncategorized


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christina   June 23rd, 2008 3:37 pm ET

so well said Jamie, maybe ashley should pay more attention to that, her prattle is an insult to the rule of law,


Jerrie Anne   June 23rd, 2008 3:39 pm ET

Personally, I feel this poor man has been railroaded. I believe the defense and he is innocent of killing his wife. If I were a juror on this panel, I would vote not guilty and let him go home and be with his family. The police and especially the ME in this case, have not done their job and there is enough reasonable doubt to prove him not guilty...


Patty   June 23rd, 2008 3:49 pm ET

Glad that's your last word!


Michelle   June 23rd, 2008 3:56 pm ET

Yes, Neil does have a right to a fair trial. The trial is now over and all the evidence is in, and I say he is GUILTY GUILTY GUILTY! For his crime(s), he deserves to die. Every action he has taken since the death of his family has all been about HIM. Now it is time for the focus to be on his slaughtered unsuspecting wife and daughter.


Marron   June 23rd, 2008 4:59 pm ET

Why didn't the prosecution object to the Defense arguing facts that were not in evidence? Is that allowable in MA?


Anne   June 23rd, 2008 5:08 pm ET

I have always understood that the presumption of innocence applied to a case is being tried in court and it is the responsibility and obligation of a jury – the jury only – to presume innocence until they have heard all the evidence and only then should they make a judgement in the case. If a presumption of innocence was dictated by all – no prosecutor would be able to arrest nor a grand jury to indict unless they believed the defendant to be guilty. Am I mistaken in this? Because when I listen to a trial I often make my own judgement of guilt or innocence and often express my opinion. But if I was on a jury, I would assume a person was NOT guilty until it was proven to me otherwise. I would appreciate a clarification of this presumption of innocence rule.


Elena   June 23rd, 2008 5:31 pm ET

normally I agree with you 100%, but in this case he's soooo guilty that almost we don't need a trial.
Did you see any one in your life time that discovered his wife and child been kill and run to England instead of calling 911?
With his actions he decide his own fate and will make very easy for the judges to convict him.
You probably will not agree with me, but I don't feel guilty of thinking this way, not at all!


nancy r.   June 23rd, 2008 6:00 pm ET

did it ever occur to you that he IS guilty? and you don't care? well, i do care.
he got a fair trial, for pete's sake. as usual, the defense tried to smear the victim--the victim who miraculously returned the gun she used to kill her baby and herself. oh, wait. i forgot! neil did that to 'protect her family' and then stood trial for murder. all for rachel, right?

you're ridiculous.


irene swan   June 23rd, 2008 6:12 pm ET

I believe in innocence before proven guilty but I think the evidence has already proven him GUILTY. The jury must deciede but they will have the same evidence as everyone. I am apalled that the defense even suggested Rachel committed suicide and killed her baby. If Neil knew what happened as he says then why did it just come out last Thursday. He has never acted like a distraught husband/father..... Thanks for your show.


Janet Vaughn   June 23rd, 2008 6:18 pm ET

To take your words right out of your mouth Jami, "Frankly, I don’t care all that much about Entwistle" are my very same sentiments, as I think are the exact same sentiments of majority of the world! I do think Entwistle has a very good chance at the appeals process as a result of inadequate council. I do not think that Mr. Elliot Weinstein did "all" that he could for his client. Putting on no defense and suggesting that Rachel killed her baby and herself will put the nail in the coffin of Entwistle's defense case! Now with no defense witnesses, I am left with only the information from the prosecution and the police and the "word's of Entwistle himself with his Freudian slips. With all do respect Jami, and I really do respect you- I believe he was not given a fair trial due to his lawyer, not the public.


Lesley   June 23rd, 2008 8:02 pm ET

The presumption of innocence is a right an individual has IN A COURT OF LAW! There is absolutely NOTHING that guarantees that right in a blog, a tabloid, a show, the donut shop or by the water cooler. Come on, you should know that. Please don't attempt to paint yourself as the purveyor of fairness.....a bit far reaching in my opinion.

Caring about Entwistle's rights to a fair trial is all well and good and that is why he was given the opportunity to defend himself IN A COURT OF LAW! By the way Jamie, just what was his defense? I didn't see anything but a lame attempt at throwing a suicide theory out there with absolutely no proof or explanation. Nice try, but a lame one just the same.

Do you EVER care about the victims in these cases? What about THEIR rights to live? Entwistle acted as his wife and daughter's executioner and for what? He should pay the price for doing so. I saw the trial. I saw the evidence. I paid attention to both the prosecution AND the defense and I can say that he is guilty as sin. He got a fair trial so you needn't worry, Jamie. Justice will be served.


Judy Adams   June 23rd, 2008 8:29 pm ET

I saw nothing unfair about the Entwistle trial. The murder/suicide theory introduced by the defense was ridiculous/impossible. I'm sure I'm not alone in saying that I would have loved nothing more than to find even a centilla of evidence in favor of Entwistle but it simply wasn't there. Jurors aren't empty headed dunderheads...no one can sit through a trial like this and continue to presume a defendant innocent until deliberations begin...especially when the defense couldn't even present a case.


Patricia   June 23rd, 2008 8:35 pm ET

I totally agree with this statement. I've been watching some of the trial coverage and although there seems to be a lot of damning evidence against him, not one person is even assuming he hasn't done this. It's frustrating to watch and it's terribly unfortunate for him.


Bonnie   June 23rd, 2008 8:39 pm ET

I say "shame" on those defense attorneys. How stupid do they think that jury is?


mary   June 23rd, 2008 9:09 pm ET

He is a lying, sneaky murderer.

He took advantage of anybody who crossed his path.

I feel bad for all the family members touched by this sad story, and that is the only one i feel bad for.

Neil should not have returned the gun after the "suicide", he should have turned it on himself. The taxpayers of this commonwealth would have thought more of him. He should be ashamed of himself!!! How dare he do this to her parents!!!! Haven't they suffered enough!!!!

As the mother of two, and grandmother of two (almost the same age as lillian) this sickens me................................


Donald   June 23rd, 2008 9:18 pm ET

Hi Jami,
If I were a lawyer, I would take your advice, and I would not defend him..


Bodman   June 23rd, 2008 9:22 pm ET

Only from an attorney would you hear such a statement. I agree with you to a certain extent, but, give me a break. You heard the testimony!!! You heard Entwistle's own words...."Something bad happened". Regarding the murders, he spoke in the first person, like he was there. I kept an open mind, and I waited for the defense. There was none. I hate it, but this world is a scary place. I am glad Ma does not have the death penalty. He needs to think about what he did.


Diane   June 23rd, 2008 9:33 pm ET

Any mother laying down with her baby would never place the baby on the outter side of the bed. I think Rachel was shot while sleeping either late night or very early. I also think Neil did try to feed the baby, but the baby wanted breast milk. I think the child's uncontrolable crying he placed the baby next to her mother and placed the pillow over her face so he wouldn't have to look at her when he shot her.


Jenna   June 23rd, 2008 10:01 pm ET

I agree with you! Actually, I remember a People magazine article that came out right after everything happened. That was the first thing I ever saw that presumed him guilty. What has the justice system come to when publications get in the way? So much for the 6th amendment.


aida   June 23rd, 2008 11:50 pm ET

As usual I don't agree with Ms. Floyd and her liberal ideas.


gail adams   June 24th, 2008 12:15 am ET

i wish i could say in my heart Neil Entwistle is innocence of the murder of Rache and Lillian, but i really dont think it looks that way god bess the families


cathy   June 24th, 2008 1:12 am ET

Does that fair trail go for oh say usher who took advantage of a little girl and then found not guilty. Do you call that justice no that is because he is a big star give me a break


rich g   June 24th, 2008 6:38 am ET

maybe you should have watched the trail .
We are not judged by blogs or reporters but by the jury.
The judge was more than fair and stressed he was innocent until proven guilty over and over again.
How liberal can you be ???


linda rose   June 24th, 2008 9:00 am ET

I totally agree he was presumed guilty from the beginning in all that I read and saw. I think he probably did it but the defense team sure was good!


elizabeth koffer   June 24th, 2008 9:20 am ET

He is getting a fair trial....but he's not innocent....common sense is what people have not being unfair.


Luveina   June 24th, 2008 9:28 am ET

Wow is the defence foreal!! How in the world can they even blame a mom who was clearly in love with life and her sweet little baby!! I have never been so upset!! I hate when a clear case of murder is twisted !! How can the defence live with the words that are coming out their mouth!!


Tim   June 24th, 2008 9:39 am ET

Maybe someone should have told Neil that he was presumed innocent until proven guilty, because he ran like a guilty person!

Lets change the Title of this "Dad accused of killing family" to

"Man accused of killing family"


Wanda   June 24th, 2008 9:41 am ET

I think defense did a really good job at trying to make the Dad and father innocent. The only thing about that is that he is guilty. Suicide is just not a factor in this case. He lied to the police and to everyone else. He put himself in a tight position that he can't get himself out of. Alot of people say that he cannot be charged with first degree murder but i think he should be. I think it was all premediatated. It's really a ashame that someone would that to his family.


jc   June 24th, 2008 10:08 am ET

I believe NETS got a fair trial !


Dave Hallowell   June 24th, 2008 12:49 pm ET

While I realize the Defense needs to raise doubt, wouldn't the nature and details of their suicide theory in this case be pretty much unheard-of and unique in world history? When has a mother shot her child and herself in the same room or bed, using a long barreled revolver pointed at the top of her head? ... and a husband that has disturbed a suicide scene to 'protect the honor' of the spouse? I've never heard of any precedent for anything remotely resembling that behavior pattern.
I thought the Spector case suicide theory was a reach, but at least there was a shread of plausibility in it. This one would be laughable if it weren't such a tragedy.


Lucy   June 24th, 2008 1:12 pm ET

There's no right to be innocent until proven guilty in the eyes of the media. At all stages of criminal prosecution, other than trial, the defendant is presumed to be guilty. That's why we have bail. When making a deal, the prosecutor has to assume guilt – otherwise, the offer would always be, "Well, have a nice day. Since I presume you're innocent, I guess you don't need to be punished."

Besides, I can only imagine that if there were a shred of evidence that didn't suggest guilt, the media would be happy to share it.


Sabrina   June 24th, 2008 1:23 pm ET

I do not agree with Jami. The true legal reporters/crime reporters have not convicted Entwhistle before the trial began. Sure, Bill O'Reily has but that's what his show is about. Frankly, I am dissapointed that Entwhistle did not plead guilty and save the commonwealth the expense of the trial, which had to be quite costly.


Bonnie   June 24th, 2008 1:54 pm ET

Does anyone remember how long the jury was out in the Scott Peterson case???


Lisa Stuart   June 24th, 2008 3:02 pm ET

Entwistle is entitled to a fair trial - the public and press are entitled to express opinions about the trial and the facts and allegations leading up to that trial. This case has received so much attention, in part, because the facts are so damning.
Entwistle was represented by well respected attorneys, the jurors swore that they could be fair and impartial and the judge excluded several pieces of evidence that the prosecution sought to introduce. Wherein lies the problem? It seems that you don't have much faith in the jury system – maybe it's time to watch "Twelve Angry Men" again.


Jodi Gilles   June 25th, 2008 1:46 am ET

Its very easy for you ,as a lawyer, to say he is "presumed innocent"...yes he is...but when the lawyer doesnt provide a case, only a theory, and the jurors are not supposed to weigh "theory", only Fact...he sure looks guilty as sin to me!


Pam   June 25th, 2008 2:35 am ET

It's a little hard not to think he's guilty when his own defense
lawyer can't find anyone to put on the stand to defend him.
No family. No friends. Gee, that looks really bad.
Good luck Neil because you're going to need it in prison
with all those prisoners who really really hate baby killers.
Bye Neil. Tell the devil hello for Charles Manson. He
won't be far behind you.


Chris Ladusau   June 25th, 2008 9:38 am ET

I must have been on Mars when this murder happened because I don't recall hearing it on the news. However, I listened to all the trial coverage and I can honestly say that at the end of it all I could have gone into the jury room and said "GUILTY!" without a blink of an eye. How insulting of Neil or his lawyer to lay that suicide nonsense on us. I'm not an advocate of the death penalty but at this time I wish it was legal in MA. But, then again, maybe this jerk deserves to stay in prison with those inmates who don't like baby killers!!!


Lee Fairfax   June 25th, 2008 4:12 pm ET

But innocent until is a court/legal concept the rest of us peons can think and say what we believe when we want to thank or say it, right? We hear we process and we decided as we go unles we are on a jury... and even then, I'm sure folks on the jury process and consider as they go...it's how our brains work.


Pat   July 3rd, 2008 8:50 am ET

(6th Amendment) “ In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district where in the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.[1]

Nothing here in the 6th Amendment states the accused is to be presumed innocent. You said it yourself...."based on facts"...
Where was the defense' facts?



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