Wlasiuk vs Television


Tyler Murphy

This Friday I will again be in court as a spectator in the murder case of Peter Wlasiuk. As far as I can tell this will be about as close to prime time television as any other case I will probably see. That isn’t saying much as anyone who is familiar with real a courtroom understands. The stage however does seem nicely set at least from a reporter’s point of view.

You have two attorneys, Joseph McBride and Randel Sharf, who are not exactly friends. In fact the two have had harsh criticisms for one another both in and out of the courtroom. I expect their personalities to clash throughout the trial. Mix into that pot an intimidating, intelligent, independent defendant who has admitted in court his contempt for the DA and the whole judicial branch of Chenango, and it gets even spicier. Wlasiuk actually acquired his legal research degree in prison and is becoming increasingly active in his case. Everything for him is on the line. The next mysterious element flavoring my writing pad will be the newly-appointed judge. Judge Smith is not a complete stranger to Chenango County, but runs a courtroom very differently than Judge Sullivan. There is also a rumor he enjoys introducing humility to those attorneys unlucky enough to grandstand in his courtroom. The basis of this trial is because of an appeal, so I expect even more scrutinizing over court procedures and facts. I can’t wait to see the jury …

All the media attention surrounding the case has deepened people’s emotions. There is a developing bitterness with many local citizens about the case and I hardly meet a person who hasn’t formed an opinion. I, for one, have none. I don’t know if he is guilty and I think it would be wrong to assume so, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t. Perhaps after I sit through the trial and hear the facts and testimonies of the case, I will form an opinion. The thing I look most forward to is seeing how this legal system designed by so many great minds measures up. I have seen trials before, but this one will be distinctively different. I hope, guilty verdict or innocent, I walk out of the court room with a feeling of respect. I do not care about the verdict so long as the steps taken to arrive at one are sound.