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Murder Suspect To Be Tried By Media: Overworked Justice System Grateful For Help

LOS ANGELES—Overwhelmed by an enormous, ever-growing criminal caseload, the Los Angeles district attorney's office announced Monday that William Craig—arrested last week in connection with a string of high-profile Bel Air stabbings—will be tried by the media.

Murder suspect William Craig is surrounded by journalists assigned to cover/conduct his trial.

"More than 150,000 cases come through this office every year, and, despite our best efforts, we simply are not equipped to adequately handle them all," Los Angeles district attorney Benjamin Dozier said. "That is why we are launching an experimental new program in conjunction with the National Society of Journalism Professionals, in which certain criminal cases will be tried by the media. In these cases, the media will serve not only as judge and jury, but also as executioner."

According to Dozier, an alliance between the judicial system and the media should prove mutually beneficial. "This partnership makes good sense for both sides: By handing over a percentage of cases, our workload is greatly lightened," Dozier said, "and by taking these cases, America's journalists will finally get their wish and be able to actually make the news, rather than merely report it."

While opening arguments in the Craig trial are not scheduled to begin until Feb. 25 at the Los Angeles Times offices, many legal experts contend that, in the media's eyes, he has already been convicted.

Said Harvard University Law School dean Nathan Unger: "Just yesterday in the Orange County Register, columnist Herbert Garowitz demanded the death penalty for Dozier, whom he described as 'human garbage who must pay dearly for these brutal murders which he obviously committed.' While ordinarily, such editorializing is fine for a columnist, Garowitz also happens to be the presiding judge in this case. This could present a major conflict of interest."

Dozier was unfazed by the criticism: "I can guarantee you that Mr. Craig will receive the same fair trial from the media that he would have received from America's first-rate judicial system."

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