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10.29.2004

Half A Million 

$500,000.00 is a heck of a lot of money.

Nevertheless, that is what has been set as bail for Kirstin Blaise Lobato for her new trial. Now, there's a few reasons for the stellar amount being demanded here, such as the standards given for a specific type of crime and the requests of the same prosecution who prosecuted her to the same judge that oversaw the original trial. But the main factor here is this:

It's safe.

Regardless of what the judge believes, she cannot know whether or not Kirstin is innocent. So, Her Honor plays it safe, setting a high amount as a obstacle while remaining completely blameless of effecting the outcome of a new trial. I would be far more concerned if Kirstin was denied bail, although it is not surprising to see it set at an unreachable number. As counterintuitive as it may seem, this is a good thing, because the mere allowance of bail itself shows that the judge is aware of the chance that Kirstin truly will be exonerated. Thus, she is once more innocent until proven guilty by law.

The public defender representing Kirstin sort of underscored this (intentionally or not) with a request to either keep Kirstin in prison or reduce the bail. The judge denied both. That means Kirstin is being moved to a detention center, as any person presumed to be innocent would be prior to trial. But in pressing for that, the public defender has clarified that Kirstin will not be treated either as a "probably not going to win" case (in which case why remove her from prison?) or as a "probably going to win" case (in which case the setting of a lower bail would be within the judge's discretion). Kudos to this judge for balanced and objective thinking.

Don't get me wrong. I would have liked to see her bail lower. But that is a subjective viewpoint on my part, and there is a wider and more important long-term goal here anyways: to see Kirstin exonerated at last.

Quite frankly, I have not been sure what to say about this case for almost a year. I was not sure what else to say that I had not said. But I have stood by Kirstin Blaise Lobato's innocence for the many reasons I have illustrated in this blog. Among those things I have assailed more than once in this blog is a fact that was suppressed...hidden from the jury, but not the court transcripts. And that one thing that damned Kirstin - when nothing else could, by law - was actually the least believable of all. Based on that very fallacy, she has been given a new trial.

Kirstin Lobato still needs plenty of support, but not because this is her chance at redemption (she has no need to redeem a crime she is faultless for). It is the justice system's opportunity. The system that we must rely on to treat us as innocent or guilty now has its chance to prove that even when it screws up horribly the first time, it can bear the weight of setting things right without flinching. And while that happens, the woman this has hurt most should know there are people out there who will take a stand against injustice...even for a stranger.


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