Feedback from the Issue of Thursday, April 23, 2009
WHAT REALLY HAPPENED
Where's the justice?: Paul Rubin did a superb job of weaving together all the madness in the Doug Grant investigation and trial. As Rubin noted, this trial goes to show that "what really happened" has nothing to do with a jury's decision.
The whole situation's really quite scary. I mean, that there is no real evidence you killed your wife and you still go down for manslaughter and probably will have to serve major time in prison!
My feeling is that if Doug Grant murdered his wife, Faylene, the Maricopa County Attorney's Office certainly didn't prove it.
If the judge really had been interested in justice, she would've never allowed prosecutor Juan Martinez to get that manslaughter instruction included. Once that happened, Doug Grant's fate was sealed.
The jury would've been hung if only first-degree murder could've been considered.
Rick Marston, Los Angeles
No evidence and a crooked cop: Justice was not served in the Doug Grant case. No real evidence, a crooked cop — and the jury still convicts him! Why? Because jury members didn't like him. Crazy!
John Tang, Phoenix
Grant was up to no good: I thought the jury, through a roundabout process, wound up with the right verdict in the Doug Grant case. The fact that Doug didn't make the 911 call tells me he was up to no good, and from your sidebar, the jury thought exactly the same thing.
Nell Rodriguez, Phoenix
Trial leaves a stain on the justice system: I've talked to some lawyers about this, and they're just as astonished that the judge is allowing a guilty verdict to stand when there is clearly reasonable doubt.
Thankfully, the Bryant Wilkerson trial showed that the justice system here isn't completely flawed and that not all juries are swayed by emotion.
It's scary, though, that a jury can convict on just not liking a guy, after a detective lies through his teeth (including in a grand jury proceeding), and the facts are so distorted that there are more questions than answers.
I really hope the judge comes to her senses and realizes this is Zimbabwe-style justice and sets aside the verdict.
Hey, if prosecutor Juan Martinez's smug ass is so confident, let him prove it beyond a reasonable doubt. Until that is done, this is a huge stain on the court system's credibility.
David Saint, Phoenix
Without the Mormons, the case was nothing: I got into a huge argument with Mormon friends about the Doug Grant trial the other day. They were fighting mad because New Times and other media kept calling the Grant prosecution the "Mormon Murder Case."
They actually feel that religion had nothing to do with Faylene Grant's death — when it had everything to do with it. Without the Mormon angle, three television networks wouldn't be following Rubin's work with TV newsmagazine pieces.
It [says a lot] that nobody in Faylene Grant's family, much less Doug, tried to get help for her when she would talk crazily about her imminent death and ascension into the Celestial Kingdom. Such talk apparently isn't so insane to Mormons.
How could such detail be left out of the story? The Mormon stuff made this a real page-turner.
Bill Mosley, Salt Lake City
Judge's bias swayed the jury: Superior Court Judge Meg Mahoney should be ashamed of herself. Her obvious dislike of Doug Grant's lawyer, Mel McDonald, definitely swayed this jury. The judge didn't like McDonald, and therefore the jury didn't like his client. Result: guilty of manslaughter and prison.
The judge must do what's right in the end and give Grant the minimum sentence possible.
Rachael Green, Phoenix
Anonymous juror speaks up: I was [one of the jurors] who convicted Doug Grant. I found Paul Rubin's article to be very uninformative about the jury's deliberation process.
As there were many emotional women on the jury panel, I do believe their opinions and feelings about Grant played a role in the manner of murder that he could be charged with.
Doug Grant was found guilty of manslaughter based on "recklessness" in not aiding Faylene the morning that she was found unresponsive — not dead — in the bathtub.
Let me elaborate: Doug Grant never called 911 that morning. Doug Grant attempted to perform CPR on a bed (information provided by the defense). Doug Grant called [physician's assistant] Chad White on finding Faylene in the tub.
Chad White called 911 stating, "I believe that [Doug Grant] wasn't going to call 911. [Doug Grant] said that he's afraid, and [I'm] not sure why he would say something like that."
This was enough reason for me to find Doug Grant guilty of manslaughter. Final jury vote: six for first-degree murder, four for second-degree, two for manslaughter.
Trials are about evidence, which this one lacked: Doug Grant was "reckless" because of stuff he did after Faylene died?
How did that contribute to her death? Because he attempted CPR on a bed? [Should he have] tried it in a tub full of water?
As for the 911 call, he was scared, his wife was dead after a major fall [earlier in Utah], and he called a medical person he trusted. Obviously, 911 would have been the smart choice, but if she was already dead, this in no way contributed to her death.
Murder trials aren't supposed to be about how much you did or didn't like the guy; they're supposed to be about evidence. And the evidence I see is of a woman who'd been hinting about suicide for a long time and ended up OD'd in the bathtub.
How could six [jurors] vote for premeditation? What evidence did [they] have that he planned this in advance?
If the letters were really withheld from the pathologist, I'd be pissed as a juror.
[This kind of thing] is why I don't want to streamline the death-penalty process. It's not because I'm soft on crime. It's because people keep getting their death-row cases overturned because some ass-hat prosecutor [or police officer] lied and/or withheld evidence that proved the innocence of the defendant.
Look at the Duke University lacrosse team fiasco. [Jurors] should be pissed at this cop for using [them].
Mike Wells, via the Internet
Yellow journalism — or worse: Paul Rubin's article is beyond yellow journalism. It is, in fact, chromatically canary journalism. Rubin has been in the Grant camp since day one.
When has a reporter been allowed access to a private meeting between an accused [man] and a defense attorney regarding the defendant's taking the stand?
Is this how the truth gets shaped? Incredible journalism. Keep up the deceptive work.
Dorothy Gale, Wichita, Kansas
Shame on the judge, jury, and prosecutor: This whole situation is a tragedy for both sides. However, the truth remains that there is no evidence that Mr. Grant killed his wife.
He was convicted for not calling 911 right away and for doing CPR on a bed instead of the floor. Are you kidding me? The guy might not be so nice, but that is not the same as being a criminal.
The facts are that you have a dirty cop and a jury that convicted on perception, not facts. Mr. Grant should have never been convicted in this situation, and I hope he chooses to appeal.
This case seemed to be more about personalities (the judge's, the prosecution's, the defense's) and not about protecting Mr. Grant's rights as a defendant.
I feel bad for Mr. Grant and his family (including Faylene and her family); however, this was not the right thing to do. The judge, jury, and prosecutor should be ashamed.
Defense attorney's a reputed clown: Mel McDonald lost this case because his ego is more important than his client.
This is a case that called for a defense counsel who calmly attacks the evidence, but Mel always has to attempt to bully. He has been living off his reputation for years and is viewed as a clown by [many] in the criminal-law field.
Doug Grant would've been much better off with Jay Adelman as first chair, because Jay is a professional who can ask questions instead of a clown who blusters.
Defense attorney saved Grant a tougher verdict: Doug would have been nailed for first-degree murder with any attorney other than Mel McDonald.
I've followed several cases of McDonald's, and he comes across as knowledgeable and well spoken. It is clear that he puts his heart and soul into his clients and their cases.
It is difficult to get your side of things out in open court when you have a judge that allows the prosecutor to control what is said and which evidence can be included.
And speaking of evidence: McDonald did focus on the evidence, or blatant lack thereof. The jury agreed that there wasn't any evidence, but they convicted anyway.
Judge Meg Mahoney allowed Martinez to completely control this entire process. McDonald did an amazing job, considering both hands were tied. Doug would have been looking at 20 to 30 years without him.
A creep? Yes. A killer? Not sure: Great, great story. This was a lot to put together. I went back and read the early stories that you did on the case, and I wonder why the police officer was not a factor at the trial. The investigation was so bad.
It sounds like Grant was reckless, though how much was criminal and how much wasn't I don't know. I want to know how six people voted for premeditated first-degree murder — even if he was a creep (there are a lot of them out there). This case should be a book.
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