For decades, as a New York prosecutor and then as a national correspondent with Court TV and HLN, I saw too many instances where families, already devastated by tragedy, endured what might have felt like a second level of trauma.
Still reeling from the discovery of a body or the arrest of a loved one, they were now forced to decide whether to grant an interview. And to whom. And whether to give more than one. And what would be too much, or too little, as they struggled to turn their personal torment into a positive influence for others?
It’s mind boggling to think how these victims can be expected to handle the intense media spotlight, which can sometimes influence even very high-profile public figures to make questionable decisions.
For example, in a May 13 Op-Ed piece in The Baltimore Sun, former deputy state’s attorney Page Croyder suggested that Prosecutor Marilyn Mosby hurriedly filed criminal charges against six officers only four days after Freddie Gray’s funeral as a “reckless or incompetent” form of “crowd control” to quell her city’s riots.
In trial after trial, I’ve seen traumatized families on television, unprepared for what to expect, only to be asked questions intended to make them cry. Families have asked me for assistance in establishing a foundation, for guidance in getting a book deal, or just for better preparation for the media onslaught. In each case, I was frustrated that I couldn’t stand by these families at such a difficult time. Now, as a member of the Cavalry PR team, I can.
Cavalry PR’s emphasis on victim advocacy, support and empowerment is consistent with my goals. In fact, it’s the ideal place for me to channel my expertise in a new direction to help crime victims and their families, attorneys and other trial participants, and the wrongly accused and convicted, get their message out in the most meaningful way. This can be by publishing a book, raising awareness through their own foundation, public speaking, calculated media appearances, or whatever is the best way to achieve the client’s goals.
A year ago, I founded the subscription website Karas On Crime to cover Jodi Arias’s penalty phase retrial, which ended in March. I now use the site to highlight crime and justice stories and educate my members about the law, while working through Cavalry PR to provide knowledge, insight and courage to those facing great pressure and adversity under the sometimes blinding media spotlight.