Keller @ Large: Entwistle Appeal Is Fair… But Ridiculous

By Jon Keller, WBZ-TV Political Editor

BOSTON (CBS) – In our legal system, we bend over backwards to give the accused all the rights and guarantees of fairness we can, and that’s as it should be. Would you want to be a defendant in a system that did not?

Me neither.

So I do not challenge the right of the lawyer for Neil Entwistle, serving life in prison for the 2006 murder of his wife and baby daughter in their Hopkinton home, to petition for a new trial for his client. He absolutely has the right to do that, just as I have the absolute right to voice my opinion that Entwistle’s appeal is one of the most egregious wastes of taxpayer money and insults to the integrity of the legal system I have ever seen.

Entwistle’s lawyer says the evidence in the case was illegally seized by police because they had no search warrant when, responding to frantic pleas from relatives members that they check on the family, they entered the home where they found the wife and daughter shot to death. If I have to explain to you why this claim is aggressively preposterous, you too may have a future as an overzealous defense lawyer.

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And the lawyer also claims the jury that quickly found Entwistle guilty was biased by pre-trial publicity. Of course, no way could they have found him guilty based on the evidence presented at trial, which included:

* Entwistle’s despair over running up huge amounts of debt;

* His complaints about his marital sex life;

* His online research into how to kill someone days before the murders;

* His DNA all over the handle of the murder weapon;

* And his purchase, hours after he killed his family, of a one-way ticket home to England.

Perhaps Entwistle’s lawyer truly believes these appeals have merit, and they only look like billable-hour-producing nonsense.

I agree that we need a justice system that goes out of its way to be fair to defendants, even when that means costly protections for the likes of Whitey Bulger and Neil Entwistle. But in this latest spasm of denial from the Entwistle camp, I don’t see a shred of justice for the taxpayers, and the still-grieving family and friends of his innocent victims.

More from Jon Keller
  • DrStrangelove

    Perhaps appeals in cases as airtight as this should be on the defendent’s dollar. He may have a legal right to an appeal, but we have absolutely no financial responsibility, legal or otherwise, to pay for it. Ticket back to England… I forget – Is he an American citizen or not? Just wondering why we continue to bankroll people who haven’t actually contributed to society.

  • jaygee

    I disagree when you say that “it’s fair”. I am astonished that this wife and baby killer is still able to file an appeal and not in his own burial place in England. We are all aware of his actions that day along with the following days when he flew back home to be with Mommy & Daddy. This was one of those situations that beckons for the return of capital punishment.

  • mikey

    Zero chance Entwistle, you lying murderer. Enjoy your cage.

  • Willow

    It’s kind of a catch 22. We want to live in a country with a judicial system that allows every opportunity to defendents, including the right to file an appeal, then we complain when the likes of this criminal files one. If we are to have such an appeal process, it has to apply to everyone. I too agree that this must be traumatic for the family of this man’s slain family, and it isn’t fair to the taxpayers either, but show me where it is written that life is fair. I could cry all over again when I think of what this man did to his wife and beautiful daughter. How can he live with himself, never mind try to get his conviction overturned. Some people never feel any remorse.

  • tsal

    I also hate that he is appealing. It made me sick when I heard the news. However, this country was founded on the right to everyone to have a fair trial. Everyone. And if we start picking and choosing who the laws do and do not apply to then we are on a slippery slope. Our values are what distinguish us from every other country in the world and I for one would hate to see us compromise those values.

  • Denise

    I think everyone has the right to appeal a decision. However, just because they have the right doesn’t mean they should be allowed to waste AGAIN the taxpayers $$. Let the kids in lawschool get some practice – it won’t cost the taxpayers any $$ and the lawyers to be will be some real life practice!

  • Craig

    Hey, Here’s a novel idea – all these high profile Barristers in the State tripping all over themselves to defend James “Whitey” Bulger (just so they can get a book deal) should have to pay the state for the privilidge of representing their meal ticket! Use that money to help fund the pro bono system!

  • Mark

    He can appeal until he is blue in the face just make him pay for the appeals The public already found him guilty!

  • The Owl

    Grant your points, Jon. But what is your solution to the problem that you are addressing?

  • Cinque

    Entwistle could have been the one opening the front door for the police if he had stayed there after he killed his wife and child . However, he decided to take the car to Logan Airport, abandon it and then fly home to see the folks for what he thought would be forever. Such a complete moron.

  • AJ

    Everyone is so convinced he is guilty but when I saw a documentary about the case last night the forensics seemed to back up his story, however bizarre that seemed. Did I miss something? The documentary makers just mentioned the forensics briefly as if it was an unimportant and trivial distraction on the way to a just and proper verdict but it was a real eye opener for me personally. And yet on every website and forum that I have come across almost everyone seems completely convinced that he is responsible. Was there a smoking gun found in the end that the documentary makers edited out. Or was he convicted because his reaction after the deaths was so strange?

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