Apparently, all the various and sundry news agencies have reported James Arthur Ray's "Not Guilty" plea. This was due to a toxic combination of sloppy reporting and fancy lawyering. He has not plead not guilty, because he has not yet entered a plea.
The confusion starts when Judge Warren R. Darrow asks if Mr. Ray has been informed of the charges against him.
Kelly answers, "I have, judge." Then Kelly jumps immediately into the following, preemptive statement, speaking rather quickly, "We've got a copy of the indictment, we've reviewed it with our client, we've waived its formal reading, his name is spelled correctly, we'd enter a plea of not guilty; request that a jury trial be preserved and the case management conference be set."
But Judge Darrow doesn't enter that plea of not guilty. And really, if you listen carefully to what Kelly said it was, "we'd enter a plea..." In other words, "we would enter a plea..." but he wasn't entering a plea at that time, because, this wasn't the time to enter any plea at all.
Judge Darrow's next words confirm this, "OK, and that's essentially what would be done at an arraignment; this isn't the arraignment, it's the initlal appearance. As I have indicated, I am going to set, or I have indicated to counsel [unintelligible] I intend to set the matter EDC, Early Disposition Court; however, I think that if the parties want to waive that, by an agreement, that can be considered an arraignment proceeding rather than an EDC proceeding, and there probably could be a waiver of that later hearing. But in any event, I'll note that, Mr. Kelly, but I'm not conducting the arraignment today. This is strictly the initial appearance, basically the proceeding that's required within 24 hours of arrest."
So either Mr. Kelly has no idea what hearing he's in or this is a slick attempt to misdirect the media in attendance. If it's the latter, mission accomplished:
Appearing in court in Arizona today to plead not guilty to three charges of manslaughter, [James Ray] is confronting what may be the biggest challenge of his life.
Self-help guru James Arthur Ray pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges connected with 3 deaths at a sweat lodge ceremony he led in Arizona.
Motivational speaker James Arthur Ray pleaded not guilty yesterday to three counts of manslaughter at his first court appearance since being charged with causing three deaths at an Arizona sweat-lodge ceremony he led.
The New York Times gets it right:
Mr. Ray was indicted on Wednesday. A formal plea would be entered at his arraignment, which is expected later this month, according to Dennis W. McGrane, the chief deputy county attorney.
The Times also gets to the heart of the matter:
Mr. Ray had recently taken his case to the court of public opinion, with his lawyers issuing lengthy letters last month providing their account of what happened and asserting that many damaging statements made by witnesses to the police were inaccurate or taken out of context.
Ray and his attorneys are ramping up the press offensive, kicking off the "James Ray is Not Guilty" media tour on GMA.
James Ray accepts responsibility for what happened in the Sedona, Ariz., sweat lodge that led to three deaths, but that does not make it a crime, said one of his lawyers, Brad Brian.
"After this happened he immediately reached out to the families. We have been meeting with the families' lawyers. But again, that doesn't make it a crime. We think turning this into a criminal charge we think is unjust and we look forward to proving his innocence in court," Brian said on "Good Morning America" this morning.
I was a publicist, after all. I know a little bit about how this works.
It's also an approach wholly in line with The Secret. It's almost like an affirmation. Mr. Ray and his attorneys are attempting to create the reality they want to manifest; a "not guilty" verdict. It's also blatantly manipulative and lacking in integrity. Something else that is totally in-line with The Secret. It's an attempt to ram through a certain reality by sheer force of will, rather than alignment with the greater good. That's the not-so-subtle distinction that makes The Secret an exercise in ego indulgence, rather a tool for spiritual growth.
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