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December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review July 14, 2014 / 16 Tammuz, 5774

Rembrandts of the Courtroom

By Diane Dimond




JewishWorldReview.com | OK, by a show of hands, how many readers have actually sat inside a courtroom and watched a trial? Having been assigned to cover countless high-profile trials over the years, I have to admit I relish it.

I love going to courthouses with their stately facades and imposing corridors. And inside it's like watching a big vat of human soup. We all get stirred up together in a courthouse: the poor, the middle-class, the rich. People seeking justice, people in big trouble with the law, people whose families are falling apart. The process is fascinating to watch.

Inside courtrooms where the most-watched trials take place, there is a group of unsung regulars that I have never written about — professional courtroom artists. Whenever I can, I try to get a seat next to one of them. Watching them work is a treat.

Cameras aren't always allowed in court (especially in federal court) and so the artist is there as a front-row eyewitness to capture the scene, those special moments that can be shown on television or in print to give the public a real feel for what it was like in the room.

Elizabeth Williams is one of these artists, and she has just accomplished something remarkable. After a nine-year effort, she has brought together the artwork of five of the nation's most experienced courtroom artists in the book, "The Illustrated Courtroom: Fifty Years of Court Art." It is a delicious retrospective for court aficionados who can't get enough of headliner trials.

The vast collection of iconic art is punctuated by captivating personal stories from all five artists: Howard Brodie, Richard Tomlinson, Bill Robles, Aggy Kenny and, of course, Williams herself.

The book begins with the late Brodie's intricate rendering of the courtroom in which Jack Ruby was found guilty of murdering presidential assassin Lee Harvey Oswald in 1964. Also included is a sketch of Ruby as he heard the verdict.

"Just before the panel brought in a death sentence, Ruby's Adam's apple quivered and he gulped," Brodie wrote on the bottom of that day's drawing. Brodie recalled the judge sat on an inflated rubber-doughnut cushion and, "Decreed that only those within the rail could smoke, denying newsmen and spectators the privilege."

From that time in a Dallas courtroom half a century ago, the artwork flows like the pages of a legal history book. Among the pages are many other Brodie accomplishments: capturing the action at the Watergate cover-up trial, the Patty Hearst case and scores of others.

Richard Tomlinson, also now deceased, was there to see radical Abbie Hoffman on trial for selling cocaine. The artist describes how his long-held philosophy, "To approach each subject as if it is the only chance I'll ever have to draw them, because it just might be," came in handy during that 1973 trial. Hoffman skipped bail, changed his name and appearance and didn't re-surface until 1980.

Tomlinson's bold drawings of David Berkowitz (aka the "Son of Sam") are powerful, as was his portrait of Mark David Chapman (John Lennon's killer) and he spent two full years drawing participants in the Black Panther 21 case, among many others.



"Now I'm glad the book took nine years," Williams told me on the phone. "Because if I'd started it later, Howard and Richard would have been gone and we would have had no recollections from them."

Aggie Kenny's water-colored sketches are riveting. Among her included works are scenes from the trials of Iran-Contra defendants such as John Poindexter and Oliver North.

"Strange details sometimes stick with you, and I was very aware of Ollie's mother wearing a prim bright-yellow hat," Kenny recalls.

Also in the book, Kenny's drawings from inside the U.S. Supreme Court, John Chambers the "Preppie Murderer," Sydney Biddle Barrows aka "The Mayflower Madam" (another who favored prim hats) and Jerry Sandusky. Her 1974 portrait of James Earl Ray is shocking in his nonchalance as he faced charges of assassinating Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

"Drawing (Ray) in a makeshift courtroom set up in a penitentiary was a first for me," Kenny says. "I felt as if I was drawing an infamous felon in a school cafeteria." Kenny reveals that another courtroom artist there that day married Ray the next year.

Much of the book highlights the work of the talented and prolific Bill Robles, considered to be today's Dean of courtroom artists. Based in Los Angeles, he has covered trials for CBS news for more than 40 years and remembers his first assignment, the 1970 murder case against Charles Manson and his followers, as if it were yesterday. Robles' iconic drawing and insider story of how Manson came to display to the jury a newspaper headline that read, "Manson Guilty Nixon Declares" and nearly caused a mistrial is not to be missed. Robles' rendition of the moment Manson grabbed a pencil and leapt to attack the judge graces the book's front cover.

Robles went on to famously capture for posterity the trials of Roman Polanski, John DeLorean, Timothy McVeigh, O.J. Simpson, Michael Jackson and too many others to mention here.

Included in Williams' works are drawings from several dirty money cases including the infamous Bernard Madoff case. Williams was the only artist to render the moment Madoff was led away in handcuffs by federal marshals, and it was seen worldwide. Her works from several mob trials are also in the book along with her personal recollections of each (John Gotti once stood over her and asked in a menacing tone why her drawing of him "wasn't smiling") and give the reader a real feel for the pressures on a courtroom artist.

As the verdict neared at the Martha Stewart trial, Williams recalls, "The TV networks had their producers in the courtroom with red and black squares of paper they could hold up (on the courthouse steps) to indicate guilty or not guilty." All correspondents had to do was glance up from their camera position to see the signal and instantly report out the news. The artwork was expected to be finished immediately.

For me this book was a great trip down memory lane and it reminded me what a service these special artists do for the rest of us. They take us inside courtrooms where many have never been.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Investigative journalist and syndicated columnist Diane Dimond has covered all manner of celebrity and pop culture stories.

Diane Dimond Archives

© 2014, Creators Syndicate.

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