Click to read about the best places to eat on campus, freshman packing tips, and how to keep in touch with friends.

Feelings alone can’t convict a criminal

Bubba the Love Sponge Clem deserved to walk. Not because what he did to Andy the boar was justifiably educational, but because of the less-than-adequate prosecution by the State Attorney’s Office.

I’ve watched enough Law & Order to know that jurors don’t convict based on sheer stupidity of the defendant. They rely on facts. Clear-cut evidence. Fortunately, for Bubba, State Attorney Mark Ober and his crew failed to give the jury enough concrete reasons to legally condemn the disc jockey.

So with tears in his eyes, insufficient evidence and a grudge against Ober, Bubba walked out of the courthouse Thursday cleared of animal cruelty charges. Another example of tax-payers’ money at work.

Armed with nothing more than an audiotape and videotape of Andy’s slaughter, Assistant State Attorney Darrell Dirks tried to convince the jury that Andy’s death was unnecessarily cruel.

I’ve actually seen the tape of 98 Rock’s “Road Kill Barbecue.” Andy didn’t look happy. Nor did he look as if he went quickly and in the least amount of pain. Then again, I know nothing about how to kill a boar. And Bubba’s attorneys knew educating the jury in slaughter etiquette was probably a good idea – especially if it would help their case.

A veterinarian testified that he would have killed Andy the same way. A wildlife expert told the court that castration of a hog was standard (Andy’s testicles were chopped off before he was killed and then offered to Road Kill spectators to be eaten – raw).

Dirks’ rebuttal to the defense testimonies? Nothing more than the edited versions of the audio- and videotapes.

“You don’t need an expert to tell if there has been mistreatment of an animal,” he told The Tampa Tribune.

Jurors disagreed. Several of them said the prosecution didn’t present enough information to convict. Sure, my heart went out to Andy when I saw the poor guy squealing and trying to get away from his killers. But the law isn’t based on how people feel. Dirks should have taken that into consideration and done a better job at locating someone to refute the defense experts.

Maybe the state wasn’t being lazy or overconfident. Perhaps Dirks couldn’t find a single animal expert to say that what Bubba’s gang did to Andy was illegal. If that’s the case, then leave Bubba alone.

I’m no fan of the shock jock, and I don’t like that he turned the killing of a boar into a money-making opportunity and an outright public display of obscenity.

Bubba was found not guilty and his name cleared, at least until his next stunt of stupidity. But after this trial, the State Attorney’s Office wasn’t so lucky in leaving the courthouse with a clean name. Ober and his workers should have done a better job. Feeling lucky about a case doesn’t increase the chances of winning. Covering all the bases and making sure there is more fact and expert opinion than emotion does.

  • Kevin Graham is The Oracle editor in