Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Leyritz's Statement

Jim Leyritz has come out with one of those non-apology apologies:
"Due to the tragic and unfortunate events of Dec. 28, 2007, Mr. Leyritz and his family wish to express their deepest sympathies and condolences."
Everyone hates those kinds of statements. "Unfortunate events?" "Sympathies and condolences?" Those are things lawyers say, not people, and no one would ever consider such an apology to be genuinely heartfelt.

That said, people in Leyrtiz's position (i.e. high-profile folks in trouble) are kind of screwed when it comes to the apology thing. If they offer legitimate, heartfelt apologies they will inevitably be used against them in both criminal and civil contexts. Sure, some editor or readers may give the person a scintilla of credit for a genuine apology, but they'll receive no such benefit in litigation, where the words of apology will be ripped from their context, blown up on a white board and characterized (or mischaracterized) in the worst possible light for their author.

So why not just say nothing at all? Because Leyritz is going to face a sentencing judge some day, and sentencing judges like to cite a defendant's "lack of remorse" in cases like these, even if the alleged lack of remorse is due to the defendant, you know, asserting a defense and making use of their Fifth Amendment rights. The solution? Say enough to have said something, but really say nothing at all.

Even if we assumed that an apology could make any kind of real difference to Ann Veitch's family at this point (which it obviously can't) there's no escaping the fact that Leyrtiz is in a no-win situation when it comes to actually making one.

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