Ethics Dunce: The “Lady in Red”

Now that the John Edwards trial is over—it ended with an acquittal on one charge and deadlocked jurors on the rest—it’s time to heap some deserved contempt on the so-called “Lady in Red,” the alternate juror whose courtroom demeanor became such a distraction that it prompted the judge to send all the alternate jurors home. From the Washington Post:

“She walked in flipping her hair, smiling broadly at [Edwards], batting her long eyelashes, cocking her head playfully. She was just an alternate juror, but suddenly she was the most watched person in the cramped federal courtroom. Commentators had dubbed her the “Lady in Red” after she bopped into the courtroom last week in a revealing, off-the-shoulder red top. Others just called her the “flirty one,” interpreting her vivacity as some kind of courtship dance, though no one can say for sure whether that was her intent.”

Her intent was hardly in doubt, was it? It was to make the most of her brief moment in the national spotlight, and to attract as much attention to herself as possible. Her interaction with Edwards during the trial was interpreted by onlookers as flirting, which, considering the back story of the trial involving Edwards’ adulterous affair while his wife was dying of cancer and he was trying to pass himself off to the public as a trustworthy leader, was especially distasteful as well as generally inappropriate.

Needless to say, except that someone obviously needed to say it to her, a trial is supposed to be about citizens doing their duty and participating in the justice system, not making it a vulgar stop on the way to fame. The “Lady in Red” is an example of the kind of self-involved, irresponsible individuals America’s celebrity-obsessed increasingly produces, without the humility, dignity, respect for the system or common sense to understand that she had a job to do, and that job didn’t involve preening for reporters, making a spectacle of herself or flirting with the despicable defendant.


Source: The Washington Post

Graphic: Xocolade

Ethics Alarms attempts to give proper attribution and credit to all sources of facts, analysis and other assistance that go into its blog posts. If you are aware of one I missed, or believe your own work was used in any way without proper attribution, please contact me, Jack Marshall, at

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