2005's Biggest Court Cases

"When you have a child victim and the parents consult with the defense team and make a conscious decision not to put their child through the humiliation of the trial, I believe the judge has to honor that," Tacopina said. "That kid just wants to get on with his life and not open up old wounds."

Saddam Hussein

The trial of the former Iraqi dictator who was captured by U.S. forces near his hometown of Tikrit two years ago opened in October. Saddam and eight others are charged with crimes against humanity -- ordering the killings of 148 men and teenage boys in the Shiite town of Dujail. They face the death penalty if convicted and all have pleaded not guilty.

Thus far, Saddam has made the trial colorful with his outbursts and tirades. He publicly cursed President Bush, accused his American guards of humiliating him by confiscating his watch, and said that he was beaten by guards while in custody.

"They said Iraq had chemical weapons," Saddam said in one of his outbursts. "They said I had ties to terrorism, but later acknowledged that I did not. A pox on Bush and his father."

"What gets me is that we have so many people who are 'enemy combatants' imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay, who are never charged and never go to trial," Bloom said. "These are accused terrorists and we never get to hear the facts. Then there's Saddam, who the whole world knows has murdered millions of people. And he gets a trial. Not only does he get a trial, but he's allowed to stand up in court, make trouble, wave his finger at the judge, and cross-examine people whose relatives he murdered. That trial is completely out of control. It needs to be reined in."

In addition, lawyers and defendants have been seen nodding off during chilling testimony from survivors and relatives of those who died. The trial was temporarily adjourned in November so the defense team could replace two lawyers who were killed. The defense team includes former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark.

"I for one have a personal rule: Never take a trial that might get me killed," Tacopina said. "But let's face it, Saddam is going to get convicted. Let's not hold our breath. What this case is really about is the new Iraqi government figuring things out. They're in their fetal stage, and they're taking baby steps."

On the Horizon for 2006

Bloom said that she expected the Debra LaFave trial to "blow up" in April and that the cameras in the courtroom would only add to the sensationalism. She also predicted that if famed rock producer Phil Spector was tried for murder, that the case would receive a lot of attention. He is accused of shooting actress Lana Clarkson in his Alhambra, Calif., home in February 2003. Spector denies the charges.

"I would love to see someone brought to justice for the disappearance of Natalee Holloway," said Bloom, referring to the teenager who disappeared while on vacation in Aruba.

Tacopina said that the Melanie McGwire case in New Jersey was "Scott Peterson in reverse." Tacopina is participating in the murder trial of McGwire, who is being called the "Black Widow." She is accused of dismembering her husband, putting his body parts into three suitcases, and then throwing them in the Delaware River. McGwire has denied that she is responsible for her husband's death.

"She's going to trial in 2006, and we'll be covering that from gavel to gavel," Tacopina said.

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