The parents of 11-month-old Lisa Irwin have maintained that their child was spirited away from their home in the dead of night on Oct. 4 by a person or persons unknown, but as they receive prayers and sympathies offered to parents in their predicament, have they lost credibility in the court of public opinion because they have hired defense attorneys?
It is quite clear to observers of this case that police have been focusing their investigation on Deborah Bradley and Jeremy Irwin, the Kansas City couple, who are the parents of little Lisa Irwin.
Days into the investigation, Bradley spoke of the police accusing her of being involved in her child's disappearance, and, on Tuesday, attorney Joe Tacopena said on ABC's "Good Morning America":
"The mother who is missing her 10-month-old baby, within an hour, sitting on the floor trembling, as her husband called 9-1-1. Within an hour of that the police are interviewing her, accusing her of murder. That's just not good investigatory tactics and it doesn't build good faith in them."
To be fair, it is possible that police have reasons to be suspicious based on contradictory statements by the 25-year-old mother.
Bradley now says that the 11-month-old little girl was last seen at 6:40 p.m. during the evening of Oct. 3, a statement which contradicts her earlier claim to have last seen little Lisa at 10:30 p.m. when she placed the child in bed.
She also admitted well into the investigation that she was drunk on the night her child disappeared.
There have been accusations and statements concerning the level of cooperation being afforded to the police by the couple, and Tacopena has indicated a willingness to grant police access to his client, based on his determination of whether questions are fair or accusatory.
Still, considering that the police have clearly focused their investigation on Bradley, and her 29-year-old fiancé Irwin, should they or anyone lose credibility in the court of public opinion simply for seeking legal protection?
The court of public opinion is a precarious institution, but, perhaps, this is simply a matter of appearances, as legal analyst Dan Abrams commented Wednesday on GMA:
"The police are clearly treating them [the parents] as possible suspects, and that means that Joe Tacopena, as defense team, has to treat them as potential suspects... But this is their child, who’s missing, and people are going to hear that and they're going to say, 'I don't care what your lawyer is telling you, you have to help them [police] in every way you can.' "