Monday, July 15, 2013
I Wish I Could Say I Was Surprised
I guess since I blog as a lawyer I really ought to make some comment on the Zimmerman trial.
First, I figured once the jury was chosen that was the end. A jury of six all of whom were women, five of whom were white and one of whom was Hispanic were not going to find this guy guilty under almost any circumstances.
But let's cut through the B.S. anyway:
1. The victim was unarmed.
2. He was stalked by the defendant for a good while.
3. He was shot dead by the defendant.
Everything. Else. Is. Flash.
I did not watch the trial, I did not really keep up on the trial mainly because if one isn't actually in the court room, or at least watching the entire thing on T.V. one really doesn't know what the dynamics of the trial are.
I once had an arson case that for some reason was front page news in the little paper in the berg one berg over. The first days description of the trial was more or less close to what actually happened. The second day's coverage was bizarre. The second day was when I put on the defense case. We won. But if you read the second day's coverage you would think that the jury was either drunk, crazy, or I had paid them all off to get to a not guilty verdict.
So I will not watch a little of a trial or the evening wrap up (of course it is helped that we got rid of cable several years ago) because all that you see is what the reporters think is interesting and that may not at all be what the jury thinks is interesting.
The second case I am familiar with that applies is of a friend of mine (this was during my dirty hippy only phase well before the lawyer part kicked in) who was busted in the early to mid 70s for taking some serious drugs over the Ohio river. Well it was a federal case. The case went to trial and after all the evidence was in (and by the way he was guilty as sin, but none of us thought it should be a crime anyway, and all of us had warned him off dealing with the guy who set him up) the jury came back eleven to one for conviction. Since in a criminal case the jury must be unanimous it was a mistrial.
He told me later that he had wondered whose "10 speed" bike was chained to a tree at the court house every day. Well as he left the court on the final day he saw one of the jurors get on the bike and peddle away giving him the peace sign as he went. That case was over the day that juror was chosen. (They did try my friend again, but the next jury hung six to six and the feds just gave up after that. The point is that they wouldn't have gotten to the six/six jury if there hadn't been the one juror on the bike at the first trial.)
I would say a couple of more things. From the little I could see the prosecution's heart just wasn't in it. Their main first witness, the couple of minutes of her I did see, was clearly not prepared at all. For the prosecution in a high profile trial like to this to make that kind of mistake is unforgivable, if that is they want to win.
Another point, is that while I said those three points I mentioned earlier were all that was important everything else is flash, it is the defense attorney's job in this kind of case to throw out that kind of flash and to make the jury focus on the flash and to try to make them get blinded by the flash.
The guy killed an unarmed kid. He went to where the kid was and he confronted him and shot him. That is the case. This is not the kind of case where there is or could be another person out there who committed the crime it was just this guy and he did it. So what you've got to do is attack the victim and create as much confusion about things as you possibly can.
One final thing. I've heard people say that there was only the defendant's evidence about what happened that night so the jury couldn't convict. Bullshit. A good prosecutor (or one who wanted to win) would put on their evidence and walk the jury through what they thought really happened. Then they would point out that there is no reason to believe the statements of the defendant's family all of whom want to get the defendant off. Believe the circumstantial evidence which really can't lie. A defendant who was armed, who stalked a 17 year old kid, and who shot him dead.